It is not plainly wrong, that you can be sure of.
There is a nice brain teaser in considering wether it is fair, right, correct and so forth to rejoice the imminent disappearance from the life time space continuum of some person, in this case John McCain.
1 First we have the basic tenant of when it’s OK to harm someone else: self defence. If you are under duress, it is your natural right to defend your existence at the expense of the other’s death.
2 Second, we have the other basic tenant that you cannot be God, you need legitimacy to make judgements, and when it comes to life and death, usually only God can be trusted to be right, you know, His being omniscient is a big helper. God or some judge in Arizona.
The problem with judging life and death is that the cost of a mistake is infinite, infinite because it is irreversible. So, how can a limited human pay an infinite cost? We can’t, not even if you’re Warren Buffet.
3 Third and on the other hand, there is the tertiary element of what exactly is a celebration:
Celebration is social. And that complicates things a bit.
Backing up, lets see: John McCain.
The self defence clause in the case of high profile politicians is plausible. Politics is the management of life empowering our survival. This means politicians can harm us in very deep and scarring ways, and it means they can directly lower our chances of survival through their bad management.
There are may people who think John McCain did a shitty job managing our collective lives, and by effect lowered the survival probabilities for a lot of people.
I believe there is a genuine moral argument for common people to have a self defence stance in regard to personal judgements towards politicians, including death wishes and being glad they’re (finally) dead. What else do you have?
I believe that because of the self defence moral argument the “but you are no better” popular wisdom fails hard. The fact of the matter is, some people, while not attacking a target, do have a target. In politics, especially in politics, these targets are swaths of people and so many of them simply are devoid of a slight change to a fulfilled life, because of the life long activity of some polititcians.
The saint attitude never got the “right” side very far. Saints die. All of them.
You see, as far as God vs Satan go, the belief that eventually the Good will win, is a very slippery one. Here is a simple example, even though the Good guys won WW2, so one point to the people loving God, I strongly believe Satan walked away pretty satisfied too. Economically it means that many of these victories of the Good have really low margins.
With really low margins only mass market can save you. In the case of the Good guys, mass marketing happens through small daily victories:
I will not rejoice in John McCain’s cancer
… thinks the good, well intentioned, well raised and mentally saner average human, scoring another small victory (sale) with low margin.
Truth be told, there is a greater win in exercising your inner satisfaction towards the imminent end of the injustice one man and his power wielded upon you for as long as you’ve been around, imminent end brought by the man’s death. Bigger margin, more personal profit.
On the other hand, you are not God. You cannot convict and execute a human on your own, even if the human is Hitler or Saddam or Osama or whatever modern Evil Anti-Hero. You cannot convict on your own less modern Anti-Heroes either, like the Hydra or the Minotaur, because both Osama and the Minotaur have personal stories which you don’t fully understand.
However, did you give the high ranking politician cancer? No. Who did it? Well probably he gave it himself, as we know cancer is not really a disease, it’s more like a abnormal progress of encoded body regeneration, a malfunction. You can only increase the probability of cancer, you cannot GET cancer.
So as far as the self being God argument goes, we’re in the green, we decide that we will be glad about the fact that:
because this politician who has hurt our kind/group/class for decades is going to die we will be under less duress and probably have increased our chances of survival, so one point for us
… which is perfectly moral, I think.
Now the celebration, which in the case of John McCain is composed of some high profile person (disclaimer: Holly blocked me, can’t link normally) publishing an article about how swell things are now that cancer saved the group she represents.
She is not merely glad. She celebrates it, as in making a toast for it (Cheers to the Malignancy of John McCain’s Brain Tumor).
So is the cancer and future death a social celebration worthy event?
Remember the righteousness of “rejoicing about your inner satisfaction towards the imminent end of the injustice one man plus much power wielded upon you”, all while making a better emotional profit in the process?
Well the morality judgement continues: what do you do with the emotional profit you just got? Do you spend it on socially involving others and setting up “a special and enjoyable activity” of hating on a human? Hmm.
So basically you take your moral high ground and turn it into mud.
That is if you are a common human. As Holly is not a common human, this doesn’t apply. She has a horde of people reading her ideas. She stepped out of commonality and because of that we know that the meaning in the article is not about celebration but about the stupidity of the situation, where, as a commented put it:
there’s an extreme irony involved when a man whose health care is paid for by the people is willing to vote to take health care away from those same people. (here)
So cancer should not be celebrated even when it hits the people you despise, but if you are on top of a social pyramid you have the moral clout to use your position to communicate a bigger poin even through suggesting celebration of someone’s death.
That means, on you own if you are on the wrong end of John McCain’s politics, you should be free to admit and rejoice you’re glad there is a spark chance that your position will improve because the dude’s gonna die. You may even call it divine justice, just to feel even better.
You have the moral right to rejoice deaths of politicians that lower your survival chances.
But it is not ok to celebrate, it is morally wrong. No one’s cancer is a reason for enjoyable social activities. It is morally wrong to toast about a tumour. That is not what your opinion leaders, such as Holly, I hope, wish to achieve. Your opinion leaders should inspire you to reflect and make you empowered to resist.
You should reflect and be empowered to resist the folk who will follow in John McCain’s footsteps, continuing his agenda, which is what usually happens when eighty year old humans manage our collective life, undermining our survival: more undermining incoming.