The Sophistry Of Despair... And of Charity

An essay in the NYT Sunday Review argues we can rate various charitable causes objectively with some charities, e.g., addressing a preventable cause of blindness in developing countries, deserving our donations more than others, e.g., expanding an art museum.

Yesterday, the NYT published several letters in response. The final letter proves that exposure to the arts might teach many things, but good critical reasoning skills is not one of them.  Letter writer "Barbara" concludes with jaw-dropping sophistry:

The amount of suffering in the world is limitless; diminishing my ability to enjoy the arts is not the answer to curing poverty and disease. Without the arts, life is not worth living.

I'll look at exactly what's wrong with this response, and the original piece, in a later post.