Hypocrisy in Action

There’s been a lot of coverage of Terri Schiavo’s mother’s pleas not to let her daughter “die of thirst,” and that rallying cry’s been picked up by many of the activists leeching onto the case for their own flagrantly political motives.

I’m not going to say anything about the family’s sentiments — I have no insight into the range of their positions. But I’m struck by the hypocrisy of many of those (predominently the religious extremists) lamenting the “horrible” way in which Terri Schiavo will die; a hypocrisy evident in the notion that they will permit no alternative.

You can’t decry the choice to remove Terri’s feeding tube as inhumane when you brook no possibility of a humane option. You can certainly believe it’s the wrong choice — that’s just a difference of opinion. But you absolutely cannot take a hard-line stance against any form of euthanasia and pretend that you’re outraged by this method of not euthanizing her, but simply removing extraordinary life support and allowing nature to take its course.

If you honestly cared about how “humane” the resolution were, you’d endorse an alternative that met that criterion.


At 7:05 PM, Kori said...

Ummm....she's not a spy, last I checked. She doesn't have to take the magic "get dead, quick" pill to avoid torture.

I see your point, believe me, but I think that, as you stated in your previous post, this is an extremely complicated issue. It's not simply about the right or wrong of euthanasia, although that certainly plays into the equation. It's fundamentally about what quality of life constitutes a "good" or "bad" one, what level of functionality constitutes "conscience" or "vegetative," and finally, what does it actually mean to end life by using "no extraordinary means"?

It is truly sad that she will, as it looks today, have to die a painful death. Would it be easier to euthanize her in the manner we treat the animals we love---fast and painless? Sure. But if you can't believe she's actually a candidate for euthanasia, that seems an equally cruel fate.

At 8:39 AM, Bill Coughlan said...

There's a world of difference between lamenting the manner in which a person will die and decrying those who "force" this issue, which is what the most vocal of the protestors are doing.

I stand by my position that those who condemn the "system" for imposing inhumane treatment — yet will allow no humane alternative — are equally guilty in forcing this outcome.

Yes, it is extremely sad that Terri Schiavo will die. Yes, the method by which she will die is painfully disturbing — dare I say it, inhumane. I hold that to force someone — against their wishes (as determined by multiple courts of law) — to live in a state of humiliating degradation does make that person a candidate for euthanasia. (That is my opinion, and mine only — and, I'll note, not one shared by many, including the infinitely more enlightened European community.)

In this particular case, it's worth noting that no credible case has been made that Terri Schiavo is in anything but a "persistent vegetative state." The only rebuttals to that medical opinion have been made by individuals who have made no examination whatsoever of the patient in question, but are basing their "opinions" solely on hearsay.

(On a related note, I'm positively astonished that the so-called "doctor" Bill Frist hasn't had his medical license revoked. He's proven himself to be the dictionary definition of "quack.")

But to attempt to place blame for the manner in which Terri Schiavo will die — while conveniently ignoring one's equal culpability in that outcome — is, as I stated, hypocrisy.

At 9:12 AM, Bill Coughlan said...

I should probably make a clarification — I am criticizing only this particular attempt to tug at the heartstrings by bemoaning the way in which Terri Schiavo will die.

I personally believe she died long ago, but readily acknowledge that others' definition of "death" varies. I'll condemn those glomming onto the case for transparently political purposes (which includes Jeb Bush, pretty much all of Congress, Duh-bya, and the public spokespeople for the assorted demonstrators), but not those individuals who honestly believe that an injustice is being done. They have an opinion, and they're entitled to it.

I'm all about mockery, but if people want to hold prayer vigils and the like (so long as they're not the bordering-on-violent, accusatory sort the rabble-rousers seem to want to instigate), more power to them.


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