No More Generations?

Monday, June 7, AD 2010

On the NYT’s philosophy blog, there was an article written about the decision to have children. I didn’t realize it when I first read it, but it was written by notorious pro-abort Peter Singer (and by notorious, I mean that he’s pro-choice even after birth).

But very few ask whether coming into existence is a good thing for the child itself. Most of those who consider that question probably do so because they have some reason to fear that the child’s life would be especially difficult — for example, if they have a family history of a devastating illness, physical or mental, that cannot yet be detected prenatally

All this suggests that we think it is wrong to bring into the world a child whose prospects for a happy, healthy life are poor, but we don’t usually think the fact that a child is likely to have a happy, healthy life is a reason for bringing the child into existence. This has come to be known among philosophers as “the asymmetry” and it is not easy to justify. But rather than go into the explanations usually proffered — and why they fail — I want to raise a related problem. How good does life have to be, to make it reasonable to bring a child into the world?

A quick observation will point out that Singer assumes that health is a requirement for happiness, an assumption well refuted by many anecdotes about the joy of those who suffer with illness.

However, I find it amazing that Singer is willing to attempt to determine how “good” a child’s life will be.

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12 Responses to No More Generations?

  • I’m beginning to think that Peter Singer is the greatest (unwitting) Christian apologist of our generation.

  • Comment #4 at NYT:
    “Perhaps it’s my depression talking, but I have long maintained that I was done a disservice by being created in the first place. I would not inflict that pain on anyone else.”

    Comment #6:
    “I think about this a lot – so many pregnant women are out there, and I wonder where they find the hope to have children. My son is a young adult, and I feel that the likelihood of his living out a natural lifespan is small. Environmental disaster, terrorism, the end of the world feels awfully close. Frankly, I love the idea of a planet devoid of people, healing itself from our damage, taken over by animals and plants. I don’t think most people lead such fabulous lives, and I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing our beautiful home to let more people slog along.”

    This is what we’re dealing with.

  • Singer makes an odd structural decision in his piece. He lays out all the reasons for not reproducing, and then throws in with no explanation in the last paragraph:

    I do think it would be wrong to choose the non-sentient universe. In my judgment, for most people, life is worth living. Even if that is not yet the case, I am enough of an optimist to believe that, should humans survive for another century or two, we will learn from our past mistakes and bring about a world in which there is far less suffering than there is now. But justifying that choice forces us to reconsider the deep issues with which I began. Is life worth living? Are the interests of a future child a reason for bringing that child into existence? And is the continuance of our species justifiable in the face of our knowledge that it will certainly bring suffering to innocent future human beings?

    Which leaves us with the question: if he think that life is actually worth living, why? Or is this his own blind leap of faith? From what he lays out before, there seems little reason to come to this conclusion. It strikes me as a rather intellectually cowardly approach not to even provide support for your own conclusion.

  • Yes, that struck me too. It does seem that in essence he has faith in progress (and science presumably) that the suffering scales will be tipped.

    What I don’t understand is how it is justified to make the generations in between suffer (including Singer as he continues to live a life not worth living) so that the future generations can enjoy a life worth living.

  • “But you have to give Singer credit for being logical. If there is no good, no purpose in love or sacrifice and no eternal life, then perhaps life is not worth living and humanity ought to cease to exist.”

    Isn’t it none-sense to speak about what will be good or bad for a nonentity? I mean, before conception, “you” don’t exist. And if my life is so bad, how could it be better for me to die when (if you believe the self perishes at death), there is no more “me” in the equation?

    Singer is playing with square circles as if he were doing serious geometry.

  • Singer is playing with square circles as if he were doing serious geometry.

    When I first heard of the David Benatar book Singer cited, I thought the same thing — it’s sheer nonsense. To what entity does the “good” of nonexistence accrue? What does it even mean to talk of “good” if there is no existence to assert what is good or bad?

    These guys need to do some serious reflection on the meaning of Exodus 3:14.

  • Singer’s position seems to be that life may be worth living in the future, so he thinks it’s worth continuing the species in hopes that we get there, and also because most people today already assess life as worth living.

    I took him to be raising questions more than providing answers, so I don’t fault him for not providing more support for his position. He may, in fact, have developed his position quite thoroughly elsewhere.

  • God however, does have the capabilities to sort through all the factors to decide when it is best that a child come into the world.

    Would you say that when each and every child comes into the world, that God has decided it was best?

  • Kyle:

    I have a feeling “best” is the wrong word, b/c I don’t know if there ever if a “best” time for a child. I do think that God finds that it would be good for a child to be born and so it happens. If it would be bad for a child to come into the world, I don’t think it would happen.

  • Wow, someone from Vox-Nova defending Singer. Shocking.

  • Karen,

    Kyle was not defending Singer’s views, he was just trying to figure out what the heck they are. In that regard, he was doing no differently than I.

  • Karen,

    I have no qualms about defending Singer when I think he’s right. In this case, though, I merely noted how I understood his position: I didn’t judge his position as right or wrong.

Sanger: "We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population"

Tuesday, February 9, AD 2010

“We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population”

— Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. [1]

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24 Responses to Sanger: "We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population"

  • The fruit of liberalism, leftism and “Demokracy” which is but the other side of the coin whose head is “Socialism.”

  • I hate to complain, but if we’re going to win the argument on abortion, we need to be fastidious. The quote that you use as a title for this article is badly taken out of context. If you use that particular quote, you’re inviting an embarrassing refutation. Sanger said a lot of things that would offend modern people. Don’t use this one.

  • Yeah, not sure it’s a good idea to have a headline like on a blogpost. It could appear that American Catholic is saying that.

  • Interesting that EMILY’s List has an ad on this vid–are they hoping to cash in on backlash?

  • I have a different complaint. These sorts of arguments aren’t very convincing. Should we boycott Volkswagen because it began as a Nazi program? Convincing pro-choicers of their error requires addressing their concerns, not the concerns of their ancestors.

  • Gee, Volkswagen branched out from trying to kill Undesirables to trying to kill everyone?

    Dang, how did I miss that story?

  • As an American Catholic, the basis of my ‘anger’ with Planned Parenthood is that they receive Federal funding under false pretenses. They are the main US organization to procure and facilitate abortions, the US abortion-brokers, though stated reason for their existence is to provide family planning education.

    From a superficial viewpoint, founding of Planned Parenthood is not unlike the founding of Nazi party in Austria and Germany during the 1930s by a charismatic crackpot supported by those with nefarious and inhumane intent and purpose, that incidentally was detrimental to human society as a whole, and individually by outright killing of fellow humans in an effort to eliminate opposition to their supremacy.(

    The Planned Parenthood gang stoops to lies and distortions to gain political leverage and provide a political platform for one stated purpose while setting the stage for another purpose altogether, in part funded by our tax dollars. This ‘fact’ may be disputed, but I did receive 5-8 expensive colorful fliers in a State political election 3-4 years ago asking for support of their candidate because of unfair authority of ‘pharmacists making decisions about woman’s reproductive rights’ in filling certain type of prescriptions, which was indisputably wrong information.

    According to 2001 estimates, 76% Americans are Christian adherents (with 25% of US population Catholics). This ‘fact’ is barely disputable, with data showing a wide majority of Americans as Christian, and a major denomination the original Christians.

    There is a consistency between Constitutional rights and Christian beliefs that women have a basic right to bear a child, a healthy child as a gift from God, especially if provided necessary attention to fetal growth and development. So is Planned Parenthood promoting support of delivery of healthy babies, even similar to March of Dimes efforts in minimizing congenital birth defects? I think NOT. I don’t this is a debatable fact.

  • Yeah, using that as a headline was a terrible idea, it DOES make it sound like the the blog authors are the ones advocating genocide. The next conclusion one is led to by the picture of Barack Obama under the title is that Obama is the one who said it. It is not explained why a picture of Obama is even included.

  • ….because he’s standing in front of a huge wall covered with “PLANNED PARENTHOOD” in huge, red letters?

    Even if one didn’t know he’d spoken for PP in the past, it does kind of offer a large chunk of dark humor, kind of like having a chicken for the “spokesman” of KFC or something.

  • PP is no different than the KKK.

  • I think that’s a very serious concern as regards the title of this post — and given that know Tito is not able to be at the computer for long stretches at the moment, I’ve gone ahead and edited it.

  • restrainedradical’s Volkswagon comparison would be more convincing if PP no longer lauded its founder.

    Sanger’s portrait hangs in the board room of PP’s Atlanta office. Good luck finding Hitler’s portrait in any VW office.

  • The creation of an affordable People’s Car was actually one of the better and legitimate initiatives of the Third Reich (legitimate from a fascist perspective). A better comparison might be with buying Zyklon B if it were being marketed as a chemical to rid your yard of all pests from Ants to Zionists. I just don’t see that happening.

  • About the first comment… I don’t understand why all Americans seem to just misunderstand the whole of socialism? Would someone please answer?

  • Like the portraits of slaveowners in the White House?

    If the point of this post was to argue that Sanger should not be celebrated, then I join the author and I think even many PP supporters would approve Many would probably support a campaign to remove Sanger’s portrait from the boardroom. Other PP supporters might say that her racism is but a small stain on an otherwise great woman.

    But if the point is to paint PP as racist, you’ll have to provide modern-day evidence. And if the point is to discredit the larger pro-choice movement, you’ll have to tackle the issue of abortion itself, not these tangential stories of Depression-era activists.

    I only point this out because I see this sort of tactic often and I just don’t think it’s effective. To use another analogy, it’d be like someone using the priest sex scandal to imply that the Church is on a mission to molest children.

  • “But if the point is to paint PP as racist, you’ll have to provide modern-day evidence.”

    Perhaps the fact that reps of PP are on tape having no problem accepting a donation from someone who explicitly wishes to have his donation used to abort black kids.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,338529,00.html

    Then we have the charming habit of Planned Parenthood locating their abortion clinics in or adjacent to minority neighborhoods.

  • Hey Foxfier,
    Meebbe we better get rid of the Interstate Highway system while we’re at it–that was another idea that owes some inspiration to the Nazis.;-)

  • Thanks Darwin!

    The quote is attributable 100% to Margaret Sanger.

    tour86Rocker,

    If you can come to those conclusions then let me introduce you to some truthers and birthers.

  • I agree w/ restrained radical. I’m seeing this line of attack cropping up more and more and it disturbs me b/c I think a) it’s not fully accurate and b) it’s ineffective and possibly harmful to our cause.

    The racist roots of planned parenthood and it’s founder don’t necessarily mean that’s what planned parenthood stands for today. Planned parenthood stands for unrestrained sexual freedom and abortion as their cash cow backup plan. Simple. Evil. They think they’re providing a good – that women need these “services” in order to fully realize their freedom. Sex is good. Sex without consequences is better and is the ultimate goal. So yes, they provide their evil twisted services in poor neighborhoods (which tend to be disproportionately minority populated) because that’s where their clients are. That results in a disproportionate impact on black children, but in their eyes that’s disproportionate for the good – minority women are getting what they (and all women) need. I see no evidence of a Sanger-like intent to reduce the number of black children b/c they are undesirable. Abortion and sexual freedom are the only desired ends here. As for the undercover tapes, I never found them as damning as everyone else did. Certainly it showed me that PP people have no principles (though, what do you expect from people who literally make their living on blood money). However, I don’t think it evidenced a racist motivation on their part. They think they’re providing a good and I’m SURE that look at minority specific donations as a benefit to a poor minority (like a minority specific college scholarship). That they didn’t care that the person giving the money was a racist doesn’t mean they were acting in a racially motivated way. Even the one employee who said she “was excited b/c she’d never done this before” seemed to me to be stalling for time and trying not to piss off the caller so she could still get the money. Again – no principles at all, but none of them seemed to be REALLY agreeing w/ the caller so much as yessing him just to get the money.

    We don’t need this line of argument b/c I think it is open to valid dispute. The pro-life movement has everything it needs in the scientific fact that a human life is being taken. Point out the disparate effects, sure (just like it’s good to point out that 1/3 of this generation is missing). However, it’s counterproductive to attribute that impact to a racial motivation that I see very little evidence for.

  • CT,

    I respectfully beg to differ.

    I am on the board of a pro-life organization and am quite familiar with the many practices that PP does.

    The racist beginnings of PP are carried on through their policies and actions.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57526

    I can see your point to a certain degree, but if we are playing by the liberal playing book, then PP is inheritantly racist and they should be called out for it.

    Especially when a the first president of African heritage has spoken at a PP event, it’s amazing how Margaret Sangers plan to use “social activists” within the “negro community” has panned out.

  • Perhaps the confusion is between the word ‘racist’ and ‘eugenicist’. PP is formerly named the Birth Control League and it was designed to exterminate the ‘inferiors’ so that we can be the masters of our own evolutionary process and become gods. Yeah, in its simplest form PP is the modern manifestation of the first lie.

    As for the modern agenda of PP, it is no different than it ever was. The only difference is the masterful deceit of masking the true intentions with socially acceptable images and politically correct terms.

    Anyone, especially a professed Catholic, that thinks PP is simply trying to help women make choices is sorely misguided. The are designed to kill as many babies as possible because lower-forms of humanity are a cancer on the planet and for our master race to thrive we need to reduce the population of undesirables including effete fag**ts, nig**rs, kik*s and the lowest of the low: Orthodox CATHOLICS.

    Ugly words. Face the truth. This is what PP is all about. Be honest. There is nothing defensible about this anti-human conspiracy.

    Not to mention their desire to engineer humans with embryonic stem cell and cloning technology. The massive dollar supporters of PP want to engineer eternal life for themselves to reign as gods over their homo-simian slaves. It is insanity.

  • American Knight, I’m not sure if something in my post lead you to believe PP is “simply trying to help women make choices.” I know PP has an evil agenda. But I just haven’t seen any evidence that this agenda is currently racist at an organizational level. Yes they are designed to kill as many babies as possible, but I don’t know that they care which babies they kill (ie I see no design to kill black babies b/c they’re black). They’ll kill anyone’s baby as long as they pay and I don’t think they care at all how that falls on the racial spectrum.

    Tito, I still don’t see how those investigations show racism on the part of the employees rather than an indifference to the racism of the caller so long as money is coming their way. Now, maybe that indifference IS a sort of racism and I’ll give you that. But the accusation is that PP in it’s current form carries forth the same overt/race-elimination kind of racism that it’s founder had. I would like to see more than quotes from their founders and videos showing that employees don’t care where their money comes from.

    Just for the record – I absolutely abhor PP and in NO way do I think they provide anything good for anyone. In my above post, I was referring to PP supporters’ subjective perspectives that abortion is a good thing to provide for women.

  • CT, I hope I did not make you feel as though I thought you support Planned Parenthood. I was just emphasizing that their agenda is a general reduction in population with a specific emphasis on the ‘undesirables”. The largest percentage of killing centers are in ‘minority’ neighborhoods. A third of the babies killed are black. Poor whites and South American Indians are considered as undesirable as Negros.

    Planned Parenthood is ultimately a tool of the Devil; however, it has a human face and the humans that perpetrate it are in favor of having a small white Super Race rule the world and a ‘manageable’ amount (500,000,000 or so) of sub-human, engineered homo-simian slaves. This only sounds like science fiction until the science catches up with the fiction. The fiction is not a fantasy it is an evil delusion that is shared by a sick cadre of rich trans-national eugenicists.

    To think otherwise is to disregard a large part of the New Testament. Don’t give the Devil and his minions the benefit of the doubt. The Evil One is real and he presents destruction as a pleasurable goal.

  • Here’s the thing. If a neutral person were to read that quote, “we want to exterminate the Negro population”, they’d assume that Sanger was a monster. But they might also find the whole quote on any number of internet sites:

    “The minister’s work is also important, and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation, as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs.”

    Sanger wasn’t calling for the extermination of black people in that quote, she was seeking to prevent that false impression from getting out. The truth is, she didn’t want to exterminate them, she just wanted to thin out their numbers because she believed them to be inferior. Given that truth, we shouldn’t use selective editing to make it sound worse than it is. There are plenty of words and actions of Sanger’s that can make the argument fairly.