Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ramesh v. the Derb

I generally love John Derbyshire's work, but his review of Ramesh Ponnuru's The Culture of Death is off-target, trying to blame Ramesh for things that are not Ramesh's fault, to wit:
[T]he grotesque carnival surrounding the death of Terri Schiavo last year, when a motley menagerie of quack doctors, bogus “Nobel Prize nominees,” emoting relatives, get-a-life monomaniacs, keening mobs of religious fanatics, death-threat-hissing warriors for “life,” dimwitted TV presenters straining to keep their very best my-puppy-just-died faces on while speaking of “Terri” as if they had known her personally from grade school, pandering politicians, and shyster lawyers all joined forces in a massive effort to convince the American public that [right-to-life] was a thing no sane citizen ought to touch with a barge pole while wearing triple-ply rubber gloves
I also found the Terri Death Watch "grotesque," but let's place the blame for the "carnival" where it belongs:
  • The creepy husband who so obviously wanted Terri out of his way;
  • The politicians who decided this was a perfect opportunity for pandering; and
  • The media who gave us hour after hour of shameless exploitation.
Worthy causes do not always get the advocates they deserve, and sometimes important issues are manifested in ways that make it unfashionable to defend what is right. Sometimes issues, events and personalities get so tangled up that, to cite an example, some people thought the Lewinsky scandal was "just about sex." Or, to cite another example, the popular idea that the villain of "McCarthyism" was Joe McCarthy, rather than the traitorous stooges who sold their souls to Stalin.

I don't like gory dead-fetus posters. I don't necessarily admire every spokesman for the pro-life cause. But to deride the pro-life cause as a "cult," and to invoke the term Fuhrerprinzip in your opening paragraph ... well, that's just wrong.

Ramesh, who has long struck me as one of the more stout-hearted conservatives at NRO, has replied to Derb.