But What Do They Like?
Ah. That’s reassuring. Perhaps I’m not so confused after all, since Norm makes a similar point. Not an identical point, because he doesn’t focus on the Toynbee column, he merely mentions it; but a similar one. The basic disagreement with what she said and with what Harry said at his place I take to be the same.
Harry endorses a piece by Polly Toynbee in which she belittles the importance of the fox hunting issue relative to the ‘things that really matter’, like social injustice. In response to which I offer the following.
(1) One should care about the suffering of other sentient beings. Indifference to the suffering of others is part of the definition of cruelty.
(2) Putting the interests of human beings above those of other species is all right as a general principle, but it doesn’t by itself settle all particular cases where these interests compete. Otherwise you would have to allow that someone who mildly enjoyed beating an animal to death with a club every morning should be allowed to do so. But one shouldn’t allow that, and in fact as a community we don’t.
Exactly. What I said. Cases where these interests compete. It’s no good just saying liberals shouldn’t stop people doing what they like, because people like doing all sorts of horrible things. And if it were any good saying that, then you would have to allow that someone who mildly enjoyed beating an animal to death with a club every morning should be allowed to do so. Yes, factory farming and battery farming are horrible too, but since I’m a vegetarian (okay apart from a little fish now and then) I’m not being hypocritical in being against fox hunting as well. But I’m even more against saying vaguely that people should be allowed to do what they like.