Animal Rights

"Flesh, Castration, and Unbridled Capitalism"

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From the always-entertaining Columbia Spectator, a dose of capitalism-is-responsible-for-all-evil. On today's slate: speciesism:

Distorted notions of capitalism have been the impetus for our complete apathy towards the issue of animal rights. We see it as meat, not flesh; we see it as Donald Duck, not the beakless animal that died from noise distress and claustrophobia; we see it as just another meal, not the senseless murder of a real, living creature. What is essentially wrong about this is that we've allowed capitalism to turn a blind eye to moral and ethical considerations, and it has hit the ground running for profit.

The knowledge that he is being manipulated by Disney and the robber barons hasn't quite managed to turn the author vegetarian, though:

There was once a time when I could casually drive my fork into one of John Jay's steaks and then slice it swiftly with my knife—without wincing. I haven't become a vegetarian, but my relationship with the steak in front of me has changed greatly within the last month. I eat it with a strong subconscious sense of awareness. Those cows have suffered for us! They've sacrificed their lives!

From my lofty vantage point as an old, wise 26-year-old, I note the unsurprising tagline:

The author is a Columbia College first-year.

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  1. i lol’d. anyone else?

  2. I eat it with a strong subconscious sense of awareness.

    Fucking priceless. Were we all this stupid (in our own ways) at this age? Probably not this stupid.

  3. I eat it with a strong subconscious sense of awareness. Those cows have suffered for us! They’ve sacrificed their lives!

    That’s most of the point for saying grace before a meal, something almost every person except the asshole writer seems to understand (if not practice).

  4. There are more humane and less humane ways of raising animals for meat. The more humane ways tend to produce a better tasting and probably more nutritious product.

    Just a thought on how you might choose your food.

    X

  5. I bet he’s trying to get into some vegan chicks pants. A letter like this works better than astroglide!

    Next week I bet he’ll be protesting Israel for a similar reason!!

  6. Is “first-year” the new “freshman”?

  7. The author is a Columbia College first-year.

    So by Christmas break they’ll be a full-fleged veggie, by summer a vegan, by the following fall eating only french fries and by graduation back to shoving delicious animals down their throat again wondering why they spent all that time not eating meat.

  8. I think I read that. It was right before the women’s sexual liberation article written by first-year Carrie Bradshaw wannabe.

  9. Whenever I eat meat, I work hard to remember that an animal died to feed me. Knowing that I’m at the top of the food chain makes it taste better.

  10. “. I eat it with a strong subconscious sense of awareness.”

    So, basically, while he’s eating he’s aware that he’s aware on a level of which he’s unaware?

    Does that sentence say ANYTHING?

  11. Do libertarians really want to play the “look at what college freshman say” game?

  12. I eat it with a strong subconscious sense of awareness.

    Uh, doesn’t that mean it’s no longer subconscious?

  13. “Flesh, Castration, and Unbridled Capitalism”

    The Swans got back together? Cool!

  14. The more humane ways tend to produce a better tasting and probably more nutritious product.

    It certainly produces a more expensive product. Free range turkeys are more than ten times as expensive as their conventional counterparts. Are we to move back to a society where meat is only for the rich? I certainly can’t imagine many blue-collar families plopping down $110 for a single thanksgiving turkey.

  15. If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.

  16. Does that sentence say ANYTHING?

    It says “I’m ignorant” loud and clear.

  17. Most unintentionally funny comment FTW:

    “Just a thought on how you might choose your food.”

    *emphasis added…think about it for a second.

  18. Is “first-year” the new “freshman”?

    That’s what I thought – and I bet it comes from not wanting to appear sexist or ageist. Or speciest.

  19. If anything, I’d say that Disney had the exact opposite effect, vastly over-animizing practically every animal character they’ve ever drawn, and strengthening this “animals are just small furry people” viewpoint.

    A distinction must be drawn between deer hunting in the Bambi universe, and hunting in the real world.

    Of course, this sort of thing was old when Aesop was a kid, so I can’t put the blame entirely on them.

  20. No, no, the sense of awareness is subconscious.

    The awareness is conscious.

    He’s aware of the suffering of the animal, but he’s not aware that he’s aware of that. Although he does have a feeling that he’s aware of it.

    Wow, that’s a good one.

    Anyway, let’s hope he doesn’t read the Fountainhead.

  21. It certainly produces a more expensive product. Free range turkeys are more than ten times as expensive as their conventional counterparts. Are we to move back to a society where meat is only for the rich? I certainly can’t imagine many blue-collar families plopping down $110 for a single thanksgiving turkey.

    Well, clearly we need to call on the government to create a free range turkey program for the poor.

  22. And what about vegetable rights?

    Did the author devour that defenseless brocolli without a twinge of consceince? Did the potato ask to be dug up and baked? How did the carrots feel about being diced and steamed?

    Sounds like Kingdomism to me!

  23. Yeah, this was the funniest thing I’ve read so far today.

  24. Here’s the ultimate in loony-left (including speciesism) indoctrinate: “Lessons in Isms coming soon to B.C. schools”

    http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=b271185b-536b-487e-9fae-ef89cee75ea3&k=77964

  25. Free-range turkeys are not 10x the price of normal turkeys.

    A free range turkey from Whole Foods the week before Thanksgiven might be 10x the price of a regular turkey in March, but that’s hardly the same thing.

    Also, much of the extra price – though not all – is the consequence of the product being marketed as a specialty item, and of the relatively small supply, both of which could be expected to decrease if free-range turkey raising became the industry norm.

  26. “Pin the animal down, take a knife and slit the scrotum, exposing the testicles. You then grab each testicle in turn and pull on it, breaking the cord that attaches it; on older animals it may be necessary to cut the cord.”

    Better than the old fashioned method of tying a rubber band around ’em and waiting two weeks for the suckers to drop off.

    Why have we attached wayward connotations of “hippiness” to anything related to animal rights? We have left it, at the moment, to the animal rights activists. They are the only ones blowing whistles, and I must confess, committing acts of public nuisance in sheer frustration.

    It could be that groups like ALF and PETA aren’t just calling for more humane farming methods, they are demonstrating the evils of farming as a way to prevent people from eating animals and their byproducts. For groups like PETA, ending the practice of de-beaking chickens isn’t enough, they want every last chicken to live out its days in natural surroundings, finally succumbing to old age, never to be a future meal.

  27. Dammit Katherine, any post that is even remotely critical of anything to the left needs to be cleared by joe first. You should know this by now.

  28. Yes, the fact that I noticed it totally makes the letters to the editor section of a college newspaper an essential subject of critical analysis.

    That’s totally how this works, Dee.

  29. Leaving aside issues like “do rights exist?”, from whence do animals get rights? Human beings presumably. Why? Probably for aesthetic reasons as well as our tendency to anthropomorphize.

  30. I bet he’s trying to get into some vegan chicks pants. A letter like this works better than astroglide!

    Not necessarily. Vegan Chick will probably read it out loud to her girlfriend over a cup of fair-trade, and have a good laugh at the loser’s expense.

  31. There are more humane and less humane ways of raising animals for meat. The more humane ways tend to produce a better tasting and probably more nutritious product.

    You are right. If you shoot a deer when he is not on the run, the adrenaline doesn’t sour the meat.

    Seriously, I understand what you are saying though I have to only partially agree. I like the flavor of “grass fed” beef, which right now is mostly free-range insofar as a range bounded by barbed wire is “free”. I purchase cage-free eggs out of a compassion streak for the birds, not because they taste any better. Oddly enough, the cage-free eggs we purchase proudly proclaim that the birds are fed “an all-vegetarian diet” which clearly demonstrates that while the birds are “cage-free” they are decidedly not “free-range” as chickens are omnivores and will clear a yard of insects like it’s nobody’s business.

  32. The capitalist’s party weekend:

    1) dress down, go to trendy protest, pretend to be leftist
    2) meet cute but dumb Columbia first-year chick
    3) go back to her place and hump like adolescent minks
    4) Leave a fifty dollar bill on her pillow and get back to the real world

  33. joe,

    So, is your point that because some* libertarians were a little over the top regarding Ayn Rand in their youth that this somehow makes the criticism of this article unfair? If so, that doesn’t make any sense.

    *Disclaimer: I’ve never grooved to Ayn Rand.

  34. Also, much of the extra price – though not all – is the consequence of the product being marketed as a specialty item, and of the relatively small supply, both of which could be expected to decrease if free-range turkey raising became the industry norm.

    Remember the time Joe explained supply and demand to us…

    That was awesome.

  35. We see it as meat, not flesh; we see it as Donald Duck, not the beakless animal that died from noise distress and claustrophobia; we see it as just another meal, not the senseless murder of a real, living creature.

    Wow. What does this rhetoric sound like? I’m trying to put my finger on it. Could it be the language of the anti-abortion activist? I wonder what the author’s views on that are. Hmmm.

  36. Googled some turkey prices. Found a nice table from 2004. Fresh turkey prices, non-free-range from .99 to 1.89. Free-range from 2.69. to 2.89. That’s not 10x. Frozen from .69 to .89 with and outlier of .39 for an 1lb frozen turkey. I don’t want an 18lb turkey.

    So, yeah, it costs more. Not 10x. We all knew that.

    I don’t know what’s “funny” about “choose” — intnetional or unintentional. You guys seem to like the notion of choice. I guess that only if YOU bring it up.

    X

  37. And what about vegetable rights?

    Did the author devour that defenseless brocolli without a twinge of consceince? Did the potato ask to be dug up and baked? How did the carrots feel about being diced and steamed?

    Sounds like Kingdomism to me!

    And if you need convinced about the immorality of Veganism, go here.

  38. This is so common there should be a name for it.

    Im constantly explaining to people that the main characteristic of liberal weep and moaners is not their unique behavior, but the constant need to publically decry our ‘wasteful behavior’, save the environment, *feel bad* about eating meat (go ahead and indulge though, because you DESERVE it BECAUSE you are morally purified through your bad-feelingness.

    It’s sort of a way of purifying themselves of their guilt. I feel bad! I have a conscience! Which apparently is more important than actually… not participating in the ‘system’ they decry?

    You have no idea how many times I’ve seen kids watching MTV and going, “man, this shit is so superficial…the MSM is just trying to ‘invent’ cool… you know, chomsky said…”…

    …and of course, they never actually turn the TV *off*

  39. The Winston Churchill quote is an urban legend.

  40. X,
    pretty sure he was making a play on Choose/Chews
    wasn’t that funny though.

  41. I don’t know what’s “funny” about “choose…

    Think Homonyms.

  42. Why not just buy halal or kosher if one is so concerned with humanely treated and butchered animals?

    Meat tastes yummy.

  43. Having been a dunderheaded Columbia freshman myself once upon a time, I feel a small level of sympathy for the muddled, PC lefty idiot who wrote this. But my sympathy ends when the student tells out-and-out lies. He claims to: casually drive my fork into one of John Jay’s steaks and then slice it swiftly with my knife

    I’ve eaten at the Jay cafeteria. There wasn’t a piece of meat ever served in that place into which one could “casually” drive a fork or “swiftly” slice it. What kind of yokels does this kid take us for?

  44. joe is entirely correct. We’re goofing on the literary stylings of a college freshman.

    What next, a grammatical critique skeezybreezy’s FaceBook page?

  45. “I eat it with a strong subconscious sense of awareness. Those cows have suffered for us! They’ve sacrificed their lives!”

    I am frankly kind of honored by the sentiment. Who am I to deny cows the pleasure of their generosity? This guy is defeinitely trying to get in some hippy chicks pants. If so, more power to him. Anyone who hasn’t said something stupid in hopes of getting some woman to bed is either gay or lying. I hope that is the case and this guy really isn’t this stupid.

  46. Do libertarians partisan Democratic cheerleaders really want to play the “look at what college freshman say” game?

    It’s called a mirror, joe.

  47. Pinette

    Oops, I didn’t get the choose/chews. Actually, it’s worth a chuckle.

    x

  48. Now if the oh-so-sensitive writer would show the same empathy for the plants that were senselessly slaughtered to feed his voracious maw, he’d effing starve to death and we’d be spared this shite.

  49. I didn’t realize no one ate meat until there were capitalists.

    I get really good meat at a farmer’s market up the street (and after October, they’ll deliver it once a month). Ground beef AND pre-made patties $3 per pound. Chicken $4.50 per pound. Best bacon ever, $4 per pound. I got pork chops once, and forget what I paid, but it wasn’t extravagant, either. It’s less than what I pay at the grocery store.

  50. One of my favorite bumper stickers:

    I ? ANIMALS
    they’re delicious

  51. freeradical,

    Obviously, you are not familiar with Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Muttons, which introduced the concept of the “meat-eating hand.”

  52. A free range turkey from Whole Foods the week before Thanksgiven might be 10x the price of a regular turkey in March, but that’s hardly the same thing.

    joe, if you knew how capitalism works, you’d realize that turkeys get much cheaper as Thanksgiving approaches, as ranchers ramp up supply, depressing prices, and stores offer turkeys as loss leaders to drive traffic into their stores so they can overcharge (if you’re a lefty) make their profit on other items.

    Though maybe a lefty place like Whole Foods manages to screw up this dynamic and charge higher prices when everyone else is lowering theirs.

  53. “Flesh, Castration, and Unbridled Capitalism”

    I prefer “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.”

  54. Those asshole capitalist cavemen and their Mastodon-murdering ways! I would say that this problem shows how poor animals are another victim of the male-o-centric maleocracy.

  55. Did the author devour that defenseless brocolli without a twinge of consceince? Did the potato ask to be dug up and baked? How did the carrots feel about being diced and steamed?

    Sounds like Kingdomism to me!

    Yeah, that’s why I’m a Breatharian

  56. Ms. Mangu-Ward, while attempting to take a cheap shot at liberals, has inadvertantly reinforced the stereotype of the anti-intellectual, closed-minded conservative. And she’s only 26?

    Even if you don’t like people who question your worldview, at least appreciate that Vesal Yazdi for an eighteen year-old at least shows an aptitude for writing and a willingness to consider points of view beyond the status quo.

    He’s got plenty of time to become old, jaded, and self-absorbed, so relax.

  57. ok wait why are you guys picking on college freshmen now?

    there weren’t any rich actresses running around with mao tatoos this week or whatever?

  58. Though maybe a lefty place like Whole Foods manages to screw up this dynamic and charge higher prices when everyone else is lowering theirs.

    Whole Foods is a magnificent scam to turn guilt into money. I wish I had thought of it.

  59. also dan i feel compelled to ask what your day job actually is. in fact, were i in a phd program, i would consider using you as a case study/longform interview chapter on a kind of online mechanism i call “symbiotic trolling”. (urkobold would be a whole chapter, as well as dave w. but on different topics)

  60. freeradical,

    I didn’t realize no one ate meat until there were capitalists.

    I was thinking the same thing. When are we supposed to think capitalism began? Didn’t the Romans show an apathy about animal rights, what with all those massacres and animal fights in the arena? Were the Romans capitalists?

    I actually think the issue of whether we should eat animals or “exploit” them is interesting, but it doesn’t have much to do with “capitalism,” which has become a sort of catchword for “parts of modern society I don’t care for.”

    If anything, the division of labor resulting from “capitalism” has put the distance between people and the agricultural process that makes worrying about animal rights possible.

  61. In Ishmael, Daniel Quinn provides a very good reason for the need to be non-vegetarian from an existential point of view. I loved that book.

  62. Yes, freshmen are called first-years at the Ivy League schools these days. In my experience most people still say “freshmen.”

  63. de stijl | October 19, 2007, 1:10pm | #
    Is “first-year” the new “freshman”?

    if by “new” you mean at least 20 years old: that was accepted nomenclature when I started college in the late 80s…

    And Warren – sadly you missed the steak that was offered you the other day…

  64. Little-known fact: Back when first-year college students ate meat, they were called, “fleshmen”.

  65. I won’t be held responsible.

  66. Do libertarians really want to play the “look at what college freshman say” game?

    Is there a better time to do it than Friday Fun Day?

  67. And Warren – sadly you missed the steak that was offered you the other day…

    What? Steak!? Goddamnit.

  68. Ms. Mangu-Ward, while attempting to take a cheap shot at liberals,

    Cheap shot? Are you kidding?

    This kid was hanging his ass in the breeze. To the weep and moaners, all shots are cheap shots. They always have the moral high ground…

    He’s got plenty of time to become old, jaded, and self-absorbed, so relax.

    He’s already young, jaded, and self absorbed… so whats your point?

  69. One of my favorite bumper stickers:

    I ? ANIMALS
    they’re delicious

    Save the Whales!
    Collect the whole set.

  70. Something tells me the author probably wouldn’t apreciate this clip from the dada masterpice that is Freddy Got Fingered.

    J sub D,

    Back in the day it was;

    Save the Soviet Jews!
    Collect them!
    Trade them with your friends!

  71. I accept that the pure libertarian viewpoint necessitates opposition to animal welfare and animal rights concerns (which, btw, are different though overlapping issues).

    However, from a practical, vote-winning standpoint, absolutism on this position is one of the things that keeps libertarians exactly where they are now — unelectable.

    Principled opposition is one thing; sneering, gloating and intellectual dishonesty (“broccoli”) just show how mean-spirited the movement can be.

    In anticipation of the inevitable invocation of the H&R Drinking Game: Congratulations on your cleverly-thought-out system whereby you can avoid engaging honest criticism of the practical shortfalls of libertariansism.

    H&R could, of course, choose to not comment on these sorts of things, but that restraint is noticeably lacking here.

    Oh, and Katherine: Look, over there, the belgians are about to tax outdoor grills.

  72. Congratulations on your cleverly-thought-out system whereby you can avoid engaging honest criticism of the practical shortfalls of libertariansism.

    Drink! You might find it easier to chug if you take that stick out of your ass, dude.

  73. I was thinking the same thing. When are we supposed to think capitalism began?

    An australopithecenes offering carrion in exchange for sexual favors?

  74. “at least shows an aptitude for writing”

    wtf

    It’s a fine example of College Student Ramblomatic. It features lines cribbed from The Smiths, phrasing heard on late-night television, and regurgitated crap from a hundred poorly-written sources.

    Someone needs to take that kid’s adverbs away. Two in one sentence (‘casually’… ‘swiftly’)? That’s crap, and you don’t have to be old and jaded to know it. William Strunk would have a field day. Or a heart attack.

  75. My favorite line ever from a video game was the Swedish merc (voiced by Peter Stormare, btw) in Mercenaries who said about some starchy dude:

    The stick up his ass has a stick up its ass.

  76. “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.”

    Great name for bar with a very, umm, particular clientele.

  77. Principled opposition is one thing; sneering, gloating and intellectual dishonesty (“broccoli”) just show how mean-spirited the movement can be.

    Hey folks, we’re supposed to be serious, ignore and forgive others follies. Fun, humor, satire, parody, puns and mockery are hereby verboten on this site. Tonio, will we be taken seriously now?

  78. It is a given (certainly in libertarianism) that no person has the right to take the life of another unless it is an act of self defense or protection of private property. Why not apply the same principle for animals? What have (most animals, especially domesticated ones) done to us to take their lives?

    (One) Answer: Well, we should be honest and ask the same question for fish, squid, plants, and even beans. Then we are left with almost nothing to eat.

    One criteria that was suggested is to ask whether an organism has a nervous system or not. If it does, then we probably have no right to violate their “person” and if not, we do. I do not know if I buy that argument.

    Again, in Ishmael, a very good argument for the necessity of “carnivorism” is provided. It is a state of nature for us humans to be carnivorous, but we as humans should also accept the fact that we will be prayed on every now and then.

  79. we will be prayed on every now and then

    So are carpets in a mosque.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist the typo!)

  80. SPD… thanks for the correction… Obviously I meant preyed on 😉

  81. The broccoli line isn’t intellectually dishonest in the least.

    If you’re going to argue that human beings have moral obligations to entities other than other human beings, you have to be prepared to deal with the reductio where people start to ask about earthworms, mosquitos, and plants. Sorry.

    And Dan, it’s not anti-intellectual to mock the juvenilia of some future accountant. As a general rule, if you take the time to sit down to write something in college and it comes out as this maudlin, threadbare, semi-plagiarised nonsense, the odds that you are an “intellectual” are quite slim. Reading this is like listening to some bubbleheaded communications major tell you about the screenplay she’s writing or the independent documentary she wants to make. Vanity publishers are sending this kid junk email about how he can “raise public awareness via self-publishing” as we speak.

  82. Since KMW’s post is essentially the same as one she did last week I can just cut and paste my reply to that one here:

    “MW has great fun poking at those strange oddballs that believe in something strongly and talking about it a lot (ethical eaters of various stripes) while writing for a magazine that caters to a group that most people who do not belong to it also see as strange extremist speech-giving oddballs.”

  83. Drink! You might find it easier to chug if you take that stick out of your ass, dude.

    Thanks for both proving me right, and for the good laugh. Always amusing when someone here accuses anyone else of having no sense of humor.

  84. I accept that the pure libertarian viewpoint necessitates opposition to animal welfare and animal rights concerns (which, btw, are different though overlapping issues).

    You are correct that “animal rights” are a completely different set of issues than “animal welfare”, the former being pretty complex but predicated on the question, “do we have the right to own animals of another species?”

    Leaving aside animal rights, the “pure libertarian viewpoint” only necessitates opposition to animal welfare that is coerced. Libertarians by and large should support the (presently niche) markets of “free-range”, “cage-free” and “humanely produced”. What we don’t support is calls for regulating other options out of the market. If enough people want to feel good about eating a chicken that was raised in an open pasture then perhaps one day it will no longer be a “niche” market but instead will be the norm, but the market (consumers) should decide that, not the body governing the people.

  85. In this student’s defense, I wrote some particularly embarrassing drivel in my formative years as well. College at the height of the PC era practically demanded it.

    That said, I am not unaware of or insensitive to the suffering of animals that become the food I eat.

  86. Kwix,

    Well said. A well-informed community of consumers can do more to effect change through their buying choices than some arbitrarily-constructed government body.

  87. I really don’t want to know the chickens.
    I prefer to believe they hatch already frozen in shrink wrap.

  88. Warren she’s getting it for you!

    (from hier)

  89. Articles like this deserve an accompanying MP3 laugh track. Where is capitalist innovation when we really need it?

  90. Fluffy:

    The broccoli line isn’t intellectually dishonest in the least.

    Bullshit.

    If you’re going to argue that human beings have moral obligations to entities other than other human beings, you have to be prepared to deal with the reductio where people start to ask about earthworms, mosquitos, and plants. Sorry.

    This is a big and ongoing debate within the ethical-eating community. That’s why there are vegetarians, vegans, fruititarians, and people who are off-the-scale.

    However, this line of reasoning is often used to try to divert the debate from the real and tangible suffering of mammals raised for food. Nice try.

  91. joe sez: Anyway, let’s hope he doesn’t read the Fountainhead.

    Apparently joe doesn’t know how hot co-eds get hearing about Objectivist epistemology.

  92. joe sez: Anyway, let’s hope he doesn’t read the Fountainhead.

    Or, alternatively, you can lead a first year to the Fountainhead, but you can’t make him think?

  93. In anticipation of the inevitable invocation of the H&R Drinking Game

    ACTUALLY WE ARE STARTING A NEW GAME.

    “WRAP CUTE WOODLAND CREATURE IN PLASTIC AND SET ON FIRE TO MAKE ENVIRONMENTAL MARTYR”

    AND THEN WE SHALL EAT ITS WARM CARCASS AND TENDER FLESH.

    WE SHALL MAKE AN ADDENDUM, AS WELL:

    MEAT SHALL HENCEFORTH BE A GARNISH FOR MEAT.

  94. Tonio, if there is “a big and ongoing debate within the ethical-eating community”, then it’s not a diversion to talk about it.

    And it can’t possibly be intellectually dishonest to throw it in your face until that big and ongoing debate ends.

    I have a pretty straightforward ethical position: that ethics is the process of determining the proper relationships between human beings. All other species are outside the realm of ethics.

    That means that, relative to my position, anyone who argues that non-humans have rights is as a practical matter arguing that ALL non-humans have rights.

  95. If God didn’t want us to kill and eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them taste like meat.

  96. United States of America: where we save the animals and kill the children.

  97. *walking on by. Munching on Bambi jerky*

    oh hay hai gaiz. What’s the happy-haps?

  98. If God didn’t want us to kill and eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them taste like meat.

    Honestly, I could say the same thing about you.

  99. This is a big and ongoing debate within the ethical-eating community. That’s why there are vegetarians, vegans, fruititarians, and people who are off-the-scale.

    However, this line of reasoning is often used to try to divert the debate from the real and tangible suffering of mammals raised for food. Nice try.

    Tonio, I get it. Your sacred cow got gored. Wah!
    H&R specializes in goring sacred cows. Be a big boy now and wipe your eyes.

  100. Tonio: However, this line of reasoning is often used to try to divert the debate from the real and tangible suffering of mammals raised for food. Nice try.

    Bullshit. I know there are some who restrict their concern to the suffering of mammals (i.e., “vegetarians” who eat fish and chicken), but they tend to be looked down upon by the “ethical eating community.” Most vegans set the bar quite a bit lower- honey being unacceptable because it involves exploiting the involuntary labor of social insects.

    It doesn’t take much reductio to get from bees to mosquitos and earthworms.

    Extending rights to plants, on the other hand, is obviously diversion from the debate.

    If you want the debate to be about the suffering of mammals raised as food, please tell your friends to shut up about fishing, factory chicken farms, and hunting, since they are just trying to divert the debate from its proper subject.

  101. The vast majority of my “stupid college oratory” involved alcohol and/or the fairer sex. I can only hope that is the case here.

  102. If god didn’t want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?

    Homer

  103. The bible says man has dominion over all the creatures of the earth.
    I am unfamiliar with all other godheads and their belief systems.
    If a we are unbelievers then what is moral is a personal choice influenced by many many things. All opinions become valid in this light and some would suggest that amoebas have the same rights as cows or chickens or humans.
    Morality without Divine influence is simply a matter of personal opinion.

  104. Sam Grove,
    Thank you for the reference. I knew I heard that from someone much wiser than myself, ben

  105. Syloson,

    So, is your point that because some* libertarians were a little over the top regarding Ayn Rand in their youth that this somehow makes the criticism of this article unfair? No. My point was more along the lines of “teenagers who discover an exciting new political philosophy are silly, but this is hardly news.”

    JN, I didn’t explain suppy and demand. I explained a little bit about the turkey business. But, yeah, it was awesome.

    Max,

    Do halal and kosher laws get into the humane treatment of the animal while it is being raised? Could a factory farm/feedlot-raised cow produce kosher meat if it was slaughtered correctly?

    prolefeed, I didn’t bring up any college freshmen’s writings. Swing and a miss!

    But I did not know that turkeys get cheaper at Thanksgiving. I was unaware supermarkets marketed them that way – I just assumed it worked the same way as roses at Valentine’s Day. Interesting.

  106. I agree with Fluffy:

    If you’re going to argue that human beings have moral obligations to entities other than other human beings, you have to be prepared to deal with the reductio where people start to ask about earthworms, mosquitos, and plants. Sorry.

    Fortunately, it has a very easy answer: vegetables are incapable of experienceing pain, fear, or agony, where animals can experience all of these things. Therefore, while the might or might not be a moral imperitive to avoid causing unnecessary fear, pain, and misery to animals, there cannot be such an imperitive in regards to plants.

  107. KMW,

    Slow news day, eh?

    Others,

    I think the observation that this rhetoric resembles pro-life rhetoric is dead on and it’s largely pointless to argue with them for the same reasons. They draw a more or less arbitrary lines to define moral community and argue for them largely by appeals to disgust or simple assertion. If you don’t share their premises, you won’t convince them and they won’t convince you.

  108. Do halal and kosher laws get into the humane treatment of the animal while it is being raised?

    An animal “inhumanely” slaughtered is not halal (and I do not think kosher either). “Humane” slaughtering means a quick and as instantaneous as possibly can (e.g., do not electrocute, but use as sharp a knife as one can possible find, have a firm hand, etc).

    What is more important, is it tasty? Mmmm…

  109. Do halal and kosher laws get into the humane treatment of the animal while it is being raised?

    According to Islamic theology, a pious (wo)man can go to hell for inhumane treatment of animals.

  110. You’re all avoiding the real question here:

    Would it be ethical to kill and eat Che Guevara?

  111. Would it be ethical to kill and eat Che Guevara?

    Yes, but you have to wash him real good first.

  112. “Leaving aside animal rights, the “pure libertarian viewpoint” only necessitates opposition to animal welfare that is coerced.”
    That’s crazy talk. This is a real problem for libertarianism. It has a similar problem with abortion. Animal rights folks and pro-life folks see animal and fetus killing as akin to a heinous crime, and if they are right then libertarianism should add them to slavery and assault as things we would be willing to let a state prohibit. When it come to property rights (like tresspassing) you guys don’t mind coercion.

    I’m glad brother ben joined us because I’ve yet to be in a H&R animal rights discussion that had a better answer to why animals don’t get moral weight than “cuz the Bible told me so.” Anything you can say about most animals we eat you could say about infants, retarded folks or senile folks.

  113. MNG:

    infants, retarded folks or senile folks

    Except that these are not (naturally) edible (except in some tribal cultures).

  114. MNG, you get so cutely hysterical whenever the whole animal rights subject comes up.

    Animals don’t get moral weight (technically) because they are not capable of sentience. Infants are. Retarded folks are. Senile folks were and are.

    Different people who subscribe to this idea will have different levels of concern about animal suffering.

    Humans are currently the only sentient animals, so we are the only ones with this special status. However, we would give moral weight to sentient aliens if we ever encountered them.

  115. How do you determine sentience, and why don’t grey parrots and gorillas make the mark?

  116. Religion is good after all. It answers all these questions for us. Why the trouble?

  117. It always takes a few minutes for animal rights discussion here to elicite the “I’m gonna eat me a juicy deer” response. Considering, as I said above, that the general public finds libertarians to be strange oddballs as much as it does vegetarians, I then submit this response to that juvenile line of reasoning:

    Hey, joe, let’s go get in our tariff protected cars and drive on our government roads paid for with money we’ve stolen from H&R readers and pick up our mail from the US post office. Maybe my student loan subsidized with taxpayer money will be in the box?

  118. joe,

    (1) The ability to make and use advanced weapons.
    (2) Because they are unarmed.

  119. Episariach-so people in a terminal coma are fair game? And severly retarded folks (many are clearly less sentient than my beagle)? And terminally ill infants who will never make it past 6 months? I get to eat them? Think harder buddy.

  120. And why the fact that someone “used to be” sentient gives them moral weight will need some ‘splaining.
    You should give up the gig now and just say “jesus, I just eat meat cuz everyone around me always has, I’ve never thought about it much.” Cuz I’m betting that’s closer to the truth…

  121. Episariach-so people in a terminal coma are fair game? And severly retarded folks (many are clearly less sentient than my beagle)? And terminally ill infants who will never make it past 6 months? I get to eat them? Think harder buddy.

    Because of apathy towards retarded folk, infants, and the elderly?

  122. MNG:

    Could there be an argument revolving around natural “urges” in selecting of what we eat? We just feel like it to eat beef but not retarded folk, infants, and the elderly. If you do not feel like eating meaty stuff, feel free not to eat them. Meanwhile, I will. You know that kind of argument. Now the vegetarian folk may decide to fight me and defend the poor chicken, but then they have to ask themselves: Are they willing to kill another human being over a chicken? The moral question is now in their field.

  123. First of all, don’t be dense. There is a trememdous cultural taboo against cannibalism, so discussions about eating other humans are just exercises. Do I think it all right to eat an infant that will die at 6 months? Sure, as long as you wait for it to die and don’t kill it. But practically, we won’t be eating each other anytime soon.

    Other than that, I will eat the things that humans evolved to eat.

    jesus, I just eat meat cuz everyone around me always has, I’ve never thought about it much

    Since this is your hobby horse, and since you seem to feel you are some sort of revolutionary thinker for ZOMG questioning eating meat, I will say this: I eat meat because that’s one of the things humans eat. I LIKE it, a lot. I like sex, too, and don’t question the morality of that either.

    You remind me of a Catholic agonizing over his sexual urges.

  124. But I did not know that turkeys get cheaper at Thanksgiving. I was unaware supermarkets marketed them that way – I just assumed it worked the same way as roses at Valentine’s Day. Interesting.

    joe, I think that the reason for the different marketing approaches to turkeys versus roses is that there aren’t many add-on sales to Valentine roses, other than relatively cheap cards, so you have to make a profit off the roses by taking advantage of the tight supply relative to demand. Whereas, most people buy all kinds of trimmings with their turkey, so the store can price the turkey at or below cost and get their profit off all the trimmings. Also, Valentine’s day is a one-shot deal, and roses are highly perishable, so the demand curve is pushed up on that one day, leading to higher prices. OTOH, people have more flexibility about when to start loading up on Thanksgiving supplies, spreading out the demand and making price spikes less sustainable.

  125. Animal rights thread…Hey what did I miss?

    Anything you can say about most animals we eat you could say about infants, retarded folks or senile folks

    People aren’t food MNG, that is a universal taboo.Much more so than incest or murder.

    Although humans are animals we are of an exceptional sort. Animals are property because they aren’t in the same category as us-not because of the lack of mental abilities and self -awareness they might share with immature and defective humans.Before you try and drag in racial categories we didn’t eat African slaves-in fact we converted them to Christianity.No one I’m aware of is trying to save chicken, cow,sheep and pig souls.

  126. Morality without Divine influence is simply a matter of personal opinion.

    brotherben, The following is why my personal opinion on morality is superior to “divine influence”.

    1 Samuel 15:2-3
    Thus saith the LORD of hosts … go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.(King James Version)

    I just love those slaughter your neighbor passages!

  127. SIV,I am trying to save my mother in laws’ soul and she two of the four you mentioned.

  128. I’m not sure there’s a canned libertarian response to the animal rights issue, regardless of what this small sample of libertarians has to say. I’m a meat eater, but I can certainly appreciate arguments about animal cruelty. And munching on say, a chimpanzee, would bother me.

    Maybe we just need tasty synthetics to end this debate, once and for all.

  129. J sub D,
    What is the basis for your morality?

  130. Maybe we just need tasty synthetics to end this debate, once and for all.

    Pro Libertate,
    Now I’ve got to introduce meat without animals into the discussion.

    Hmmm.

  131. I am a hunter and believe animals deserve moral consideration. I eat meat, yes, and I enjoy it greatly. I mostly eat meat from animals I kill. I make every effort to kill quickly and cleanly. I do not torture animals, at least as defined by the wanton imposition of pain.

    Animals do not have rights, but they deserve moral consideration. One can argue a person in a persistant vegetative state has “rights,” but personally, I think its another case of moral consideration. Frankly, I think a decent case can be made that keeping them alive (at least biologically) is more cruel than allowing them to die.

    Eating human flesh is a taboo (at least in most societies). Are there circumstances where I would resort to cannabalism to survive. Yes, but I would not kill another person. If they died and the flesh was available, my instinct for survival would outweigh my sense of violating a moral taboo… particularly with some fava beans and nice chianti.

  132. [S]o people in a terminal coma are fair game?

    So, are you against harvesting the organs of people in terminal comas?

  133. J sub D,
    What is the basis for your morality?

    My culture, my upbringing, introspection, deduction and extrapolation. I was raised a papist, I’m sure it has some influence. Probably not too much.

    BTW, the “holy book” is full of that kind of stuff, isn’t it?

  134. Are they willing to kill another human being over a chicken?

    Che-gans are.

    Save a chicken. Eat a commie!

  135. That makes sense, prolefeed.

    It’s not economics I’m ignorant about. It’s grocery stores.

  136. Too stringy.

  137. That’s crazy talk. This is a real problem for libertarianism. …Animal rights folks and pro-life folks see animal and fetus killing as akin to a heinous crime, and if they are right then libertarianism should add them to slavery and assault as things we would be willing to let a state prohibit.

    MNG,
    Nice try on attempting to twist what I said. Let’s try again:

    You are correct that “animal rights” are a completely different set of issues than “animal welfare”, the former being pretty complex but predicated on the question, “do we have the right to own animals of another species?”

    Leaving aside animal rights, the “pure libertarian viewpoint” only necessitates opposition to animal welfare that is coerced.

    IOW, I was not making a libertarian argument for or against “animal rights” but against government(elected, religious or other) edicts regarding the “humane” treatment of animals.

    The notion of “animal rights” is, as you noted, a very emotional and ultimately untestable subject akin to abortion. It is also a subject for which I have no intention of engaging on this forum. Like shouting into a hurricane, I know futility when I experience it and arguing with “animal rights” or “anti-abortion” activists is the epitome of futility.

  138. Animals do not have rights, but they deserve moral consideration.

    Well said. Dogs don’t have rights, they’re property. Still, I’m happy Michael Vick is going to do time. Fuckin’ A-hole.

  139. I’m well aware that my 5:25 pm post is inconsistent with libertarian principles. I’ll go do penance now.

  140. J sub D,
    Yes, the book is chock full of such unpleasantness. History is that way.
    If we all based our morality as you do then there can be no such thing as immorality. Just a difference of opinions. Nobody is wrong if everybody is right.

    Joe, btw, the rose wholesalers triple the price 10-12 days before valentines day. florists have to pay the price as they cant order earlier than that. (wife is a florist)

  141. Distorted notions of capitalism have been the impetus for our complete apathy towards the issue of animal rights.

    I thought communists didn’t eat meat because their stores were always out of it not because it was unethical. I guess you learn something everyday.

  142. Why am I supposed to care what some freshman is writing in the Columbia Spectator?

  143. SIV and Episariach must be cultural relativists, they seem to think that arguing that a practice is held by a culture to be wrong (taboo) that this is enough on the subject. We are talking about why it’s wrong to eat people, and if that is applicable to animals. When talking about why it is wrong to eat humans you can’t win by saying “most people think it is wrong” or “every culture is against it” unless you are arguing that a culture thinking something is morally right is all we need to figure out what in fact is morally right.

    btw-cultures also pretty universally restrict markets, so that must be moral too, eh?

    Episarich-you’re funny. I don’t do much agonizing over animal rights. In your mind everyone who accepts animal rights arguments as compelling simply have to be granola eating hemp wearing hippies anguishing over a moths death. In reality the arguments are just powerful and I realize that.

  144. “The notion of “animal rights” is, as you noted, a very emotional and ultimately untestable subject akin to abortion. ” Non-agression is testable? WHo knew!

  145. If a we are unbelievers then what is moral is a personal choice influenced by many many things. All opinions become valid in this light and some would suggest that amoebas have the same rights as cows or chickens or humans.
    Morality without Divine influence is simply a matter of personal opinion.

    So is morality with Divine influence a matter of personal opinion! It has to be based on someone’s opinion and/or interpretation of what a deity said – or what someone who wrote a book about it said.

    If you believe what the Bible says, or the Koran, or any other sacred text – or you believe what someone says they say – then it is your “personal opinion” as to its validity. You can abdicate the responsibility to think, but you can not believe without it being your belief.

  146. I thought communists didn’t eat meat because their stores were always out of it not because it was unethical. I guess you learn something everyday.

    Yes, and like most of the other problems with communism, it can be solved by adhering to a strict Che-gan diet.

  147. If we all based our morality as you do then there can be no such thing as immorality. Just a difference of opinions. Nobody is wrong if everybody is right.

    And you propose basing it on the writings of superstitious bronze age goat herders with a historically unsubstantiated update from Roman occupied Judea (iron age)?

  148. Knowledge of truth is not an abdication of thought. Do you believe in gravity? Is that an abdication of thought on your part?

  149. Or we could let the Govt dictate our morals.
    Or we could let everyone including John Coeuy write their own rules?
    A society without a common foundation for moral behaviour is doomed to failure.

  150. Knowledge of truth is not an abdication of thought. Do you believe in gravity? Is that an abdication of thought on your part?

    I’m unsure of what your asking here. But I’ll take a stab at it anyway. My belief in a scientific theory (look up what a theory is in the world of science) doesn’t affect its correctness or usefulness. Likewise any belief in a deity has no bearing on the existence of said deity. Evidence, brotherben, evidence. That’s all I ask.

    I’m not going to channge your mind, you certainly aren’t going to change mine. Let’s agree to disagree and move on.

  151. Done. Dinner with wifey now. Have a great weekend all.

  152. Knowledge of truth is not an abdication of thought. Do you believe in gravity? Is that an abdication of thought on your part?

    It could be, if I accepted it uncritically. But my point is whether I accept it critically or uncritically, it is me doing the accepting of it – or anyone else. A person can not escape the fact that he or she is the final arbiter of what is true or untrue, valid or invalid, believed or not believed. One can argue about the proper basis for one’s conclusions, but one cannot escape choice – even a refusal to choose is a choice.

  153. It is me doing the accepting

    It is “I”?

  154. It is me doing the accepting

    It is “I”?

    Methinks both are acceptable.

  155. I believe that cannibalism is taboo in modern societies (until recently, still practiced in New Guinea highlands and a few isolated places) because legalizing it would impede population growth in the offending culture, leading to them being taken over by societies with the taboo. Same deal with taboos for murder, etc. — a Darwinian struggle among diverse cultural practices leading to the domination of the most efficient one from the perspective of population growth. Encoding this knowledge in religious texts is more of an effect than a cause.

    The abortion debate may be slowly settled if people who don’t abort outbreed people who do and become overwhelmingly numerous. This “winning by outbreeding” thing is more or less explicitly pushed by the Mormon church, which strongly encourages large families based on religious ideology, but with the largely unspoken subtext of ideological domination via population growth.

  156. J sub D writes,

    Dogs don’t have rights, they’re property. Let’s poke around in here a little bit. There’s a lot packed in there.

    It appears to explain the absence of rights as a result of their having the moral status “property.” But “property” is a human construct – it explains the relationship of a human to a thing.

    Rights, on the other hand, if you believe in the conceptualization of them offered in the Declaration of Independence, are endowed by the Creator, and are inalienable.

    So, the status of dogs in terms of having rights would seem to be prior to their status as property.

    IF dogs have rights, then the human construct of making them property cannot void those rights.

    Slaves were property – that is, were described and understood by human beings as being property – and yet, they still had rights that we should have been respecting.

  157. prolefeed, are you suggesting that cannibalistic societies consist of people eating members of their own communities?

    I’m pretty sure that virtually all cannibalism (or at least, virtually all murder cannibalism) above the scale of the lone psycho – and therefore big enough to influence a society’s long-term prospects – was the consumption of enemies/victims from other societies.

  158. It appears to explain the absence of rights as a result of their having the moral status “property.” But “property” is a human construct – it explains the relationship of a human to a thing.

    “Rights” are a human construct.

    Rights, on the other hand, if you believe in the conceptualization of them offered in the Declaration of Independence, are endowed by the Creator, and are inalienable.

    “Endowed by the Creator” I have a problem with that, being an atheist and all that entails. It might be more accurate to say “rights” are defined by a society. In the U.S. women did not have the right to vote prior to the passage of the nineteenth amendment. They still don’t in some countries.

    So, the status of dogs in terms of having rights would seem to be prior to their status as property.

    If you agree with the two prior premises, which I don’t.

    Slaves were property – that is, were described and understood by human beings as being property – and yet, they still had rights that we should have been respecting.

    They didn’t until the passage of the 13th, 14th, and15th amendments. Sad but true.

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