Thursday, March 24, 2005

Neocons for Terri

The Weekly Standard goes hog wild for Terri Schiavo today, with no less than five stories from the neoconservative magazine that brought you the Iraq War. William Kristol, who sees nothing but genuine democratic indignation in this foul mess, anoints the fruitcake-bearing throngs at Woodside Hospice:

[Americans] deserve a judiciary that is respectful of democratic self-government and committed to a genuine constitutionalism. The Bush administration should nominate such judges, and Congress should confirm them. And the president and Congress should lead a serious national debate on the distinction between judicial independence and judicial arrogance, and on the difference between judicial review and judicial supremacy. After all, we are a "maturing society," as the Supreme Court has told us. Perhaps it is time, in mature reaction to this latest installment of what Hugh Hewitt has called a "robed charade," to rise up against our robed masters, and choose to govern ourselves. Call it Terri's revolution.

I'll tell you what Americans deserve to debate — how about a debate on false dichotomies, red herrings, question-begging, and other elementary logical fallacies? How about a debate on vacuous alliterations? Is Kristol's column being ghost-written by Peggy Noonan now? (Credit here to LG&M for the links to Noonan, who is of no relation.) "Terri's Revolution." Oh, fuck off, Bill! When did the neocons get so goddamned schmaltzy? They must be getting envious of all the fun taking place in Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan (which of course helps them not to think about all the fun taking place in Iraq). As Trotskyites at heart, they can't stand the thought of missing out on the Permanent Revolution.

The Standard goes truly off the rails, though, when it explains that the whole Schiavo case is actually about abortion and national identity. Pounding the theme of American exceptionalism, this article explains how the theological views of a frothy minority somehow affirm the nation's founding creed:

It was a substantive policy victory for forces opposed to the right to life (it doesn't seem accurate, in this instance, to describe these forces as "pro-choice"), but it may be a victory they come to regret. For one thing, in content it was far more an extension of the implications of legalized abortion than of assisted suicide.

Of the whole array of anti-life agenda items, assisted suicide receives the greatest level of support in public opinion polling, undoubtedly because it is seen as the least coercive. But in the end game of the Terri Schiavo case, the longstanding assertion by her husband that Terri would welcome what was being done to her seemed at most a formality. The courts all but made explicit that the killing was not really about her wishes but only about those of her husband and legal guardian. The implication that Terri's fate was to be the choice of the husband, and of him alone, followed the form of abortion law, which puts the choice in the hands of the mother, and of no one else.

This matters because abortion, not assisted suicide, is the mother of all American social issues. We say American, and not Russian or Chinese or British, because it is the American founding document that guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and asserts as its only authority that of the Creator--the authority of Nature and of Nature's God. If you had to pick one reason that there is a pro-life movement in America and not Europe, it is the nature of our founding.

Did we actually need more proof that the neoconservatives (who descend from a decidedly secular intellectual tradition) are still satisfied with their gay marriage — no, not that kind of gay marriage, you activist-judge-loving deviants — to the Christian right? It's a traditional arrangement, of course. The Neocons leave home at the start of the day to run the world, while the Christians stay behind and govern the homefront. Cute couple — they've been going strong for about a decade now!