In his influential memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy” (2016), J. Vance explains why some middle-class Americans turned against Michelle Obama.
The first lady, he writes, “tells us that we shouldn’t be feeding our children certain foods, and we hate her for it — not because we think she’s wrong, but because we know she’s right.”It is possible to dislike the philosopher Peter Singer — born in Australia, he teaches at Princeton University — along similar lines.
Ethics and morals are conceptually different but lead to the same outcome of determining the social system and intend to promise a life of excellence for present and future generations.
A person with good morals is involved in good deeds and always knows it inside.
But he’s written better and more fully about these issues elsewhere; they are not the primary reason to come to this book.“Ethics in the Real World” comprises short pieces, most of them previously published. ”In one of my favorite passages, he zeros in on those who pay many millions of dollars for paintings while people are starving. Writing about the sale of paintings by artists like Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol for obscene sums at Christie’s, he declares: “Why would anyone want to pay tens of millions of dollars for works like these?
This book is interesting because it offers a chance to witness this influential thinker grapple with more offbeat questions. They are not beautiful, nor do they display great artistic skill.Most of the times, it is experiences and the way a person is brought up that decide his actions and hence his morality and ethics.Social ethics and moral values have been deteriorating over time.At least he writes, “To the best of my knowledge, there is no Nazi-themed restaurant in New York; nor is there a Gestapo or SS bar.”Late in this book, Mr.Singer reports that one of his daughters once asked him, during a car ride, “Would you rather that we were clever or that we were happy? Singer finds moral behavior to be its own kind of cleverness, and certainly happy-making.A person doing bad deeds at the same time may always consider it right in adaptation to the society he lives but is actually having bad morals.If the ethical and moral values of a person have declined, he will never feel any shame of fear in performing a wrong deed or even a heinous crime as it is something appropriate by his morals and ethics.He is right about so many things, and appears to live so much more virtuously than most of us do, that listening him can make you want to tip a turtle on its back or consume all the endangered seafood that’s left because, as a blowhard I know put it, “If we don’t eat it now, there are a billion people right behind us who will.”Mr. He picks up his topics as if they were heavy rocks, hauls them a few feet, and drops them, sometimes on our toes.Singer is best known for his book “Animal Liberation” (1975), a founding text of the contemporary animal-rights movement. ” This book is the equivalent of a moral news conference, or a particularly good Terry Gross interview. I’m reminded of a comment by the critic Wilfrid Sheed, who said he would trade half of Lord Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” for an interview with him, and “all of ‘Adam Bede’ for the same with George Eliot.”The first thing that needs to be said about “Ethics in the Real World” is that the writing is mostly dishwater gray. His abstemious style made me long for a despairing wisecrack. He is persuasive on so many topics that he makes you wish we could turn the world off, then on again, in an attempt to reset it. About the notion, strong in my own childhood, that we were born with original sin because Eve flouted God’s decree against eating from the tree of knowledge, he writes: “This is a triply repellent idea, for it implies, firstly, that knowledge is a bad thing, secondly, that disobeying god’s will is the greatest sin of all, and thirdly, that children inherit the sins of their ancestors, and may be justly punished for them.”He speaks loudly on behalf of tolerance.Once Newman had an idea, it seems, he liked to work out all the variations.”His bottom line: “In a more ethical world, to spend tens of millions of dollars on works of art would be status-lowering, not status-enhancing.”There is an essay about how to keep a New Year’s resolution.In another he denounces the trend, seen in some Manhattan restaurants and bars, toward decorating with Soviet-era kitsch, including images of Stalin.