Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Back to Brass Tacks


Gamer's Latest Thoughts on the Terri Schiavo Circus

Here we go again. Not really all that much new with respect to the sideshows. The Florida senate is not seeming to budge on pushing another law through, more people are getting arrested (curiously on The Christian side), and Jeb Bush is holding the line by not tossing the state or federal constitutions out the window. The damage being done by the religious right to the reputation of the Republican Party has been immense. The Anchoress has a great post about how the actions of the hard-core christians are playing their roles perfectly according to the Liberal script. I heard it said somewhere that Randall Terry is the Conservative answer to Al Sharpton. I sometimes wonder if that is giving Reverend Al a bad rap.

On to the aforementioned brass tacks. Forget everything you hear about brain scans and videotapes, and ask yourself what is truly the legal issue here. The answer to that is who has the right to make decisions about a person's life when that person is no longer able to do so. That matter has been through the courts so many times in both the general (spouse vs. family) and the specific (Michael Schiavo vs. the Schindlers) that no one can possibly say that there has not been due process. Any questions as to what tests have or have not been done or just how aware Terri is of her surroundings are ultimately immaterial.

The way that the system was supposed to work is that Mr. Schiavo and the Schindlers would recognize their disagreement over an issue in which both have a measure of the law on their sides. That disagreement would then be taken to court, where a judge would hear the arguments and make a best possible decision as to who has the better case by law. If one side has a decent diagreement, then there is the appeals process. Ultimately, it should be the courts who decide the issue.

The analogy I use is that the Courts are the referees for when the Law meets the real world, Congress is the Rules Committee who can later alter the rules to maintain the game, and the Executive are the other referees who actually blow the whistle. Not a perfect analogy, but please try to make do. What Congress has done has been to create a special rule for one group of players against another player. That this is in response to Courts/Referees that have in the past made up rules as they went along is not relevant. Some might say that the legislation's intent was to ask for another referee to review the case, but it is obvious that this would not have happened if the first courts had made the "right" decision.

So I, as one of the fans in the stands, hereby call for a punishment for all those congresspersons who voted for that bill. The punishment shall be to run a gauntlet formed by libertarians wielding copies of F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. Sounds about right to me.

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