Selective outrage of the moralist.
We know them. We’ve heard them. They are everywhere. They tend to be very loud, and not very shy, and very-very sure of themselves. I just wish they had some perspective.
You see, perspective is the trait that allows you to understand that, say, once you look at the whole globe, everyone that makes over $29,000 a year is part of the 1%. It also keeps you from being seen as a high handed blowhard that praises federal workers when the president is part of your party, and demonize them after the next election. But it also gives you the precious second needed to back away from saying something that will reveal you to be a rampaging moralist.
Anyone that has paid attention probably knows I’m not the President’s biggest fan.
Still, on Thanksgiving Day, Obama signed a bill legalizing the slaughter of horses in order to export the meat for human consumption. Immediate outrage culminated with numerous articles from hand-wringing people thoughtlessly moralizing about “who would save the poor horses!”
And I have to sigh. And kick them. Twice. With the heaviest boots I can manage.
Madeline Bernstein is one such luminary that should be nudged very gently in the butt.
Look, Bernstein doesn’t want to eat horse meat. I don’t want to eat horse meat. Most of you out there probably have no intent or desire to ever eat horse meat. Some people, however, will. Now, let’s trace things back and square them with what we know.
So, either there is a huge cannibal like cabal looking for taboo meat to feast upon, or people need cheap meat. Now for the final point. If you are a cheaty-cheat-cheater, you did what Bernstein did not and you thought ahead to the end of this point: Nobody is going to slaughter expensive animals. Yes, even if they are Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil.
There has always been a hierarchy to animals. I can’t remember what it is called now, but it comes down to: Some we have as pets, others we eat, others we exterminate.
But horses are beautiful, or not, and that is immaterial to the discussion. The important thing is they are expensive and less efficient than cows for meat. Even an ‘evil corporatist’ would want to raise cows for meat instead of horses, thus getting more return for the investment. So, it isn’t good vs. evil. What is it, then?
Historically, poor families are those that eat horse meat. Why? Because horses are only converted to food animals when they are overpopulated or when the cost to keep exceeds the cost to sell. The meat is sold as a means of recuperating costs of raising and feeding animals that would otherwise starve. It is not in demand. Thus the cost is low.
I have had pet rabbits and guinea pigs. Both have been raised specifically for food. Anyone attempting to eat any of my pets would meet all the raging dragon-ninja-knight bladesmanship a 12 year old hyper-nerd could bring to bear (But that’s another blog.) But we are not talking about pets. We are talking about animals that can no longer be kept or fed. Starving horses die, as I understand it. Now, if the horses are slaughtered, and some poor people can eat, I do not have a problem with that. Sorry. Some poor kid in Mexico getting a full belly is more important to me than anyone who has internalized one too many episodes of Black Beauty.
The moralist lacks perspective. For that reason she is perfectly comfortable arguing that we must find some way to keep horses from slaughter, but gives no thoughts to feeding the poor. And the poor of Mexico or China eating horse meat may disgust you. But until you start sending food donations to them, I think they’d rather eat than impress someone in another country that they don’t know, that makes far more cash.
And the sad thing is not that there are poor in the world, or that animals – even cute ones – have meat. It is when there are poor people that must eat horse meat, a highly trained lawyer writes about animal cruelty instead of how to help the poor become more successful so they can buy and keep the unwanted horses.
Well, I have a few extra days off, and I’m spending them leading panels at the Regional Gathering for Cincinnati Area Mensa. If you are interested, I believe that Friday night is free for prospective members. Come to the Doubletree hotel, and meet card-carrying geniuses… and me.