My son asked me “Is Princeton a good school?” I didn’t quite know how to answer that. It’s an old school. It’s a school with a great reputation. It’s expensive. It has its pick of the nation’s best students. It also employs Paul Krugman and Peter Singer.
What!? You don’t know who Peter Singer is, but you think he might be some old Leftist folk singer? (No, that’s Pete Seeger.) Peter Singer is a world renowned “ethicist,” and sits in an endowed chair at Princeton. I’ve blogged about him before:
Peter Singer, for example, holds an endowed chair at Princeton. His books include Should the Baby Live?: The Problem of Handicapped Infants (Studies in Bioethics),Animal Liberation and In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave. Should the Baby Live pretty much sums up the man’s philosophy: he advocates euthanizing handicapped infants. (Sarah Palin apparently forgot to read this book.) He is, of course, reviled by the handicapped community (and rightly so).
The moral abyss Singer creates with his euthanasia musings is highlighted by the fact that his animal liberation writings make him a founding father of the animal rights movement — a movement that’s come to full flower in PETA insanity (which analogizes the death of chickens to the death of Jews in Hitler’s gas chambers). Singer explicitly believes that a healthy animal has greater rights than a sick person. (As a side point, Singer has also made clear that he has no moral problem with bestiality, provided that the animal consents. Amusingly, this last viewpoint has put Singer at odds with the same animal rights movement he was so instrumental in creating.)
So, really, how good is Princeton if it elevates someone who is, I think, genuinely evil, in bland, clinical fashion, to such rarefied and august heights — and gives him access to and control over young and malleable minds?
I mention Singer, who is a pet peeve of mine, because I’d like to introduce you to a post by a young man I know. The post looks at good and evil, and the decisions people make to be one or another. It is a worthwhile post on its own merits. What makes it a little more special is because it is written (as is the whole blog Ido in Autismland) by a young man who wouldn’t pass Singer’s survival test. (Although Ido might have made it through the danger zone, because his autism didn’t manifest itself until after the 30 day window Singer advocates for euthanizing “imperfect” infants.)
Ido is technically “imperfect” because his autism limits his oral communication skills and physical coordination. He’s hyper-perfect because his senses are much more developed than yours and mine. You and I see a car drive by at night with its headlights on. Ido sees a kaleidoscopic burst of colors shimmering through the night sky. He’s completely ordinary because, behind the oral constraints, he’s got a young man’s mind, grappling with both the mundane and less mundane problems of daily life as well as existential issues that affect the world at large. He’s above average because he’s extremely bright, with exceptional verbal skills that you can see in his blog posts, all of which he authors himself.
Peter Singer, exercising his free will, is disdainful of people like Ido, although he’s pretty sure all cats, rats and cows should have rights at least equal to humans, and rights superior to humans who don’t meet Singer’s exacting standards.
While I have my doubts about Princeton, I have no doubts whatsoever about Ido’s world view. Check out Ido in Autismland, which is always interesting and often inspiring.
Cross-posted at Bookworm Room