Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Quality Vs. Sanctity - Why Should I Get To Live?

It didn't used to require a PhD in Philosophy to tell whether Peter Singer was a nutcase or a genius. The Associated Press reported Singer's comments:

"I do think that it is sometimes appropriate to kill a human infant," he said, adding that he does not believe a newborn has a right to life until it reaches some minimum level of consciousness."

"For me, the relevant question is, what makes it so seriously wrong to take a life?" Singer asked."Those of you who are not vegetarians are responsible for taking a life every time you eat. Species is no more relevant than race in making these judgments."

I won't persume credentials I haven't earned, but this humble man opines that Peter Singer is niether. He is evil. As evil as evil gets and meaner than the Balrog, who nearly dispatched Gandolf, deep underground, in The Mines of Moria.

Now that wasn't a particularly nuanced statement. In fact it was downright judgemental, if you ask me. That's also OK in my book. God issued me judgement, I use it. That makes me judgemental.

Not judgemental in the sense that Judge Greer was judgemental. I didn't just yank a feeding tube out of anyone's throat and let them dry out and expire like a beached suckerfish on La Playa Del Rio. That's not only judgemental, that's flat-out cold.

It also involves making a decision based on crappy information that is itself based on a graveman that does not stand the test of truth. Judge Greer has assumed away the sanctity of life. He's based his decision on the faulty assumption that he can scientifically determine the value of a human life and thereby terminate said life if it imposes a cost to society greater than it's benefit.

I'll proceed from a more fundamentally honest premise. I'd never just chuck the sanctity of life ona lark. I like the idea of other people holding my life sacred. After being stretchered off a rugby pitch and taken in for surgery once, I'm really fond of my life having sanctity and having doctors treat it with such. I appreciate those guys wholeheartedly.

People will say that I'm in favor of the sanctity of life because I'm in fear for my own skin. I'd answer the way Robert Dinero's character Sam did in the movie Ronin. I'd look at the guy like he was an idiot and state the obvious.

"It covers my body."

That's one objection to abolishing sanctity of life in favor of quality of life, now here's another one. Judge Greer attempts to convince us that he can measure the quality of Terri Schiavo's life. Again, I'll be more honest with you. I can't tell you the true, intrinsic value of a can of green beans.

If a were a dialectical materialist, I would add the value of the intrinsic materials to the skill of the labor endowed. If I were Milton Friedman, I'd ask what my nieghbor logically perceives this can of beans to be worth. If I were Confuscious, I'd take Beano first so that I wouldn't offend the others at the dinner table.

There you have it. Niether I, nor Hegel, nor Kierkagaard nor Judge Greer can tell you what a can of green beans should really be worth. We, as fallable human beings, are in no position whatsoever to stick a price tag on Terri Schiavo's forehead.

It really is that simple. I'm not a good enough Christian to claim God told me to protect Terri Schiavo. I'm not even close to being smart enough to tell you objectively that Terri Schiavo's life or even a can of green beans had a positive intrinsic value that does not depend a certain leap of faith.

But on this one, I'll swallow my agnosticism and the egoism that it entails. I want life to have a certain, inviolate sanctity. I want this because I want my life to be treated like it has an intrinsic value, and because, as an analyst and a person who spends his professional life calculating values, this is one analysis I'm utterly underqualified to perform and hope that I never have to pull the trigger on.

I'm not sure what scares me and p-ss-s me off more. Judge Greer deciding that Terri Schiavo should have been killed, someone deciding that Judge Greer was qualified to decide such a thing, or Judge Greer believing he had the normative prowess to make this decision.

Whether you live a life that is the perfect imitation of Christ or whether you behave like I used to on Saturday Night, monotheism is an excellent principal to leave intact. Let God evaluate the value of Terri Schiavo and hope that others will let him do the same in terms of the value of your existence as well.

Update I: Wizbang posts a picture gallery in memory of Terri Schiavo.

Update II: I don't totally buy into VodkaPundit's take on this, but I must admit, he really says it well.

Update III: Judge Birch not only represents everything I'm afraid of in a judiciary, he's also a sadistic little creep. If he didn't believe The Schiavos had a legal leg to stand on, he should have just rejected their appeal and called it a day.

Update IV: Sue Bob's Diary comments on the cruel and oppertunistic behavior of Judge Birch.

Update V: Chris "Meatwad" Matthews shows us why he's one of a kind. His brain stopped working long ago, Judge Greer, may we please stop feeding him?


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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