Problem: Climate change causes human suffering. Solution: End the human race.June 22, 2010
A recent comment by Peter Singer illustrates the incredible mind-numbing depth of climate change hysteria.
Who is Peter Singer?
Singer was an unsuccessful Green party candidate for the Australian senate and the former chair of the Philosophy Department at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Now he is a professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. But he is not a simple academic laboring on obscure research in the dusty bowels of the university library. Not at all. He has a way of drawing the glare of the limelight in his direction.
You may recall his name in connection with two accomplishments. The first is his book, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for our Treatment of Animals, published in 1975. The second was his controversial appointment to his current position at Princeton, despite the outcry from advocates for the disabled who have an existential objection to his calls for easy euthanasia and infanticide. Animal rights activist and fellow philosopher, Stephen Best, points out that in Animal Liberation Singer puts forth the view that…
“when thinking about the moral status of animals, “The question is not Can they reason? nor Can they speak?’ but, `Can they suffer?” Cutting through the tangled web of human prejudices against animals, and the Western idea that reason forms the human essence, Singer argues that the ability of animals to feel pain and pleasure puts them on a plane of moral equivalence with us.”
Oddly, Singer seems to put the bar quite a bit higher for the moral status of human infants. In his book Practical Ethics, Singer tells us…
“Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons…the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”
You get the idea. Animals can feel pain and pleasure, so they are equivalent to us. But human infants, who can also feel pain and pleasure don’t quite make the cut.
The ultimate inanity of climate alarmism
Singer recently showed up in the online pages of the New York Times (naturally) opinion section asking “How good does life have to be, to make it reasonable to bring a child into the world?”
He introduces us to the philosophical pedigree, starting with Arthur Schopenhauer in the 19th century and leading up to today’s South African philosopher David Benatar, that argues a good life is of no benefit the person that lives it, but a bad life causes suffering for the person that lives it. (This line of reasoning is technically known as “vita combibo , tunc vos intereo.” Look it up.)
This is where it starts getting really good. Singer plumbs the depths of his gigantic intellect to draw forth an example that will make it all clear to us lesser minds…
“Here is a thought experiment to test our attitudes to this view. Most thoughtful people are extremely concerned about climate change. Some stop eating meat, or flying abroad on vacation, in order to reduce their carbon footprint. But the people who will be most severely harmed by climate change have not yet been conceived. If there were to be no future generations, there would be much less for us to feel to guilty about.
So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would all agree to have ourselves sterilized then no sacrifices would be required…
Of course, it would be impossible to get agreement on universal sterilization, but just imagine that we could…we can get rid of all that guilt about what we are doing to future generations — and it doesn’t make anyone worse off, because there won’t be anyone else to be worse off.”
There you have it. No alarmism here.