Human Exceptionalism

Comments about Gonzales v. Oregon from Dr. Eric Chevlen

My co-author of Power Over Pain wrote me an interesting note about the recent SCOTUS opinion on assisted suicide: “I began to read the Gonzales decision last night. I noticed something very interesting in the first few paragraphs of the majority opinion. It refers to Oregon as being “the first” state to legalize PAS. I would have written “the only” rather than “the first.” The latter formulation carries a tacit expectation that more will follow…I think that that choice of words revealed the heart’s desire in Justice Kennedy’s heart. He also refers to the CSA controlled substances in question as being used, in lower doses, to treat pain. The fact is that nearly 100% of the people who die via PAS die from an overdose of barbiturates, not of opioids. Barbiturates are not analgesic. Thus is another myth perpetuated.”

This would substantiate my suspicion that the decision was somewhat result-oriented. It also demonstrates that the courts (and media) are often wrong on basic facts.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

Liberalism as Faith

The British philosopher John Gray is not someone to shy away from ‘difficult’ topics. If you are looking for a provocative long read this weekend, his new article in the Times Literary Supplement ought to be a contender. I didn’t agree with all of it (for example, I would argue that the supposedly ... Read More
Culture

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

An Enduring Error

Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission. Fifty-one years ago, in July 1967, in response to an explosion of rioting in poor black urban neighborhoods around the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More
Economy & Business

How the Constitution Limits State Taxes

Must a company have a physical presence in a state for that state to require it to collect taxes? The Supreme Court is considering that question, which has grown more important as online sales have taken off. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has submitted an excellent brief arguing that the answer is yes, at ... Read More