Thursday, March 24, 2005

Peggy Noonan addresses the Terri Schiavo case and the seeming enthusiasum by some people for pulling the tube.

This is a story with no happy ending, no matter who "wins" (which the pull-the-tube side seems to have done). I wouldn't want to live my life in a nursing home bed. But if she isn't even conscious anymore could she even be miserable about her condition? And if it's acceptable to starve and dehydrate someone like her, then who's next? If Society, the State, or whatever you want to call us, can declare another's life not worth living (for no other reason than it appears pointless) and take it away, then where do we go from here? Do we start clearing out nursing homes and hospitals? Sure would save us a lot of money. I'm reminded of the bumper sticker "Be kind to your children, someday they'll choose your nursing home." Maybe they won't have to if we continue down this path.

And those who are still learning--our children--oh, what terrible lessons they're learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They're witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society--their society, their people--on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

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