February 23, 2024

Peter Singer: always good for shock value

Peter Singer still backs infanticide and euthanasia

When controversy erupts, some people dive
below the parapet and some people stand up and shoot back. Whatever you think
of his views, Peter Singer at least defends his consistently. Last week, the
Princeton bioethicist appeared on an Australian TV show which throws hardball
questions at a panel of local luminaries.

Inevitably his two most controversial
stands were brought up: infanticide and bestiality. After years of criticism,
he still sees nothing wrong with either of them. It probably helped that he was speaking to
a sympathetic audience which applauded the former and laughed uproariously at
the latter.

Professor Singer sighed that he was not championing
bestiality as a lifestyle choice in the notorious book review he published in 2001; he was merely
expressing his view that there is nothing wrong with it. He felt gratified that
many people subsequently read the review and were relieved to find a
justification for something which they had previously regarded as a “terrible
moral evil”.

As Professor Singer pointed out, this video clip would not have appeared on
mainstream American television. It is rather coarse. For the full transcript,
see Q&A, June 14.

Michael Cook
Peter Singer