Birds of a feather

Josh carlosg at
Tue Nov 19 19:36:46 MST 2002

>(Sooner or later it had to happen. Peter Singer, an "animal rights
>leftist," who also argues that handicapped children should be killed
for their own good, has written a new book promoting globalization in
the Thomas Friedman "Lexus and the Olive Tree" mold.


>>Yes, it's that Peter Singer. The one who has suggested that animals
>sometimes have the same rights as people, that the old should be
>euthanized to divert resources to the young (though he would spare
his own infirm mother), that Americans should give away almost
everything they possess to the developing world and live themselves
like the developing world's poor <<<

Speaking of distortions, I think the above amply qualifies as such. On
the topic of animals, who can deny that some non-human animals
(especially the Great apes) are more intelligent and self-aware than
some humans, particulary those mentally handicaped and infants. I
think his argument is that given that rights are attributed to such
groups of humans, how can we deny such rights to individual non-humans
of equal or greater mental faculty. I think is arguments are best put
forward in his works "Practical Ethics" and "Animal
liberation" which I'd recommend.

As an aside, I also understand that he ran for parliament in Australia
on the Greens ticket a few years back and is a bit of a theorist for
them philosophically. Another book he wrote called "A Darwinian Left"
is, I believe a kind of manifesto for such parties.
In it he suggests that the left should swap Marx for Darwin mainly due
to his rejection of "the perfectibility of mankind" and the related
materialist theory of history. His main conclusion being that we
shouldn't deny the existence of a human nature and therefore the
problems associated - sort of like the piece by Chomsky posted the
other day.

I've yet to read his latest book so can't comment on whether the
reviewer distorted his ideas, but judging from the comments related to
previous books, I'd take his claims with a proverbial grain of salt.


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