Friday, March 25, 2005

Culture of Death

Wall Street Journal Columnist Peggy Noonan caused quite a stir on the blogosphere when she alleged that persons who wanted to remove Schiavo's feeding tube were promoting a "Culture of Death" (helpfully linked to, summed up, and taken down by The Moderate Voice). Persons of good will and moral values can disagree over the right choices for Terri's plight (see, for example, this guest editorial by William Stothers, and Dahilia Lithwick for Slate). But, as TMV says, to allege that all those who wish to see her die with dignity wish to construct a "Culture of Death" is grossly demeaning and a hideously inaccurate ad hominem.

If Ms. Noonan wishes to see a real "culture of death," perhaps she might take a look at our inner cities. A nine year old boy is currently in a coma after being shot while playing on the sidewalk in Northwest D.C.. Easy access to firearms, mixed with inadequate policing and non-existent economic opportunities create an environment where criminal activity flourishes. Young men turn to crime at epidemic levels, not because they are inherently prone to illicit activity, but because there is often literally no other choice. Social isolation is a severe barrier to economic advancement, and unstable foundations make corporations reluctant to invest. This creates a feedback loop of poverty, desperation, and despair. And even the innocents, those who have taken "personal responsibility," or worse, never grew old enough to get the chance to do it, still are victimized. Oh, and I'd be very surprised if this boy's family could afford to pay for his medical care without some form of the government assistance "pro-life" legislators want to cut. An outcry over this would strike a greater blow to the "culture of death" in our society than 1,000 Terri Schiavo marches ever could. And yet, I'm waiting to hear a word from the "pro-life" crowd.

Waiting, waiting, waiting...


Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, since you seem to clearly side with the culture of death. Your answer is to STARVE someone for being disabled??
Its truly that simple. Either your willing to care about LIFE, as stated in the Constitution and admit that while not YOUR life its still a valuable life, or your not. None of this pretended caring about how they are living.
If you really did that you would turn to Michael Schiavo, and DEMAND that the monies that he won, be spent how they were intended.
Please none of your prtended caring.
Your the evil that will bring this country down. It is down. Culture of death is completely accurate.

David Schraub said...

Perhaps you should actually READ my position before you criticize it:
"I do agree with Will Baude's admonishment that we should consider the wishes of the dead or dying--and indeed, if Schiavo had put down, on paper, that she did not want to live in such conditions I'd support her being removed from the feeding tube. But with the evidence unclear, I think we should err on the side of keeping her alive."
Whoopsie...looks like I ain't part of the big bad death conspiracy. I just said (and I still think this is accurate) that this is a very complex moral dilemma, as death with dignity cases always are.

Meanwhile, I'm going to take a flyer that you (whoever you are) are not up in arms over gun deaths, or malnourished children in the inner cities, or the inability of the poor to access healthcare. So, Mr. Culture-of-Death, where is your care for the dying of our culture? Why do you insist on bringing our country down?

At least I'm consistent...

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