Peter Singer is something of a house ethicist for the New York Times and especially beloved of the weak liberal thinker, Nicolas Kristof.
While I think he should be treated the same as if he were a racist for his anti-human equality views, the media here mostly ooh and aah.
That is why I was pleased to see Singer pushed in an interview by a Swiss newspaper to claim that the lives of 200 (or some other number of) pigs should be saved from a fire over that of a single human baby. From the interview (Google translation):
Q: A newborn do not deem worthy of protection than an embryo. On the other hand you do not speak people per se a higher status than to animals.
Singer: Not belonging to the human species makes it morally wrong to kill a living being. Why should all members of the species Homo sapiens have a right to life and other species not? This idea arises only our religious heritage. We have been taught for centuries that man was created in the image of God that God has given us dominion over the animals and that we have immortal souls.
Why? Because if we are not all deemed morally equal–regardless of our capacities, age, or capabilities–there is no way to philosophically sustain universal human rights. Indeed, if our moral value depends on the outcome of our utilitarian-measured characteristics moment, to moment, to moment, no one is safe.
Then, Singer reveals his inner anti-humanism:
Q: If you were standing in front of a burning house, where 200 pigs and a child befänden, and you could save either the animals or the child, what would you do?
Singer: The suffering of animals at some point so great that you should decide to free the animals and not the child. Whether this point is reached at 200 or two million animals, I do not know. But one must not be burned countless animals in order to save a child’s life.
What if it was Singer’s baby? Good grief.
The proper answer would be for Singer to say he could not perceive a circumstance in which the lives of pigs would matter more than that of a human being.
This comment exhibits the same invidious thinking as racism, just different potential victims.
Remember this the next time Nicolas Kristof turns to Singer as an authority in proper morality.