February 9, 2009

She has gone

She has gone, but she will not be forgotten, nor will those whose acts, conduct and omissions cut short her life.


  1. I don't want to pass judgment on your beliefs- you should be able to believe whatever you wish as long as your beliefs do not infringe on the beliefs and rights of others. I think (not just believe) that the right to refuse treatment, which is a legal as well as, in my opinion, moral right, was clear here.When one chooses to not take "heroic" measures to extend life, that is one's choice. Can't people leave it be? This is not euthanasia, this is a choice to not extend one's own life with measures that might, to some, be considered against God's will and by other's, bot the business of either the State or a religious body.

  2. ... but this is not merely a matter of religious belief.

    The right to refuse treatment pertains a situation in which the patient is able to express his will, but this was not the case of Eluana. Ok, her father said that she had told him that she would have preferred to die rather than live in a permanent comatose state, but in my opinion, and that of many other people, this is not enough, and this for many reasons which I will not get into here (the case is highly controversial …).

    Furthermore in Italy the so-called “living will” is not yet legal (living wills may include information regarding an individual’s desire for such services such as analgesia, antibiotics, hydration, feeding).

    Moreover the right to refuse treatment should be applied to the cases of “therapeutic obstinacy,” and once again this was not the case (hydration and feeding cannot be considered, by any means, “therapeutic obstinacy”).

    All the best

  3. I am glad I live in a place where I can make a living will and have the feeding tube removed.
    When they did Schiavo's autopsy, about half of her brain had become liquid. They poured out what had been in her head.
    Sunny von Bulow lasted from Reagan's first administration to the end of the second Bush II administration. 300,000$ a year to keep her 'alive'.
    Guantanamo Bay is merciful compared to people who want to make these experiences inescapable.

  4. It's a rather "pragmatic" way of looking at things ... Sorry, I couldn't agree less with you, sir.

  5. I don't know why pragmatic is a problem. It's a great way of looking at problems.

  6. Pragmatism is probably necessary in politics. As a moral philosophy it is moral relativism. Are you a moral relativist? Well, I am not.

  7. No, I am absolutely sure that I wouldn't want to exist; I prefer to live. I am absolutely sure that I wouldn't want to need to be cleaned, fed, watered (like a house plant) and medicated with no hope of improvement
    I am absolutely certain that I wouldn't wish this existence on anybody, especially people I care for. About this, I am not a relativist.

  8. Moral relativism has many levels and layers to it, going from very general to narrowly specific. Here is something that gives an idea:

    "one can claim that morality is relative only to the arbitrarily formed conventions of discrete and diverse cultures; one can claim that even within these discrete and diverse cultures there are values and standards that are valid only for the person; one can claim that even for the person there are situations that may make one's moral response today different from the response they had to a situation similar but somewhat different yesterday; and one can claim that one's moral response is guided and is valid only insofar as it is tied to one's current emotional and aesthetic climate (“I killed him because I felt like it right then and it gave me a certain intense pleasure – and I liked intense pleasures right then”).

    Often, moral relativism has been described as something called “perspectivism.” Many people have held this position, mainly, I think, because it serves to justify an “anything goes” approach to life and to defining the “good life.” The “good life” is what I say it is and what I will say it is will be what makes me feel good (in any or all the senses of feeling good). This is the “good” from my perspective. And the good from my perspective is good enough because it is the only kind of good there is anyway because there is no objective perspective to run contrary to mine in any event. It is a very attractive, but dangerous and ultimately silly position to take, and as such, it amazes me at how many people fall prey to it and how many times I will hear it spoken as “absolute truth” in classroom and less formal settings.

    It is an attractive position mainly because those who embrace it may feel awfully sophisticated and entranced by the fact that they realize that there are cultural value differences, personal value differences, situational value differences, and there are differences in how I feel about being in traffic today as opposed to yesterday. Nevertheless, it is an essentially silly position to hold because those who try to hold it intellectually inevitably fail to live it existentially. For example, I can say that a crime might just be something relative to one’s cultural norms or just “in the eyes of the beholder,” until someone commits a criminal act against a child of mine and then they surely will deserve severe punishment. Another example comes to mind when we remember the deadly battlefields of WWII as scattered with the remains of ally soldiers of an army who finally convinced Hitler that the pitch he used — “now, if you only understood our German social conditions, you surely would understand why we must exterminate the Jews and run rapaciously over the rest of Europe” – was really not absolutely correct after all, even though it seemed so from his perspective. Those allies did not die on those battlefields for values and morals that they thought were only relative or for those that were only correct from their own perspective. People, before they die for something, must be able to somehow convince themselves that it is well worth dying for. And it seems to me that something of only relative value or worth does not rise to that required level of major worth or value."