Why Shouldn’t Hungerstrikers Be Allowed To Starve?
Often in the attempt to get their way, children threaten to hold their breath or refuse to eat until their parents agree to meet their demands. Usually, nothing much comes of it as most youngsters don’t have the will to resist the sway of their base appetites and most normally outgrow such juvenile displays as skills are acquired to navigate conflicts in a more rational manner or they learn to make peace with what they cannot change,
Of contrived social environments, among the most artificial and detached from reality is the college campus. Either as a result of having never matured as tends to be the case of many drawn to certain useless fields of study or the result of deliberate psychological regression on the part of academic faculty, a number of young adults often return to such behaviors during their college years.
Instead of employing the skills and knowledge they are sent to college to acquire such as communication and analysis that can be used to make the world a better place, some of those persuaded that they are so far beyond the rest of us along the continuum of enlightenment that they are not bound by the same set of expectations imposed upon the rest of us resort to behavior not all that much more advanced (and certainly less justifiable) then when they were toddlers.
Increasingly, protestors are coming to contend that it is not enough that they be given the opportunity to express their opinion as provisions have been made under the First Amendment so that they might be able to persuade the masses as to the correctness of their position. Rather, they contend it is the obligation of those of us on the other side of the political spectrum to not only listen to their ramblings and also to keep our own mouths shut if we happen to disagree.
To draw attention to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act that would extend education handouts to illegal aliens, a group of largely Latino students went on a hungerstrike. In commenting on the foolish extremes to which some will go to coerce handouts from the American taxpayer, broadcast sage Michael Savage remarked, “Let them fast until they starve to death.”
For daring to say such, tolerancemongers have latched onto the remarks as an example as to why free speech needs to be abolished in favor of a system of regulations under the euphemism of “fairness” where nothing will make it onto the airwaves without first gaining the approval of leftwing subversives and moral degenerates. .
Recently in a column titled “Dark Ages Of Broadcasting Loom On The Horizon”, I warned that the conniption over the blather of Don Imus was merely the opening gambit in a stratagem where enthusiastic disagreement with the prevailing postmodernist orthodoxy will eventually be met with the same disapproval and censure as crude off-color comments. It would be easy to dismiss such a claim as an exaggeration since political speech is suppose to be protected by the First Amendment.
However, to a growing number of relativists, such legal niceties and moral courtesies apply only to those furthering the cause of the revolution. As such, one apparatchik from the San Jose Peace Center (a probable socialist front group) told the Mercury News in a 7/13/07 article titled “Student Protestors Want Talk-Show Host Savage Fired” that, “the airwaves should be reclaimed and the public shouldn’t be exposed to someone who spews hate speech.”
According to one shyster on the payroll of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle in a July 13, 2007 story titled “Immigrant Advocates Demand Radio Station Fire Host For Remarks”, Savage’s comments were as offensive as those made by Don Imus. In other words, Savage’s remarks are not even worthy of public consideration and debate.
However, upon closer reflection, Savage’s recommendation is the most rational policy to pursue in dealing with such malcontents and subversives. When dealing with hungerstrikers, they be allowed to starve to death? As free individuals, they themselves are the ones that have decided to deny themselves nutritional sustenance.
Ironically, these very same radicals have no problem with women who decide to have their unborn children hacked to pieces all in the name of the principle of having control over one’s own body. Then why are they getting all flustered about one individual endorsing the ultimate outcome of those deciding to make certain decisions regarding what they plan to do with their bodies. After all, unlike abortion, the only person harmed through self-imposed starvation is the person refusing to eat.
Though any hint of silencing those we disagree with is a political outrage an affront to the First Amendment and the greater truth that this statutory provision that the right to speak one’s mind is granted by God and by no human government, almost as disturbing is the assumption of those supporting the activists that the demands of the hungerstrikers should automatically be appeased. For in condemning Dr. Savage’s comments, one is saying one must do whatever is necessary to prevent hungerstrikers from starving themselves to death, and since it would be wrong to force nutrition on someone as the abortion and homosexual rights rackets have pounded into our heads relentlessly the impropriety of forcing a moral decision upon someone else’s body..
Just to what extent must society acquiesce to the demands of those threatening to starve themselves? For example, if a gaggle of Klansmen (or Klookies as they were referred to in Fletch Lives) threatened to go on a hungerstrike unless Separate but Equal was reenshrined as the law of the land, does that mean those opposing their foolish demands are hateful and insensitive and thus unworthy of the Freedom of Speech?
Others condemned Savage for likening the hungerstrikers to terrorists. But when you look at it, such a classification is not that far off target.
Though the September 11th attack brought terrorism to the forefront of the public’s attention, it also created the impression that in order to qualify for such a designation that the act in question had to involve massive loss of life and a catastrophic destruction of property. For since then, it seems officials simply refuse to apply the label to incidents smaller in scale such as when a lunatic shot up an Israeli ticket counter at an LA airport on July 4, 2002.
It use to be taught and accepted that terrorism was the use or threat of violence to achieve political ends. Though the only ones threatened with actual bodily harm are the hungerstrikers themselves, if those threatening to do themselves harm think we have some kind of ethical obligation to meet their demands, how is this all that different than what the terrorists expect if liberals claim their is no distinction between the harm inflicted upon the innocent and the harm fanatics might inflict upon themselves?
As a strategy, few tactics are as asinine as starving oneself. For only the most spineless are going to make a fuss and go out of their way to save an adversary willing to do themselves in.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.