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Peter Singer Analysis

Updated on November 3, 2013

The following four articles all demonstrate the power of the written word. Through their works, these authors convince their readers to come out of their comfort zone and start examining the numerous issues surrounding our society today.

The four articles I will be discussing in this piece are:

"A Meaningful Life"
by Peter Singer

"Fear Factories"
by Matthew Scully

“The Women’s Crusade”
by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

“Restoring the Right to Vote”
by Erika Wood

I have analyzed the main problems, suggestions and prescriptions which each author lays out within their text. I have also written why their piece is so moving and effective. The main idea of all of these articles is human involvement and change.

Animals are being tested.
“No being was more ruthlessly exploited than a laboratory rat, or a battery hen” (1).
“If you see something wrong, you have to think: ‘Can I put it right?’” (1). Henry Spira convinced many makeup corporations to stop using animals for testing.
Animal production for food is bad for the environment, healthy living, and exploits animals.
“It is ironic that just as the developed countries are beginning to reconsider the desirability of a diet high in animal products, the developing countries are expanding animal production at a rate that overwhelms any reductions of developed countries” (2).
“It came from applying insights gained over four decades spent working on the side of the weak and oppressed, learning from others what strategies are likely to succeed and trying them out. Knowledge of that kind is empowering. It can be passed on to others who will use it in the same way, adding to it and adapting it to the circumstances they face” (2).

"A Good Life" According to Singer

After reading the inspiring story of Henry Spira, I was enlightened; while he was dying, in the last two years of his life, he still worked for what he believed in. This allowed him to live a fulfilling life, which did not make him disappointed to end it.

I do not think that Singer’s article made me want to protect animal rights; instead, it helped me realize that I need to have “a meaningful life,” standing up for the issues that concern me, so that I successfully create change.

“The abuses of industrial farming [is] a serious moral problem, a truly rotten business for good reason passed over in polite conversation” (7).
“What moral standards should guide us in our treatment of animals, and when must those standards be applied in law?” (7).
“We are trying to hold people to their obligations, people who could spare the trouble is only they would recognize a few limits on their own conduct” (8).
“It is assumed that animal-protection causes are a project of the Left, and that proper conservative position is to stand warily and firmly against them” (7).
Some conservatives view the animal-protection movement to be moot because of biblical references or a way to distract from the morally-challenging issue. “A certain moral relativism runs through the arguments of those hostile or indifferent to animal welfare—as if animals can be of values only for our sake, as a utility or preference decrees. In practice, this outlook leaves each person to decide for himself when animals rate moral concern” (9).
“All creatures sing their Creator’s praises, as this truth is variously expressed in the Bible, and are dear to Him for their own sakes” (9). What is the difference between many animals used for food production, or a sick pet? Does sympathy for each differ and why? (9) “Proverbs reminds us of this—‘a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (9).

Scully illustrates the cruelty of animals through the conservative’s point of view, asking others to join him in this cause. The reasons why conservatives are usually silent in the movements against animal cruelty are biblical and differential to that of the Left. By making clear and reasonable points, a reader of any political or religious standpoint can see the issues of animal cruelty through food production. He made me realize that I should care about the rights of animals, because they are being exploited in ways that I was unaware of. He also showed me that the ways in which I could be involved are endless.

“Sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape” (1).
“In a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired and poverty riven by fundamentalism and chaos” (1).
Women are getting beaten by their husbands over debt.
If the women are making money, the man has no reason to punish her (2).
Kashf, a microfinance organization, helps women who are in debt, make money.
“Bride burnings” happen almost every two hours in India.
“The number of victims of this routine “gendercide” far exceeds the number of people who were slaughtered in all genocides of the 20th century” (3).
“‘Women are the key to ending hunger in Africa’” (The Hunger Project, 6).
Many women are uneducated and therefore are driven into poverty. “‘If you’re a woman and you are not educated, what else?’” (Tererai, 8).
Men spend money unwisely and selfishly (on tobacco or alcohol), while women tend to spend their money on necessities for the family (5).
“With an education and with help starting businesses, impoverished women can earn money and support their countries as well as their families. They represent perhaps the best hope for fighting poverty” (4). “We would recommend that the United States sponsor a global drive to eliminate iodine deficiency around the globe, by helping countries iodize salt” (7).
Childbirth injury
“…it can be repaired for a few hundred dollars” (8).
Build hospitals in the third world.
Everyone can make a difference and everyone should try.
Everyone can make a difference and everyone should try. | Source

This article was very interesting and made me reflect on my travels to Kenya in 2007, where I talked with many women who had been oppressed by their husbands. And others, or the same women, who said they were victims of poverty because of their lack of education. Kristof and WuDunn made me realize how big of an issue women’s oppression is in the third world and how much room for social change there is in educating women in the third world. As many of the articles suggest, the United States government must be involved in solving this global issue. (I don’t see how they wouldn’t want to when the solution is simple and the results would change the structure of global society.)

The authors suggest that educating women is the most important goal, and I agree. Many of the women who are struggling to get by in the third world are uneducated due to early pregnancy, poverty or other factors. I also find that in Kenya, the pressure to find a spouse at a young age is very damaging to many of the youth in that culture. Because a man and a woman can not be seen in public together (as a pair), many youth marry without going through a “dating phase.” I believe this simply perpetuates gender roles, because the woman feels she needs to get married at a young age. This distracts from hopes and goals for their future, because they do not believe they will achieve anything without a man.

“Denying the right to vote to people who are living and working in the community runs counter to the modern ideal of universal suffrage” (5).
“The United States accounts for less than five percent of the world’s population, but almost half of those in the world who cannot vote because of criminal conviction are U.S. citizens” (6).
When released from prison, one should be allowed to vote. Inform criminals that they cannot vote until they are released from prison. Help register eligible voters. Create “statewide voter registration databases” (3). Educate voters.
Parents who cannot vote cannot educate their children to vote.
“Nationwide, 13 percent of African-American men have lost the right to vote, a rate that is seven times the national average” (8)
“Restoring the right to vote sends the message that people are welcomed back as integral members of their home communities” (12).

After reading this article, I wonder why ex-convicts cannot vote. Although they have broken the law, they were put through a government system and should have some insight on the changes that could be put into effect. Wood shows us that thirteen percent of African-American men cannot vote in our nation due to felony disenfranchisement. Many of these ex-convicts could have been innocent, or they could have changed during their time in jail.

If we want to better our community, we would let them vote. Maybe the recidivism rates will lower because the ex-convicts can assimilate into society and have a voice through their vote. It is also important to educate incarcerated individuals and others about voting and obligation to vote. Parents may not be able to teach their children how to vote if they are unable to do so themselves.


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    • brittanytodd profile image

      Brittany Kennedy 6 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Excellent thoughts, arusho! I totally agree. We should all start to think that way and then this world would be a better place. And with the power of communication today, we have no one stopping us from changing corrupt systems. Thank you for reading/commenting.

    • arusho profile image

      arusho 6 years ago from University Place, Wa.

      I just read the bag, but that is so true. If no one tried to make a difference then nothing would happen. I mean, one person does make a difference, and that one person could be you! We can't go around thinking, oh someone else will do that, well that someone might as well be you!!

    • brittanytodd profile image

      Brittany Kennedy 6 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Thank you, Derdrie. I found out about these articles through my sociology major requirements, but decided that I would make these tables to better analyze the essays. I thought they would help me write something about each article, but I noticed that these tables were pretty useful and informative by themselves.

      Yes, the people in Kenya were more than willing to speak with me and I made a lot of good friends out there who I still talk to.

      Thank you for reading/comments. -Brittany

    • profile image

      Derdriu 6 years ago

      Britt: What impressive determination to tackle four issues in one hub! You have done a magnificent job of analysis, summary, and application. Your user-friendly charts remind me of hours working on issue matrix assignments for environmental educational issues. It is particularly interesting to get your insights from your experiences in Kenya. Did you find your interviewees cooperative? Was this part of your thesis requirements for your sociology major?

      Thank you for sharing, voted up, etc.,


    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      You are so right. We can all make a difference. If we change just the life of one person, we have made a change that will grow over time. Say by changing a woman's life, you will have then affected any kids she might have, which will affect their kids, and their kids... The difference we made is magnified over time. Unfortunately the same is true of our indifference.

    • brittanytodd profile image

      Brittany Kennedy 6 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Thank you so much. Some parts of our world need some help and we can start to male a difference if we spread the word and take action.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      What a great hub! It was so well laid out and researched. The charts were great!

      I was appalled at the bride burnings in India. Whether at 6 or 12 a day - that is horrible.