Good afternoon Judy,
Freedom of speech does not guarantee equal access. Access to the media,
public opinion, and there is the rub. The freedom argument becomes then as
relevant as the freedom to bear arms. There is an equal freedom to not be
heard, to get killed or worse. It is more to do with clout and power I
suspect, and maybe we should try to learn to defend ourselves better by, as
you suggested I think, channeling more of our energy outward towards the
world that is largely populated by people who don't know, and don't care.
Have a good weekend, rgds John
From: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
To: Disability research List <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 10 July, 1999 10:16
Subject: Free Speech (was Re:Demonising Peter Singer)
>Gregor et al,
>About free speech:
>> Disabled groups for thew
>> most part have not much money. Obviously people who like Singer's
>> and work have no problem in finding money to invite Singer all over
>> world. This is an unevenness as to who hears whom and in that way free
>> speech becomes a tool for the powerful to justify themselves
>I'm not sure this argument is correct - Peter Singer made his reputation
>via his ideas on Animal Liberation - not something that the "powerful"
>took kindly to. He then went on to write a number of works on
>philosophical issues, in accessible language, that attracted an
>I don't want to dismiss your idea that there is discrimination which
>prevents disability activist writers reaching a popular audience - I just
>don't know enough of what goes on - but I do know that a lot of disability
>writers put a hell of a lot of energy into writing for each other, for
>obscure journals, for poorly publicised academic publishers, for limited
>conferences, for ill-attended seminars, and often in incomprehensible
>language, not to mention lurking on lists like this. I'm wondering what
>prevents that energy from getting out and finding a wider audience? (I
>might ask myself the same question, I must admit.)
>> What should disabled peple do to confront people like Singer?
>> We can't do it on academic level (we are just not enough academics out
>Well, he's just one man, isnt he? Have any of the philosopher of the
>disability rights movement attempted to dialogue with him?
>> In Germany to that time the disabled people felt they only had one way
>> to block him from speaking.
>Yes, I can understand that you do have to be dramatic to get any media
>> By the way. I find it dqangerous to focuss to much on Singer as thereare
>> many USA bioethicists who write for decades he same as what Singer
>> writes(Joseph Fletcher Tristam Engelhardt to name just two.)
>Yes, that was my original question, why was Singer singled out? My partial
>answer, an anti-semitic undercurrent, doesn't seem to have found any
>supporters, even amongst other Jews - so I hope I was wrong. Maybe it was
>simply, that he has the highest profile because he has made the choice to
>write to a wider, non-specialist audience.