Re: P. David Hornik’s The Not-So-New Middle East:
The “guarded pessimism” of P. David Hornik is a dose of healthy realism which hopefully will bring down the temperature of the premature proclaimers of Middle East democracy. Beyond the reservations Hornik expresses there are also dangers far greater lurking in the area. One is that the new Iraqi Shiite democracy will become at some later point part of the Iranian-controlled Shiite superstate including Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. The second is that the push to democracy is given priority while little is being done in regard to terror-state Iran’s increasing effort at nuclear weapons, and its increasing negative influence upon the world’s energy situation. Promoting democracy in the area is an admirable goal, but the first priority of the U.S. and its allies should be confronting the major dangers in the area that will not be voted away.
— Shalom Freedman
Re: Hunter Baker’s Schiavo and the Slippery Slope:
Mr. Baker presents an interesting post-Terri Schiavo future. It could happen that way, or it may happen like this:
The American people, presented with the contradictory evidence presented to the court in this case, but discounted by Judge Greer, become disquieted by the single-minded drive of the judiciary to force an end to this woman’s life. There is a groundswell of popular support for judicial reform. The Congress, responding to popular sentiment, passes laws strictly limiting the circumstances under which a person may be allowed to die. The courts, having their own agenda, contest these laws. There is a popular push to confirm more conservative, less activist judges. The Congress, faced with judicial mutiny, institutes impeachment proceedings against the more recalcitrant jurists. Congress and the President move to restrict the funding of the federal judiciary. Many states follow suit in the state court systems.
The resultant furor serves to strengthen the Right to Life movement. Serious challenges arise against legalized abortion. The Euthanasia movement suffers severe setbacks as strict legal limits are placed upon suicide. Doctors, faced with legal repercussions for failure to provide life support, will return to helping people survive, rather than assisting in their deaths.
The medical profession, faced with the need to assist people with living, requires new technology. This results in the rise of more efficient medical treatments. More diseases are cured. More physical deficiencies become correctable. The universal quality of life improves. People, except medical history professors, forget what a Downs Syndrome child looks like.
A culture that reveres death or one that celebrates life? Which will it be? Only the future will tell. But the strength and quality of a culture is directly proportional to amount of compassion, kindness, and generosity exhibited by its members.
— Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Bravo on your article! I have been trying to find the words to express my view on this issue — especially regarding federalism, and you have said it eloquently and succinctly. You are 100% correct!
— Tim Birdnow
Bumper sticker: “When only Christians are having children, then this will be a Conservative Christian Nation.”
Liberals, take heed.
— John McGinnis
Re: Ben Stein’s American Death Sentence:
I’ve been a very big fan of Ben Stein’s for years. While I enjoy everything he writes, I think his March 29, 2005, column “American Death Sentence” was the most right-on thing he has ever written. It wasn’t funny or charming, like most of his columns, but it was true and very scary. America’s culture of death has finally caught up with the Netherlands. I am a “Rock Ribbed Republican,” an old-fashioned “John Wayne” pro-American. Yet I am beginning to get a really creepy feeling about this country’s growing desire to kill the unwanted young, the sick, and the elderly. Does anyone really think Clint’s Million Dollar Baby won Best Picture this year because it was the best picture? I think The Aviator was this year’s best picture. Based on ticket sales, so did most Americans. Eastwood hit big this year because Million Dollar Baby had the right message (euthanasia), for the cultural elite, at the right time. We’re not just headed for the slippery slope, we’re sliding fast!
P.S. I actually like Clint Eastwood. Minus the euthanasia twist at the end, Million Dollar Baby was fine.
— Larry Davison
San Angelo, Texas
I profoundly disagree with Ben Stein about the judiciary role in the Terri Schiavo case. From what I’ve read, they have done what they are supposed to do… follow the law.
The laws are written by legislatures. The particular legislation passed by Congress in their midnight session did not give the judiciary anything real alternative in this case. Blame them for dragging the entire country into a family squabble over a wrenching personal choice that many of us have already faced and many more will face in the coming years. This type of choice all too often divides families. Now this one is being used to further divide the whole country.
Do you honestly think that the very powerful people in the state and federal government could not have found another way to intervene on the Schindlers’ behalf? They wanted this show. But to what end?
Ben Stein thinks it is cruel and unusual punishment to let Terri die. I think it is cruel and unusual punishment to continue to imprison her in a body over which she has no voluntary control. She died 15 years ago of a heart attack. Modern medical techniques partially resurrected her and interrupted her return to her maker. Remove them now and let her finish her journey home. I join in Ben’s prayer: God help us all.
— Marsha Adams
I have practiced law for over twenty years. Your comments express the outrage that I feel over the conduct of this case. Today, the Eleventh Circuit voted to rehear some issues. Keep up the articles — they are having an effect.
God Bless you.
— Walker Sims
Great article, Mr. Stein! You are right about everything you said. If only you weren’t! What’s to be done?
— Janice Fikse