Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Peter Singer not being misquoted

As someone who is occasionally accused of misquoting and misconstruing Peter Singer vis a vis his views on infanticide for disability, I would like to call attention to his own explanation on his Princeton web site:

http://www.princeton.edu/~psinger/faq.html

He says it is all right to kill disabled babies. Perfectly fine and ought to be allowed.

But even though he has carefully argued that newborn babies in general are not "persons" (and you should read his own explanation of what a "person" is, so I am not accused of misquoting), he notes that it is really and actually only OK to kill disabled newborns. I mean, after all, they are disabled.

Princeton pays this man an awful lot of money to teach these principles. He has an endowed chair, which means he is never going to be fired no matter what he says. It is apparently OK to preach that a certain segment of the population ought to be killed if no one wants them. This is not "hate speech" at all, because a logical argument has been made.

If it is logical, it is true and therefore valid.

Is there such a thing, really, as a living human non-person? Is there any reason we cannot extend Singer's argument that a"person" is "a being who is capable of anticipating the future, of having wants and desires for the future"? If, say, a living human can't prove he or she ever had wants or desires for the future but has exceeded the magic 28 days of human life, can't we just kill them at that age, too?

Logically?

mary

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sharon from NY said...

This is INSANE..... I just read most of his "explanations" available on the link you provded and I immediately thought of the "justifications" cited by the NAZIS for killing those they did not consider "people".... the disabled; Jews, Gypsies and so on...... ( I had to to stop reaing eventually because I was becoming ILL......) BTW- he does posit that those who no longer have ( what he considers) wants or dsires for the furure..ie: the elderly with dementia.... are subject to being killed too, since they are no longer "persons"... by HIS definition. NOT hate speech??? All that's missing is the uniform with the swastika!!!!

1:22 PM  
Blogger mary said...

And yet he is not just a well-known ethicist, he is "renowned". He is quoted all the time by medical people discussing "quality of life years" and other bioethical issues. He is, in other words, considered mainstream.

So I'm always glad to read other reactions to his words and his self-portrayal. I don't misquote him. He says what he says, and Princeton and his book publishers may him massively well to say it. Lots of people have their thoughts guided by his.

I think that's scary.

Thanks for commenting!

3:02 PM  

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