Saturday, March 26, 2005

What is it?

When we have a situation as ethically messy as Terri Schiavo (or Red Lake, or Guantanamo-torture A.G., or Enron or fill-in-the-blank), how do we deal with it?

There is a divide in this country, and one side truly is interested in fixing things, looking at causes, evaluating actions etc. and one side truly is not.

The reason the New Right resists looking at what causes ethical miasmas is that they belive in a mythologically dualistic reality. God and Satan war for our souls, we either pass or fail.

Red Lake is too complex, let us just say they all failed. Abu Ghraib is forgettable because we have passed and they have failed (whether "they" are the poor hick reservists or the Iraqis they tortured). Terri Schiavo, now she is a template, a blank screen we can project all our rationales of goodness upon. She will live because life is good and we must always cling to life because otherwise we are disrespectful of it.

When there is a astract principle established absolutely, run and hide.

But the idea of LIFE cannot meet the demands of these zealots. Their ideas of God and the Rapture demand they champion life militantly only because they cannot accept that God also gave us death.

The rules of the 10 Commandments and all the literal King James Scriptures can be mastered: remembered and spit out in the faces of nonbelievers. This is a power-mastery coplex that demands rather than convinces, and those who would convince rather than demand will eventually be seen as the enemy.

Though it sounds extreme it is true, for this is an extremist, militant philosophy and its premises of dogma and dominance are irreconcilable with the premise of reason.

The sad thing is that reason is not all that. It's philosophical limitations are in fact quite extreme. The frontiers of reason, however, are frightening to some, and this is but a part of a much longer-scale drama.

The simple fact is that the frontier of reason can take us to the fact of death and give us not much more. The simple existential hard-assed squint is not fulfilling to most people. Beyond the fact of death, though, there is a mystery (or several). But reason cannot grasp mystery.

So people instead champion the comforting absolute of rules easily mastered. The obvious fact that these zealots are led in their charge by cynics is no small comfort to the "few" who stand, insistent and apalled, still reaching for a language that addresses process and reality.


We are developing this language, of course, but we will have more setbacks before we have triumphs to celebrate again.


At 12:40 AM, March 27, 2005, Anonymous The Great Right Hope said...

The problem in Florida has been obfuscated beyond belief. What surprises me is that few people actually see the real issue, and are rightfully angry about it.

The Repucblicans are creating a monster. Yes, we have gone on the offensive and this is going to energize the base. The problem isn't that we are wrong; the problem is that little thing called the Tenth Amendment. If you are a real Republican, you know this amendment like the back of your hand. In conservative dogma, it is quite possible that this would be the know as the Second Commandment.

Why a true conservative would ever allow, or want to allow, the Federal Government to usurp the right of a state is beyond me. This in not conservatism. This is liberalism at it's worst. Florida has an established legal procedure. It was followed and a decision rendered. Case closed... or not?!

No. Why should we take legal precedent of a soverign state when we can take it to the Feds and trounce the Tenth Amendment! I've read the Constitution... several times. There are a few things missing: abortion, privacy, the right to never be offended or hear the name Jesus Christ. You know what is in there? That if a power has not been specifically granted to the Federal Government within the Constitution, it is reserved to the several States or to the people.

This is not a federal issue. The Federal Courts have no jurisdiction. This case has been (thankfully) knocked out of the Supreme Court by nine people that understand (if only once in a while) that the Constituion still carries force and isn't to be arbitrarily changed because they don't like a certain activity that is taking place. They did the right thing and kicked it back to the state.

If you want to save Terri, amend the Constitution.

Don't get caught up in the pathos of this issue, readers. This has nothing to do with life and death. It has to do with a state's right to handle a state's affair. It is about a person's personal soverignty, and their right to pass into the next world in the manner proscribed by their own wishes.

For you fellow Republicans out there: If you haven't been able to wrap your brain around this concept of the Enumerated Powers, think about this: Terri is not a fetus- a fetus will grow and live. By feeding Terri, we don't save her life, we merely prolong her death. Pray for her family, her husband, and those who can find closure in her physical death.

Let her go home. Let her go back to God.

At 3:40 PM, March 27, 2005, Anonymous sillydog said...

This dualistic view of the world also apparently allows for the very sorts of mental gymnastics that allows them to find a little gem of scripture allowing them free reign for whatever heinous action they've decided on. You may be approaching the nut of what allows a mind to live happily w/ what are very apparently opposing views and actions.

There are a zillion examples of people screaming about and persecuting those who live outside of the duo-tone (and quite frankly, constructed) morality, yet practice much more heinous breeches of common decency. Consider the phillanderer who wishes what he consideres righteous death on an AIDS patient.

So, given that the world occurs in at least 64 shades of grey, is it the disparity between their view and the uncomfortably infinate reality of the situation, that allows for such extreme viewpoints. I know it's what makes them impossible to reason w/.


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