Right Question

Asking the right question is usually more productive than trying to prove the right answer.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

When Lives End

The AP (via Captain's Quarter) is now reporting that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube has been removed. Her slow death over the next couple of weeks can't possibly be the best we can do.

I hope that we can briefly draw our attention away from the entertaining spectacle of last-minute legal and political maneuvers to really think about what's happening.

I wrote earlier, here, about the strange moral exaltation of inaction. In this case, simply put, once we've concluded that she ought to die, how can anyone believe that this is the right way for it to happen? Perhaps in this case it's true that she can't suffer, but the same decision is made every day by and for people who can and do.

Some would refer to starvation or pneumonia as a "natural" death, as though that somehow makes it a good thing. Others would call it not interfering in "God's will," as though any human action is always wrong. Though the two might vehemently disagree on most issues, they both make the same deeply misanthropic mistake, fundamentally severing Man from what they hold sacred -- the first by denying that Man is a part of Nature, the second by denying that Man has a role to play in God's plan.

I don't claim to know whether death is the right choice for Terri Schiavo -- but if it is, I would hope we could show her the same decency we show to animals and serial killers and make the end quick and humane. With apologies to Eugene Volokh no one deserves less.


Post a Comment

<< Home