Now You Know

No, by the grace of God, you will NOT plead ignorance. You will NOT testify that you never knew any better because no one ever taught you anything better. You will not plead that you were never told.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Right to Life vs. the Right of the Mightiest - A Terri Schindler-Schiavo Fable

Again and again I am confronted by news articles, blog posts, and commentary on television stating that Judge Whittemore's ruling in the Terri Schiavo case was really the only possible ruling, that the judge was compelled to rule as he did.

What utter hogwash! If you truly believe that, I have some beachfront property for sale in Yuma, Arizona and an outdoor iceskating rink for sale in Gila Bend. Compelled? Compelled by whom? Compelled by what?

Aesop had a lot to say about this type of ruling. It was what he called "might makes right." Jean de La Fontaine updated Aesop in the 17th century. I'll reproduce what La Fontaine wrote followed by my own English translation, which matches the original French in poetic form line by line.

Le Loup et L'Agneau

La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure:
Nous l'allons montrer tout à l'heure.
Un Agneau se désaltérait
Dans le courant d'une onde pure.
Un Loup survient à jeun qui cherchait aventure,
Et que la faim en ces lieux attirait.
Qui te rend si hardi de troubler mon breuvage?
Dit cet animal plein de rage:
Tu seras chatié de ta témérité.
-- Sire, répond l'Agneau, que votre Majesté
Ne se mette pas en colère;
Mais plutôt qu'elle considère
Que je me vas désaltérant
Dans le courant,
Plus de vingt pas au-dessous d'Elle,
Et que par conséquent, en aucune façon,
Je ne puis troubler sa boisson.
-- Tu la troubles, reprit cette bête cruelle,
Et je sais que de moi tu médis l'an passé.
-- Comment l'aurais-je fait si je n'étais pas né?
Reprit l'Agneau, je tette encor ma mère.
-- Si ce n'est toi, c'est donc ton frère.
-- Je n'en ai point. -- C'est donc quelqu'un des tiens:
Car vous ne m'épargnez guère,
Vous, vos bergers, et vos chiens.
On me l'a dit: il faut que je me venge.
Là-dessus, au fond des forêts
Le Loup l'emporte, et puis le mange,
Sans autre forme de procès.

And here's my translation, correct even to the count of syllables in each line and the rhyme scheme:

Translation of La Fontaine's
"Le Loup et l'Agneau"
The Wolf and the Lamb

The right of the mightiest is always the best,
We'll shortly put this to the test.
A thirsty lamb some water sought
In the current of a pure stream.
A hungry wolf chanced by who was plotting a scheme
And whose hunger drew him to that spot.
"What makes you so brave to stir my drink to a mire?
Said this animal full of ire:
You'll be punished because of your temerity.
--Sire, replied the lamb, I would that Your Majesty
Not work himself to a lather;
But may he consider rather
That I have come here for a drink
At the brook's brink,
Twenty paces downstream, at least,
Away from him and in no way by consequence
Can I disturb his drink from hence.
--You are disturbing it, retorted this cruel beast,
And I know that last year you spoke of me in scorn.
--How could I have done so, since I was not yet born?
Said the lamb, I still nurse from my mother.
--If you did not, 'twas your brother.
--I have none. --Then 'twas one with whom you keep:
For you spare me no bother
Your shepherds, dogs, and you sheep.
I've heard slurs: I must reciprocate them."
There by the stream amid the trees
The wolf seized the lamb and ate him
Without further trial or pleas.

© Copyright 2004 - All Rights Reserved.

Terri Schindler-Schiavo is the lamb and the judges who have presided over this case are the wolves. They ruled as they did because they have the power to rule as they did and that is what they wished to do. The law does not compel you to do anything as evil as to kill an innocent person, charged with no crime, convicted of no crime, and with whom you are not at war. If there were such a law, and if you were to obey it, you are still responsible for your abhorrent action because you had the free will choice to reject an abomination that passes for "law."

Don't give me that "compelled" crap. You all know better than that, or at least you should.

You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.