Thursday, October 06, 2005

Whose Life Is It, Anyway? 

Okay, here's what I don't get about conservative ideology. They claim to be the party of less government (at least when it comes to regulation of big business), and yet they just can't stay out of the birth and death game. Stop me if I'm wrong, but conservative ideology seems to dictate that no woman has the right to decide whether or not to have a baby, and no person has the right to decide the time and manner of their own death.

And I can't see how that is at all consistent with the "less government" meme. After all, there's nothing more sacred than those decisions. When to begin a life, and when to end it. Whether a fertilized egg will have a good life or be better served by being halted; whether an extended life will have any quality, or if the pain and suffering about to ensue isn't worth the few weeks or months or years the person will spend breathing.

Add to this the following conundrum: conservatives are generally, rampantly pro-death penalty. Reconcile that one to their pro-life at birth, anti-choice at death stance. You can't. You can't, because they're contradictions.

The conservative argument over the current Oregon "Right to Death" law is this: Oregon can't allow doctors to give patients ODs, because it violates Federal drug laws. Okay, fine -- but then doesn't shooting up a convict with various heart-stopping and paralytic drugs also violate those laws? You can't have it both ways. If you can't give grandma a blessed overdose of morphine because she can't walk two steps and can't recognize her own children and asked for it when she was lucid, then how the hell can you justify doing the same to a healthy man in his 30s who never asked for it? Sure, bring up justice and all that crap, but that dog don't hunt if you want your value of life arguments to hold true.

So, it really seems to come down like this. Conservatives are pro-choice when they get to make the choice. If they're the ones killing someone (most likely poor and/or of an ethnic minority), fine. But if it's someone else deciding whether to begin or end a life, forget it.

And I can't wrap my mind around the idea that there are people who get so emotional and twisted and pissy about decisions that should belong solely to the people involved. Who'd know better? Some government board, or the fourteen year-old girl who got knocked up by her boyfriend because the condom broke? Some faceless bureaucrats, or the 80 year-old cancer patient who is tired of the pain and nausea and hopelessness, knowing that death is going to come anyway and preferring it come sooner rather than later?

Yeah, Conservatives are into less government when it protects their precious corporate interests, and their own greedy fucking wallets. But when it comes to letting people make their own decisions and being autonomous, they're worse than their biggest nightmare version of the so-called "liberal nanny state." You want nannies? Just bring up start or end of life issues with a conservative.

And here's another irony... following the twisted logic of their arguments against the Oregon pro-life law, it'd be totally fine for a Doctor to just shoot a terminal patient in the head, because delivering a bullet wouldn't violate Federal drug laws. But god forbid that a few chemicals do the job instead, unless they're being administered to an unfortunate person who couldn't afford a good lawyer.

Proposal: Conservatives are not in favor of less government at all. In fact, they are hypocrites and liars, all of them. If they weren't, they'd leave these most deeply personal decisions alone, and insist that no laws be made regarding them. But they don't and they can't.

It'll be interesting to see what the Supreme Court decides about the Oregon case. I have a cynical feeling that they'll decide the wrong thing, and I have a big interest in seeing how John Roberts tap-dances his way into justifying his first big opinion -- 'cause I can't believe he'd do anything that the fundie whackos would disapprove of. I could be wrong. But I don't think I am...

Wow man, that sure wraps all that shit up into a nice tidy ball a dung beetle would be proud of.
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