Controlling Your Own Fate

CONTROLLING YOUR OWN FATE….Andrew Sullivan took note of Eric Cohen’s meditation on Terri Schiavo in the current issue of the Weekly Standard, and it’s hard not to agree that this is one radical agenda:

The real lesson of the Schiavo case is not that we all need living wills; it is that our dignity does not reside in our will alone, and that it is foolish to believe that the competent person I am now can establish, in advance, how I should be cared for if I become incapacitated and incompetent. The real lesson is that we are not mere creatures of the will: We still possess dignity and rights even when our capacity to make free choices is gone; and we do not possess the right to demand that others treat us as less worthy of care than we really are.

There’s some hemming and hawing later on ? it’s a tough decison, best not to have the state involved, etc. etc. ? but Cohen’s bottom line is clear: in order to avoid slippery slopes, we should insist on keeping anyone alive who’s this side of irreversible brain death. It doesn’t matter if you’ve made your wishes clear. You should not be allowed to control your own destiny. Period.

After you cut through the often subtle language, that’s what’s left. Once again, the reductive view of life this crowd clings to ? life as mere respiration at one end and as mere genetic sequence at the other ? takes my breath away. If they won’t even let me control my own destiny, why should I let them control anyone else’s?