Singer/Crips/Animals

Patrick William Connally, visionary, (Disability Rights, Enforcement, Education, Services) DREES President and founder, discusses the controversy over the appointment of Peter Singer, author of "Practical Ethics," to a teaching position at Princeton University. According to Connally, Singer seems to support euthanasia for new born babies with disabilities. Connally discusses the morals and values concerning this issue, providing a historical perspective as well as a strong negative to Singer’s ideas. Internet publication URL: www.independentliving.org/column/conn1_00.html.

by: Patrick Wm. Connally, Spring 1999

photo of Patrick Wm. ConnallyPatrick Wm.  ConnallyPatrick William Connally, visionary, DREES President, and founder, has over 20 years experience in Disability Rights/ Independent Living Movement, developing service policy, and provisions. He worked closely and published articles with the late Edward V. Roberts, father of the Independent Living Movement. He has served as a peer review panelist for projects of national significance in Washington, DC and testified before the California State Senate. In December, 1999 came an appointment to the Community Advisory Panel of KQED, the largest public television station in Northern California.

 

One of the most controversial disability topics on the web in the USA is the appointment of Peter Singer, author of "Practical Ethics" to a teaching position at Princeton University. Singer seems to support euthanasia for new born babies with disabilities. Singer is reported to be a leader in the animal rights movement as well.

I used to say to Singers argument, It is okay to kill as long as you eat your kill. I qualified that with I would not invest in disabled baby futures. Jonathan Swift is still worth mining.

Someone on another list pointed out that the babies could be harvested for organs. We have no qualm about killing pigs or baboons or closer primate relatives for organs even though recent research has demonstrated intelligence, emotions, etc. What is to stop creating humanoid genetic matter as a classification and starting an industry to sell spare body parts.

During the last century, kids with disabilities are mention in the media of the time, story books. Admittedly, the most famous disabled kid was Tiny Tim. Charles Dickens, the author sappiness was pulling heartstrings and putting Tiny Tim on a pedestal. But there was discussion of finding a way to help him. There was never a discussion of getting rid of him. My mom just gave me a heirloom of a children's story book from the 1870's. There is a story of dead drummer boys from the American Civil War which from my perspective seems a bit too much for kids. However the little ill girl who is very brave and of social value as an inspiration and a leader of sorts. Her family loves her until she dies. On one level, with the high infant mortality rate of the time, the sentiment was a reconciliation to adults reading this 140 so years ago of the loss of many babies. It also shows for middle class America, disabled children were a part of the family and the family was stronger by having all its members there. The shift to institutions occurred about 20 years later and it was the working and poor classes that filled the places. Why that happened is another book although I would make the case that the middle class with finical and labor resources kept its children at home.

What is going to happen to our social fabric if our future rulers attending Princeton come away with a value structure that is even more elitist than country clubs have instilled. How sheep like the working people and poor become when they give us the choice of killing our children or living stigmatized as fund suckers.

If this value structure is successful, politically it lays the ground work to hide mistakes. It would be nice for some to get rid of all the agent orange babies that a were born to USA infantry people in this country after Vietnam. The number of babies with learning disabilities born to parents who live next to oil refineries could also be suppressed. People most likely will not talk to each other about deciding on death for their babies. This does not take into account the psychological injury of making someone decide that.

I am not for abortion, but I always vote pro choice. I do not have a womb. Being a male my moral choice is to accept responsibility for reproduction or not reproduction. I most strongly support free and universal birth control along with sex education. I strongly support the evidence that over population is the root of poverty and social injustice in our world today. I don't think we should encourage large families or even biological parenthood. But I do support a goal of every child born gets a great environment.

The Singerites argument has the same old flaw, who gets to decide and what resources are available for real choice. Do we give working and poor parents the life or death decision of:

  1. letting their disabled children live. However, most will be impoverishment because of no support and stigmatized as having no judgment. The social traumatizing or even the fear of potential parents to have to make the choice will change our values.
  2. signing off on their infants death.

About Patrick Wm. Connally

Patrick William Connally, visionary, DREES President, and founder, has over 20 years experience in Disability Rights/ Independent Living Movement, developing service policy, and provisions. He worked closely and published articles with the late Edward V. Roberts, father of the Independent Living Movement. He has served as a peer review panelist for projects of national significance in Washington, DC and testified before the California State Senate. In December, 1999 came an appointment to the Community Advisory Panel of KQED, the largest public television station in Northern California.

He is a well know artist and has returned to underground journalism by writing on Disability Issues for local newspapers. People can listen to the real audio interviews with important people to the the disability community on WWW.dizbiz.com such as California's Attorney General Bill Lockyer, the top law enforcement official in California; Holynn D'Lil, who wrote the first accessibility regulation for architecture in the 1970's; Ms. Wheelchair America 1997; and many others from our community.

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