Call the Exterminator -- It's Peter Singer Again

By John "Birdman" Bryant


From a recent article about philosopher-of-ethics Peter Singer ("Kill a Baby? It's O.K. by Newly Hired Princeton Prof", Campus Report Sep 1998: 1), it is easy to deduce that the problem with this particular academic is not merely that he is a liberal, but that he is not consistent in his liberalism. In particular, as a liberal, he wants to say not only that all men are created equal, but all living things -- a philosophical position which, as far as I know, is nameless -- possibly because that makes it more difficult to ridicule -- and which is defined entirely by the slur which it attempts to attach to its opposition, speciesism, a Godawful awkwardian word evidently modeled after the equally preposterous racism. Singer, it may be noted, would make perfectly good sense as a Hindu, since Hindus believe in the transmigration of souls, which means that the fly you just swatted could be your poor dead grandfather. But he makes no sense at all by most sensible criteria of comparing species -- degree of intelligence, power to transform the world, creativity, consciousness, and the like -- all of which humans have in abundance, unlike most other living things. But Singer's real problem is that the liberal basis of his philosophy -- the rejection of "racism", "sexism" and similar isms -- is so obviously wrong that it could only be adopted by a King's-New-Clothes mentality afraid to tell women that they can't be men, afraid to tell blacks that they should not usually aspire to be much more than janitors, factotums or drug dealers unless they can run or play basketball, and afraid to tell Jews that they are helping to ruin Western civilization with their support of liberal nonsense.

But if Singer's Universal Equalitarianism, as it might be called, is not bad enuf, Singer introduces a logical inconsistency into his philosophy by supporting abortion and mercy killing -- after all, what kind of equality is it that supports killing humans but forbids killing animals? Furthermore, he contradicts UE by stating that if an entity such as a human baby has no concept of the future, there is no ethical objection to killing it -- a position which would seem to embrace killing animals for food, and yet which in Singer's philosophy is "speciesist".

But the fact that Singer embraces the idiocy of raising animals to the status of humans while giving his ethical imprimatur to mercy killing and abortion is not the worst of his sins; for he is not merely being both idiotic and logically inconsistent, but at the same time he is displaying a deep prejudice against his own (human) kind. We might think that this man who will not wear leather shoes or eat meat and yet has no problems with abortion is not just confused, but is actually a kind of monkey-wrenching ogre who would be more than happy to set off a deadly disease or a nuclear holocaust that would wipe out humanity -- even including his own ridiculous self -- while leaving his meek animal friends to inherit the earth -- and the wind.

Because Singer is a utilitarian, he believes ethical behavior is that which promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Thus it seems to me that Singer is compelled by his own philosophy of ethics to stop writing, burn his books, and commit suicide.

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