Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

3/31/2005

Death ain't so bad; Terri is with the dancing angels!

The Right tells us that Terri Schiavo's passing is a victory for the "culture of death" that permeates the Left. Timothy Birdnow calls us "deathheads" who worship death instead of God. Peggy Noonan says we are "in love" with death. Pat Buchanan compares those who would remove Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube to Nazis (which you'd think would be a compliment, coming from Pat).

Bloggers have helped spread this meme as well. This jackass, in response to liberals who asked for a non-religiously based argument in favor of keeping Terri alive, says:

... here’s your “Non-Religious” answer, you smug, self-righteous, left wing rat-bastards. When I ask myself whether the society I want embraces life as the default, or death, it’s a no brainer. I pick the Culture of Life over the Culture of Death every time.


A Texan in Indiana sees Terri's passing (as well as, bizarrely, the apparently imminent death of the Pope) as the demise of his right to live:

RIP - my right to life, from conception until natural death.
April 18th, 1986 - March 31st, 2005


Methinks this one's a bit of a drama queen, no?

(Incidentally, could I just lay down one general rule: hideously ugly people should not post their pictures on their blogs. I am not necessarily referring to the previously mentioned bloggers. I'm just saying. Hypothetically, if you're butt-ugly, keep your pic off the site.)

So WTF? Why do right-wingers attribute the pro-euthanasia views of the Left as indicative of a perverse obsession with death? It seems to me to be far more morbid to artifically continue the life of what is essentially a breathing corpse. Isn't this about minimizing suffering and the right to die in a manner of one's own choosing? Is it just because we are "rat-bastards"?

Daniel Bonevac, a philosopher at the University of Texas and a blogger at Right Reason, offers us, appropriately, a more philosophical reason:

The idea-- axiomatic, I would have thought-- that life is intrinsically good, and death intrinsically bad, now meets rejection among a large number of people.


Finally, something at least approaching an argument. Is it a good one?

Well, Professor Bonevac considers this principle (life=intrinsically good, death=intrinsically bad) "axiomatic." I assume that he means by this something like: the truth of this principle is self-evident; the denial of it, while perhaps not logically impossible/contradictory, is unreasonable.

I don't know why he thinks this. First of all, many--perhaps most--moral philosophers who believe in the reality of the "intrinsically good" and the "intrinsically bad" do not identify them with life and death, respectively. E.g., Bentham thought pleasure the only intrinsic good, and pain the only intrinsic evil. Not everyone is a Benthamite, of course--in fact, hardly anyone is (except our friend Neil the Werewolf). But even so, it seems intuitive that life is not always a good thing. When one's life becomes primarily a matter of suffering, for instance. Or the life of a brutal murderer. In cases like these, I see no reason to suppose that there is anything intrinsically good about the continuation of life.

There is something else I truly do not understand. For the most part, those condemning the "culture of death" and advocating a "culture of life" are, broadly speaking, religious Conservatives. That is to say, they are devout, traditional Christians. Which is to say that they believe Christ died to redeem the sins of humanity, and that those who affirm their faith in Him are destined to be reunited with Him in the afterlife.

Then why the fuck do they think death is such a bad thing? How could this be not only bad, but intrinsically bad? Sounds like the best thing that could ever happen to you! (Assuming you're a Christian, of course--nonbelievers get sentenced to eternal torment. But God loves all of them!) I would think Christians, of all people, would be pretty damn accepting of death.

I see why they would still think it's immoral to commit suicide in the prime of one's life; there are other things to consider. You have certain responsibilities on Earth, people would miss you, etc. But when a woman is laying in a hospital bed for 15 years, not thinking, not experiencing, not living in any but a brute biological sense, why on Earth would Christians want to keep her alive? Let the woman receive her eternal reward, already!

This seeming paradox--death bestows upon one eternal bliss, but it's bad!--is on display in this unintentionally humorous post from a blogger named Paulie:

Terri Schiavo, Dancing with Angels

Folks,

I'm sure by now you've heard that Terri Schiavo died today. We should all say lots of prayers for lots of things, but mostly that God's graces are vast and his justice is swift.

...

The outrage almost speaks for itself, but let's add a few words.

First, it's outrageous that food and water, delivered by any method, is determined extraordinary treatment under the circumstances in which Terri lived.

...

It's outrageous that, even allowing food and water delivered by a tube to be outlawed in this case, that feeding by traditional methods - a spoon - are banned, forcing the woman to die.

That these people do so proudly under the mantle of the law is an indictment upon our whole society.

...

That the culture of death in this country is so smug, and seemingly so firmly entrenched that euthanizing poor Terri is deemed a laudable act, is an outrage.

God Save Us.


So let me get this straight ... Terri is "dancing with angels," but the people who allowed her to do so are deserving of the full wrath of God?

Does this make sense to anyone? Shouldn't Christians be thanking Michael Schiavo for letting her dance with angels?

Am I missing something?

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