[Paleopsych] schiavo

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Thu Mar 31 14:01:18 UTC 2005

The division here seems to run along the lines of disabilities / 
materialists. The disability advocates crowd - including Jesse Jackson 
and Tom Harkin - think this is an ugly precedent. We shouldn't judge 
whether other lives are 'worth living' and the fact is the woman was 
responsive to her parents and relatives and she did NOT leave a living 
will. So people saying she 'should' die because somehow her life isn't 
worth living range across the spectrum.

It is the pro-death people whose arguments are so morally thin.

I once asked a friend his stance on abortion, and he said he was against 
it. What about, I postulated, a baby who  was known to be disabled or 
something? Dale looked down at his shriveled legs, the result of polio 
when he was five years old, and said, "I believe each person should have 
the right to live, and I believe I can speak with some authority about 

It was a sartori moment for me.


Michael Christopher wrote:

>>>The central weakness of the liberal case is 
>that it is morally thin.<<
>--I haven't seen such a clear-cut distinction between
>liberals and conservatives on the case. Many liberals
>feel starvation is repugnant, many feel it's wrong to
>take her husband's word for it. Many conservatives,
>even Evangelicals, feel the government is intruding
>and that the issue should be addressed by changes to
>state laws and clarification of how disputes between
>spouses and family members should be resolved in the
>absence of a living will. It's a complex issue, and
>can't be used to slander liberals or conservatives as
>a mass. 
>My own view is that Michael should have given Terri's
>parents custody and walked away. If she is
>non-sentient, she won't mind being kept alive for the
>sake of her parents' peace of mind. Florida law could
>be changed to prevent the removal of feeding tubes
>without a living will, or if the spouse has remarried
>or is in a new common-law marriage. But under state
>law, Michael is her next of kin, and he was able to
>establish in court that Terri did not wish to be kept
>alive on a feeding tube. If that is a bad outcome, the
>best way to prevent future cases would be to change
>the law, not target the judges for character
>assassination. They're not "anti-life" judges. They
>just read the law and ruled on it. I just wish we'd
>have a broader discussion of health care, global
>starvation and other issues. Terri Schiavo is a tragic
>case. Will we use her as a symbol, or will we look at
>the suffering of others with as much focus and
>>>Once you say that it is up to individuals or 
>families to draw their own lines separating life from
>existence, and reasonable people will differ, then you
>are taking a fundamental issue out of the realm of
>morality and into the realm of relativism and mere
>--Families DO make their own decisions, normally
>without controversy. People have been taken off
>feeding tubes before, without the amount of attention
>Terri Schiavo has gotten. The difference is that
>Terri's case is a unique custody dispute, where the
>husband has the right to do what he believes was his
>wife's will, over the objection of her parents. In the
>Schiavo case, the courts did exactly what they're
>supposed to do, they interpreted state law as it was
>written. They were not "activist judges", rewriting
>law to suit an agenda. Those who wanted state and
>Federal judges to override Florida law were asking for
>"activist judges". It is, apparently, all right to be
>an activist judge, as long as you're an activist on
>the right side.
>Ironically, less attention has been given to the
>infant in Texas taken off life support over the
>objections of the mother. The hospital has the right
>to do so, and money is taken into consideration. The
>bill allowing hospitals to make that decision over the
>next of kin's objections was signed by George W. Bush.
>I do not know if social conservatives will call Bush
>"anti-life" or if they will focus on future political
>gains made possible by Terri Schiavo's death. I
>imagine they will pressure Bush to appoint a Supreme
>Court member based on the litmus test of abortion, but
>I do not know if they will remind Bush of the bill he
>signed in Texas.
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 
>paleopsych mailing list
>paleopsych at paleopsych.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/paleopsych/attachments/20050331/74e2cf27/attachment.html>

More information about the paleopsych mailing list