13 September 2007

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian

At the end of the post I made late last night (or early this morning if you want to be pedantic about it) I made a comment to the effect that it didn't really matter that a few thousand hemophiliacs died because of dirty blood products because, after all, it wasn't like they were real men. Then today I stumbled onto to this piece written by Linda Chavez. What can I say? Peter Singer is at the forefront of the animal rights movement. My wife has his books. But, again, because we are "defective" and not really human not even Blacks or Jews or leaders of PETA see anything wrong with discriminating against or eliminating us. You can kill a hemophiliac baby, but don't you dare kill a chicken.


Okay, I've had a couple hours to cool down after writing the paragraph above. My wife pointed out that his comments might have been taken out of context, so I did a little research. Admittedly not a lot, but I tried to give Mr Singer a chance.

According to the FAQ on his web site he does indeed believe killing a hemophiliac infant because he has hemophilia (he says "a serious disability" on his web site) is ethically defensible. His reasoning is that an infant has no sense of its own future and is therefore, in his opinion, not a person; and therefore would less of a loss than an adult. What this sense of future has to do with it is beyond me. Once dead neither an infant nor an adult has any sense of past or present let alone future. (To be fair he does say that killing a "normal" infant would also be ethically defensible—just not as much as a "defective" one. ("Normal" and "defective" are my terms for his classifications, but I think they are accurate.)) Since this defective infant will cause his family to lead a less pleasant life than a normal one would they are justified in getting rid of the one to make room for the other.

In a few days, when I am a bit more rational, I'll try to present my feelings on the sanctity of life and the morality of killing, but for now I'll just say that one of the things he is forgetting is the possibilities. It is possible that the normal baby will grow up to be Charles Manson, and the defective one will grow up to be Richard Burton. (Back in the late 60s or early 70s Richard Burton, of married to Elizabeth Taylor fame, was the spokesman of the National Hemophilia Foundation, partly because he had a mild form of hemophilia b.)
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Running Bear jumped in the water. . .

For the first few years of the camp I was its Waterfront Director. The first year the camp was only for one week, and we had rented an entire private camp for the period. There had never been a summer camp for hemophiliacs before. (New York claims to have had one a year or two before ours, but theirs was a day camp and to our minds did not count. Our boys would be staying there all week, without their parents.) And to tell the truth we were secretly very nervous about the whole thing.

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09 June 2007

They say it's your birthday . . .

I really don’t remember the ride to the hospital. In fact the whole episode might easily have become one of those sharp but separate scenes that make up, as if from a previous life, the memories of my early youth; but it’s where my life takes on a certain continuity of thought and memory that gives it structure, or more to the point, it’s where I begin. I consider it my birth.

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01 June 2007

There's something happening here . . .

One of my majors at EMU (Eastern Michigan University, about six miles and, at that time at least, several cultural light years, east of the University of Michigan) was philosophy. I hadn’t made a conscious decision to major in philosophy, and I certainly didn’t have any kind of existential or metaphysical ax to grind, I just kind of noticed one day that I had accumulated enough credits to make it a second major. As I recall, that was something of a relief because I had been struggling to create a course of study the school would recognize with a degree. The mish mash of classes I had taken over the last several years did not readily fulfill any of the curricula in the catalogue, and making philosophy a major was just what I needed. It wasn’t that I was in any real hurry to graduate, but my wife was hinting that for the sake of the children I might want to wrap things up and move on.

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29 May 2007

Please allow me to introduce myself . . .

I am, I regret to say, not a man of either wealth or fame. I am a middle-aged, edging toward elderly, vaguely retired, over weight man who has decided to try and explain himself to the world. Not that the world has been particularly interested, or confused, about who or what I am, but if I were the kind of person who let a lack of interest deter him I would have had very few second dates in my younger years. The hope is: if I can come close to explaining this jumble of opinions, prejudices and desires clamoring for space inside my head to any of the people who are, most likely, ignoring this exercise in vanity; then I just might have a fighting chance of understanding what's going on in there. We will see.

As far as the easily explained stuff is concerned, I was born in Idaho, grew up in Michigan and currently live in Arizona. After high school I went to Eastern Michigan University (they might try to deny it, but I have proof) where I majored in literature and philosophy. As you might expect, with an educational background like that most of my working life was spent in the transcendental world of retail. For the last twenty-two years I worked in college bookstores, primarily as the textbook buyer. Some months ago I arrived at a place where I could no longer tolerate the campus intrigues and politics, corporate demands, and the general hostility inherent in that occupation and I quit. I will probably be looking for a job in the very near future (I have grown oddly fond of having a home and food to eat), but for now I am retired.

Currently my interests are cooking, literature, music, learning to speak and read Japanese and writing self-indulgent essays about myself. My family means more to me than most people suspect, and is one of the main focal points of my life, but since they have strong opinions about their privacy I will try to avoid dragging them into these little exercises. Suffice it to say that there are current and former wives, two sons and a daughter, a grandson, mother and a couple of siblings et al, and on a good day several of them might be willing to admit we are related. On a really good day a few of the 'et al' will remember; but since I have not yet attained that state that guarantees a huge, loving family (i.e., I haven't won the lottery) I try to leave them in peace, and they show their gratitude by returning the favor.

If you have stumbled onto these pages, or I have badgered you into linking to them and am pacing back and forth behind you waiting to see your reaction, and are still reading—thank you. I hope you will find future episodes witty, humorous, perhaps even interesting. I will, however, in keeping with current communication standards, do my best not to be thought provoking. I have big plans for the future, which is to say I've thought of a topic of another installment. After that it all starts getting rather vague, but then, life gets boring if there is too much certainty.

Grasses are sprouting: My repentance is mild.

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