Terri Schiavo and the Banality of Evil

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5 Responses

  1. Sholom Simon says:

    Once again I must object. “Society has come to accept Peter Singers philosophy of the utilitarian value of life, and judges are now starving Terri Schiavo with the energy of good bureacrats. They have accepted the idea that a life is only as valuable as it is productive in our terms.”

    The problem is with the Florida statutes, not the judges. There are dozens of judges that have ruled on this — do you think, for a minute, chas v’shalom, that they all (and most are conservative Republicans) accept Peter Singer’s outrageous extremist views?

    What is happening is, of course, a gross violation of halacha. But it’s a straightfoward application of Florida law. That’s why no court has even come close to stopping this.

  2. Seth Gordon says:

    Why should we say that because Ms. Schaivo was “raised in a tight and religious Catholic family”, she can be presumed to hold “Catholic values”? First, consider the vast number of Americans who identify themselves as Catholic but ignore the church’s teachings on birth control. Second, I see no reason why the values of Ms. Schaivo’s parents should be assumed to trump the values of her husband. After all, she freely chose her husband as an adult, but had no choice about who her parents would be.

  3. dilbert says:

    You are absolutely right about Peter Singer(the Princeton one, there is a very nice ethicist named Singer at the University of Toronto). His utilitarian views are dispicable. The article a few years ago in the New York Times magazine by the disabled lady who debated with him was quite enlightening for the fact that she had absolutely no impact on his views, when in fact she was a living negation of his views, and he did not have the intellectual honesty to admit that. We, as orthodox Jews, who do not accept his viewpoint should indeed make public our disagreement with his point of view.

    However, I think that the connection that you are making between Singer and Ms. Schiavo is not really supported. You can certainly read a connection into the case, but there really isn’t one. This case is about the right to accept or refuse medical care. And, it is a case about surrogates making a judgement about the wishes of a patient when they are incapable of making a decision. It is about the chain of surrogacy, and which relationship is closer than others. If Ms. Schiavo had a living will, where she specifically spelled out that she did not want live in a persistant vegetative state, there would be no case, no brouhaha, no publicity, no marches, no Jesse Jackson. The objection to this case to the perception that death is being imposed on Ms. Schiavo by an adulterous husband.

    We as a community would be much better off spending our energy and moral outrage not on the specifics of this case, but at the underlying climate and law that defines food/water as medical intervention, not as essentials of life. We would be better off combating the perception that persistant vegetative state is not life, and that ending that life is a good thing. But I dont think that we want the Christian majority in the US defining what life is, and what life is worth saving and what isn’t. And if faced with the options of too much choice and not enough choice, as the Jewish minority it is better to have too much choice, and to make sure that we use those choices wisely. Certainly we must combat the viewpoint of the Peter Singers of the world, but we must choose the appropriate venues and battlefields, so that are views are seen clearly, and not confused with the views of others, or mixed in with other issues.

  4. Sholom Simon says:

    Dilbert writes:

    But I dont think that we want the Christian majority in the US defining what life is, and what life is worth saving and what isnt. And if faced with the options of too much choice and not enough choice, as the Jewish minority it is better to have too much choice, and to make sure that we use those choices wisely.

    I wholeheartedly agree. A good example of the potential overreach, of injecting religious definitions into secular law, is provided by John Danforth, current minister, former (conservative GOP) sentator from Missouri. In a

    donna says:

    I am just sick over the killing of Terri Schaivo. When her “husband” took another woman and had children, he automatically had a major conflict of intrest in whether she lived or died.Th The judges should’ve been forced to visit Terri in the hospice and see what they were doing. Based on a remark that Terri made years ago, in relation to a dying family member, she was judged and murdered by the court system. There are different laws for different people in this country, and apathetic judges who care more about the power they weild, than the consequences of their rulings. I am now boycotting the state of Florida, it’s products, and it’s attractions. Will it matter to them? No, but I will not support a state that commits a horror like this.

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