Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Getting the crystal ball out

In a comment on the comments on my last post, Blue Devil Knight complained that

It is hilarious that people would liken homosexual lovin' to incest and cannibalism. In 100 years it will be funny to look back at these types of arguments, the kooky old days.

Firstly, I should point out that I didn’t ‘liken homosexual lovin' to incest and cannibalism’; what I did was to cite incest and cannibalism as counterexamples to a certain sexual ethic used to justify ‘homosexual lovin’ (and much else), according to which anything that consenting adults do to each other in private is OK.  But I took care of this at the time.  What I want to do now is to focus on the second of BDK’s contentions, starting with an argumentum ad dinosaur comics:

HT: robhu

The point should be obvious: neither I, BDK nor anyone else has any idea of what people will find acceptable, unacceptable or ‘kooky’ in 100 years’ time, and so trying to argue on that basis is ridiculous on its face.  I also found the specific topic of the dinosaurs’ discussion particularly relevant to the discussion in my blog post.  Maybe if our culture does ‘end up swinging towards rampant fleshotarianism’ in the future, then campaigners for vegetarianism will be accused of ‘carniphobia’ – which would be about as brainless as accusing campaigners for traditional morality now of ‘homophobia’.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Carniphobia: a dialogue

The scene is a university canteen.  Adam is affixing a poster bearing the slogan ‘Meat is Murder’ to the student noticeboard.  Bob, a coursemate of his, approaches Adam.

Bob: What are you doing?
Adam: Organising a vegetarianism meeting.  Are you interested?
B: Furrows his brow  No.  And I didn’t have you down as a carniphobe, either.
A: What?
B: You’re campaigning against people eating meat?
A: Yes.
B: You’re a carniphobe.  You’re bigoted and prejudiced against people like me who eat meat.
A: Puzzled  No I’m not.  I just think eating meat is immoral.  I mean, don’t you think that…
B: If you don’t like eating meat, then don’t do it.  What business of yours is it what grown adults put in their own bodies?
A: Well, I suppose there’s a sense in which it’s not ‘my business’. If someone stole from someone else on the other side of the world today, there’s a sense in which that’s not my business; but that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to a moral opinion about it, or to campaign against it. Same here.
B: Eating meat is part of who I am!
A: Well, I’m not entirely sure that people are born carnivorous…
A: …but even if they are, that doesn’t mean that going along with that is OK.  The fact that you, I or anyone has a tendency, inclination or urge or do something doesn’t make it OK to do that thing, even if the urge or whatever is innate.  Wouldn’t you agree that animals…
B: Eating meat is almost completely accepted in society these days, except by wackos like you.
A: Uh, have you considered the possibility that ‘society’ is wrong about this?

Clive, a representative of the Student Union, approaches Adam and Bob.

Clive: What’s going on?
B: This bigot…
Adam shows one of his posters to Clive
C: No, no, no, you can’t use a university room for a meeting like this!
A: Why not?
C: You’re in contravention of Student Union Equality and Diversity policy.  We can’t condone discriminatory events like this.
B: Thank you.
A: Discriminatory?
C: Yes.  This event discriminates against carnivores, so you can’t hold it on campus.
A: Has the world gone mad?

(This dialogue was inspired by an old blog post from William Vallicella).