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April 10, 2007

Giuliani: I Supported Efforts To Keep Terri Schiavo Alive

Eh, it's a little something. I guess this might be a freebie, because I don't know if he took a public position at the time, so he's free to claim whatever position is in his political interests.

Romney, meanwhile, was against efforts to intervene on Schiavo's behalf.

Ryan Sager is a libertarian sort, which means, as far as I can tell, he frequently takes positions on "libertarian" grounds but really out of reflexive distaste for social conservatives. So when he writes...

It's also a bad move if it's pure pandering. It's not going to gain him an inch with pro-lifers. At the same time, the Schiavo intervention marked a low point for the Bush administration, and was tremendously unpopular with swing voters and libertarian types.

... he may just be exhibiting more of that libertarian nuance.

How on earth Terri Schiavo became a "libertarian" cause I have no idea. No one questioned Schiavo's right to refuse heroic medical intervention, nor her right to express such a desire to be allowed to die in a living will. (Well, some might have, but it's unnecessary to even discuss that issue as the instant issue is what level of evidence is required of someone's intent to euthanize them.)

Of course, she did neither. She was incapable of articulating such a wish due to her brain damage, and she never signed such a living will. The only evidence we ever had she had mentioned a desire to be allowed to die was her husband's late-in-the-proceedings claim she had once said so.

It's not about the right to die. It's about the right of any person not to be put to death simply because, due to severe injury or disease, we've become inconvenient persons. We requre more rigorous standards of proof for someone's intent as to the disposition of their property upon their death than we now do, apparently, for their very lives.

Lacking a will, all of a deceased property will usually go to a spouse (and some to the children, depending on a state's law for intestate inheritance). Imagine if Terri Schiavo were rich, and her parents had claimed that she told them, and only them, "I'm not bothering with a written will, but if I should die, I'd really rather you have all my money than my husband."

No court in the land would take such self-interested testimony of an oral statement of intent as serious. It would be laughed out of court in five minutes. In order to overcome the built-in presumption that all property should be bequeathed to a living spouse, you need a written will specifying its disposition. Claims of oral "wills" by interested parties are just rejected as silliness.

And yet, when someone's life is on the line, the general presumption that a living person would like to remain alive can be overturned by the unprovable claims of an oral statement by an interested party.

It's "libertarian" to treat human life more cavalierly than a few acres of property? Really? When did that happen, exactly?


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posted by Ace at 04:03 PM

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