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Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Prof. Bainbridge Sums It Up last foray into the Schiavo issue before she dies and is forgotten to all except the family that wants her alive, damaged as she is, and leftist lawyers for whom she presents a living precedent, a foot in the door for unrestricted euthanasia of the weak and inconvenient.

Professor Bainbridge, infinetly wiser in the ways of the law than I am, summed up the issue admirably a few days ago. He boils things down to four areas of Constitutional first principles of concern to conservatives and libertarians. A few choice extracts:

The culture of life...When another's life becomes inconvenient, we seem increasingly willing to end it. Abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. What next? Solving Social Security's woes by putting the old folks out to sea on ice floes?

Limited Government...If government does not have a legitimate role in protecting someone so vulnerable, of what use is government at all?

Federalism...If Appomattox proved anything, it proved that the national
government can (and should) override state's rights to protect the basic human rights of the weak and vulnerable.

Rule of law...Terri was denied effective representation because of her husband / guardian's conflict of interest.... If so, the rule of law was compromised by the presiding judge. The solution to such judicial errors, however, is an appeal within the judicial system. Ex post facto laws limited to a single case are not an appropriate solution.

Conclusion. In sum, the culture of life and the rule of law appear to be in unavoidable conflict. Both are central values of a free and just society. All of which makes it extremely difficult to decide where one stands on this issue.

What he said. (Read, as they say, the whole thing.)

I can understand the perspective of those on both sides of the political fence who are concerned that Congress' action constituted a bill of attainder and ex-post-facto law-making. Even apart from the recent law, though, there is substantial room for doubts about motive and even procedure in this case. Not being a Carreli-suited, machiato-sipping Talmud-sifting parasite (that is to say, not being a lawyer), I think that the law should err on the side of life in doubtful cases like this.

Perhaps that is a key difference between the Christian and the non-Christian, regardless of poltical leanings: the non-Christian (even the faithful Jew) sees the law as larger than life. The Christian sees life as larger than the law. That was, after all, the whole reason that Christ came. But then, what do I know, in my benighted, RedState, Bible-thumping simple-mindedness?

I know that true justice, apart from the law, would let Terri Schiavo live.

Update: CodeBlueBlog has some very interesting medically-informed opinions concerning Terri Schiavo's mental condition. You should read them. Here's a sample:

If you starve this woman to death it would be, in my professional and experienced medical opinion, the equivalent of starving to death a 75-85 year old person.

Well, yes. That's kinda the idea behind this whole case from the kill-Terri crowd's perspective, isn't it?


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