Saturday, March 26, 2005

David Brooks in Torment

David Brooks is such a noble soul, but sometimes he seems new to these "social conservative" arguments, and he doesn't quite get them. When Robbie George says "Always to care, never to kill," I don't think he's equating "care" with extraordinary means of prolonging life. Care can include food, comfort, hygiene, and respect; it doesn't require machines. Nor do I think the Terri Schiavo case necessarily involved extraordinary means. There are sworn affidavits on file that say she still has her swallowing reflex. If that's true, she should have been spoon-fed when they pulled the tube. It would have been time-consuming, but "ordinary." Feeding someone who can swallow food is never an extraordinary means; nor is it "prolonging" life. It's basic decency; it's sustaining life, and we do it for our small children, elderly parents, and other dependents in need. No one's advocating greater use of machines that go bing -- except the people who make those machines. Brooks says he has been "agonized" over this case. I believe him. But he doesn't need to be agonized. This is not a hard case. And George's argument is not saying what Brooks says it says.
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