Devil's Advocate - Schiavo
OK, ok, ok. Absurd example. But aggressively denying food and water is MURDER. It perverts the meaning of the word to exempt what happened to Schiavo. Removing medical equipment that performs critical functions as a surrogate for the body is one thing, denying food and water is entirely different. And for all of the moral-equivalists that see no difference and claim that we unplug people all the time, I say (out of pity, not scorn): May G*d have mercy on your souls.
Getting back to the judiciary in this country. I'm not well versed in Florida law (and mind you, neither is William F Buckley), so I will abstain from a point/counterpoint on the nuances of the law. The abuses of the courts are clear on a more fundamental level. Quoting Steyn, who sums it up beautifully:
This is not a criminal, not a murderer, not a person whose life should be in the gift of the state. So I find it repulsive, and indeed decadent, to have her continued existence framed in terms of ''plaintiffs'' and ''petitions'' and ''en banc review'' and ''de novo'' and all the other legalese. Mrs. Schiavo has been in her present condition for 15 years. Whoever she once was, this is who she is now -- and, after a decade and a half, there is no compelling reason to kill her. Any legal system with a decent respect for the status quo -- something too many American judges are increasingly disdainful of -- would recognize that her present life, in all its limitations, is now a well-established fact, and it is the most grotesque judicial overreaching for any court at this late stage to decide enough is enough. It would be one thing had a doctor decided to reach for the morphine and ''put her out of her misery'' after a week in her diminished state; after 15 years, for the courts to treat her like a Death Row killer who's exhausted her appeals is simply vile.
Adding to this sickening decadence is the "state's rights crowd" with whom Monsieur's Buckley and Burns happily align themselves. They attack anyone as being a hypocrite or not-a-true-conservative if that person does not feel that the federal government overstepped it bounds by demanding a federal appeal (something granted to criminals). Hey fellas, want to get off your high horse for a sec and explain away this little gem I found in some obscure document called THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AMENDMENT FOURTEEN:
Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [Emphasis mine]
Agree or disagree, the federal government had jurisdiction. And to Burns in particular, who seems to think Schiavo and steroids are not worthy of Congress's time: If you so fucking smart, let's see you post a full calendar for Congress filled with all the important stuff that Congress should be doing in lieu of these 'trivial' matters. Otherwise, knock off this brand of useless and unproductive cynicism. It's beneath a person of your intellectual capacity. Let's debate these items on their merits.
To lionize Buckley as the father of modern conservatism is to get still another thing wrong. Buckley , for all of the wonderful things that he has contributed to the conservative movement, is still an unabashed paleo-con. Paleo-conservatives, like liberals, have gotten just about EVERYTHING wrong since 9/11. So in the parlance of poker, I gladly see your Buckley and raise you a Steyn, a Barnes and a Kristol.
To quote Joe Lieberman, a democrat who understands morality, and about everyone else with a sane point of view: We should error on the side of life. When there are material questions of about the medical diagnose and disagreement amongst the next of kin, we should error on the side of life. That was not done in this case and it is WRONG. Do have a problem with the federal government standing up to wrongdoing in matters of life and death? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
To close, here is Steyn's common sense take on the so-called "states' rights" issue:
...which is more likely? That Congress will use this precedent to pass bills keeping you -- yes, you, Joe Schmoe of 37 Elm Street -- alive till your 118th birthday. Or that the various third parties who intrude between patient and doctor in the American system -- next of kin, HMOs, insurers -- will see the Schiavo case as an important benchmark in what's already a drift toward a culture of convenience euthanasia. Here's a thought: Where do you go to get a living-will kit saying that in the event of a hideous accident I don't want to be put to death by a Florida judge or the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals? And, if you had such a living will, would any U.S. court recognize it?.