Monday, February 28, 2005

The Consent of the Governed

Thanks for the Memory to a member of my church for forwarding the following link to me.

On the 17th, William Federer presented an excellent essay over at TownHall regarding the Terry Schiavo case. I commend it to you now. Usually I try to avoid Nazi comparisons when discussing politics (I think the rhetorical tendency to equate ones opponents with the Nazis is usually a cop-out), but in this case, I can see the parallels, especially since Federer actually compares the current situation to attitudes in the Pre-Nazi Weimar Republic. He argues, I believe rightly, that the precendent set erodes further our society's belief in the sanctity of life, and esptablishes a precedent by which those in power can determine who should and shouldn't live based on some esoteric scale of their relative worth as a human.

Terry's case isn't about letting someone who is already dead be removed from life support. It isn't about letting a teminal patient "die with dignity". It's about someone deciding she should die because her life isn't "worth living" anymore. And that is a frightening precedent to set. Furthermore, it flies in the face of the philosophy on which our nation is founded:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


(Bold added)

Self-evident.
Equal.
inalienable.

Do these words no longer mean anything to us? If we decide that Terry is better off dead because she has suffered brain damage, because her mental capacity is diminished, we have refuted the "truth" that she is our equal, and that her right to life is inalienable. If we deny these truths in her case, what's to stop us from denying them in other cases? And once we've gone there, how long will it be until these truths are no longer self-evident whatsoever? What protection do any of us have under the law at that point?

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