I have been following the comments on yesterday’s post, and I think Lisa and Manooh have both made very thoughtful points – but from completely different philosophical perspectives. It was interesting for me to watch Lisa work through this difficult terrain, trying to be thoughful and intellectually honest about it, while wrestling with points of view that clearly seemed very foreign to her. The only aspect of Lisa’s comments that I didn’t follow was the connection between admiring red poll cows and eating red poll cows. These seem to be two quite separate issues – if you find something beautiful, that’s reason enough to work to preserve its existence, isn’t it? For example, we like having squirrels in our parks, and we don’t need to justify their existence by eating them.
I was completely thrown for a loop by Sally’s comment that I am going off the deep end. I’m not sure what it means to be off the deep end in this context. My opinion is simple: I don’t want to kill any fellow being that has a subjective experience of existence, so given the choice, I choose not to. I understand that this is a minority opinion, but so is being Jewish or Quaker.
I don’t tell people that they are off the deep end because they kill to eat. My objection to The Times editorial was that it implied that there is some kind of mutual sentimental bond between people and the creatures that people kill – a sort of pleasant inter-species friendship. On the face of it isn’t that a contradction? Clearly I am not the friend of what I kill. It might be in my self interest, but it is never in the interest of the other. The fact that The Times felt the need to say something so inherently self-contradictory seemed interesting and worth talking about. If pointing this out constitutes being off the deep end, then what doesn’t?