I. Shawn McElhinney (Rerum Novarum) has a provocative and well-written string of posts on this subject. The essence of his argument is this: that there are three fundamental rights of man (life, liberty, property):
These rights must be defended together as a unit, or else they will fail -- that is to say, to defend one to the exclusion of the others (by neglect and inattention) is ultimately counter-productive.
The argument was made on Rerum Novarum well before the plight of Terri Schiavo, but it is no less relevant to the discussion, and I mention it for the benefit of our readers:
But this is not an "either/or" situation by any means but instead it is a "both/and" situation. Or to phrase it in that manner, we should be seeking both to preserve Terri's life and laying in place a consistent principle of argumentation for defending the fundamental rights of man. These rights are all dependent upon one another and when one is undermined, the other two by logical extension are as well. I am left wondering when Terri's advocates are not only going to stop seeing this as only a "life" issue but are also going to start seeing both parts of the "both/and" rather than only the first one. But that is all I will say on the matter at this time.
More on Terri Schiavo and the Fundamental Rights of Man. Feb. 18, 2005.
Related posts from Rerum Novarum:
- More on Terri Schiavo, an Activist Blogosphere Effort on Her Behalf, Etc. Feb. 20, 2005.
- More on Terri Schiavo and the Fundamental Rights of Man. Feb. 18, 2005.
- Developing a Consistent Principle of Argumentation, Oct. 30, 2003.
- Discussion of these fundamental rights and their unity took place last year, when Shawn defended the right of fellow blogger Jeff Cullbreath and his family against those who attacked his printing business on account of his refusal to print documents he found morally objectionable. Oct. 15, 2003.
For updates on Terri Schiavo, stay tuned to Fr. Rob Johansen @ Thrown Back.