Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Terri Schiavo case is a good example of what is "tearing the country apart".
Here we see a strict, organized ideology, which holds to a universal truth, unalterable, holy, righteous, that demands total obedience in every situation. Schiavo could not be killed absent her directive. Period. Exclamation point!
And I do see, I really can, how people could feel that is not right, not correct, not holy, is arrogant, preachy, oppressive, mean, cruel, harsh, unfair, unAmerican and a sure loser. I can see that.
BUT
In practical terms, either the woman was killed or she wasn't. Either she died or she didn't. There wasn't a gray area between life and death, or reasonably, a shade in terms of precedent. We couldn't kill Schiavo and promise never to kill anybody in that situation ever again; or agree everybody could die in that situation except Terry Schiavo. It was definite and binding and determinative.
Nobody on our side of that issue will argue we were moderate, compromising, broad-minded. We wanted Terry Schiavo spared death by torture because it was right and necessary that always be the law.
What is tearing our country apart is the fiction that doing the direct opposite of our "ideology" is not an opposite, equally oppressive, equally immoderate, equally arrogant, equally strict ideology. What the opponents want to pretend is that striking us down every time is somehow "moderation".
If the Center-Right were truly moderate, broad-minded, avoiding the "evils" of knowing what to do all the time, they would always be a little bit unsure of whether the Religious Right wasn't onto something on any issue. Gay marriage--maybe. Abortion--maybe. No-fault divorce--maybe. If they didn't have their minds made up they'd argue each one separately. But they don't. They declare us wrong and dogmatic to boot.
The opposite of an ideology is not anarchy. The direct, constant opposite of an ideology is a contrary ideology.
I think involuntary euthanasia is wrong. That is a moral point of view. My morality guides my politics--I want involuntary euthanasia banned. Enough moral politics and I have an ideology--a philosophy of proper government.
If you want to challenge the moral basis of my ideology, and say abortion is fine and involuntary euthanasia is fine, that's part of our American freedom to have a different morality. But government policy cannot be unsettled. Either your opposite moral views are enacted or are mine. That fusion of policy issues with your morality means you have created a philosophy of how government out to be run--an ideology.
Only the Center-Right doesn't seem capable of admitting it. They're just being pragmatic instead of dogmatic. They're just leaving matters open. They're just restoring the American balance. They're avoiding the pitfalls of totalitarian government which flow from imagining you always know what is right.
Baloney. They're crusaders of a different faith.
"Get the morality out of politics" is putting a different morality into politics. And coupled to this inability to call that quacking bird a duck, is the strange notion that not only can you not enslave a free man, you can't engage him on a debate about right and wrong.

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