The final part of this series of posts regarding Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows An Introduction to Carnism is respectively about Joy’s final chapter of the book.
In it, Joy suggests to fight Carnism by bearing witness.
All along the book her focus is prominently on humans. On humans being deceived to act against their true nature, being deceived to consume unhealthy products, being victims of environmental pollution, and of course risking themselves in the dangerous job of murdering and tearing apart other animals. In the last chapter, again she asks humans to focus on themselves.
“when we witness, we validate, or make real, the suffering the system works so hard to hide, and we also validate our authentic reaction to it. Witnessing connects us with the truth of Carnistic practices, as well as with our inner truth, our empathy. We bear witness to others, and to ourselves”.
But ethics mustn’t be about connecting to ourselves, but about how others are being treated. It is not about us, it is about them. Morality shouldn’t be about witnessing the atrocities, but first and foremost about doing something to stop them. And in the case of the systematic exploitation of animals, suggesting bearing witness is also extremely anthropocentric since it shouldn’t be about us humans witnessing other animals. It is not about how humans feel about what nonhumans go through, but about what nonhumans go through. Morality should be about the victims. In a victim oriented ethics, the focus is not on what the activists think the victimizers’ interests are or what they are willing or unwilling to do about the cruelty they are involved in. It is about the victims and what they need to be done for them, regardless of what the victimizers’ interests, views and desires are.
Activists shouldn’t bear witness, they should bear solutions so the suffering will end. And it is not going to happen as long as activists keep believing that humans are naturally good but are deceived by a bad system that makes them do bad things and all that activists have to do is to expose the truth to them.
While activists should see all the harms as direct ones, as humans know they happen, including harms that are a result of habitat destruction, deforestation, chemical pollution, electricity manufacture, and etc., Joy tries to convince activists that all the harms are indirect, including the ones of factory farms. She is doing that by inventing a cognitive state which is ‘knowing but not knowing’.
There is no mental state such as knowing without knowing. Of course many humans know little about what meat production really involves, so there is knowing little. There is knowing but not thinking about it. There is knowing and not wanting to stop. But there is no knowing without knowing.
People know, they don’t want to know more or know but don’t want to think about it, but they don’t “know but don’t know”. And when you know but don’t want to know more or don’t want to think about it, you don’t care. Continue reading
In the previous post regarding Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, we have focused on humans’ relations with dogs, being a keystone in her thesis. We argued that it is true that some humans love dogs, but not all of them, not in any case, and not in every point in history. Humans’ love of dogs is not a natural constant truth, but a relationship with a history and conditions.
Like in the case of dogs, it is true that some humans care about animals, but not all of them, definitely not in any case, and most certainly not in every point in history. Humans care for animals other than dogs is also not a natural truth, but a relationship with a history and conditions.
If her thesis was right, meaning that humans basically and naturally care about animals, and the only reason they don’t care about specific kinds of animals, is because they were taught by society that these animals are meant to be used by humanity, than humans would have cared about all the rest of the species. Following Carnism’s logic, humans were supposed to care about all the animals who don’t belong to the species which they were allegedly conditioned not to care about. But that is of course not the case, not today, and not ever in history. Continue reading
In the following several posts, we’ll focus on Melanie Joy’s theory. That is after we discussed Norbert Elias who argues that humans relation to meat changed because they started to feel repugnant by their own animality and so gradually felt repugnance for meat, and after we discussed Nick Fiddes who argues that humans don’t eat meat despite that it is made out of animals but because it is made out of animals, and then Keith Tester who argues that humans who choose not to eat meat are actually doing so to define their own humanity. Melanie Joy however, argues that humans eat meat not because it is made of animals but despite that it is made of animals, and only because of a highly structured belief system that conditions them to see some animals as food and others as not.
According to Joy, humans are naturally empathic and caring towards animals, and only because of this highly structured belief system, which she calls the Carnism ideology, are they able to subdue their natural inclination and hurt the ones they actually care about.
We disagree with her Carnism theory, mainly with the power and influence she ascribes to it, and more importantly we disagree with the theory’s foundational assumption – that humans are naturally good and caring. Such claims are very appealing to flesh eaters and thus are tactically tempting for some activists. The biggest problem with adopting these false views is that it can convince activists to act against animals’ interests. Some might actually genuinely believe that humans are actually naturally good and caring, and that is a dangerous idea for animals. In the following series of posts we explain why.
We start with humans’ relations with dogs, obviously not because we think it is the most important aspect, but because its Joy’s starting point as well as a key element in her whole theory. Continue reading
In the last post we shortly discussed a new research regarding the sixth extinction episode . In this one we shortly discuss a newly published book by Peter Brannen about the 5 previous mass extinction episodes called “The Ends of the World”.
The book tells the story of the five biggest mass extinctions, and what can be learned from them about the current one. Obviously the target audience is not activists and supporters of the E.A.S movement , but it is very relevant for us. Continue reading
In the last post we have mentioned Joan Dunayer’s definition of speciesism and it seems that the spirit of some of the ideas she argued in her book Speciesism from a decade ago are expressed in the World Day for the End of Speciesism, so we thought that for a completer view, a critical review of the book is necessary. Continue reading
In the last couple of years Peter Singer has set himself as spokesperson of a new movement called Effective Altruism.
His latest book, which to its last chapter we addressed in a post called “From Groundbreaking Animal Liberation to Neverending Animal Exploitation”, is called The Most Good You Can Do. It presents the movement’s basic idea,as he simply says in its preface -we should do the most good we can.
Unfortunately and disappointingly, by “we”Singer is referring to the already allegedly do gooders of the world. The book and movement, clearly aim at a small section of the population. He basically offers a practical instruction guide for donors and potential donors, calling them to think before they donate because there are tremendous differences in the effectiveness potential of different charities.
Singer points out that in the United States alone there are almost one million charities, receiving a total of approximately $200 billion a year with an additional $100 billion donated to religious congregations and all this money could be distributed much more effectively.
He is obviously right, but we certainly don’t want to hear it from him. It is very depressing that human society needs a bold thinker like Peter Singer for such embarrassingly elementary inferences.
A call to save human tyranny from possible extinction in 2015
A call to liberate animals from human tyranny in 1975
It so happens that our third post is also the third post about the possibility of an asteroid collision, but not since the first international asteroid day was held yesterday, but since 2 months ago Peter Singer published a new book in which he also addresses the annihilation possibility, and speaks out about actively mobilizing caring people to regard this issue. Only that he calls for the exact opposite.
Undoubtedly, his status is in drastic decline within the movement (which is literally named after his own pioneering historic book) due to some very miserable statements he made over the years. However it was still surprising and disappointing that in his last book he not only made another significant step of disconnection, at least from the more radical activists, it seems that he lost contact with his own perceptions and with reality.
The book is kind of a manifest of the ideological movement he is part of in recent years called effective altruism, which basically asks people who wish to donate time or money to charities, to stop and think where their limited resources would do the most good possible, and accordingly it is titled The Most Good You Can Do.
In the following post we’ll refer to the rest of the book but currently we want to relate to its last extremely depressing part.
The chapter name is Preventing Human Extinction, and in it Singer lists some of what he refers to as extinction threats. He focuses on the option of an asteroid collision, mainly since as opposed to the rest of the risks he specified, humans can roughly estimate this risk possibility and can potentially prevent it. These two are crucial elements in effective altruism calculations, as the basic idea is how to reasonably choose the purpose which would produce the most good.
All along the chapter he deals with the question: Should we also be putting resources into developing the ability to deflect any objects that appear to be heading for us?