Lawrence Auster argues in an interesting article on Frontpagemag.com that the reason the Left decided to back Michael Schiavo in his quest to end his wife’s life was a simple hatred of and fear of American Christian conservatives. It is an interesting argument, which I don’t quite buy, but I must admit that his refutation of the reasons given for why the Left supported Michael Schiavo is persuasive.
Larry does ask the right question:
“If individual rights and personal choice are the liberals’ bottom line, why must the personal preference of Michael, who has (understandably) moved on with his life, be seen as inviolable, but the personal preference of Terri’s parents, who have not moved on with their lives but want to care for their daughter, must be equated with theocratic tyranny and resisted at all costs?”
It is not my intention here to restart the fight over the merits of that argument, only to point out that it is an important question for the Right to ask, if only to test its own position by considering its own positions on individual rights and personal choice.
Of course, the Left will argue (and has done so) that their response to the situation has been based purely on reason. I agree that it has been a reasoned position. The Right, however, would say the same about its arguments, again correctly in my view. As I have pointed out earlier on this site, the two sides had and still have a serious dispute over the facts of the case. They disagree on the basic question of whether Terri Schiavo had sufficient brain function that her condition did not meet the criteria that Michael Schiavo claims she set for preferring death over continued existence.
I believe this disagreement came about on the basis of the two sides’ differing perceptions of the intellectual issues it brings up. It seems evident that each side leaped intuitively to a conclusion about what would be best in the situation, then chose arguments to support that premise. There is nothing wrong with that. However, pretending that one’s own side is reasonable and the other is driven by dark superstitions, as many on the Left have done in the present case, does not evidence a use of pure reason. Likewise, claiming that one’s opponents adore death, as many on the Right have done, is unlikely to win adherents for the pristine logic of one’s position.
This issue won’t go away, I surmise, because the hatred and suspicion of both sides remains. Indeed, the arguments over this issue have strengthened those hatreds. In that regard, Lawrence Auster is quite correct.