The Corner

Peter Singer Tells Us How to Give

The New York Times loves Princeton bioethicist, Peter Singer–the world’s foremost apologist for infanticide and Mr. Animal Liberation–often lending their pages to him as an advocacy platform. In Sunday’s op/ed, Singer tells us how to give charitably; not to art museums but to philanthropies established to cure human afflictions. From, “Good Charity, Bad Charity:”

On one side we have 1,000 people spared 15 years of impaired vision followed by 15 years of blindness, with all the ensuing problems that that would cause for poor people with no social security. What do we have on the other side?

Suppose the new museum wing will cost $50 million, and over the 50 years of its expected usefulness, one million people will enjoy seeing it each year, for a total of 50 million enhanced museum visits. Since you would contribute 1/500th of the cost, you could claim credit for the enhanced aesthetic experiences of 100,000 visitors. How does that compare with saving 1,000 people from 15 years of blindness?

Okay. I’m all for giving money to cure human afflictions.

But for Singer to be consistent, it seems to me that he should call for people to stop giving to Princeton, or most particularly, to the Center for Human Values, which pays him to teach that it is okay to kill babies because they are not “persons,” that being human is irrelevant to moral value, and that apes should have human-type rights.

When you look at it through the Singer formula, it would be far better to give to the art museum then the Singer’s Center. At least an art museum seeks to lift the human spirit.


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