Monday, February 15, 2010

Class Entry

Another week has gone by in AP Lang class and we continued our weekly trend of reading intriguing and controversial essays and having heated discussions about them in class. The essay that pops in my mind from this week was Peter Singer’s “The Solution to World Poverty”. In his essay, Singer argues that whatever money we are spending on luxuries, not necessities, should be given away or donated. He uses two main examples to present his case: Dora and Bob. Dora is a retired schoolteacher looking to make some money. All she has to do is persuade a homeless nine year old boy to follow her to an address she has been given. After she drops the boy off she learns that he will be killed and his organs sold for transplantation. After learning of this, Dora decides to go find the boy and take him back, ultimately saving his life. Bob is nearing retirement and he has invested most of his savings into a rare and valuable car. He knows that its rising market value means that he will be able to sell it and live comfortably after retirement. While out one day, Bob parks his car near the end of a railway siding and goes for a walk up the track. Suddenly he sees a runaway train running down the track heading towards a small child. Bob has the opportunity to throw a switch and divert the train from the child to his car but he decides not to throw the switch, saving his car but killing the child.

Both of these situations are examples of doing what it right and wrong. Dora saved the little boy’s life by going back to get him, while Bob killed the child in order to save his precious car. From the reader’s perspective, Dora is a good person and Bob is a horrible person. He watched as a child was smashed by a train and did absolutely nothing to prevent it. Singer uses these examples to relate to our own lives. He says that we have the opportunity to be like Dora and save children’s lives, and it is as simple as donating money to charitable organizations. He says that people should keep the minimal amount of money they need to survive and give the rest away. In my mind, this is both absurd and ridiculous. People who have money work hard for it and they deserve to spend it however they please. I should not feel obliged to give away my hard-earned money. First off, you can never be positive that your money is going to the places that it is said to be going. Second off, if I choose to donate to charity then I should be able to decide how much. There are millions of people in the world that are poor and need help. Other people should not feel responsible for these people and feel that they have to give away their money.

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