There have been so many great speakers during this two day workshop. Most of them touched on the ethical considerations of the topics they discussed.
Various speakers spoke of injustices around the world. I started to see a theme emerging of the complicity of “good people” in acts of cruelty and destruction, simply through the act of standing by passively and doing nothing.
Speakers referred to the systematic dismantling of native American culture, governments paying lip service to climate change while allowing it to continue, America demonizing black people as a way to avoid its past injustices to toward them, the international trade of diamonds from Sierra Leone that has been “paid for” with human atrocity, and unreasoning prejudice in general. These were just a few of the topics that involved difficult ethical questions.
Two of the speakers spoke about standing up for animals. But only cute animals.
Even among thoughtful people, who spend a lot of time and effort pondering deeply about ethical issues and trying to make the world a kinder and more just place, have a kind of blind spot. It’s good to be nice to non-human sentient beings, but only if you think they are cute.
What about the other sentient beings? The consensus seems to be that it’s perfectly fine to torture and kill them and do various unimaginably monstrous things to them.
One speaker in particular stood out in my mind. He had just finished suggesting various ways to experiment on living creatures that were so horrific they would make Dr. Moreau blush in shame.
Someone in the audience then asked him “Are there any ethical considerations to any of this?” His simple answer: “No.”
Why are people like this? I’m not sure exactly, but it seems to be because people think it’s fun.