[Paleopsych] Auster: "Theocrats" for Terri Schiavo

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"Theocrats" for Terri Schiavo

                        "Theocrats" for Terri Schiavo
                            By [1]Lawrence Auster
                   [2]FrontPageMagazine.com | April 1, 2005

    How are we to explain liberal's and leftists' support for
    disconnecting Terri Schiavo from her feeding tube and making her die a
    slow death, while she is guarded by police officers who prevent anyone
    from even putting a drop of water to her lips? And how are we to
    explain the liberals' belief that conservatives, who want to prevent
    this horror from occurring, are religious dictators intruding into a
    purely private matter?

    Most people think that the liberals are driven by their pro-abortion
    ideology, which takes the form of opposition to the Christian idea
    that Terri's radically limited life is nevertheless a human life and
    so worthy of protection. But that can't be the liberals' whole
    motivation. To demonstrate this, let us suppose that Terri's husband
    Michael had wanted Terri to go on living on the feeding tube, or,
    alternatively, that Michael had handed legal guardianship to Terri's
    parents and they had wanted her to go on living on the feeding tube.
    In either of those cases, the liberals would have had no problem with
    Terri's continued existence. The issue of her living or dying wouldn't
    even have come up.

    In other words, the very factors in this case upon which the liberals'
    supposedly principled anti-life position seems to be based are
    contingent. If Michael had not wanted Terri to die, the liberals
    wouldn't want her to die either; indeed, they wouldn't be thinking
    twice about the case, notwithstanding their current expressions of
    horror at the idea of a person living her whole life on a feeding
    tube. And since, in this hypothetical scenario, the liberals
    themselves would be consenting to Terri's living in that condition,
    they obviously wouldn't be calling conservatives "theocrats" and
    "religious fanatics" for wanting the same thing that the liberals
    themselves would be agreeing to.

    Therefore the liberal position cannot be simply that a person in
    Terri's situation ought to die. Rather, the liberal position seems to
    be that personal choiceMichael's personal choiceought to prevail.

    But this explanation also fails to hold up, as we can see from the
    following considerations: (1) Terri's parents and siblings love her
    and want her to live; (2) Terri's parents and siblings are convinced
    that Terri has consciousness and is not in a vegetative state; (3)
    Michael has two children by his common law wife of many years, and so
    logically ought to divorce Terri and let the guardianship revert to
    Terri's parents. Given these factors, Michael's right to decide on
    Terri's life and death ceases to seem so sacred. Why, then, would
    liberals side so absolutely with Michael's (highly doubtful) right to
    have his wife's existence terminated, while they completely dismiss
    the Schindlers' (correct and understandable) desire to be made her
    guardians and to save her life?

    If individual rights and personal choice are the liberals' bottom
    line, why must the personal preference of Michael, who has
    (understandably) moved on with his life, be seen as inviolable, but
    the personal preference of Terri's parents, who have not moved on with
    their lives but want to care for their daughter, must be equated with
    theocratic tyranny and resisted at all costs?

    Michael's right of guardianship stems from his status as Terri's
    husband. But he's given up that status in all but name by starting a
    new family. Since when are liberals so solicitous of traditional
    marital bonds and the rights of husbands over their wiveslet alone the
    right of an estranged husband to have his wife killed?

    Liberal famously regard marriage as an ever-changing institution, to
    be reshaped to suit changing human needs. Why then do the liberals
    treat the Shiavo's marriage, and Michael's rights proceeding
    therefrom, as written in stone, even though it has long since come to
    an end? Why don't the liberals simply call on Michael to divorce Terri
    and let the Schindlers take care of her?

    As all these questions suggest, there remains something mysterious and
    uncanny at the heart of the liberals' position on this issue. Their
    passionate conviction that Terri must die cannot be explained in terms
    of any recognizable liberal perspective, whether a disbelief in the
    soul, the desire to dispense with a less-than-complete human life that
    inconveniences others, a devotion to serving the rights and desires of
    individuals, or an easy-going attitude toward the traditional bonds
    and duties of marriage. Therefore, I would argue, their position on
    the Schiavo case can only be explained as stemming from something
    extrinsic to the case itself, namely their bigoted animus against
    conservatives: since conservatives support Terri Schiavo's right to
    live, liberals must oppose it. As a liberal professor recently said to
    an acquaintance of mine (and these were his exact words), "Anything
    Tom DeLay and those conservatives are for, I'm against."

    This reactiveness is a symptom of the extremism that has taken over
    left-liberals since 9/11. As the conservative writer Jim Kalb points
    out, prior to 9/11, even when liberal positions were disastrously
    wrong, they still had a more or less predictable, liberal logic to
    them that a conservative could understand. But since 9/11, liberals in
    their hatred of Bush and of conservatives have descended into sheer
    irrationalism, in the process giving up even those liberal principles
    that were decent. Thus, prior to 9/11, liberals would no doubt have
    taken the Schindler's side, as representing the rights of an oppressed
    and helpless individual. But after 9/11 (with some notable exceptions,
    such as Jesse Jackson), they do not.

    What is it about 9/11 that has had this effect on the left? The
    post-9/11 world has placed liberals and leftists under an unbearable
    pressure. The Islamist attack on our country propelled us into a
    conflict, perhaps a decades-long conflict, with a mortal enemy. But
    liberals can't stand the idea that we have an enemy, let alone a
    mortal enemy, a "them," whose very existence justifies our use of
    force. Therefore such an enemy must be seen as a product of "root
    causes" generated by us. Further, in keeping with the inverted moral
    order of liberalism, the more threatening such an enemy really is, the
    more vile must be the root causes within ourselves that are creating
    that enemy. The more wicked our enemy actually is, the more
    judgmental, greedy, cynical, dishonest, uncompassionate, racist, and
    imperialistic we must be for fighting him. If our enemy seeks a
    theocratic dictatorship over the whole world (which is the case), we
    must be seen as seeking a theocratic dictatorship over the whole
    world, even though there has never been anything remotely like a
    theocratic dictatorship in our entire history.

    Thus the liberals' helpless rage, both against the war on Islamic
    theocracy and against the conservatism that has become dominant in
    American politics as a result of that war, takes the form of a
    floating indictment of conservatives as the real theocrats. This
    attitude is then projected onto any issue that may arise between
    conservatives and liberals, such as the battle over the fate of Terri
    Schiavo: Terri's right to live is passionately backed by
    conservatives; conservatives are theocrats; therefore Terri is a
    symbol of theocracy, and therefore Terri must die.

    [3]Lawrence Auster is the author of [4]Erasing America: The Politics
    of the Borderless Nation. He offers a traditionalist conservative
    perspective at [5]View from the Right.


    1. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/authors.asp?ID=650
    2. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=17570
    3. mailto:Lawrence.auster at att.net
    4. http://www.aicfoundation.com/booklets.htm
    5. http://www.amnation.com/vfr

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