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Peter Singer: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hypocrisy

November 11, AD2013 48 Comments

As a member of the Homo sapiens species, I have always found it blatantly paradoxical that the very people who purport the stringent ground rules for the legitimacy of life, whether in or outside the womb, healthy or infirmed, are themselves blessed, if not merely lucky, to have survived birth to live without someone condemning them to death just for breathing.  Despite the Gospel of Life, we continually embrace the extremist philosophies that promote a Culture of Death.

“Membership of the species Homo sapiens 

is not enough to confer a right to life.”

There was a time when the world heard the nonsensical ravings of a madman and rejected them as absurd, preposterous, and too outlandish to take seriously.  And yet, the world watched as one man, a fascist and anti-Semite, propelled a whole country, and portions of the world, to believe that Aryans were the superior race, and thus began to  “ethnically ” cleanse their society, eliminate inferiors, and attempted to redefine the framework of the Homo sapiens.   One might think the above quote was from that particular infamous madman.  It is not the words of Adolf Hitler.  The statement is by the Australian moral philosopher and bio-ethicist, Peter Singer; the acclaimed utilitarian who is regarded by liberal academics and the political elite as the perhaps the most respected ethical philosopher alive today.

Like Hitler, Peter Singer ardently believes and postulates that the value of life should be determined by selective reasoning.  And like Hitler, Peter Singer is a hypocrite with the charismatic ability to persuade self-absorbed pliable minds to believe his rhetoric of determining the right to life.  How ironic that Singer is the son of Jewish parents who escaped Nazi-ruled Vienna in 1938.

The Utilitarian Focus

How many times throughout history have we heard the vindication used,  “The end justifies the means? ”

This mentality is an offshoot of utilitarianism, which is based upon, if not merely the modernized version of, the ancient philosophy of hedonism.  Defined by the claims that pleasure and pain motivates us, utilitarianism is the belief that the sole standard of morality is determined by an issue ‘s usefulness.  Christianity is based upon God’s law and morals with consequences, whereas utilitarianism is based upon man ‘s justified results; “for the greater good. ”

Utilitarianism began with the philosophies of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).   The brand,  “utilitarianism, ” gets its name from Bentham’s test question:   “What is the use of it? ” After reading Joseph Priestly ‘s Treatise of  Government, Bentham conceived his philosophy based upon Priestly ‘s words, “the greatest happiness of the greatest number. ”  Thus Bentham developed his ethical philosophy based upon the idea of achieving pleasure while avoiding pain, referred to as the “utilitarian calculus”.  Bentham advocated that an act is moral if it brings the greatest amount of pleasure and the least amount of pain to the greatest number.  Bentham believed that pain and pleasure not only  justify  our actions, but also help us define what is good and moral.  He believed that this foundation could provide a basis for social, legal, and moral reform in society.

Inspired by Bentham’s example, John Stuart Mill came along and modified the scope of utilitarian philosophy. Where Bentham established an act-based utilitarianism, Mill established a rule-based  utilitarianism.  According to Mill, one calculates what is right by comparing the consequences of all relevant agents of alternative rules for a particular circumstance. This is done by comparing all relevant similar circumstances or settings at any time, thus making almost anything we choose to do justifiable.  The utilitarian philosophy maintains that each person is governed by their own internal compass.  No one is accountable to a Divine Entity, and thus no one set of standards applies to each person.  Since the end justifies the means for the great good of one’s self or humanity, a decision, a choice, an action is predicated on the perceived outcome.

Adolf Hitler believed and successfully convinced others to support his systematic annihilation of any ethnic group that did not fit his idea of a Master Race, because it was for the greater good.  This effort  included not only the Jewish people, but people of color, homosexuals, gypsies, the physically and mentally challenged, and the infirmed.  Thus, Hitler believed that by eliminating the world of these unacceptable individuals, he and his followers would make the world a much better place for the majority of people; thus, the end justified the means.

The Hypocrisy of Hitler

Recent research and DNA results show that Hitler was more likely of Jewish and African lineage. Hypothetically, perhaps fully aware of his family’s lineage, and ashamed that his genealogy didn’t hold more “noble ” genes, Hitler felt compelled, insanely driven, to remove himself from any such reference by creating this Master Race of his own design.  Another irony is Hitler with an olive complexion, dark hair and eyes, sought to create a race of blond-haired blue-eyed humans. Some biographers have also speculated that after Hitler was spurned by a Jewish girl while in his teens, it left him heartbroken and bitter. This is not to suffice that if this young woman had accepted Hitler ‘s affections, the Holocaust would have been avoided.  It is to merely say that here is a man who condemned an entire race of people when in truth he was more closely identified with them than once thought.

No one will ever know the real motivations that compelled Hitler to execute the most horrific ethnic cleansing preceding the Rwandan Genocide.  But his accomplishment has left humanity an indelible testimony to how vulnerable we human beings are when we turn our eyes away from God and allow man to define the face of humanity.

Ultimately, Hitler’s warped perspectives proved not to be worthy of defense.  The shameful coward, guilty of murdering millions for the sake of his own perceived Master Race utopia, killed himself rather than be held accountable for his beliefs and actions, thus proving himself a hypocrite.

Peter Singer’s Propaganda

Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, and a laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne.  He views filter  through a utilitarian lens, and thus a secular perspective on life issues such as animal rights, human rights, initiatives to eradicating poverty, and implementing stringent population control.  He is best recognized for his groundbreaking book entitled, Animal Liberation published in 1975.  His perspective on animal rights has been embraced as the pinnacle of intellect in defining man s obligation to animal protection.  Meanwhile, he has also been outspoken about the normalcy of  “consensual” sex between humans and animals.  Singer’s main premise is that humans’ current perception and treatment of animals is morally indefensible.  Yet, in stark contrast, Singer views terminating a human life that is less than perfect as defensible.

To appreciate the Singer ‘s philosophy on life, it is best to listen to Singer’s own words.

–   “The notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.”

–   “The traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological and demographic developments.”

–    “I ‘m a Utilitarian, so I don ‘t see the rule against lying as absolute; it ‘s always subject to some overriding utility which may prevent its exercise. “

–    “To be a utilitarian means that you judge actions as right or wrong in accordance with whether they have good consequences. So you try to do what will have the best consequences for all of those 

–    “The life of a fetus is of no greater value than the life of a nonhuman animal at a similar level of rationality, self-consciousness, awareness, capacity to feel, etc. If we compare a severely defective human infant with a nonhuman animal, a dog or a pig, for example, we will often find the nonhuman to have superior capacities, both actual and potential, for rationality, self-consciousness, communication and anything else that can plausibly be considered morally significant.”

–    “When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed. The loss of happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of a happier life for the second. Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him.”

If we ever implement Singer’s philosophy, think of what we will lose.  Singer advocates  trading a disabled or  “defective ” child for one that has a better prospect of  a happy life, reinforcing the already troubling trend in our culture of selective genetics.  From Singer’s perspective accomplished human beings such as Helen KellerCharles KrauthammerStephen HawkingChristopher ReeveItzhak PerlmanFranklin RooseveltStevie Wonder and Ray Charles would have been euthanized, because in Singer’s mind they are defective human beings and are incapable of living a happy and productive life.

Opposition Takes Aim

Some of the most acclaimed and well-respected philosophers find Singer’s assessments frightening, while others view him has a forward-thinking academic with respected credentials addressing difficult issues with sound reasoning.  However, although his strongest opponents may respect his accomplishments, they are cognizant that Singer’s philosophy on the value of life is contrary to Christian and Judeo teachings, and is very dangerous.  Professor Donald DeMarco, refers to him – – – the “Architect of the Culture of Death”.  Donald DeMarco, PhD is a Senior Fellow of HLI America, an Initiative of Human Life International. He is Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, CT.  DeMarco says, ” The new tradition that Peter Singer welcomes is founded on a “quality-of-life” ethic. It allegedly replaces the outgoing morality that is based on the “sanctity-of-life.”   

Singer is often compared to Joseph Mengele, nicknamed The Angel Of Death, who was the Auschwitz Nazi-doctor that performed medical experiments of unspeakable horror in seeking to clone Hitler’s idea of a Master Race.  There is a haunting similarity in Singer’s concepts to that of Mengele. Singer ‘s book entitled “Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics” has been coined the ‘Mein Kampf of the euthanasia movement. ‘  From Singer’s perspective, a nonproductive human being is an expendable human being, and therefore, the killing of that human being is justifiable.

Mengele said, ” The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.”  This chilling statement is a sinister reminder that the more we are seduced into accepting any philosophy that is contrary to God’s teachings, the more inclined we are to forget that we were ever duped.

The Hypocrisy of Peter Singer

When Michael Specter, writer for The New Yorker, and author of the book entitled, \” Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,”  interviewed Peter Singer for an article, Specter said about the interview:  

“He [Singer] told me that he has no respect for people who donate funds for research on breast cancer or heart disease in the hope that it might indirectly save them or members of their family from illness, since they could be using that money to save the lives of the poor.   “That is not charity, ” he said.  “It ‘s self-interest. ”  

Based upon Singer’s assertion and his personal choices, Singer’s ardent worldview on the value of life and justification of death flunks the reality test.

When Singer’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he didn’t starve his mother to death.  He didn’t deny her quality of care.  He didn’t withhold funding to attend to her care, and instead, donate those funds to feed the impoverished.  On the contrary, he chose to contradict his lifelong pontifications by spending thousands of dollars to provide quality care for his mother in a nursing home. He chose to provide for her the most basic care and comfort deserved for every human being instead of terminating her life, because she was  “defective. ”

When the Singer was confronted with the hypocrisy, the staunch advocate for euthanasia justified his actions with this matter-of-fact statement:   “It s not the best use you could make of my money, that’s true.  But it does provide employment for a number of people who find something worthwhile in what they’re doing. “

So there we have it. Peter Singer ‘s authentic philosophy on life and death: ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ Like Hitler, who was able to charismatically inspire people to embrace his ideology and chose not to live and stand up defending it, Singer is nothing more than an attention seeking introvert academic who refuses to live by his own principles.  He seeks control over others by imposing criteria that he wishes to see them live by, but would never dream of embracing himself.

The Gospel of Life

We are given the Gospel of Life from Our Heavenly Father.  It is clear, concise and irrefutable.  It does not require any amendments or appendices.  Yet, we have a pathetic history of embracing charlatans who are merely hypocrites that thrive on attention-seeking and control.  Nothing more.  They do not live by the same principles that they wish to impose on others. Two additional hypocrites that constantly remind me of our short-sighted vulnerability are Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan.  Here are two women who single-handedly adversely changed God’s definition of divine femininity for women, and thus the quality of life for children. We are still paying the price for that poor judgment.

St. Paul warned the Roman Christians against self-seeking teachers, who had no purpose but their own personal gratification.  “For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but they own appetites and by fair and flattering speech they deceive the hears of the innocent. ” [Romans 16:18]

In his Evangelium Vitae, Blessed Pope John Paul II writes  “The role of families in proclaiming the Gospel of Life and building a “culture of life”, the pope says, “is decisive and irreplaceable”, and involves education, formation of consciences, as well as prayer and worship (§93). “There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person’s dignity and without respect for his or her rights. Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted”, Pope John Paul writes (§101).

When we stop giving these  “Architects of Death ” the time and attention they do not deserve, and devote our energy in supporting and promoting the Gospel of Life above all things, in all circumstances, and in all situations, eventually the babbling propaganda of the Peter Singers of this world will fall on deaf ears, and be dismissed for who they truly are.

© 2013 Diane McKelva.  All rights reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Recognized as the former Editor in Chief, Diane McKelva is now the Editor Emeritus of Catholic Stand. You can learn more about Diane and her work here.

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