Tag Archives: ethics

On Pets:

I will start this out with a full disclosure; we have a cat that I love very much. The relationship is a bit of a dichotomy though, because while I do wish only the best for Kitty, I cannot know for sure what that “best” is. Is kitty better served living a more (or complete) natural existence? For sure it is how his ancient ancestors lived, fraught with danger, periods on near starvation, but also the thrill of hunt and rewards of the kill. Offspring and true freedom of position, just by keeping kitty as a pet I am denying him most of these things. Now it is not without tradeoffs. Kitty will never know starvation or thirst, he will never be in any mortal danger, and he will have all the social re-enforcement he could want BUT while some might say that is clearly a better deal I ask who am I ( and really who are we) to make that decision for kitty, ESPECIALLY when we benefit so much from his company.  I truly try ) as I think most pet owners do)  to make kitty as happy as I can, but at the end of the day  I am a more powerful being enforcing my will on a less powerful being. Now kitty does not seem to mind, I doubt the cat has much of an opinion on the moral ramifications of it’s existence, but just that does not justify it either. ( again I differ to Kant) I don’t think kitty can really be considered capable of giving consent, he can convey basic dislike and like, but he simply cannot understand ( or communicate) high level ideas like his preference among alternate lives.  So I end up with making a decision, on the one hand I am choosing a life for kitty, without consent, with no certainty on whether it is better or worse than others. But on the other hand if I leave kitty in the shelter his life might be in danger (it is still common practice to “cull” if there are too many animals, or if they get sick) so I decided to adopt, but in doing so I committed to providing kitty with a life I would want.  I treat him in a manner I would like to be treated (if I were a cat as, best I can imagine) and for his part he shows what he likes and dislikes. But despite all the happiness kitty brings us, he is at the end of the day a prisoner here, is it for his own good though?  If I were to just let him leave he would surly freeze, event if he left in summer time, a life of domestication has left him at a huge disadvantage in terms of ability to feed himself.

So how do I sleep at nigh? Intent, I truly wish the best for kitty. I keep him here well fed and loved out of a combination of 1. Self serving reasons  I like having a cat, there grate ^^) 2. Ignorance on his opinion of his other options.  As long as # 2 is a bigger % than number 1 I can sleep OK, and I hope most pet owners feel this way, that they are stewards of a sentient creatures, much like themselves and all the implications that stem from that relationship. Now moving on the situations where #1 is pretty much all that exists …

Cattle, chickens, pork bellies, event pet breeders; I humbly suggest you consider the moral value of your endeavor.  In all these things you are making people happy, and I do not deny there is a moral vale in that, but there seems something innately uncaring, anti-social, just mean about exploiting an an animal for gain, not to say it has historically been a VERY necessary evil. If given a choice between not having enough power to plow fields so everyone goes hungry or making oxen do the work I would chose not starving every time. But today that need not be the case, we simply no longer NEED to enslave and exploit lower forms of life, so to move towards a place where that is a rare exception rather than common place we just need to start thinking in these terms.   I am not insinuating that farmers or breeders do not care for their animals, or event that they do not love them (some do) BUT I think if it is a commercial enterprise the love or care is not the driving factor, if it came out tomorrow that cows do not like being raised in their own filth just to be eaten by people I doubt many farmers would stop. And that is my point, if your motivated mainly by care and that dictates your action fine for now, we simply do not know enough on how mammals work. But if you are exploiting a lower life form for personal gain, you should be working on ways to stop it.

(Omitted but I might get to at some point: eating animals, plants, why it matters, biological engineering)

Political action 2014:

So a new year has arrived, I wish everyone well for the coming year. Sadly for some (not anyone reading this though) the year will bring with it a grate deal of suffering, whether being deprived of life sustaining foodstuffs and medicine, or being deprived of other things desired. I think it is the job of any good government to provide for the happiness of the citizens, all citizens.  I take a page out of Mill’s book on this one, the principal of utility is probably a good one to go on when planning national or state level policy, when we get to the local level it might still hold well, but at that point it might be feasible to think in terms of people, in which case I defer from Mill to Kant. Either way I do not believe it is the purview of government to be solely self sustaining, this is a necessary function, but it should NEVER be the main function.  ( As a side note here I don’t think we as a species need a government, however when the time comes that we no longer need one they will dissolve on their own)

So getting back to the here and now; our current scocil-econimatic and political systems, as you might imange I think we can do better. First the problems, and I think no matter what side of the aisle you are on we can all agree there are problems.  I think the basis of most of our problems comes from conflict, but that aside I will leave it at we have un-happy people, and say that is the problem.  Now I understand that is a odd way to define so many and varied problems, surely the solution to someone upset by inner city crime is different than someone upset by police corruption or someone else upset by out of control local spending… I argue no, those are all the same problem, one of distribution and ownership. People steal, and kill for (most often, when mental illness has been ruled out) for financial gain, in other words they do not feel like they have as much money as they deserve and act in a manner that they think will restore the perceived imbalance. Police corruption is the same thing, only a degree removed, the people the cops are “stealing from” are willing participants, we the public at large pay the real cost of such actions, but still the idea is a cop will not become curopped if he thinks he is being paid fairly, or if he event believes in fairness. Lastly the person who thinks taxes are too high, again the same idea, just the other side of the line. He believes that the amount of money he has is fair, but an amount 20% less would not be.   I could go on, most of the things that make us un-happy can fit this model ( I’m sorry I can’t get your high school sweet heart to love you again, some problems we must face alone ^^).

So how do we make everyone happy? In a word homogeneity, in a few words; we eliminate in-equality as best we can. And with today’s knowledge base and technology our best could probably be pretty dam good. To be specific: people like me and most Americans would see income freeze, or be reduced. We have 6 billion people on the planet, we have to get used to a live that can be lived by everybody, and that means no car, max temp of 58 deg in the winter time, meat only once a week ( I would advocate never, but got to pick the battles ^^)   Like always here is the rub; to the SUPER wealthy this would be a MAJOR shock, and they ( logically so) do not like the idea of massive re-distribution, to the point that if such policies were to go into effect they would be motivated to work against such policies. If you  are a wealthy business owner, who has worked hard your entire life to build a business it would be quite upsetting ( to say the least) for the government to come in and take all your assets by force, or to ( with only the treat of force) tell you how to do your job.  The owner can just make some “simple mistakes” and the business becomes a mess.  This applies to the middle class as well, ( and might to the working class) it would mean less stuff, all around.  There are 2 things to address now, first why reduce the standard of living of the wealthy and increase it for the poor, and 2ed why this is better than the idea that we can all be rich. 1st. the wealthy are in the drivers seat on this one, in a silimler way to the way that whites were in the drivers seat on ending slavery. The poor are not going to take this one with force, in the same way the slaves were not going to rise up and overthrow the government. So the wealthy need to understand why starvation is bad and how by hording resources and living extravagant lives they are f-ing the entire species. 2. I think most wealthy people are capable of reason, that with enough time and expose to suffering (most) will understand and possibly agree with this kind of thinking. On the other hand there is NO amount of reasoning or logic that will convince a poor person he dose not need to eat, or that he is less worthy of being happy than anyone else, so again the ball is in the hands of those with means.

So to close out, we need re-distribution, but more important than that us we need happy people so GOV get your ass in gear.