The Singer Not the Song
Peter Singer, writing in the New York Times, asks whether a world without people wouldn’t be a better place. His argument is simple. If nobody is alive then nobody’s human rights can be violated. “Have you ever thought about whether to have a child? … But very few ask whether coming into existence is a good thing for the child itself.”
The ultimate act of altruism, he argues, may be a conscious choice to be the last generation on earth. In that way there would be no one left to suffer the depredations of capitalism such as climate change. “Most thoughtful people are extremely concerned about climate change. … But the people who will be most severely harmed by climate change have not yet been conceived. If there were to be no future generations, there would be much less for us to feel to guilty about.” As a society we are terminally guilty, irrevocably condemned. And since we cannot help living, then the solution is to do away with ourselves. By far the best way to prevent anyone from feeling guilty is for no one to feel guilt. “So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would all agree to have ourselves sterilized then no sacrifices would be required — we could party our way into extinction!” The only way you’re going to eat that can of beans is you agree to off yourself after dinner.