The mere fact that Singer is taken seriously is troubling. The gym has its thousand flaws, but still Singer falls short of his standards. Is it possible for an academic to pretend that Noam Chomsky does not exist, for example? And if someone reported, in a paper, that monkeys can learn Libras, would peer review miss it? For this is what Singer does, and on the pretext of justifying the lawfulness of killing members of the species Homo sapiens in certain situations. To support his reasoning, he chooses the authority of the Protestant theologian Joseph Fletcher. Do you know who is? I didn’t know either. He is a notable figure for advocating “euthanasia” for those with Down syndrome on the grounds that they are not human. After teaching a lot of Christian ethics classes at a Protestant university, this guy became an atheist. He is among the founders of Planned Parenthood and the Society for the Right to Die.
Singer’s argument for liberalizing everything from abortion to infanticide and “non-voluntary euthanasia” revolves around arbitrary adoption of counterintuitive definitions and bad science. Let’s start with the definitions.
The man leaves, the person enters
We have seen that, for Singer, ethics must be based on equality, and equality can only be thought of in terms of “equality of interests” – without any mention of human nature. According to him, “a stone has no interests, because it is not capable of suffering” (p. 67). Animals have interests because they are capable of suffering. Singer is a utilitarian, he thinks that the meaning of everyone’s life is, or should be, in seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Thus, he is in the position of planner of the pleasures and pains not only of men, but also of animals. Next to that, communism is a well of humility, since it was limited to the material and the human.
The obvious result of this diffusion of rights is the degradation of the human. . Singer invents the concept of “speciesism” as something analogous to racism, that is, the consideration that the interests of humans are “superior” to those of animals by the mere fact of belonging to the human species. It would be something as reprehensible as whites to treat blacks badly, that is, to disregard their interests. From this comparison, it appears that for Singer there is no racism if planners plan the pleasures of blacks while denying them agency because they consider them intellectually inferior. For my part, I have always found the brazenness with which vegans compare blacks to animals shocking. It sounds like racism, and it is. The door is even open for planners to judge that the lives of blacks are not worth living and, in the name of their interests, to euthanize them.
Well then. In order not to be speciesists, we must no longer consider human life to have value in itself, and to be considered more important than that of an animal. The sacredness of life is interpreted in secular terms as the sacredness of the person’s life. Not every person, however, is human; and, on the other hand, not every human being is a person. Singer understands by man or human being the “member of the species Homo sapiens”; to be a person, however, it is necessary to fulfill some requirements. Which? He begins to reflect on the matter by invoking the authority of Joseph Fletcher: “There is another use of the term ‘human’, this one proposed by Joseph Fletcher, a Protestant theologian and prolific writer on ethical issues. Fletcher made a list of what he calls ‘indicators of humanity’, among which we find: self-awareness, self-control, sense of future and past, ability to relate to others, concern for others, communication and curiosity. This is the meaning of the term that we have in mind when, wanting to praise someone, we say that he is ‘a true human being’ or that he has ‘truly human qualities’. In making such statements, it is evident that we are not referring to the fact that the person belongs to the species Homo sapiens, which, as a biological fact, is rarely placed in doubt; what we mean is that human beings characteristically possess certain qualities and that the person in question possesses them to a high degree. These two senses of ‘human being’ are equivalent, but do not coincide. The embryo, the fetus, the child with profound mental disabilities and the newborn baby itself are all unquestionable of the species Homo sapiens, but none of them is self-aware , has a sense of the future or the ability to relate to others” (p. 96).
To avoid ambiguities, Singer then proposes that we call person more or less what Fletcher calls a “true human being”, and [sic] human the members of the species. Not every human being is a person, therefore (Singer’s list is shorter: a person is one who has self-awareness and rationality). If you are not a person, your life has no sacredness. In this, the reader will ask why become a vegetarian, then. It is because the concern for the pleasure of beings currently existing must be taken into account, and, in Singer’s mind, our pleasure in eating meat is negligible compared to the pleasure that the chicken would have if it continued to live in a backyard.
I think it’s worth policing ourselves to go back to using “man” instead of “person”.
Anecdotal evidence of smart monkey
Anyway, a newborn baby is worth less than a chicken, because the baby has no self-awareness and the chicken has. But it is difficult to say that chickens are rational. Still, Singer does not give up looking for “a person who is not a member of our species” (p. 97). In the chapter “Taking life: animals”, we see a long anecdote that aims to prove that monkeys have the ability to speak and therefore are rational. Gorillas wouldn’t talk just because they don’t have a sophisticated vocal apparatus; that is, by a physical and not intellectual limitation. It would be enough to teach sign language and that’s it: you could talk to a gorilla the same way you talk to a deaf-mute. He lists a number of apes that learned American Sign Language as an example that chimpanzees and gorillas are rational; they just need to be adopted by humans who treat them as deaf and teach sign language. One of the monkeys mentioned is Koko, who, because she was a very media monkey (she hugged Robin Williams and appealed to man to stop destroying the planet), ended up being a notorious fraud. No one argues anymore that Koko should speak. All these monkeys did was learn to make certain signals and make certain sounds when they wanted something. They were, in other words, trained, not rational.
Noam Chomsky did not achieve notoriety for talking nonsense about politics. His great achievement in linguistic science is the creation of the theory of universal grammar. Before him, linguistics was a playground for bahaviorists, who thought that human language came about through training. Chomsky said that man has the innate capacity for language; that we are all born with the structures to understand grammar. Without this innate trait, it would be impossible to learn to speak. He studied languages to point out the existence of universal grammatical constants. The behaviorists, in turn, began to raise a monkey as a child. They were defeated. Only Singer pretends that ape can talk and doesn’t seem to be aware of Chomsky’s feats.
For Singer, then, Koko is a person because he has self-awareness and rationality. A chicken has self-awareness but no rationality. A baby has neither. So, of the trio, only Koko is one person, and only the baby can be killed.
Your reasonings are pigs and arbitrary; sources of it, sinister. It remains to be seen why this man is so publicized and taught in universities.
Why kill?189 )
One of his main concerns is death. Of the twelve chapters, four are about the act of killing: “What is wrong with killing?”, “Taking life: animals”, “Taking life: the embryo and fetus”, “Taking life: the human beings”. From his words, all this concern is driven by altruism. There are lives that are not worth living, and that would be the case of euthanasia. Is there a possibility that euthanasia would be unwilling? Yup. I quote: “Killing someone who has not consented to be killed can only properly be seen as euthanasia when the reason for death [sic – o correto aqui seria ‘assassinato’] is the desire to prevent intolerable suffering of the dead person [sic]. Undoubtedly, it is strange that someone acting with this motive should despise the wishes of the person in whose name and benefit the action is performed. Authentic cases of euthanasia seem to be very rare” (p. 189). It is legitimate to speak of the euthanasia of a person against his/her own will. That is, a man has the right to judge whether the life of others is intolerable; he may kill you for your own good. It is, as I’ve been saying, more intrusive planning than communism.
Note that baby cannot be in this situation, as it cannot consent. In this case, instead of “involuntary euthanasia”, it would be “non-voluntary euthanasia”. As he is less than a chicken, he can kill mercilessly. But why so much interest in killing him? Now, in an article by Spectator that I often quote, Singer mentions that it doesn’t make sense to bring more lives into this already overpopulated world. And there are those who say that neomalthusianism is a conspiracy theory.