Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011

Peter Singer

I don't think you can totally generalize from one act to a society as a whole — that would be too much of a judgment. To me the more significant aspect is that we allow people to get guns so easily, and not just any guns but semi-automatics, which can kill a large number of people in a very short time. That seems to me to be completely insane, and the U.S. is the only developed country in the world that does it. I think the NRA has blood on its hands, clearly. If those weapons were not available, maybe one or two people would have been killed, but not six or seven, as it may turn out to be. So I think that's the issue that the U.S. really needs to look at. I think that's been obvious for a very long time but this just shows it very clearly."

If you're referring to heated political rhetoric, I think some of the rhetoric has been crazily over-the-top, and there are a lot of people in the U.S. who hold what I think are nutty views about the dangers of government providing health care, for example — once again every developed country in the world except the U.S. provides health care to all its citizens, and I think those countries are just as free as the U.S. So I think there are a lot of crazy views out there and yes, there is a problem with that. I'm not sure how much you can pin on a single incident. If that's the view you want to independently grab from looking at the rhetoric, and it's certainly something that I've thought for a long time, following the debate about health care, and contributed to it. I think there really are a crazy views in the U.S. which seem to be held by quite a lot of people, but I suppose you could say that if tens of millions of people hold these views, it's not surprising one should be crazy enough to want to kill people because of them. That's a possible implication.