Ethicist Peter Singer has done it again. The Princeton professor, you
may remember, is best known for creating controversy by treating such
practices as infanticide, euthanasia and bestiality as morally neutral.
Now he has an op-ed in the online New York Times titled “Should
This Be the Last Generation?”
This time, Singer is considering the idea of not just getting rid of
the elderly or the disabled, but total human extinction.
You’ll be relieved to hear that Singer has no immediate plans to try
to bring this about. He’s not even really advocating it. But he still
believes it’s a topic worth considering. As Singer explains it—based on
the writings of philosopher David Benatar—if we as a society keep having
children, many of them are guaranteed to suffer, so we might actually
be doing future generations a favor if we refrained from bringing them
Thus, Singer writes, “Of course, it would be impossible to get
agreement on universal sterilization, but just imagine that we could.
Then is there anything wrong with this scenario?
“For one thing,” Singer continues, “we can get rid of all that guilt
about what we are doing to future generations—and it doesn’t make anyone
worse off, because there won’t be anyone else to be worse off.”