Monday, November 28, 2022

"Infinite capacity to rationalize"

Song: The incredibly beautiful and exceptionally sad "A Man I'll Never Be." It is especially heart-wrenching to know that Brad Delp, the singer, killed himself.

As mentioned, One Step got a donation earlier this month from a new donor with the note that it was from having read Losing My Religions.

In our correspondence, he pointed to a book club debate (1, 2, but I strongly advise you to not go there). In the "debate" on animal ethics, there are so many words that say nothing at all. In the end, though, Bryan Caplan, being a straight white overly-educated upper-middle-class male, basically said that ethics = whatever he feels like ("intuitions").

Of course he does. 

And of course, his intuitions say non-human animals don't matter.

Of course they don't.

He gives this example to "prove" the "flaw" in vegetarian reasoning:

A: It is wrong to cause an enormous amount of suffering, for the sake of relatively minor benefits for ourselves.

B: So if the only way for me to build a swimming pool is to bulldoze a den of mice, causing them to horribly suffer, it is wrong to build my pool?

A: Perhaps I overstated.

B: Indeed.

That's the level of "logic" and "argument" Bryan brings to this discussion: it is just fine to support factory farms because ... he wants a pool.

This is, obviously, a perfect example of Cleveland Amory's truism: "Man has an infinite capacity to rationalize, especially when it comes to something he wants to eat."

As I document to some extent in Losing, there is plenty of whack-a-doodle-dee-doo on the vegan side of things.  But to my mind, nothing is as bad as "Eating meat is fine because ... pool."

Update Dec 18: Found this longer examination at Betham's Newsletter.

Card from Tom Scholz, who basically is Boston.

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