Why do we even talk about morality?

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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05 October 2018 11:39
 

If you read a few paragraphs in each of these 2 articles, what is your response to the topic title question?  Why not admit that, as a civilization, we are unspeakably cruel?  “What we know is that we don’t want to know.”  Can you imagine Billy Graham or the Pope, or some other spokesperson for the moral majority thundering about the stench and disease and suffering emanating from the factory farms on our doorstep?

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/11/09/flesh-of-your-flesh  (by Elizabeth Kolbert - Notice her opening paragraph about our pets)

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/factory-farming-animal-cruelty/

quote:  “Many of the cruelties inherent in factory farming stem from the sheer number of animals packed onto each farm. Pigs and cows are confined by the thousands — and birds by the hundreds of thousands. Overcrowded conditions heighten animals’ stress, lower their immunity, and allow disease to spread like wildfire as the recent avian flu epidemic illustrates. Antibiotics routinely administered to animals through their feed and water do little to prevent illnesses; in fact, we now know this practice breeds deadly superbugs that threaten both animal and human health.”

“Animals on factory farms live nearly their entire lives without ever feeling the sun on their backs or the grass beneath their feet. Instead, they spend months on end crammed inside barren, often windowless sheds, standing in their own feces and urine and breathing in toxic, choking fumes from accumulated waste. The least fortunate animals — egg-laying hens, mother pigs, and baby cows — spend most or all of their days inside cages so small they can barely move.”

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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05 October 2018 16:44
 

In 1987 John Robbins wrote a book called “Diet for a New America”. He talks about factory farming among other topics related to eating meat. This book changed my life. A couple of years ago I got to meet Robbins, and I told him I remembered one of his lines from that book:

“Never trust a food that advertises how good it is for you.”

We hear from the various beef councils about how good beef is for you. Same with the Dairy associations. We don’t hear much from the American Broccoli Council wink

 
 
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08 October 2018 12:52
 
icehorse - 05 October 2018 04:44 PM

In 1987 John Robbins wrote a book called “Diet for a New America”. He talks about factory farming among other topics related to eating meat. This book changed my life. A couple of years ago I got to meet Robbins, and I told him I remembered one of his lines from that book:

“Never trust a food that advertises how good it is for you.”

We hear from the various beef councils about how good beef is for you. Same with the Dairy associations. We don’t hear much from the American Broccoli Council wink

Here is an Australian TV ad - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ-IUWOOUfY  Could such an ad be aired on U.S. prime time? 

Every day I see ads asking for donations to help abused and neglected dogs and cats . . . their sad, worn faces and beseeching eyes . . . but no mention of the unspeakable cruelty on factory farms.

 
 
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09 October 2018 10:54
 

How does the moral majority support cruelty? 

1.  By electing a president who advocates torturing POW’s?  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/26/donald-trump-torture-absolutely-works-says-us-president-in-first-television-interview

2.  By paying for cruelty to animals at the supermarket?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njkU7VfNC4Q  (Australian TV ad #2)

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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15 October 2018 15:26
 

I’m not sure if the question is rhetorical. I feel you answer your own question here. We talk about morality because we notice that suffering sometimes has a causative connection with conscious choices.

Pertinent to your example is a growing movement to cease the consumption of animals and otherwise transition to cruelty free products. Is this is a large project requiring lots of work? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

I think we can point to any number of historical analogies where large scale changes seemed implausible in the moment but certain motivated people refused to surrender.

We may fail to exercise our moral intuitions but we are not helpless.

 
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16 October 2018 10:34
 
Brick Bungalow - 15 October 2018 03:26 PM

I’m not sure if the question is rhetorical. I feel you answer your own question here. We talk about morality because we notice that suffering sometimes has a causative connection with conscious choices.

Pertinent to your example is a growing movement to cease the consumption of animals and otherwise transition to cruelty free products. Is this is a large project requiring lots of work? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

I think we can point to any number of historical analogies where large scale changes seemed implausible in the moment but certain motivated people refused to surrender.

We may fail to exercise our moral intuitions but we are not helpless.

When it comes to global warming, it seems we’ve doomed thousands of species and caused death and misery for who knows how many future generations.  All because we didn’t want to give up a few pleasures and unsustainable habits?  Other reasons we’re leaving this legacy for our grandchildren?  Jesus is coming soon so it doesn’t matter?

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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16 October 2018 10:40
 
unsmoked - 16 October 2018 10:34 AM
Brick Bungalow - 15 October 2018 03:26 PM

I’m not sure if the question is rhetorical. I feel you answer your own question here. We talk about morality because we notice that suffering sometimes has a causative connection with conscious choices.

Pertinent to your example is a growing movement to cease the consumption of animals and otherwise transition to cruelty free products. Is this is a large project requiring lots of work? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

I think we can point to any number of historical analogies where large scale changes seemed implausible in the moment but certain motivated people refused to surrender.

We may fail to exercise our moral intuitions but we are not helpless.

When it comes to global warming, it seems we’ve doomed thousands of species and caused death and misery for who knows how many future generations.  All because we didn’t want to give up a few pleasures and unsustainable habits?  Other reasons we’re leaving this legacy for our grandchildren?  Jesus is coming soon so it doesn’t matter?

And because we’re largely run by oligarchs who appear to be uniformly shortsighted?  E.g. their goal is to squeeze a few more years of profit out of the oil and coal industries even though in the long run they could do handsomely in the renewables biz.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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19 October 2018 00:57
 
icehorse - 16 October 2018 10:40 AM
unsmoked - 16 October 2018 10:34 AM
Brick Bungalow - 15 October 2018 03:26 PM

I’m not sure if the question is rhetorical. I feel you answer your own question here. We talk about morality because we notice that suffering sometimes has a causative connection with conscious choices.

Pertinent to your example is a growing movement to cease the consumption of animals and otherwise transition to cruelty free products. Is this is a large project requiring lots of work? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

I think we can point to any number of historical analogies where large scale changes seemed implausible in the moment but certain motivated people refused to surrender.

We may fail to exercise our moral intuitions but we are not helpless.

When it comes to global warming, it seems we’ve doomed thousands of species and caused death and misery for who knows how many future generations.  All because we didn’t want to give up a few pleasures and unsustainable habits?  Other reasons we’re leaving this legacy for our grandchildren?  Jesus is coming soon so it doesn’t matter?

And because we’re largely run by oligarchs who appear to be uniformly shortsighted?  E.g. their goal is to squeeze a few more years of profit out of the oil and coal industries even though in the long run they could do handsomely in the renewables biz.

I have no special powers of prediction. I can’t meaningfully assuage anyone’s reasonable fears or regrets nor would I especially wish to. There are no guarantees of success. In some cases there may not even be a fighting chance. No argument on those points.

I can only say that I’ve witnessed human ingenuity harnessed successfully with positive intention. I’ve seen it in person and I’ve borne witness historically. I don’t deny the extraordinary failures. Not for a second. But I know they have a counterpart. I’m not quite ready for nihilism or misanthropy. Not while I can play some small part in improving the situation.

And we still have some empty seats…

 
icehorse
 
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19 October 2018 06:48
 

I’m certainly not giving up, but it’s useful to know who your enemy is.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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20 October 2018 10:59
 
icehorse - 19 October 2018 06:48 AM

I’m certainly not giving up, but it’s useful to know who your enemy is.

Trump promises coal miners to revive their industry.  Trump backs out of Paris Accord.  Make America Great Again by reviving the coal industry?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/10/china-on-track-to-lead-in-renewables-as-us-retreats-report-says

(song?)  ‘Where did all the White House solar panels go?’  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carter-white-house-solar-panel-array/

https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000006064751/coal-miner-to-trump-coal-mining-isnt-coming-back.html

 
 
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20 October 2018 14:05
 
icehorse - 16 October 2018 10:40 AM
unsmoked - 16 October 2018 10:34 AM
Brick Bungalow - 15 October 2018 03:26 PM

I’m not sure if the question is rhetorical. I feel you answer your own question here. We talk about morality because we notice that suffering sometimes has a causative connection with conscious choices.

Pertinent to your example is a growing movement to cease the consumption of animals and otherwise transition to cruelty free products. Is this is a large project requiring lots of work? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

I think we can point to any number of historical analogies where large scale changes seemed implausible in the moment but certain motivated people refused to surrender.

We may fail to exercise our moral intuitions but we are not helpless.

When it comes to global warming, it seems we’ve doomed thousands of species and caused death and misery for who knows how many future generations.  All because we didn’t want to give up a few pleasures and unsustainable habits?  Other reasons we’re leaving this legacy for our grandchildren?  Jesus is coming soon so it doesn’t matter?

And because we’re largely run by oligarchs who appear to be uniformly shortsighted?  E.g. their goal is to squeeze a few more years of profit out of the oil and coal industries even though in the long run they could do handsomely in the renewables biz.

I remember you being a pretty sensible guy and I imagine being surrounded by those who mostly lean left you might be in a bit of an echo chamber. I am an Australian so I can’t really speak for America but having done some research I can tell you that in Australia there are actually deeply profitable coal mines that can be built yet and that we haven’t yet hit the maximum number of coal power plants the world will have. I’m not denying global warming only acknowledging that there is still some life left in the coal industry.