Human wealthy Americans should donate money to overseas relief

Human suffering happens every day all
around us. Even though we don’t notice, it still exists. In “The
Singer Solution to World Poverty,” Peter Singer constructs many arguments in his proposal to
end world poverty. Singer uses severe means to achieve his goal of convincing
readers to change their lifestyle and values. His emotional and forceful tone
is not effective to convince his audience. As I examine this issue deeper I
notice that two other writers have different beliefs on this subject. W.H.

Auden, and Gwendolyn Brooks describe suffering in unique ways. Auden’s illustration
is a misleading truth that misrepresents reality just like Singer’s. Brooks,
however, understands the meaning of suffering from her past experiences.            In the article “The
Singer Solution to World Poverty,” utilitarian
philosopher Peter Singer adopts a remedy to the disparity of wealth among the
world population. Singer believes that to save lives lost as a result of
poverty due to circumstances such as, malnutrition, dehydration, and illnesses,
wealthy Americans should donate money to overseas relief organizations (Singer
860). Singer explains his theory by stating whatever money you’re spending on
luxuries, not necessities, should be given away (Singer
862). Certainly, obliged by
the sincerity of Singer’s belief, I am still cautious to give away all my earnings
after reading this article. The clear omissions in his argument make his petition
for aid feel demanding. Singer’s proposition fails in his neglect of
personal responsibility and free will, by obligating his readers to adopt his
                                                                                   Peter Singer voices his opinion as if the situations causing
the suffering of those in poverty, or the pain itself is the liability of his
readers. For instance, he attempts to prove that those in a position of danger
is the responsibility of anybody aware of the situation. Yet, there are people
around the world in harm and danger at all times. His idea is essentially that
we all become saviors devoting every resource to ease the pain of mankind. Even
if we were, which troubles are we most compelled to solve? According to the
United Nations, 2011 report, Honduras has the world’s highest murder
rate in the world ( Because, I’m currently aware of this situation is it
my responsibility to help lessen those murders? Is dedicating myself to
reducing Honduras murders more or less important than saving third world
children? What Singer’s argument lacks are the basics of free will, which are significant
for civilization to exist. Instead of holding individuals accountable for their
situations and allowing citizens to choose how they will contribute to humanity,
Singer places the problems of those individuals into the hands of those
citizens and concerns them more.                                                                                 In
the poem “Musee
des Beaux Arts,” Auden
illustrates the indifference of humanity to individual suffering with the use
of two paintings. Like Singer, Auden fails to see the value in suffering. He
stop to imagine the people’s opportunities inherent in their challenges. His only
thought is to remove what he sees as the problem. Furthermore, Auden never even
acknowledges that there might be issues underlying human suffering which go
beyond saving a drowning child that need to be addressed before putting other
lives at risk. Instead of doing the more difficult task of concentrating on the
initial cause of the problem, Auden wants to figure out why humans are apathetic
towards other people suffering. Both authors solutions are black or white.

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Either you’re putting your life in danger, or you allow people to die because
you hold the value of your life greater than those in need. Nobody wants to see
people suffering, but you cannot tell someone that it is their moral
responsibility to stop it. Another fact both writers fail to take into
consideration is the truth. Both Singer and Auden fail to stop and ask, “Am I the right
person to solve their problems?” or even, “How can I help them find a solution?” To me, this
shows incredible arrogance to think that you hold the resolutions to the pain
of people thousands of miles away. If you don’t understand the full scope of their
troubles in the same way they experience them, how can you even begin to think
that you have a solution? Perhaps, both writers “outside looking in” resolutions
will only produce more of the problem.

Boy Died in My Alley,” written by
Gwendolyn Brooks   symbolizes the problem
of personal responsibility. In the poem, the cause of the death of a black boy
remains unmentioned. Indeed, no possible cause is thought about. Brooks
encourages readers to consider the various ways in which young black men suffering
end up dead. The narrator accepts a sorrowing responsibility for the death of
the boy, and in doing so demonstrates the dreadful consequences of failing to
act against cruelty. Moreover, the narrator insists upon accountability, not
self guilt. Without individual responsibility no moral theory can even exist. For
example, Peter Singer feels personal guilt over the predicaments of
impoverished victims around the world. Instead of putting the blame where it
belongs, Singer attempts to circulate his mistaken guilt by getting readers to
share it with him. Though, Brooks understands that the situation is out of her
hands. For instance, there is no way she could confront all the killers to stop
them. If the perpetrators are not held responsible for their actions, how can
anyone else be to blame? The main problem with Singer’s solution is his
suggestion that we “might,” be able to help people in poverty. However, he is
obligating his readers to solving the problem. You cannot morally require
someone to a solution for a problem that they did not cause.                                                                             In Peter Singer’s book “How
Are We to Live?”  he believes there are too many people
motivated by narrow self interests and greed. Peter Singer wants each of
us to live an “ethical life.” This is a life where you must imagine yourself in the situation of all
those affected by your actions. This, he thinks, will result in recognizing the
importance of doing something about the suffering of others, before we even
consider promoting other possible values. In the book review by Robert Frazier,
he analyzes how Singer’s writing is unclear in
what an ethical life is. Frazier believes the kind of life Singer wants us to
live is one where we adopt a kind of negative utilitarianism. At first glance, Robert
Frazier thought the title of the book to be revealing. For example, he states that
instead of Singer asking how we should live, it asks how we are to live. This
is because Singer believes there is not an objectively good way to live. Additionally,
there are two problems associated with Singer’s
viewpoint on living an ethical life. The first problem is the presentation of
Singer’s choices. The only contrast offered by
Singer is between an ethical life, and a life where narrow self interests is
the dominant value. However, Frazier argues that Singer merely mentions and
does not discuss in detail other competitors to an ethical life. The second problem
Frazier discusses is how Peter Singer’s
argument relies too heavily on examples. Singer presents a number of cases
where persons not living ethical lives don’t have
fulfilling lives and persons living ethical lives (where there is some
commitment to helping others) find their lives fulfilling. This is not enough
to show that living an ethical life is each person’s approach for having a
fulfilling life. Frazier goes on to state that it is unclear how one should
evaluate Singer’s book. Peter Singer’s book lacks detail on discussing the reasons why an “ethical life,” is the firm foundation
for a fulfilling life. In essence, Frazier believes Singers intended audience
was not philosophers, but is aimed much more widely. However, it appears that
Singer is much more interested in changing his reader’s attitudes than giving detailed philosophical defenses on where he
stands.                                                                                                        Peter
Singer’s “Practical Ethics” book
is a text where he studies many ethical issues. Singer analyzes unequal wealth
distribution in light of his utilitarian approach. However, a review done by
John Fischer offers opposing views on Singer’s proposition.

Singer concludes that we’re morally responsible for
not doing more to lessen poverty. Though, his claim that each of us should
donate ten percent of our salary is not explained thoroughly. Fischer notes
that not donating a check for ten percent of one’s salary is acting wrongly. “It clearly is a consequence of utilitarianism that we often do less
than we should,” (qtd. in Fischer 267).

John Fischer establishes a connection with Singer’s book
that brings out this concern clearly. For example, he says, “one might, however, resist the claim that, in not dispatching to
Bangladesh a check for ten percent of one’s salary, one is acting wrongly,” (qtd in Fishcer 267). But if this is correct-that one is not acting
wrongly in keeping one’s salary-then the challenge, presented admirably by
Singer’s book, is to explain why (qtd. in Fischer 267). Also, Singer’s book is unbelievably short-sighted. If he believes a utilitarian
is one who judges whether their actions are right or wrong by their
consequences, this text doesn’t state
how far into the future one should look to determine whether or not a
particular act is acceptable. For instance, what if because of donating all of
my additional salary to save children in Bangladesh, I lose my life to cancer,
because I am thus unable to afford proper medical treatment? Merely looking at
consequences doesn’t help us decide problems
of morality. Who is to decide that saving an innocent child from dying is more
or less important than sending your child to college? Suppose I forego donating
money to charitable organizations so that I instead can send my child to
school. Though, Singer would still consider my actions to be immoral. Peter
Singer mentions some very good ideas and information, however, he could have
had a much stronger argument if he would have simply suggested that people
donate extra money to help end poverty and left it at that. Instead, he turned
a simple idea into a moral dispute and in doing so lost whatever reliability
his solution might have had.        

As a
respected moral philosopher, Singer has made his name an advocate for a certain
doctrine on how we should live. “Unsanctifying
Human Life,” is a collection of Singer’s best
articles from 1971 to the present. The book includes various critiques of
approaches to philosophy. Examiner Christopher Coope disputed his stance on
Singer’s policy. In place of Singer’s teaching, Coope coined a new word: romality. Romality demands that we must show what is called an
equal consideration for the interests of all sentient beings (qtd. in Coope
596). Christopher Coope argues that Singer’s text
scarcely answers his proposition. All we’re told
by Singer is how we are unlikely to be satisfied if we are concerned with
nothing beyond our own happiness. Christopher states, “supposing this to be true, it does not begin to answer the question
about the broad demands of romality,” (qtd.

in Coope 596). In the process, Coope explains an example of living a fulfilling
life by keeping a dog and being kind to it. For one person this might be
sufficient for a gratifying life and all the sentient beings in the world
wouldn’t be necessary. “To some, an effort to be romal might bring a measure of fulfillment
not because it is a good cause (if it is), but simply because it is a cause,” (qtd. in Coope 596). We might not be obliged to help those who have
done us no good, but why must we have so much concern for them?  Singer is asking his readers to diminish their
life to build up others. However, I believe the greatest service one can do for
humanity is to do what one does best. It is not necessary to try and save the
whole world in order to make a difference. Even Singer would have to agree that
the finest representation of utilitarian logic is doing what you do best.

are several unfortunate situations throughout the world. You only need to go to
your nearest metropolitan city to find adults and children suffering. While no
one can disprove that these situations are emotionally difficult for our
society as a whole, it is important to acknowledge the personal growth and
transformation it brings. This is not to say that charity is not important and
people should be left to suffer. However, charity without empowerment can do
more harm than good. This is an essential truth that Peter Singer’s solution fails to take into consideration. If you don’t see the world from their point of view, how can you even begin to
think that you can solve their problems? By taking the pain away from people,
you also take away their opportunity to change their lives. Each person is
called to serve humanity in their own unique way, therefore, you cannot morally
obligate someone to live a certain way or change their lives for others. It is
not the responsibility of society to save someone from their own suffering.

However, if you’re put into a difficult
situation by the madness of another person, then that is undeniably
unfortunate. Though, demanding that people should be made to change their
values because of the pain of somebody else does no good and only serves to
compound the suffering. The benefit of ending world suffering isn’t guaranteed and is at best, a very long shot. Yet, Singer’s proposal has too many disadvantages to be outweighed by the good.