Human Exceptionalism

Why It’s So Hard to Kill Terri Schiavo

I have never seen so much energy expended by so many people to make one poor, helpless woman dead. Yet, despite it all, Terri lives! The key question is why? At a time when people who are far less cognitively disabled then Terri are dehydrated to death in all fifty states with nary a peep of protest, why is it so hard to put Terri into her grave?

I think the answer is severalfold. First, the videos posted on the Internet “humanized” Terri. She was no longer seen abstractly as somehow an “other,” she was an “us,” a sister, a daughter, a friend. Second, killing is best done in the darkness. With the Kleig lights of publicity burning brightly in this case, it became much more difficult for those in power with a conscience to just sit back and watch. Third, people are no longer buying the notion that her death by dehydration, if it comes, will necessarily be painless (as I wrote about some time ago). Finally, the Schiavo case marks a big sea change. People used to be content to just allow the “experts” of bioethics to decide these matters. Now, that is less true.

In the end Terri may live or she may be dehydrated to death. But I think (and hope) that the days of meek obedience to the “bioethical consensus” are over.

Most Popular

The Economy

Here Comes the Biden Blame Game

During the eight years that President Obama and his team managed the economy, Americans were regularly assured that the president’s Keynesian policies would deliver striking growth in the years ahead. The growth repeatedly failed to materialize, and what followed was a master class in blamesmanship. No matter ... Read More
The Economy

Here Comes the Biden Blame Game

During the eight years that President Obama and his team managed the economy, Americans were regularly assured that the president’s Keynesian policies would deliver striking growth in the years ahead. The growth repeatedly failed to materialize, and what followed was a master class in blamesmanship. No matter ... Read More
Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More