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“Many of us are rightly concerned about whether our planet can support a human population that has surpassed seven billion,” Singer concludes in the Project Syndicate piece. “But we should think of the size of the human population not just in terms of numbers, but also in terms of its mass. If we value both sustainable human well-being and our planet’s natural environment, my weight—and yours—is everyone’s business.”
If such a private matter as one’s weight is the public’s business, then the question arises as to what, precisely, remains one’s private business? One’s finances, one’s weight, one’s choice of doctor, one’s plasma-screen television, and even the meat on one’s plate all become the business of Big Brother in Singer’s expansive vision of the state. Singer’s is the logic of totalitarianism. Since any private action can be rationalized as having a public consequence, all becomes the interest of the government. Singer advocates copious limits on private behavior. Where are the checks on the state’s gargantuan appetite?
The enormous arrogance required to force people onto scales as a prerequisite to boarding a flight is a natural consequence of Singer’s philosophy. The Ivy League philosopher is an heir to the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, the idea that whatever maximizes the greatest pleasure for the greatest number is ethically correct. Who determines the greatest good? Why philosophers like Singer do. People aren’t free to choose. The ideology errs in making calculus of philosophy. The moral decisions individuals face become the moral decisions for their betters to make under utilitarianism. A philosophy empowering big brains to dictate the behavior of small people engorges a narcissist’s ego. Why would it be palatable to anyone else? Transforming a moral question into a mathematical one always yields the wrong answer.
The founder of Singer’s school of thought infamously devised a one-size-fits-all constitution for countries he had never stepped foot in. Jeremy Bentham’s leading contemporary exponent faithfully follows the leader when he advocates reordering a massive half-trillion dollar industry in which he has never worked. Gluttony is a sin of bellies and brains.
Boeing executives don’t tell philosophy professors what readings to assign their students. Why is a Princeton philosopher telling airlines how to run their business?
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