Thursday, February 5, 2009

Give PEAS a chance

I know, I know, I really do not like PETA. In fact, I usually can find nothing that they do right. But, for once, I have to give them some commendations. See, they are trying this new campaign that is going to attempt to get some peace in the Middle East by giving people peas. Sure, It is unlikely to work, but we must assume that they are trying this to be good people.



Anyways, PETA is running the "Give Peas a Chance" campaign with the intent on putting posters on both sides of the fence in Israel promoting vegetarianism. They are contending that terror and violence starts by eating meat (not sure if this is due to the murder of the animals or due to some sort of mental instability caused by meat) and so having people be vegies will cause less violence. This is an interesting idea, but I am not so sure how it would work.

I mean, how likely is it that being a vegie will decrease violence. Manson was a vegie, as was Hitler, and several other killers. Wait, that is a strawman, but who cares. Anyways, there is no evidence that shows that eating less meat causes less violence. No, I think this is more a marketing ploy by PETA to get people to think that they are all for peace. And, frankly, I buy it. I really think that PETA is attempting to interject humor in the situation which will hopefully help ease the tensions. If this works, I will like PETA slightly more. If it doesn't, I will be happy that they attempted to help.


Just so you don't think that I am starting to like PETA, I have to point out something they did wrong. See that picture up there, well it is wrong. PETA thinks that people shouldn't have pets as pets, but that dog and that cat clearly look like pets. PETA needs to get a new artist..

8 comments:

Alex said...

Quote:

“This is an interesting idea, but I am not so sure how it would work.”

It’s theoretical: veganism is non-violence manifested. Directly taking the lives of nonhuman animals –- sentient beings that have preference interests and an individual welfare – is violence. Therefore, the maxim follows: “Nonviolence includes animals” (human or otherwise). I understand it as extending the boundaries of “moral inclusion” – compassion or empathy – beyond our narrowly defined ontological worldview.

Including nonhuman animals would be a literal gestalt shift for most; for the conflict being considered in this campaign, including Jews or Palestinians would be another. The basic logical structure is similar: one group is “othered,” de-humanized (narrowly defined), which neutralizes the harm done to them and the suffering experienced.

As a factual correction, Hitler was not a vegetarian. Personal accounts relate Hitler’s obsession with certain German sausages, for example. Hitler’s discussions of “animal rights” relate to purification and health concerns; however, if he accepted AR premises (which includes non-violence to sentient beings), which make sentience the fundamental moral starting point, Jews (and others) would certainly have been protected, not exterminated. (That’s the straw man aspect of this statement, as you noticed.)

"Argumentum ad Hitlerum" is a more accurate description of this fallacy because it doesn't purposefully misrepresent the AR position, given that Hitler didn't accept AR premises.

Interestingly enough, relating back to my initial statements, Hitler’s writings display a political purpose to his alleged vegetarianism: he wanted to de-value Jews (and others), therefore, he defended the worldview that regarded members of the Jewish race as having less worth than nonhuman animals.

I might also extend the logic a little further: taking an account of the worst mass murderers in history may result in an outcome that suggests the violent tendencies associated with a consumption of flesh.

Quote:

“See that picture up there, well it is wrong. PETA thinks that people shouldn't have pets as pets, but that dog and that cat clearly look like pets.”

You forget to take note of your second straw man here. PETA aggressively campaigns for adoption and rescue programs that are designed to find homes for those companion nonhuman animals that are currently in existence. Individual dogs and cats, for example, primarily exist because we have intervened in the lives of their ancestors. Therefore, we have a direct prima facie obligation to house and feed them; to ensure that their welfare needs and preference interests are satisfied to the best of our abilities.

Accordingly, PETA doesn’t “think people shouldn’t have pets as pets” because, as a matter of what makes for a good to these kinds of beings, a companion animal relationship follows. PETA takes issue with the concept “pet” because it denotes a “property” status that isn’t ethically defensible. They also believe that we shouldn’t be bringing more companion animals into existence because they are not “things” to do with as we wish, and because this removes resources from their primary goal: caring for the animals currently here.

Barga said...

"It’s theoretical: veganism is non-violence manifested. Directly taking the lives of nonhuman animals –- sentient beings that have preference interests and an individual welfare – is violence. Therefore, the maxim follows: “Nonviolence includes animals” (human or otherwise). I understand it as extending the boundaries of “moral inclusion” – compassion or empathy – beyond our narrowly defined ontological worldview."
--I understand that it is theoretical, and I like the idea, but I think that there is a much better method. They could fund education, movies, etc. that work on showing that the two groups are the same exact persons, just with different classes arguing for them--


"Including nonhuman animals would be a literal gestalt shift for most; for the conflict being considered in this campaign, including Jews or Palestinians would be another. The basic logical structure is similar: one group is “othered,” de-humanized (narrowly defined), which neutralizes the harm done to them and the suffering experienced."
--I disagree that adding animals helps. I think it actually marginalizes the efforts--


"As a factual correction, Hitler was not a vegetarian. Personal accounts relate Hitler’s obsession with certain German sausages, for example. Hitler’s discussions of “animal rights” relate to purification and health concerns; however, if he accepted AR premises (which includes non-violence to sentient beings), which make sentience the fundamental moral starting point, Jews (and others) would certainly have been protected, not exterminated. (That’s the straw man aspect of this statement, as you noticed.)"
--I know, I just had to find something to insult the cause with. That said, purification can be caused by this sort of argument.--


"You forget to take note of your second straw man here. PETA aggressively campaigns for adoption and rescue programs that are designed to find homes for those companion nonhuman animals that are currently in existence. Individual dogs and cats, for example, primarily exist because we have intervened in the lives of their ancestors. Therefore, we have a direct prima facie obligation to house and feed them; to ensure that their welfare needs and preference interests are satisfied to the best of our abilities."
--I know this, more or less--

Alex said...

Quote:

"--I disagree that adding animals helps. I think it actually marginalizes the efforts--"

I'm sure you do, however, your argument can only be premised on an irrational prejudice against the interests -- or "value" -- of nonhuman animals. Likewise, the same logical structure frames other human-human conflicts: identifying the "other," defining them as such, and arguing from that premise.

Our collective prejudice make's this statement slightly more understandable:

"--I know, I just had to find something to insult the cause with."

Why would you even waste the effort if you know it's incorrect? It sounds like you fear admitting the validity of alternative arguments.

Quote:

"That said, purification can be caused by this sort of argument.--"

How, logically, does that follow?

Veganism is necessarily inclusive, taking account of and respecting the lived realities of the "other." For example, it is an outright rejection of "natural order" reasoning, and biological based prejudices. In no way does that suggest "purification."

Barga said...

"I'm sure you do, however, your argument can only be premised on an irrational prejudice against the interests -- or "value" -- of nonhuman animals. Likewise, the same logical structure frames other human-human conflicts: identifying the "other," defining them as such, and arguing from that premise."
--No, my issue is that by arguing peace and then stating a goal that most people find amazing harms your message of peace.--


"Why would you even waste the effort if you know it's incorrect? It sounds like you fear admitting the validity of alternative arguments."
--Notice that it was laced with sarcasim--

Alex said...

It is difficult to notice your sarcasm when, in the past, you have hurled derision (most of it baseless) at the same organization. Therefore, it stands to reason that your readership would likewise have failed to catch the subtle subtext of “humor.”

Quote:

“No, my issue is that by arguing peace and then stating a goal that most people find amazing harms your message of peace.”

That’s fairly short cited Barga. The “message of peace,” as it relates to this conflict, is “stating a goal that most people find amazing.”

Further, PETA represents an idea. It would be absurd to forget the idea for the sake of succumbing to a collective prejudice.

Finally, people have found, and continue to find, many ideas “amazing”: abolishing slavery and challenging the women-as-property paradigm, for example. However, the ideas behind these movements are no less valid because of our amazement.

Barga said...

Think about it like this, if Group A is a great group, they argue that there should be rights for all humans, that all humans should be treated equally, and that we should all love another. Then they argue that the world is flat

we no longer credit them

Alex said...

Quote:

"Then they argue that the world is flat."

Christian ethics assumes similarly absurd premises and they have had great success universalizing ethical principles, including "human rights."

Secondly, the question, "Is the world flat?” has been empirically invalidated. The question, "Is the philosophy of animal rights sound?", however, has not -- as your comments at That Vegan Girl suggest, it hasn't even been given a hearing.

Again, then, unlike "The earth is flat," which would be a delusional statement, "We don't have moral duties to animals" is premised on a prejudice, not sustained reasoning.

Barga said...

My point is why argue for something that is proven to be good and is emerging into the mainstream while arguing for some far-out theory (the theory that eating less meat will cause more peace)

it harms the first message (not making a judgment on the second)

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