Other Views on Terri Schiavo

Paladin points out that my post “Justice and Mercy Strain’d” reads better without the interrupting references to Krauthammer and Card. It started out as a shorter vehicle for the references and grew.

Then I got distracted by the excellent Michigan State/Kentucky basketball game and I’m claiming that the need to repeatedly shout “Go Green!” interrupted my final read of “Justice and Mercy Strain’d”.

In short, I agree with Paladin. So I have modified that post by removing the references and reposting them here.

I give you the two best essays I have read on Terri Schiavo. They approach it from the question of what it means to be civilized.

In Between Travesty and Tragedy, Charles Krauthammer dismisses the partisan bullshit continuum: from James Carville’s glee to Randall Terry’s threatening Republicans with “hell-to-pay” if Jeb Bush doesn’t pull a “Reno v. Elian Gonzales” and force Terri’s feeding tube to be reinserted at gunpoint.


“[T]he law, while scrupulous, has been merciless, and its conclusion very troubling morally. We ended up having to choose between a legal travesty on the one hand and human tragedy on the other.”

Read the whole thing. Between Travesty and Tragedy.

Orson Scott Card’s writings have always reflected his concern with moral questions.

“We care about moral issues, nobility, decency, happiness, goodness—the issues that matter in the real world, but which can only be addressed, in their purity, in fiction.”

In his article, Whose Life Is Worth Living? he finds in Terri Schiavo’s story a real situation with purity sufficient unto the moral discussion. An excerpt:

It wasn’t that many years ago when I happened to be in Raleigh at a gathering of literary folk who were quite full of their own superiority. They started talking about people who (gasp!) let years go by without reading a single book.

“Why do they even bother being alive?” asked one of them. Almost everyone laughed.

They went on and on about the worthlessness of the lives of non-intellectuals. Shopping in malls. Eating at McDonald’s. Driving their gas-guzzling cars.

I did ask where they shopped, and which of them had arrived at the party by balloon. I have not been invited to such gatherings since.

It’s so easy to decide that someone else’s life is not worth living. Lacking something that we regard as essential, we cannot fathom how they get through a day.

Are we all comfortable, then that where there are individuals willing to care for a disabled human, that some other person can, and should, decide that she must die?

Orson Scott Card is a prolific author in several categories. His Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead are the only novels ever to win both the Hugo and the Nebula awards (Science Fiction) in consecutive years.

Ender’s Game was based on a short story in the August 1977 issue of Analog. You can read it here.

You will also find Mr. Card at The Ornery American.