Monday, 11/17/14

  1. The Lightworker flickers
  2. You distress me: Why aren’t you dead yet?
  3. Teetering on the brink of what?
  4. Absurd suspicions vindicated



The Lightworker seems to have gone dim:

I mentioned last week that the president has taken to filibustering, to long, rambling answers in planned sit-down settings—no questions on the fly walking from here to there, as other presidents have always faced. The press generally allows him to ramble on, rarely fighting back as they did with Nixon. But I have noticed Mr. Obama uses a lot of words as padding. He always has, but now he does it more. There’s a sense of indirection and obfuscation. You can say, “I love you,” or you can say, “You know, feelings will develop, that happens among humans and it’s good it happens, and I have always said, and I said it again just last week, that you are a good friend, I care about you, and it’s fair to say in terms of emotional responses that mine has escalated or increased somewhat, and ‘love’ would not be a wholly inappropriate word to use to describe where I’m coming from.”

When politicians do this they’re trying to mush words up so nothing breaks through. They’re leaving you dazed and trying to make it harder for you to understand what’s truly being said.

(Peggy Noonan)


Yes, Maynard was worried about suffering. Who wouldn’t be? But she seemed even more intent on not forcing her family to suffer by witnessing her loss of beauty, vitality, and capacity.

This is how the assisted-suicide movement hurts the very people it claims to champion.

(Wesley J. Smith, Death With Aesthetics) Smith goes on to illustrate further with the story of an ALS patient for whom he was a hospice worker:

This was in the late 1990s, when a case was before the Supreme Court (unsuccessfully) seeking the legalization of assisted suicide.

As with Maynard, the media went into a feeding frenzy, presenting emotional and highly publicized profiles of ALS patients who wanted “to die with dignity.” These programs made Bob’s burden much harder to carry. “They are trying to drive me from the well-lit boulevards into the dark alley!” he told me angrily after watching such a feature on Nightline.

Bob was so incensed by these attitudes that he wrote a column—typing it one letter at a time, using the only finger he could still control—for the San Francisco Chronicle. From “I Don’t Want a Choice to Die,” which ran on February 19, 1997:

Euthanasia advocates believe they are doing people like me a favor. They are not. The negative emotions toward the terminally ill and disabled generated by their advocacy is actually at the expense of the “dying” and their families and friends. We often feel disheartened and without self-assurance because of a false picture of what it is like to die created by these enthusiasts who prey on the misinformed.

Supporting assisted suicide, Bob insisted, disrespected his dignity by denying the value of his life:

Many pro-euthanasia groups “showcase” people with ALS. They portray us as feeble, unintelligible and dying by slow suffocation. This is absolutely false, and I protest their efforts vehemently …We are not people just waiting for someone to help us end our misery, but to the contrary, we are people reaching out to love — to be loved — wanting to feel life at its best.

The pattern recurs, again and again and again. Those who are safe tear down fences for their amusement or to demonstrate their open-mindedness. Others pay the cost.

That sick people might feel obliged to die if physician-assisted suicide were legalized is not even an unforeseen consequence. We were talking about it at a conference on the Stanford campus 26 years ago, and the resistance was already mounting.


Looking for the silver lining in an almost-unbroken chain of judicial redefinitions of marriage, I note that there’s been a sharp dropoff in stories about how America’s on the brink of theocracy.


Someone with the time could write a useful story looking at the criticism of television for its promotion of homosexuality and the way that criticism was treated as if it were obviously untrue.

(David Mills, concluding a brief item about a gala “celebrating television’s impact on LGBT equality”)

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.