So much has been written

January 27, 2009 at 10:29 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

about the piece remembering Harriet McBride Johnson, written by, of all people, Peter Singer…

Peter Singer, the academic who believes that parents, in some cases, ought to be able to decide to kill seriously disabled infants.

I’m not dehumanizing Singer…It’s obvious he eats drinks speaks and writes. So he is just another person. Not a saint, not a monster.

It’s his *ideas* not his person, that I take issue with

It’s these sorts of positions that make me glad I’m a throwback, a cavewoman in the modern world…

Opposing the acceptance of the idea that it’s really not always a bad thing to kill a disabled child…is important to do verbally and in writing and ASL and wordboarding….etc. as often as possible.

This idea is inimical to our very existence. Don’t hand me that business that since I’m now adult and sentient and obviously connecting to the world and enjoying some of my life, it shouldn’t matter to me that Singer seems to advocate killing infants before they achieve self awareness…

Has Singer ever met any disabled children? Has he seen them participate in athletics and the arts? Write? Sing? Do standup comedy? Excell in school? end up living on their own?

One of his arguments seems to have been that if a disabled child cannot romp on the beach the way others might, why should we condemn them to a life of wishing? Preempt that by his method.

*All* children are sometimes the odd one out, and gaze in misery at those that seem to manuever unscathed and perfect through childhood.

But, ever been to a high school reunion? Some of the Perfect Girls and Boys come to a sad and miserable adulthood.

Should we kill them at birth too, if some marker indicates they’ll end up miserable? Of. Course. Not.

There are horrid stories of institutionalization and abuse and neglect and even murder of disabled people.

None of them are a reason to figure killing disabled infants is ok.

That adult life, that Singer credited McBryde-Johnson with…

Can be the realized life of many many disabled-even severely disabled infants or children.

The potential for a rich life like that *outweighs* the potential challenges or even misery….

Preemptive strikes are not the answer. Letting us have a whole beginning, middle and end to our own journey….

Is the beginning of disability rights.


  1. PhilosopherCrip said,

    Hi, I hope I didn’t give you the impression that I, in any way, agree with Singer’s views as correct or legitimate. My post on the issue probably should have done more to lay out exactly how poorly conceived his arguments are and how very harmful they are to our community. I agree with almost everything you write.

    The one and only thing I disagree with, is how you characterize my argument. To clarify, I am not at all claiming that “making Singer a ‘monster’ because he has these ideas, is wrong, simply because it dehumanizes another human being…and that we should not dehumanize anyone, simply for holding views we disagree with.” I am not sure if I agree with that claim or not, but it’s not the one I made. Rather, I believe, like Harriet did herself, that it is inconsistent to demonize Singer for his bigoted assumptions about disability when we implicitly accept these same assumptions [about our lives being automatically disvalued because of disability] everyday of lives in so many of the people we interact with. I think this kind of inconsistency is not very constructive to the legitimacy of our arguments (my post shows how the seed of this opinion is found in Harriet’s work itself).

    I hope this clarifies things?

    Thanks for laying out your objections to Singer’s arguments (virtually the same as my objections). Something I, again, should have done because it is a message we need to repeat until it is heard.

  2. imfunny2 said,

    Hey, thanks for the clarification…based on that, I’ve edited my post…just found your blog, and like it….especially the title.

  3. PhilosopherCrip said,

    I am glad we have found common understanding! I enjoyed recently discovering your site, as well. I can’t wait to catch up on some of the older posts and make a raid on your HUGE blogroll!

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