Thursday, March 24, 2005

Peggy Noonan...on the Culture of Death

Peggy Noonan has an excellent article on OpinionJournal today, weighing in on the impending death of Terri Schiavo. Among the parts I found most poignant:
I do not understand why people who want to save the whales (so do I) find campaigns to save humans so much less arresting. I do not understand their lack of passion. But the save-the-whales people are somehow rarely the stop-abortion-please people.

The PETA people, who say they are committed to ending cruelty to animals, seem disinterested in the fact of late-term abortion, which is a cruel procedure performed on a human.

I do not understand why the don't-drill-in-Alaska-and-destroy-its-prime-beauty people do not join forces with the don't-end-a-life-that-holds-within-it-beauty people.

I do not understand why those who want a freeze on all death penalty cases in order to review each of them in light of DNA testing--an act of justice and compassion toward those who have been found guilty of crimes in a court of law--are uninterested in giving every last chance and every last test to a woman whom no one has ever accused of anything.

There are passionate groups of women in America who decry spousal abuse, give beaten wives shelter, insist that a woman is not a husband's chattel. This is good work. Why are they not taking part in the fight for Terri Schiavo? Again, what explains their lack of passion on this? If Mrs. Schiavo dies, it will be because her husband, and only her husband, insists she wanted to, or would want to, or said she wanted to in a hypothetical conversation long ago. A thin reed on which to base the killing of a human being.

On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.

Why are they so committed to this woman's death?

They seem to have fallen half in love with death.

What does Terri Schiavo's life symbolize to them? What does the idea that she might continue to live suggest to them?

Why does this prospect so unnerve them? Again, if you think Terri Schiavo is a precious human gift of God, your passion is explicable. The passion of the pull-the-tube people is not.


Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.

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.

I have said much of the same these past few days... Those who buy into the culture of death are rejoicing, their bloodthirst now nearly consummated on the altar of euthanasia.

According to those happily participating in the culture of death, Michael Schiavo is a patron saint. Not necessarily because of his attitude toward Terri, but rather due to the mere fact that he is providing them with a blood sacrifice that their culture demands. To have Terri live would be a tragedy, because it would then confirm the inherent value of life. When that is recognized and affirmed, the culture of death cannot long endure.

To maintain that Terri is nothing but a vegetable depersonalizes her. To maintain that a fetus is nothing more than a mass of cells depersonalizes the living being that is developing in the mothers' womb. Ask any serial killer. Channel Adolph Hitler or Geobbels. They would most likely tell you that the easiest way to dispose of a human life is to first pretend that it's less than human.

The impending death of Terri Schiavo, the first state condoned and enforced euthanasia for an otherwise physically healthy though cognitively disabled human being, marks a turningpoint for our society. Welcome, dear readers, to the New Dark Age.