Typically for Mondays, we give you some bit of hi-jinx or other tomfoolery for “Monday Mischief,” but today being Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we’re going to break for a somewhat more serious note.
We’re all familiar with the great Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered on August 28th, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
Perhaps the most famous line of this speech is:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
In honor of Dr. King, we want to share a quote from the famous Australian moral philosopher, Peter Singer, whose book, Practical Ethics – Third Edition, is our current reading material for story time (those of you unfamiliar with our doggy story time should check out Gilligan’s first Barks and Books book review). True, this is fairly adult material, but Gilligan is now 28 dog years and counting, so at this age he can handle these advanced topics.
In Practical Ethics, Singer shares compelling reasoning that challenges us to consider the inherent value of the life of all species. We’ll share a passage that we highlighted which strikes us as somewhat similar in nature to Dr. King’s, above (except with the idea being to extended certain rights to all living creatures), in which Singer quotes an earlier philosopher, Jeremy Bentham:
In a forward-looking passage, written at a time when African slaves inthe British dominions were still being treated much as we now treat non-human animals, Bentham wrote:
‘The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognised that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate.’
Singer is also author of an earlier work, Animal Liberation (1975), and is often noted as the founder of the popular movement by the same name. The first edition of Practical Ethics was published in 1980.
We will be bringing you a formal review of Practical Ethics – Third Edition, in a future episode of our “Barks and Books” book review segment.
Happy Martin Luther King Day!
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