And Another Thing…

…regarding this.

I’ve actually read the argument in several places that if, indeed, Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, she doesn’t know the difference between being "alive" or dead–and so why not just keep her alive for the sake of her parents and other family who are willing to see to her care?

Are you able to see to the depths of that argument?

It means that in spite of her wishes, and in spite of what the hypothetical wishes of anyone you talk to would be, keep her alive–to live as a shell of a human being for none other than the sake of others.

This just goes to show: once you allow that individuals have irreducible duties other than to themselves or those they’ve accepted by covenant, there’s no end to the "possibilities."

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. billy-jay on March 23, 2005 at 05:23

    Richard, I've made a version of that argument, but my point was quite different from that which you've posted. I think it would be horrible to keep her alive just for her parents' sake (although, really, if she is in a PVS, she wouldn't know, would she?). My issue with this case is that I'm not convinced she is in a PVS. There are two scenarios: either she is or she isn't. If she isn't, and she's starved, then that's godawful. If she is in a PVS and she isn't starved, well, that's not quite as bad, is it?

  2. Kyle Bennett on March 23, 2005 at 06:31

    The fact is that she died 15 years ago, and all the doctors have managed to do since is to keep the meat from spoiling. All of the suffering inflicted on her husband is only for the purpose of helping the parents to continue to evade this fact. I can't get too worked up over this, since if she is PVS, then it doesn't matter one bit to *her* either way anymore. It's an outrage that her wishes made when she was alive are not being honored, but no more so than the hundereds of similar outrages that happen every day in this country – eminent domain, April 15, etc. It's when I consider the possibility that she is *not* PVS, and the unimaginable decade and a half of suffering that has meant for her, that the real horror sets in.

  3. Jason Cuevas on March 23, 2005 at 14:35

    I think that this issues goes back to most of treat the death of our loved ones. I don't think this issue is about Schiavo at all, it's about how it will make her parents feel. If we cared about her, then bam, it's easy, the tube should go. Unfortunately many of us try and try to have relatives hang not for their own sake, but for ours.

  4. Spiritdancerq on March 23, 2005 at 07:56

    I personally wouldn't want to live like that…I have been avoiding posting on this issue on my own blog, just because I know that I might get some rather nasty replies…

    Oh well…I think the whole situation is horrendous…I think they should let her go…I realize that the husband has created another family, but if he didn't care about her he could have divorced her years ago and not had to go through all of this fighting and court battles…

    Let the poor woman go and be at peace.

  5. John Sabotta on March 25, 2005 at 03:46

    This appears to be a version of one of my arguments over at No Treason, although there are some crucial difference:

    "If Terri is really just the brainless zombie your entire case seems to assume she is, then there is no "inhumanity" involved – there is no one there to be tormented or abused and it doesn't matter what is done to her. One might as well assert that displaying Lenin's mummy in Red Square is inhumane to Lenin – all those tourists gawking at him, back pains from uncomfortable display case, etc. – except that Lenin is dead and doesn't notice that he's become the longest running sideshow attraction in carny history ("See the amazing sleeping com-mu-nist dictator! He was born alive!)

    On the other hand, you say she's in "misery", which rather contradicts your assertion that she is a "vegetable". Vegetables, like Lenin's mummy, can neither be miserable or ecstastic. If she's not a vegetable, and we think someone might be in there, and we don't know what they want – maybe we should, uh, err on the side of caution, so as to avoid the possibility of murder. Murder is generally considered to be a bad thing, even if "conservative Christians" think so too."

    Note that the idea here is not to "live for others" – it is to avoid the possibility of murder.

  6. Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2005 at 07:21

    That's not what it's about, John. It's about respecting her wishes or what we can ascertain them to likely have been. If what I've been hearing is any indication, it's highly unlikely that she would have wanted to live like this (or, for that matter, upon death, be displayed in a glass case).

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.