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Post 0

Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 1:23pmSanction this postReply
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"They should be mocked and ridiculed, disdained and despised"

What ever happened to respect for individual choice?

Post 1

Tuesday, June 18, 2002 - 2:05pmSanction this postReply
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What's there to respect about individual choices? I make countless a day.

Respect is for things you approve of. Just making a choice doesn't mean it's a good choice.

Post 2

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 3:02amSanction this postReply
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Ok, putting 'respect' aside. Sure, ridicule and harassment do not amount to initiation of force, but some may argue that they come pretty close to an intellectual form of it. More importantly, they do little to advance the merits of freedom. I recently met a stranger who told me that she had never met a libertarian who wasnít an arrogant bastard. I was written off before I got started. As a minority, we do ourselves no favours when we ridicule and mock the majority. But, then, each to their own, aye?

Post 3

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 - 9:55pmSanction this postReply
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There has to be a better way of avoiding the "arrogant bastard" charge then by becoming a moral relativist. Freedom will never stand unless it has a moral base that can support it.

And it's important not to give unwarranted respect to irrational ideas. By pretending vegetarianism is anything but crazy, you're telling people that morality is subjective and arbitrary. And then you want to tell them that freedom is the exception? Who's going to listen?

Post 4

Wednesday, July 3, 2002 - 10:54pmSanction this postReply
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Environmentalists holding up "arbitrary" aspects of nature - does the author really mean that??? What's arbitrary about human survival through species protection, ecosystem protection and intergenerational equity? What's arbitrary about human recreational and aesthetic enjoyment of wilderness? What's arbitrary about believing we must be responsible stewards of God's creation?

Post 5

Sunday, July 7, 2002 - 4:26pmSanction this postReply
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Ah yes. What could be arbitrary about believing we must be responsible stewards of God's creation? Indeed.

As for the rest, rationalizations are not the same as reasons. If recreational and aesthetic enjoyment were the reasons, then there's nothing particular special about nature. It's just a commodity like any others. Funny how environmentalists don't buy that.

Also, if human survival was the goal, then the ecosystem should always be sacrificed for the well-being of men. Funny how that's not the typical stance either.

Post 6

Saturday, October 12, 2002 - 7:20pmSanction this postReply
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"Also, if human survival was the goal, then the ecosystem should always be sacrificed for the well-being of men."

If human survival was the goal how _can_ any, even one, ecosystem be sacrificed? All things being inter-connected and all, when one thing is altered {grand scale} all things are effected {down to most miniscule scales}.

imho.

(and hello. :)
it's my first time here. ;p )

Cheers :)

Post 7

Tuesday, October 15, 2002 - 11:16pmSanction this postReply
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Hi folks!

It's funny how those who seem to know "God's creation" and from the grandest scale to the micro level are the first to offer arbitrary laws in order to protect it. They own it with God? What are we who have no pretences doing here in their world? This is sick stuff. Joe this is what happens when people have lost connection with philosophy, they lose connection with the earth. What begins with science may end up in dogmatic religion. It happened to the Presocratics, it happened in the Renaissance, it continues. Environmentalism is a religion, notice all of the arguments for organicism used in their arguments? It's not even good religion, it's cheap philosophy. If I were a Greek god I would punish them for their hubris:) Welcome Raye!

Post 8

Saturday, February 1, 2003 - 10:55pmSanction this postReply
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Your comments and article should be labeled as an assessment of animal rights activists, an attack on a standard you do not value. Animal right activists do not eat meat because of their beliefs regarding the rights of animals. If they did not hold animals in such high regard, they would enjoy a steak with you.

Vegetarians (and vegan vegetarians) do not necessarily care about the animals they do not eat. As a matter of fact, I have never met an animal rights activist, and I have been vegan for years. My reasons are very selfish - I feel that if eliminating cholesterol from my diet keeps me from spending time and money financing the medical and pharmacatical industries, it is worth every morsel I do not ingest. It is a rational, positive choice. All the vegetarians I know are selfish in this regard. Since my standard is to value my life above all else, I will pass on the steak.

Post 9

Thursday, February 6, 2003 - 9:33pmSanction this postReply
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Karen,

Although it may be true that animal rights activists share these beliefs, it's also quite common among vegetarians and vegans. At least in this part of the world.

But ultimately, if the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. Or something like that. If it doesn't apply to you, ignore it.

If health concerns is really your motivation, shall I also assume you exercise regularly, have routine check-ups, and otherwise look after your health? And if there was some meat in your soup, you'd go ahead and eat it anyway since the amount of cholesterol is minute? I ask because vegetarians I know are in lousy shape, and wouldn't touch a bowl of soup if there was a trace of meat in it. Vegans are even worse.

I don't discount the possibility of someone not eating meat due to health reasons. I've never seen it, but it's certainly possible.

Post 10

Monday, March 10, 2003 - 3:26pmSanction this postReply
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You write:
"I don't discount the possibility of someone not eating meat due to health reasons. I've never seen it, but it's certainly possible."

I am shocked by the lack of knowledge implied in your statement. There are MANY people who abstain from meat for health. You can easily find such people in the net. And probably most of these people don't give a rat's ass about animal rights or environment, and they don't consider abstaining from meat a sacrifice.

You ask whether they do other things for their health, thereby trying to question whether their motive is really health. The answer for some is YES. Again, you can find examples on the net.

Post 11

Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 11:27amSanction this postReply
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Question for Joe:

Can you point us to a website that advocates the sacrifice of one's own health by vegetarianism in order to preserve animals?

Observe carefully the wording of this question.

There are many vegetarian websites. I have seen many. I never saw one that says: "Vegetarianism is bad for your health, but this is a sacrifice you must make in order to preserve animals." They may be mistaken in their belief that a good 100% plant diet can be nutritionally sufficient, but do not confuse a mistake with an intention.

I doubt that such a website exists, or if it does I suspect that it is a freak rare exception to the general rule.

If you can't point to such a website, then I fail to see much purpose to your article. Who does it apply to? Straw vegetarians?

Post 12

Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 11:14pmSanction this postReply
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Just doing a quick google search for "vegetarian moral"

http://www.europeanvegetarian.org/evu/english/news/news981/gandhi2.html

A good quote "But the basis of my vegetarianism is not physical, but moral. If anybody said that I should die if I did not take beef tea or mutton, even on medical advice, I would prefer death. That is the basis of my vegetarianism."

Now Jerry, you seem ignorant of Objectivist ethics. So let me fill you in on a little detail.

First of all, you make a funny quote: "Vegetarianism is bad for your health, but this is a sacrifice you must make in order to preserve animals."

This sentence explains, indirectly, where you're confused. Your problem here is that you are equating ethics with health. I've made no claims that vegetarianism is unhealthy (although obviously it can be...you still need a well balanced diet). It's irrelevent to my position. Health is not the standard of value...life is. I suggest you read some of the articles on this site, including my "Meaning of Life" speech.

Now, are you aware that in India, a huge part of the population are vegetarians due primarily to moral concerns? Maybe those hundreds of millions of people are "freak rare exceptions"?

I have no doubts that a great number of people don't eat meat for health reasons. That's not the issue. The issue is those that do it for "moral" reasons. Specifically, those that say "life" (the life of the animals) is a claim on your actions.

And when you confront them, and they say "well...uh...it's good for your health!", I'm reminded of the altruists who say "without altruism, there would be no charity, no love, no civility". Health is a selfish value, as is benevolence. But we don't need the package deals that are being offered.

Post 13

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 7:55pmSanction this postReply
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What I was looking for was a website whose purpose is to advocate sacrifice of man to animals. I did not see a website whose mission is advocating sacrifice of man, just Gandhi's view, and I don't know if the webmaster even agrees with it.

I did a search and all I found so far was websites denying that abstaining from eating animals is a sacrifice of man. Even the Hindu websites. But I think they would do better if they would kill all those cows (preferably humanely) and then they would have more vegan food for humans, that the cows presently eat. They are sacrificing themselves, not in refusing to eat the cows, but in refusing to kill them.
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On the statement "life of an animal [is/is not] a claim on actions": In order to clarify that, I ask what is the Objectivist view of the following obviously imaginary scenario?

John Q. Fiddlesticks buys a dog from the SPCA for the purpose of torturing it for his entertainment. He now owns the dog. The dog is his property. The dog has no rights. The dog's life is not a claim on Fiddlestick's actions. He tortures the dog in the worst way for his entertainment. He puts a rope around the dog's neck and hangs the dog until it is nearly dead. Etc. Someone says something about "senseless torture of an animal". Fiddlesticks says: "Senseless my ass! It's for my entertainment!" Paraphrasing Bentham, what matters is not whether the dog can suffer, but whether the dog can reason.

I don't know about you, but I would be greatly disturbed by this behavior. But I would not know how to condemn it from the point of view of Objectivism. The dog has no rights. Fiddlesticks is not violating anyone else's property. The dog's life is not a claim on Fiddlestick's actions.

Fiddlesticks, being some sort of ass-backwards student of Objectivism, goes so far as to condemn anyone who criticizes his treatment of his dog as being opposed to human rights, and therefore evil and vicious. Human entertainment takes precedence over the dog's suffering. The be-kind-to-animal-ists oppose torturing animals for entertainment and thereby advocate the sacrifice of humans to animals.

(Yeah I know, at this point someone will say "Fiddlesticks!")

If I wanted to continue the story, I would say:
Much to our surprise, it turns out that Fiddlesticks is a vegan, on the ground that making animals suffer so that he can eat them is "senseless torture of an animal", because that's an inferior diet.
But that probably would add too much confusion.

Post 14

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 10:13pmSanction this postReply
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Am I to understand that you believe torturing animals for entertainment is in one's rational self-interest?

Your understanding of Objectivism is appalling. "Rational self-interest" does not mean doing whatever you want, whenever you want, damn the consequences.

Post 15

Friday, April 25, 2003 - 6:56pmSanction this postReply
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Joe:
On the question of whether torturing animals for entertainment is in one's rational self-interest, for me no, but maybe for others. And why not? Animals have no rights.

Examples: Bull fights are torture of animals for the entertainment of the audience. There is nothing wrong with this. Rooster fighting is another example. Pit bull dog fighting. I doubt Objectivists would disapprove of these activities. Remember, animals have no rights.

Oh, you say "rational" self-interest. What's irrational about entertainment?

Anyway, you said vegetarianism (or veganism) is not about health. The standard of morality is not health but life. Then I'm left wondering why an Objectivist would think that meat eating is necessary, considering that (according to you) it is not about health. We are not talking about vitamin B12. I'm at a loss to explain why eating meat is necessary if it is not necessary for health.

Perhaps eating meat is a symbol of power over animals, like smoking is a symbol of controlled fire.

I do eat meat (bison meat, because it's the least contaminated). For health. What's your reason for eating meat? To unnecessarily torture animals? If eating meat is not for your health, how is making animals suffer in your rational self-interest?

If that's your purpose, then perhaps you could achieve it more directly and effectively the way John Q. Fiddlesticks did. And why not? Animals have no rights. What matters is not whether they have feeling, but whether they have the conceptual faculty.

I happen to think that there is a difference between -being kind- and -granting rights-. I don't know whether Objectivists make this distinction. Why do Objectivists say that ethical veganism means granting rights? I think that it is possible, perhaps even rational, to be kind to animals without granting them voting rights or property rights or any kind of rights, if by "rights" we mean freedom to use a conceptual faculty (which animals don't have). I don't see how even "ethical" vegans are necessarily granting rights to animals, as in property rights and voting rights; maybe they are just being kind to animals, this does not necessarily make them evil people.

Post 16

Thursday, May 1, 2003 - 12:47amSanction this postReply
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"What's irrational about entertainment?"

If entertainment is an excuse to do anything you want, it's a moral blank check. What's wrong with killing people if it's entertaining? What's wrong with self-mutilation if you find it entertaining.

Entertainment is a value, but it's not a license to do anything. Rational self-interest would claim that only some forms of entertainment are good, and it has to be weighed against every other value just like anything else.

You're also wrong on a few points. Bull fighting is not torture. People don't eat meat to torture animals. You've got a strange definition of torture, I guess. The goal of torture is to cause pain and suffering. These are not the goals of bull-fighting, eating meat, or any of the other examples you gave.

One last point is that you still misunderstand Objectivist ethics. Life is the standard of value, not health. But that doesn't mean health isn't a value. Clearly it is. The point is that it's not the ultimate value. Which simply means, it's something you weigh against other values based on the standard of life.

Post 17

Friday, May 23, 2003 - 4:57amSanction this postReply
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Hey Joe:

I'm reading a book about how meat is produced, and it is sick. I am not sure I am going to eat any more beef becuase, well, because of nasty, dirty, gross things necessary in the production of beef.

For example, the digestive tracks of cow carcasses are removed by hand, and it takes a long time to learn now not spill stomach fluid (what contains harmful bacteria, ie, E Coli) or fecal matter on the rest of the carcass. Even the best most eperienced experts spill about once every two hundred times. It takes a very long time to become proficient, and the bad turnover in the meat production industry almost insures that the person doing this job is not. The turnover rate innsures that the average job in a meat plant typically lasts for about four months. It takes much longer to learn this skill.

Chicken, on the other hand, doesn't have such issues. Chickens can be breed to the be the same size, insuring that chicken production can be done by hand.

This equates to much more contamination, fecal matter in contact with beef, etc. It's really, really gross.

So would you state that it would be rational of me not to want to eat beef becuase, of well, the production practices gross me out? Or do you think it is an irrational idea?

Post 18

Friday, May 23, 2003 - 4:58amSanction this postReply
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For the above most, I meant to say that chicken production can be done by machine.

Post 19

Monday, May 26, 2003 - 3:30pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Ryan,

Good to see you around again. You've been quiet lately.

I don't really have an opinion either way about the production practices for beef. I can see why it might disgust you. I heard of a documentary about chickens that was pretty revolting, and I could see why people would not want to eat them either. Obviously concerns for health aren't in principle irrational.

It might be worth looking at the larger context, though. Any human food has to go through health requirement testing. Even if there's some spillage, it sounds like the book you read is trying to make it more sensational than it is. People eat meat all over this country every day without negative side-effects.

So you might be disgusted by it, but the only possible irrational part is if your degree of disgust is unwarranted. I know that pretty much any food isn't perfectly clean, and might make you a little queezy if you dwell on it. Just don't dwell on it.

Hope you get over it and enjoy a nice steak. But in the meantime, don't force yourself to eat anything you don't want.

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