Over at First Things Joe Carter has an excellent article called The Dangerous Mind of Peter Singer. Singer is a well-known ethicist and philosopher who has put forward controversial views concerning infanticide, non-voluntary euthanasia, and even bestiality. He has spent a career justifying what most humans beings would call unjustifiable. It is his justification for the killing of infants, esp. disabled infants, that truly enrages me. In his Rethinking Life and Death, Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of personhood, namely, rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness. Therefore, “killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living”. I genuinely wonder if he actually believes this stuff or does he simply like the fame that goes with notoriety. The problem is that he’s the darling of the left-wing intelligentsia and one day, someone, somewhere is gonna try to make his ethical vision a reality. Singer co-wrote the political manifesto for the Australian Greens, a political party with significant power in the Australian Senate. This scares me! Quite frankly, Singer does for the good humanity what Joseph Goebbles did for the Jews.
While it is necessary to consider and debate unpopular views, there should be a minimum standard for ethical discourse whether on the elementary playground or in the lecture halls of Princeton. There are certain moral issues that are all but universally recognized as self-evidently wrong by those in possession of rational faculties. Rape is wrong, torturing babies for fun is objectively morally bad, and the Holocaust was not just a violation of utilitarian ethic, but an event of grave moral evil. If someone cannot meet this basic requirement, they can safely be ignored, regardless of where they received a paycheck.