Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Noonan and David Brooks on Terri Schiavo (updated to include Pizzas and Cream blogger)

Dave Merkowitz, in his blog, cites these two articles:

Peggy Noonan on Terri Schiavo

David Brooks, Op-Ed Columnist: Morality and Reality (must register to view the New York Times article, but it's FREE)

Noonan's article is entitled "In Love With Death: The bizarre passion of the pull-the-tube people." She can understand how the people who are in favor of letting Terri live can be passionate about their belief in the sanctity of all life. But about the people who want to pull the plug, Noonan writes:

I do not understand their certainty. I don't "know" that any degree of progress or healing is possible for Terri Schiavo; I only hope they are. We can't know, but we can "err on the side of life." How do the pro-death forces "know" there is no possibility of progress, healing, miracles? They seem to think they know. They seem to love the phrases they bandy about: "vegetative state," "brain dead," "liquefied cortex."
Excerpt from the New York Times article:

Morality and Reality

Published: March 26, 2005

The core belief that social conservatives bring to cases like Terri Schiavo's is that the value of each individual life is intrinsic. The value of a life doesn't depend upon what a person can physically do, experience or achieve. The life of a comatose person or a fetus has the same dignity and worth as the life of a fully functioning adult.

Social conservatives go on to say that if we make distinctions about the value of different lives, if we downgrade those who are physically alive but mentally incapacitated, if we say that some people can be more easily moved toward death than others, then the strong will prey upon the helpless, and the dignity of all our lives will be diminished.
Brooks goes on to say this:

If you surveyed the avalanche of TV and print commentary that descended upon us this week, you found social conservatives would start the discussion with a moral argument about the sanctity of life, and then social liberals would immediately start talking about jurisdictions, legalisms, politics and procedures. They were more comfortable talking about at what level the decision should be taken than what the decision should be. [emphasis mine]

A lot to think about. I am not entirely sure what the family of Terri Schiavo ought to do, but I know I will talk with my family about my wishes when we see each other for Easter dinner tomorrow.


In his blog, Charlie asks: Whose coma is it anyway? About Terri's parents, he says:
What a horrible place for the parents to exist... they cannot get their daughter back, nor can they grieve or move beyond the tragedy that brought her to this condition. So in a sense, they too are in a persistent vegetative state, at least emotionally.

And regarding the government's involvement in the case:
When did the Republicans stop being the party of personal responsibility and small government and start being my nosey Aunt Ethel?

It turned out that my family and I didn't discuss this at all at our Easter get-together. But we had a good time telling funny stories and playing charades with my nieces and nephews, all under aged ten.

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