Friday, December 14, 2007

A peek inside the mind

of the world's tallest female econoblogger. I know, just what you wanted.
Here we have Megan explaining why she is a good, moral person, probably moreso than you, because she only eats "humanely raised" meat and eggs.
People who eat meat dislike you because of the uncomfortable implication that they, too, should care about the suffering of the animals they eat. And vegetarians are apalled by what they regard as half-measures. Don't I realize that an innocent, adorable little animal died to provide my dinner?

I do. I take that seriously. But for animals (not for humans), I'm essentially an aggregate utilitarian: I think that as long as their lives are worth living, it is a positive good to eat them.
It's simply a positive good to eat humans. If that's what the market wants, then so be it. Now, credit where it's due, she's right that factory farming is bad. Thing is, you don't even need to be concerned for the welfare of animals to be against factory farming. It's very bad for the environment, produces meat that tastes like shit, if it even has a flavor, and is full of antibiotics and contaminants. I agree the animals' well being is the best reason for humane practices in raising them, but that's not going to motivate others to change. And that's what's strangely lacking in Megan's post; any attempt to convince others to follow her obviously far more moral example. It's almost as if Megan is afraid to admit humanely raised meat just plain tastes better. Or maybe she just forgot to raise that point in her rush to feel proud of herself.
But if a bird or mammal has a decent amount of space in which to move, the company of its own kind, and the ingredients of such recreation (mostly hunting for food) as they are capable of enjoying, I consider that it is better for them to be born, live, and be killed for food, then never to have lived at all. Eating certified humane meat is not a compromise; it's a positive good.
It's almost as if Megan is subconsciously arguing against herself here, that or she genuinely believes it's a privilege for livestock to live so that she might eat them someday. Either way, this is an incredibly shitty argument. This isn't a recognition of the inevitability of livestock being killed for meat, and a desire to make that a less barbaric and harmful process for both the livestock and the people eating them. This is basically a way to call only eating better tasting, healthier, and more expensive meat a personal achievement, as opposed to a privilege of her economic class.
But Megan, having been raised on a ranch in Montana, knows cows and knows they're glad to be eaten by her.
I've had more than one vegan friend tell me that it's better for a cow never to be born, then [sic] to live its life as a slave. This strikes me as the comment of someone who has never spent any time near a cow. Cows Bovine Americans do not have the same kinds of aspirations to liberty and self-actualization as the other residents of our great nation. They mostly want to chew. This routine is broken by short bouts of walking, the very occasional trot, and some lying down to enjoy the grass externally as well as internally. If they have access to the opposite sex, occasionally they will mate, a process that is nasty, brutish, and short. But even if you leave them the large print version of On Liberty and broadcast the Teaching Company's philosophy lectures into the pasture every afternoon, their political consciousness tends to remain very low.
This is subtle but powerful irony. Megan is saying the inability of cows to develop intellectually is partial justification for eventually eating them. Megan is a glibertarian. I don't know how much of this I need to spell out, but I think Megan is ok with someone killing and eating her, so long as she likes the life she's had to that point.
And then she ends with a claim about the treatment of dairy cows that is far from universally true, not that they have a plum life. To say again, missing from this entire post is any attempt to give others reason to agree with, or perhaps even adopt, her lifestyle choice of only eating expensive meat. Instead, we have a big heaping helping of defensive self-congratulations. Megan isn't picky, she's moral.


Anonymous said...

"People who eat meat dislike you because of the uncomfortable implication that they, too, should care about the suffering of the animals they eat."

She never really ceases to shock me with her self-congratulatory arrogance. Megan, believe it or not, some of the other meat eaters you collide with might actually share your attitude and care about animals as well. You are not on some moral plateau overlooking the rest of the meat-eating world, at least not outside of your imagination. Then there's the distinct possibility that most meat eaters honestly don't give a shit about your personal choices, and the very true reality that some people are not in a financial position to spend an extra two dollars per pound on the meat they buy, not matter what their conscience may prefer.

But if Megan wants to strut around thinking she's actually giving everyone a moral inferiority complex, I suppose we all need our delusions to get us through the day.

M. Bouffant said...

She really loves babbling about this, doesn't she?

"Like, only my upper middle-class income allows me to be 'moral.' Poor folk just can't be as moral as I am."