March 23, 2005


Nazis: Pioneers in medicine (Pat Buchanan, March 23, 2005, Creators Syndicate, Inc.)

Ours is a nation where a judge may not sentence Beltway sniper Lee Malvo to death, because he is too young to die, but can sentence Terri Schiavo to death, because she is too severely handicapped to live.

Schiavo continues the process of dying by starvation and dehydration, a method of capital punishment most would consider criminal if done to a pet.

This was the method used at Auschwitz to murder Father Maximilian Kolbe, the priest who volunteered to take the place of a Polish father of a large family, who was one of 10 the camp commandant had selected for execution in reprisal for the escape of a prisoner.

After being starved and dehydrated for days, Kolbe was injected by his Nazi captors with carbolic acid. He died a martyr's death, said the church that canonized him. That is what would have happened to Terri. Only she would have been denied the lethal injection by those watching her die.

That there arose a national outcry at the execution of Schiavo – so loud Congress and President Bush heard it and came to the rescue – is a sign America is not morally dead ... yet. But a culture of death has taken deep root in America's soul.

One wonders if our young, so many of them cheated of a knowledge of history in schools they are forced to attend, are aware of how closely our elites approximate, in belief and argument, the elites of Weimar and Nazi Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Funny how the same folks who call Mr. Buchanan a Nazi find themselves on the side of the Reich here.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 23, 2005 2:17 PM

The difference is cortexual.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 23, 2005 2:37 PM

What is the "Culture of Death"? Why are so many so enamored with the supposed 'right to die'? Why has one political party become so identified with death, or, to be charitable, at least identified with a simultaneous fascination and sanitization of death?

We can understand why abortion or euthanasia are appealing in the moment. We can understand why people look for some formal confirmation of such decisions from courts (or politicians or even 'religious' leaders).

Do people feel that death will be minimized if it is dealt with only in the abstract (all the ethical/legal arguments)? Do people fear death so much that they have created their own version, complete with control (i.e., sign this living will and all is set)?

One would think that the 'humanist' viewpoint would hinge on squeezing every drop out of life as we know it, rather than grading the living so that some will not make the cut.

I am also reminded of Henri Nouwen's book about the profoundly retarded, with whom he lived and worked for a time. And the magnificent short story by Flannery O'Connor, "Revelation".

The Culture of Death is embracing that which it fears most, and winds up missing that which it is seeking most desperately, life in the fullest.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 23, 2005 3:26 PM

Jim: I often wonder if the Culture of Death is not, for many people, the Culture of Avoiding Long and Difficult Commitments:

* Raising a child is a two-decades commitment that requires you to put someone else's needs ahead of your own, and to curb your own excesses and demand better of yourself for the sake of setting a good example. Much quicker and cheaper to drive your knocked-up girlfriend to the clinic, plunk down $300, and get it over with in a single afternoon.

* Caring for a disabled spouse or child or parent requires you to accept an open-ended obligation. Even if you "sub out" the actual care to a nursing home, and even if you don't bother to visit, she's still out there. Plus, if it's your parent, what you spend on care while they're living isn't there for you to inherit afterward. (Cf. Michael Schiavo and Terri's malpractice settlement.) Much quicker and easier to pull the feeding tube, shut off the machine, invoke the Groningen Protocol, and get rid of the problem.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 23, 2005 4:27 PM

It's all about abortion. The left is committed to unlimited abortion and thus is driven to oppose anything that would establish that life is sacred. They support the killing of Terri Schiavo for the same reason they support embryonic stem cell research while ignoring adult stem cell research. If it weren't for the effect on abortion, there's no way that the left wouldn't be screaming about a husband starving his wife to death.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 23, 2005 4:33 PM

All life is sacred, yet it can be moral either to kill or to allow to die. Seems no more paradoxical than, say, the Holy Trinity.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 23, 2005 5:30 PM

"Funny how the same folks who call Mr. Buchanan a Nazi find themselves on the side of the Reich here."

Buchanan is a viscious anti-Semite. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 23, 2005 5:39 PM

If you're going to kill don't make a mess of it. Suppose the judges and this woman's husband are right, and the the best she can hope for is to be put down like a dog. Then at least let her be put down quickly, like you'd do for a dog. Give her husband a syringe of potassium chloride, show him how to find the vein, send him to her room and don't let him come out until the deed's done.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 23, 2005 6:20 PM

A viscious anti-Semite si, a Nazi non.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 23, 2005 9:09 PM