Why is it that a severely injured person is called a vegetable? Mark Pickup writes:
Eight years ago, Kevin Monk of Casper Wyoming was in a terrible car accident. He suffered severe physical and brain injuries. For eighteen days after the accident Monk had no brain function and remained in a coma for another three months. During that time, his doctors tried to persuade is family to let him die.
Contrary to the doctors' predictions that Mr. Monk would never recover, he did waken from his coma. In a recent interview with the Casper Star-Tribune, Monk (33) said, "Some of the doctors told Mom and Dad to just pull the plug," His mother added, "From every place we went, they told us he'd never be anything but a vegetable." Some vegetable!
Today, Kevin Monk is well on his road to recovery and even walks unaided.
Labeling Monk in this manner was demeaning and dehumanizing and is exactly what the press commonly did to Terri Schiavo (click here). The question is why? Why attack the dignity of a defenseless person who is unable to speak for themselves?
Dehumanization is necessary to euthanasia proponents and the Culture of Death in general because taking control of the value of human life is key to their agenda. Terri Schiavo's case revealed that our courts and society have taken a low view of human life, one that measures a person's worth by the scale of the young and healthy. The core values of this death oriented belief system have been festering below the surface for decades, emerging with the legalization of abortion in 1973.
What has surprised many is the that the Culture of Death is progressive and has turned from the oppression of those hidden in the womb to strike out against the weak and helpless in plain view of society and by the authority of the State and Federal governments.
This evolution follows from the belief that human life derives its worth based on its characteristics and utilitarian benefit as determined, of course, by others in society.
Wesley J. Smith is on the mark as he comments on proposed experimentation on "living cadavers":
When we lose sight of the crucial ethical presumption that all humans have intrinsic value simply and merely because they are human, when we say that the value of a life depends on its presumed quality, we open the door to the worst forms of oppression and exploitation.
As noted by Smith, the valuation of human life on the basis of a characteristic, quality or contribution inevitably leads to the oppression of the undesirable; those whom others find "inconvenient" or of little worth. This type of valuation requires some defining characteristic to provide worth and another person to recognize it. Of course, when the quality is lost the value of the person's life is diminished as well.
Mark Pickup writes,
This phenomenon is of great interest to me: I may be called a vegetable at some point in the not so distant future. After all, I am incurably ill with aggressive multiple sclerosis that is slowly stripping me of function.
Many other societies have progressed down this path and have left a legacy of horror and atrocity.
The true value of humans is intrinsic. Human life is precious and worth protecting and sustaining because of the value placed upon it by a transcendent source (God) apart from each person's health status, maturity, intelligence, race, abilities, etc. The application of demeaning labels does not change this truth.
Related: Visit the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation