During the next 35 years, the traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological, and demographic developments, says controversial bio-ethics professor Peter Singer.Yes, people say that they don't want to share Terri Schiavo's fate. What many of them mean, of course, is that they don't want their fate decided by a judge who is willing to take the word of a relative for whom one's accelerated death would be convenient. Singer dishonestly seizes on reactions to the Schiavo fiasco as evidence that euthanasia will become acceptable in the United States.
Princeton's Peter Singer (Photo: The Age)
"By 2040, it may be that only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct," says Princeton University's defender of infanticide. "In retrospect, 2005 may be seen as the year in which that position (of the sanctity of life) became untenable," he writes in the fall issue of Foreign Policy.
Singer sees 2005's battle over the life of Terri Schiavo as a key to this changing ethic.The year 2005 is also significant, at least in the United States, for ratcheting up the debate about the care of patients in a persistent vegetative state," says Singer. "The long legal battle over the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube led President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress to intervene, both seeking to keep her alive. Yet the American public surprised many pundits by refusing to support this intervention, and the case produced a surge in the number of people declaring they did not wish to be kept alive in a situation such as Schiavo’s."
He writes that by 2040, the Netherlands and Belgium will have had decades of experience with legalized euthanasia, and other jurisdictions will also have permitted either voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide for varying lengths of time.
"This experience will puncture exaggerated fears that the legalization of these practices would be a first step toward a new holocaust," he explains. "By then, an increasing proportion of the population in developed countries will be more than 75 years old and thinking about how their lives will end. The political pressure for allowing terminally or chronically ill patients to choose when to die will be irresistible."
The professor, who advocates killing the disabled up to 28 days after birth, was the subject of protests when he was hired in 1999 by Princeton, a school founded by the Presbyterian denomination. A group calling itself Princeton Students Against Infanticide issued a petition charging the Australian professor "denies the intrinsic moral worth of an entire class of human beings – newborn children."
Singer also is known for launching the modern animal rights movement with his 1975 book "Animal Liberation," which argues against "speciesism." He insists animals should be accorded the same value as humans and should not be discriminated against because they belong to a non-human species.
Certainly, there are many persons who would prefer voluntary euthanasia to a fate like Terri Sciavo's. But the line between voluntary and involuntary euthasia is too easily crossed, especially by persons who, like Singer, wish to play God. If there is a case to be made for voluntary euthanasia, Peter Singer is not the person to make it.
Singer gives away his Hitlerian game plan when he advocates killing the disabled up to 28 days after birth. Why not 28 years? Why not 98 years? Who decides -- Peter Singer or an acolyte of Peter Singer? Would you trust your fate to the "moral" dictates of a person who thinks animals are as valuable as babies?
Would you trust your fate to the dictates of a person who so blithely dismisses religious morality? One does not have to be a believer to understand the intimate connection between religion and liberty, about which I have written here and here. Strident atheists of Singer's ilk like to blame religion for the world's woes. But the worst abuses of humanity in the 20th century arose from the irreligious and anti-religious regimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.
(Thanks to my daughter-in-law for the link to the WorldNetDaily article.)
More related posts:
Peter Singer's Fallacy (11/26/04)
Science, Pseudo-Science . . . , a collection of links to other related posts
Self-Ownership, a collection of links to yet other related posts