Preventing legalisation of euthanasia in a society surely starts with providing kids with sound ethical frameworks by which to evaluate such laws.
In the State Parliament of New South Wales, an Inquiry is ongoing to evaluate the worth of ethics classes provided to children whose parents do not wish them to attend classes based on Scripture.
Recently, Catherine Suttie, the ethics program coordinator at Sydney’s Randwick Public School, appearing as a witness to the Inquiry, on behalf of Parents 4 Ethics. Suttie professed not to have heard much about the utilitarian philosopher, Professor Peter Singer. She was ignorant not only of Singer’s views on the possibility of sexual relations between humans and animals, but also, more worryingly, of his belief that some children with disabilities should be euthanised.
Whilst children may not be asked directly to consider euthanasia or inter-species sexual relations, the prospect of children being taught utilitarian thinking, as a method equal to any other for organising and making sense of their lives, is disturbing. How would it affect relations between students from different backgrounds, with or without disabilities, many of whom may not be able to see the limitations of such philosophy?
It is to be expected that one of those protesting so much at the scrutiny of Singer’s philosophy and its place in schools is a Greens MP. Peter Singer co-authored the Greens Party’s Manifesto, which includes the introduction of euthanasia laws as one of the Party’s ideals.