Consistency? Don’t Be Silly

I know. Why’s she so quiet all of a sudden? you’ve been thinking. What’s the deal? Did something very heavy sit on her or what? Has she gone prancing off on a trip again? Is she at the mall shopping for new spring outfits? Getting her hair done? Training for a marathon? In prison? What?

Since it’s not as if I fall silent in the normal course of things, is it. No. No, it’s none of those, just a death struggle with my computer. So I finally shot it (I had to) and got a new one. Which means I have to go from three meals of cat food a day to two, for the rest of my life – either that or get an actual paying job, and we wouldn’t want me to do that, now would we.

So I’m not going to say a lot about it, because I gather the right-wing talking heads have pretty much talked themselves into puddles of exhausted steam doing so. But I do want to say just one thing. It’s this business of ‘only God can decide.’

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, on Monday condemned the withdrawal of the feeding tube, saying only God can decide whether a person should live or die. “Who can judge the dignity and sacredness of the life of a human being, made in the image and likeness of God? Who can decide to pull the plug as if we were talking about a broken or out-of-order household appliance?” the paper said in a commentary. A year ago, Pope John Paul II said that feeding and hydrating a patient in a persistive vegetative state was “morally obligatory” and called withdrawal of feeding tubes “euthanasia by omission.”

Thus illustrating yet again why one doesn’t turn to god-botherers for clarity of thought. I mean…if only ‘God’ can decide whether a person should live or die, then Terri Schiavo died fifteen years ago, remember? As did a great, great many of the rest of us and our parents and grandparents and so on. If only God can decide then we’re not supposed to do anything, right? Somebody has a fever, an infected cut, TB, cholera, tetanus, whatever – we’re supposed to just let God do what it will. Or else we’re not – but then the Vatican doesn’t get to pick arbitrary points where we’re obliged to let the deity do the deciding. Either humans intervene all along the way or they don’t.

This business about the appliance. The Vatican newspaper seems to think this God of theirs issued Schiavo with a feeding tube – a special feeding tube, apparently, that materialized only after she’d had the brain damage. But it must have looked to bystanders as if humans were involved with the appearance of the feeding tube. So why couldn’t it work the other way? This God of theirs dematerializes the feeding tube, and to bystanders it looks as if humans are involved in the process but in fact it’s the deity doing it all. That makes just as much sense as the other version, in which humans are perfectly entitled to perform medical interventions, they’re just not permitted to decide to end them when (actually, long after) it’s clear that the upper cortex has been destroyed.

And what is all this crap about compassion. (Oh look, I said I would only say one thing. But – oh well, two then.) Compassion. Is it. Is that why sane people are so filled with dread? Is that why we’re all imagining ourselves lying around like department store mannequins, bodies without minds, propped up like dolls, dead but still kept hanging around? Right to life my ass. It’s not right to life, it’s no right to death.

I try to be reasonable (sometimes) but this country looks like such a loony bin these days. It scares me.

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