An Uncomfortable If Necessary Reminder

     A few days ago, Michelle Malkin reminded us about a horrific event that should have been prevented, but wasn’t:

     This week marks the 17th anniversary of the court-sanctioned murder of Terri Schindler Schiavo. Under the order of a Florida judge who never bothered to visit her and an adulterous spouse-in-name-only who ranted “When is that b—— gonna die?” to one of Terri’s nurses, American legal and medical authorities supervised the cruel, two-week-long starvation and dehydration of a profoundly disabled woman who was not terminally ill and who had an army of family members ready to care for her for the rest of her natural life.

     Please read it all. You might not remember the events Miss Malkin chronicles in her essay. In either case, we can all use a reminder of what was done to a helpless woman so that her husband could marry the lover he’d taken while she lay helpless.

     The following essay first appeared at Eternity Road:

* * *

The Convergence Is Complete

     Here are the facts, as your Curmudgeon has them:

     In 1990, Teresa Schindler-Schiavo’s heart ceased to beat for several minutes. The resulting hypoxia caused severe brain damage, which left her helpless, unable to care for or feed herself. Doctors recently appointed by Florida courts have called her condition a “persistent vegetative state.”

     However, according to several witnesses, Terri still responds to various stimuli. She can’t speak, and may not recognize specific persons or elements in her surroundings, but her sensorium is not yet wholly disconnected from her brain. Nor does her brain appear to have lost all its non-autonomic functions.

     Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, has petitioned to have Terri’s feeding tube removed — in effect, to starve his wife to death — on the representation that she would have wanted it that way. He contends that she clearly expressed that desire to him, though no written records of such a desire exist. That is, there is no “living will” for Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

     After protracted hearings and appellate decisions, the Florida courts have granted Michael Schiavo’s request that Terri’s feeding tube be removed. Unless federal authorities step in to prevent it, this will bring about Terri’s death by starvation, a process that could take up to two weeks.

     Several Congressmen are attempting to use Congress’s subpoena power to delay the inception of this process of execution. Whether the Florida principals and the courts that have backed them will yield to superior federal authority remains to be seen.

     For some years, Michael Schiavo has been living with another woman, who has borne him two children. He and Terri are spouses only in the eyes of the State. Yet he has refused to allow divorce proceedings that would transfer guardianship of Terri to her parents.

     Michael Schiavo also stands to benefit monetarily from Terri’s death. The amount is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A philanthropist, sensing that this might be the true reason Michael wants Terri to die, has offered to buy her life for $1 million — that is, to pay Michael Schiavo $1 million if he will only relinquish guardianship of his helpless wife. The offer was refused.

     The Florida courts that granted Michael Schiavo’s petition to starve his wife to death made a finding of fact, based solely on Michael’s representations that Terri would have asked to die in these circumstances. Several persons who knew Terri testified that this was not the case, but to no avail.

     Never before in the history of the United States has a man been sentenced to be slowly tortured to death.

     Let’s be perfectly candid about what Michael Schiavo intends for his helpless wife: he wants her dead. His claim that she would want the same is hopelessly tainted by his pecuniary interest in her demise. He insists on killing her even though the sole legal way to get her into her coffin is to subject her to two weeks of excruciating torment.

     Were a condemned serial killer to be sentenced to the same ordeal, every civil-rights and humanist group in the country would be up in arms. Nay, it would arouse every such group in the world. Such groups cannot abide the death penalty even for men convicted of the most heinous crimes. The United States would be castigated in every organ known to Man for its callousness, its brutality, and its lack of respect for human life.

     Strangely, those groups have been quite silent about the plight of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. A few have even trumpeted the “right to die” mantra, as if they possessed telepathic time-travel powers that allow them to read Terri’s desires retroactively from this point in time.

     Your Curmudgeon will note in passing that the overwhelming majority of those groups also proclaim a “woman’s right to choose” — to choose to kill a helpless, fully developed infant whose head has already entered the birth canal and who is on his way to beginning the adventure of life. Some also condemned Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, preferring to let dictators who had murdered uncounted thousands of helpless persons remain in power rather than allow American soldiers to liberate their subjects by force of arms.

     As the years roll past, your Curmudgeon becomes ever more powerfully struck by the prescient insight of the great Clive Staples Lewis.

     In his novel That Hideous Strength, Lewis paints a nightmare landscape of a fictional Britain that’s fallen wholly to the mercies of the worst men in the world. Men who desire to torture and destroy as ends in themselves, but who have become skilled at representing their atrocities as “experimentation” or “remedial treatment.” Men who lust for power over others as no other men have ever lusted, and who would raise a dead sorcerer from the grave to get it, but who would never admit that their “scientific outlook” could be conjoined with belief in a demon-conjuring wizard. Men whose loyalties have been so completely perverted that they’ve relocated entirely away from the human race, and away from life itself.

     As the novel’s villains struggle to bring the reanimated Merlin into their fold, we are shown that a process centuries long is nearing completion. The process began with the displacement of reverence for innocent life by an ethic that deemed all things, and all lives, to be clay in the hands of human potters, to be shaped according to their untrammeled desires. It took time to evolve, because even those who most strongly advocated it had to shake off the restraints of tradition and upbringing; as Lewis puts it, their inherited morality stood firm against their intellectual rationalizations for the evil they’d sought to legitimize. But once their successors had cast off the fetters of tradition and lingering social disapproval, nothing stood in their way.

     The moment had come for Hell’s final advance against Man. The convergence of two mighty engines of death — the reduction of a life to a mere bag of chemicals judged entirely by instrumental criteria, and the worship of power without regard for its source, its aims, or its uses — could begin.

     Over the millennia, men have killed one another in uncounted millions. It’s not new, or particularly noteworthy, that one man should want to kill another — not even that a husband should want to kill his wife, whom he’s sworn before God and man to protect. What is new is the accelerating approval and support for such a desire among the “intellectual elite,” including judges appointed to do justice, defend the innocent, and protect the helpless.

     Europe is deeply mired in this trend. The Netherlands is the standard-bearer for “assisted suicide,” and for the deliberate execution, with medical concurrence, of inconvenient babies and oldsters. The horror stories are legion — so many, in fact, that the horror of them has begun to create calluses over our emotions. One can only hear about so many such villainies before stopping one’s ears.

     Europe is also the rallying point for the condemnation of the death penalty. The lives of men who’ve maliciously and unjustifiably destroyed the lives of others are therefore valued more highly than the lives of the helpless and utterly innocent.

     America has been a bastion against this sort of viciousness…until now. European thinking — utilitarian valuation of the “quality of life” of helpless persons by third parties — has reached these shores and formed a beachhead. The abortion wars, as serious as they’ve been, were only a preliminary, a shelling of our moral defenses to soften them for a decisive breakthrough.

     The Terri Schindler-Schiavo case will be that breakthrough, if Michael Schiavo gets his way.

     Some have protested that Michael Schiavo must be sincere, since he was willing to turn down a million dollars for his wife’s life. This does not follow. Once he’d made his representation that Terri would have wanted to die, Michael could not possibly back away from it in the face of a monetary inducement; that would have constituted an admission that he wants her dead specifically so that he could grab her money, and that he was ready to yield in the face of a better offer. Similarly, he has to resist all attempts to divorce him from Terri, and the Schindlers’ impassioned pleas for a transfer of guardianship. To concede guardianship to anyone determined to keep Terri alive would implicitly admit that it was no wish of Terri’s that mattered, but rather that he wants her dead for his own convenience. Either admission would indict and convict him of conspiracy to commit murder through a judicial process.

     Terri Schindler-Schiavo’s life matters to her husband-in-name in precisely one way: it’s a barrier to something he wants. His willingness to sacrifice her is a declaration that in service to his ends, even the murder of the helpless woman whose well-being lies in his care is an acceptable means. It’s a pledge of allegiance to the death cults.

     This sickening story has a few scenes yet to run. Whether Terri Schindler-Schiavo will survive it is known only to God. But anyone willing to open his eyes can easily see that elements of opinion and organs of government here in the United States are aligning with the death cults.

     Florida courts have ratified Michael Schiavo’s desire to kill his helpless, innocent wife.

     Groups that claim to hold life as sacred, that protest in droves at every execution, and that condemn the use of American military power regardless of the justifications or the delicacy of its application, are standing aside, content to watch as Terri is tortured to death.

     Low creatures such as Peter Singer, so-called “ethical philosopher,” have argued that creatures such as Terri have no right to life that others are bound to respect.

     And as in Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, the legions of Hell look on in delicious anticipation.


* * *

     The above essay is prominent in my collection The Death Cults, which is available at Amazon. Though the typical reader’s mind recoils at the notion, there most definitely are death cults of size and power that seek anything from the deaths of millions to the complete extinction of the human race. They have a horrifying degree of influence over governments, courts, and public policy, both here and in Europe.

     Be mindful. Without a well-defended right to life, no other rights can exist. Even the most heinous criminal is granted that right, first-degree murderers excepted. Yet we have undermined the right to life in many ways. Today “ethical philosophers” openly question whether we ought to respect it.

     Allow me a Gospel citation:

     Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
     And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
     This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
     So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
     And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
     When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
     She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

     [Gospel According to John 8:1-11]

     The Son of God would not countenance the taking of a life, even though the Mosaic Law commanded it. How, then, should we?

     Pray, indeed.


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  1. That was the event that pushed me into regular, active blogging. I’d been sporadic for several years before that, mostly about currents events (and, generally, with a lightly scarcastic POV).

  2. Here’s a coda:

    There was much speculation that everything Michael Schiavo was doing was to prevent the possibility of this miracle for his victim.

  3. “National outlets derided the Schindlers and attacked the “radical, antiabortion, right-to-life Christian right” for casting doubt on medical experts who wrote Terri off ”

    Yeah. Follow the science. The “experts”. The Administrative State.

    The Mengeles.

    • Okke on April 5, 2022 at 6:12 AM

    I will never forget the horror of this obvious murderous husband-in-name only! Until today I wonder how long the long arm of justice would finally catch up to him!

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