Progressives who find most conservative politics regressive, ignorant, or just plain stupid, regularly hear from more enlightened conservatives or moderates that so-and-so or such-and-such is NOT a typical conservative. Oh no, he is intelligent and fair and thoughtful. He’s not a racist at all. He doesn’t even sound like Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly.
How often were we not told that Paul Ryan was one of those exceptions: the “brains” behind the Republican Party who, after 7 years in opposition, claimed to have a brilliant replacement plan for Obamacare that would be both cheaper and better. Then we saw how singularly unimpressive he was. He had nothing. He had the same old, same old, same old: tax cuts for the rich. The free market, which has never reduced medical costs before, would suddenly, miraculously, reduce medical costs. And, snake oil salesman that he is, he assured us that the tax cuts would generate so much economic growth that the increased tax revenue would more than make up the difference.
We hear the same delusions about Neil Gorsuch, the Republican nominee to the Supreme Court. He is not like Thomas, who hasn’t said a word, hasn’t had a question, hasn’t even made a joke in 20 years. Oh no. And he is not as corrosive as Scalia, no, no, no, who ridiculed the very idea that old white men of the 18th century shouldn’t have the final word on justice in the 21st. Gorsuch, we are told, is brilliant. Even some liberals — so we’ve heard– think he has a great legal mind.
Well, Mr. Gorsuch has written a book. Yes indeedy. It is a book on whether or not the government should allow individuals to receive assistance in committing suicide. Now, when Mr. Gorsuch testified before Congress as to his qualifications for the Supreme Court, he made it very clear that he was neutral and objective, when it came to political issues, and considered every legal case on its merits alone. That’s why you have no right to assume he would automatically be against the rights of an individual to assisted death just because he appears to be every ounce the conservative he claims not to be. No right at all.
Oh, of course he is against it. He is a Republican who claims to be a Christian: he is in favor of death, generally, but not when you choose it for yourself. And not when it is in your body. And not when it’s purpose is to end intolerable suffering.
If you think it is a little harsh to label him as “in favor of death”, you would need to convince me that he is not in favor of capital punishment, or the death penalty, or a more powerful military, or bigger bombs, or war against nations that have the impertinence to deny us their oil wealth. He does give a nod to a nominal-consistency on the issue: “Once we open the door to excusing or justifying the intentional taking of life as ‘necessary,’ we introduce the real possibility that the lives of some persons (very possibly the weakest and most vulnerable among us) may be deemed less ‘valuable,’ and receive less protection from the law, than others,” Well, there you go. Surprise! He really is pro-life. Or is he?
“Introduce the real possibility”– do you understand how weak an argument that is? He is saying I can’t find a real argument against the right of an individual to make his own decision about when to terminate his own life in the face of intolerable suffering and incapacitation, so I argue that something else that might come afterwards should be illegal, therefore, physician assisted suicide should be illegal. If people are allowed to drive 50 miles an hour, they might later drive 100 miles per hour, so driving 50 must be prohibited.
I used to be perplexed, somewhat, by conservatives and their “pro-life” values. Most of them are not “pro-life” by any stretch of the imagination, in any sense of the meaning of “pro” and “life”. I’ve never understood why they would call themselves pro-life. It’s like McDonalds declaring that they are in favor healthy diets and good nutrition. Well, there you go: they offer salads. A chaser for your Big Mac.
In a later comment, Gorsuch tries to cover his tracks. He says that taking a human life by a “private” individual is morally wrong. So he slipped up in the early passage. He meant to say that life was sacred, “other than– of course– if my government wants to kill a few people in order to take their oil, which I, as a patriotic citizen joyfully embrace”.
What is a reasonable exception? When your government needs to give the oil companies access to more oil? When your government needs an airfield to supply the air force that helps with the war against the government that doesn’t want to give access to their oil to our oil companies? When we need somebody to attack because our citizens are frightened and angry that some terrorists have attacked our country and those terrorists are citizens of a nation we can’t attack because they voluntarily sell us their oil so we have to attack some other nation that had nothing to do with the attack but whom we hate anyways? When families of the victim of a terrible crime just can’t sleep at night until they see the perpetrator– or someone who may or may not have been a perpetrator but didn’t have a good lawyer– killed, to make things even? When a man has killed a police officer, but only if he is black or poor and can’t afford a good lawyer who knows how to plea bargain and negotiate and hire private detectives to cast aspersions on the character of the witnesses or the provenance of the bullets or whether or not someone was merely standing his ground?
More on whoever.