Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Everyone's right and everyone's wrong

via Instapundit, we find this from Bill Hobbs:

I have not written about the Terri Schiavo case because it is too complex, too multilayered, and too steeped in unknown or unknowable facts for me - indeed for most people - to have a fully informed opinion.

I don't know - and neither do you - if Michael Schiavo is trying to murder his wife or trying to fulfill her stated wishes for just such a scenario. I don't know what Terri Schiavo would want - and neither do you - because she didn't tell us via a living will. We have only the word of her husband who assures us that his wife once said she wouldn't want to be kept alive this way, and we have her parents, who love their daughter and desire only to care for her.

He goes on to discuss the recent actions of Congress on this and what he thinks they should do afterward. While I think I agree with him that this intervention by Congress was wrong and disagree with him that the steps he then suggests are the solution, it's the bit above I relate to most. In fact, I think the truth may be even more unknowable than does he. Whatever other criticisms of it one (such as Ponnuru) might make of this e-mail John Derbyshire posted on The Corner, the first half of the second paragraph makes strong points about not putting absolute confidence in living wills:

Consider further that even when people do provide a living will it is almost impossible to take into account all the variables. If a man has a stroke or an intracranial hemorrhage and becomes incapacitated to the extent that immediately thereafter he cannot fend for himself, i.e. get water, drink water, get food, eat food. Is that it then, ballgame over, no tubes, no i.v. Of course not, some people take many weeks or months of intensive therapy to recover that capacity, and of course some men never do. The problem is it can be very difficult to predict this. So now you may have a man who is stuck forever on tubefeeding when all he might have reasonably wanted was to be given a "fair" shot at recovery. See how quickly we get into deep water. Almost nobody defines in their living wills how long they would like to be given to recover.
I would just hate for Terri Schiavo to be going through what Kate Adamson went through.

While I agree with Fr. Johansen on the matter of keeping her alive, I remain curious about his view of the Wolfson report, as it continues to seem to me to present a very different picture of the scene than does he.

However--while I disagree with Bill McCabe about sending her on to the hereafter, I do agree with him that it's looking more moot all the time. At least for Terri herself. As Andy McCarthy's new Corner post underscores, attention to this matter is important to resist a growing culture of death.

But right now I just don't have the energy. I'm exhausted and hope to do at least marginally better than the 5 hours of sleep of each the last two nights. And so I go to bed feeling a little worse after these sentences of McCarthy's:

And so the culture of life slides a little more. The culture of death gains a firmer foothold....Brazen, instant savagery might wake us from our slumber. For the culture of death, better that we sleep.

Update (dangit): Replaced "present a conflicting picture" with "present a very different picture" because "present a conflicting picture...than does he" sounds wrong grammatically. I need to preview and proofread.


Blogger hapless_jockey said...

ah yes...the President and his righteous coterie of do-gooders coins a new catchphrase ("culture of life"), and it catches like the Clap.
"culture of death, culture of life": what the hell does that mean, anyways?
oh wait a minute, i know...it means that the only appropriate way to kill someone is by bombing the living shit out of their country in the heroic act of "liberation". And its also acceptable to send thousands of Americans to their deaths for said "liberty". Oh, and haha, I almost forgot...executing children and the retarded, that is also an integral part of the "culture of life".
However, should we start euthanizing severely brain-damaged people in what would seem to be an act of mercy (people in PVS are not able to feel the pain of starvation and dehydration, according to the doctors i've heard), the whole fucking thread of civilization will unravel, right?
The age of mandatory abortions and compulsory euthanasia for the over-50 crowd is nigh, beware.

12:51 AM  

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