Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The "Culture of Life" Debate

The Terri Schiavo case has become one of those tragic events where the politics of the situation overshadow the human tragedy, and the welfare of a person is subsumed to the welfare of a cause. On OpinionJournal.com, Brendan Miniter argues that the debate over Terri Schiavo is indicative of a greater cultural movement in which people are saying "we're for life." At Slate, William Saletan criticizes the "culture of life" as a "regime of ham-fisted political reinvestigation that does for ethics what medieval barbers did for health." He deplores the politicization of the issue by the Right. At the same time, however, he himself is using the case to get across his message about the issues with the Republican approach, something that is slightly hypocritical.

I honestly don't know where I stand on the issue, since it's very difficult to shift through all the discussion and debate and get the hard scientific and legal facts of the case. I guess I just feel that the whole thing is verging on the farcial, which makes the fate of Terri Schiavo, whatever it ultimately is, more tragic. Martyrdom implies a choice about whether you die for a cause, a choice Ms. Schiavo doesn't have at this time.

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