Title from 1 Corinthians 6:18a.

I’m just waiting here for the library to open in a few minutes…then it’s serious paper grind time.

Reading over R. Mildred’s piece, I followed some links around to some response to Peter Singer’s utilitarian ethic of life, where I encounter his phrase:

“Non-Persons with disabilities”

An evil and depraved mimicry of the language with which the disabilities community has tried to place personhood before difference, this is quite possibly the most wicked thing I’ve read all week. Coming not from ignorance or marginalization, but from the comfortable repose of the academic life, Singer willfully refuses to acknowledge the testament of the disabilities community that we indeed lead lives worth living.

Throwing up terms such as “clouded”, “frustrated,” and “un-realized” to describe the lives and potentials of those with disabilities, he engages in a dilettante’s defense of genocide, a casual argument for the annihilation of countless people. What is a frustrated life? To be queer in a straight society? A woman under pressure from a patriarchal culture? To be a person of color in a white dominated world?

Living as a person in a “world system whose major economic impulses and cultural investments are directed away” from you? (Bhabha, LoC, as always) This world is not made for a person with disabilities, and the structure of the assumptions of society enforce an exclusion that is both casual and active. The stairs to a courthouse bar access just as much as the prejudice one might encounter within. This world is not made for a person with disabilities, and I will tell you that this is a choice. Is the world made for you?

Singer claims that his policies are not racist because racial discrimination is fundamentally illogical, where preference for ability over disability is self-evident. If you will believe this, what else will you believe?

We, the people, lead frustrated and clouded lives. And we claim a deep dignity in living into that reality as best we can. The alternative is to accept the decimating pressure of the world, to assent to our status as non-persons, and to die.

I do not advance an idea of chronological privilege for the memories of disabilities communities within the history of genocide, but the fact remains that Operation T4 was historically the proving ground for Nazi ideology, and one of the first portends of the coming storm. It is an instructive example on how evil learns, the mundane progress of the science of death. The watchword was always efficiency. Benefit.

Advancing another utilitarian argument, German textbooks asked children how many houses could have been constructed were funds not needed for the building of institutions for the mentally ill.

Denys Turner states that “you have to lie, in order to kill people.” There is the lie of erasure, Singer’s deliberate unknowing of the lives and realities of the disabled from any perspective other than disgust and fear. There is the lie of efficiency, the Nazi textbook math. Simple, logical, lies of the most limited and choked truth, the congruence of details at the expense of humanity.

Do you not know that your body is a temple…and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Cor 6:19-20

-sly

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