March 21, 2005

Spicolli Comes to Jesus

Not really

The great Hunter S. Thompson once said "Have an objective to give your bender a theme." Well, yesterday by my calculations was 41 days from Mardi Gras so I decided to have a end my lenten privations and have a bender themed around other people's deep thoughts. I had two doomed six packs in the fridge and sat down to read Walter Russell Mead's The Jacksonian Tradition and the first chapter of Wesley J. Smith's Culture of Death.

Boy oh boy by the last bottle it was all bleeding together. I was starting to think that the Jacksonian school doesn't believe in life support and that for bioethicists "there is no substitute for victory."

Skimming them this morning in the light of a major hangover, these were accurate if garbled conclusions. Basically if you are not familiar with the works the former explains in part how the same people who deeply resent humanitarian aid will tolerate hundreds of billions of dollars spent on a war in Iraq and the latter explains in part how people who favor euthanasia of the mentally handicapped can also think meat is murder. Both confusing themes for a binge.

Culture of Death is an eye opener. On the one hand the Affaire Schiavo is a totally outside issue, I'd say. Her husband has testified over and over again that they had decided on this course of action. I believe him. I sympathize with his anguish at that decision and the parents anguish. She has had a hand in his decision. However, this book is very good at explaining that the process of the last thirty years that has changed the legal, medical and ethical thinking to allow him to do it is more or less a smoke screen for big insurance, HMO's and doctors to play god.

Be that as it may, the way things are going she will likely outlive me. The macabre decision of the House of Representatives to serve a subpoena on her and her husband to testify before their Committee on Government Reform, the special session, and the president coming off of vacation(!) to sign a law to keep her alive it's so transparent and ignorant. What they are noticing, what their religious base is against is not going to be solved by passing ex-post-facto laws and performing political theater. I have an idea for government reform, how about they stop using other people's tragedies publicize themselves and placate religious leaders. Almost everyone has heard horror stories about doctors withholding care. This is the concern being pandered to and the problem actually involves an erosion of medical ethics that only something like a major overhaul would likely be able to change. The (Republican) free marketeers don't want this, nor does anyone who believes in a right to privacy. These extraordinary measures being taken on behalf of the Schindlers are off point, will force untenable absolutist positions that will actually slow any progress on actual problems.

I'm tempted to step out in front of a bus so someone in the Republican congress will act extra stupid on my account. The average working civilian, retired granny or disabled vet can starve for all they care, but tell them that "... the pro-life base will be excited" and they're tripping over themselves to provide medical assistance. We've got whole families going hungry because of medical bills and job losses and they want to ham-fistedly make sure they keep spending. We've got guys bleeding to death in Iraq because they don't have tourniquets, they're basically saying "call us when their in a vegetative state." All we end get are hearings about steroids in baseball and Terri Schiavo, both hypocritical bullshit and both, oddly, brought to us by Tom Davis (R-Va-11th, Dickhead).

I can't help but wonder if these smoke screens are a corollary to the increased propaganda operation: "increase news coverage favorable to us" and "drown out anything worthwhile with nonsense."

Posted by Spicolli' at March 21, 2005 4:22 PM