Monday, March 21, 2005

Schiavo

The Terry Schiavo case has been so run into the ground at the point that I hesitate to even give it more attention, but I'll add my two cents anyway.

Death is not so undesirable as we make it out to be. I don't have any reason to believe that there is anything beyond death, and I can only assume that death will be, for me, just like it was before I was born. Of course, this doesn't mean that death should be forced upon us, ever, but rather that we can rationally chose death over life if we have nothing left to live for, or if living is simply too difficult.

Because Schiavo cannot give consent to end life support, it falls to her family to make the decision. Since she is emancipated from her parents (and I believe that they don't even actually have custody over her), it is her husbands decision, and he supports her right to die. Legal precedent says this is what is supposed to happen. Done deal, case closed.

The bigger issue, as I see it, is who, exactly, is paying for her to continue living. I don't see any harm in letting her live, as long as her parents are willing to pay for it, and all of it. I can't imagine that keeping her alive is cheap. Furthermore, ANY taxpayer dollars that are supporting her failing life are being misspent by our government. If there is no person who wishes to pay to keep her alive, disconnect her.

The problem can extend to issues of welfare and the like. Suppose someone who is otherwise unable to provide for themselves is stuck without money to buy food. No taxpayer dollars should be given this person, but individuals who would like to support them are encouraged to do so.

Adam Smith believed that a capitalist society would create the wealth necessary among its citizens to allow philanthropy. I don't know if it actually works out that way, but I do believe that charity works best when it is from a private individual or organization and not legalized theft in the form of a government. Perhaps I'll expand on this more in a later post.

As for Terry Schiavo, just let her die and be done with all this nonsense. Her husband wants it, she probably wants it (if she is capable of wanting anything in the first place), and I'm sure that her parents aren't really willing to pay for it, in the long run. End of story.

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