Blind Spots

AN IGNORED ISSUE, MORAL BLIND SPOTS, A UNIFIED THEORY

If a project to civilize the world is to succeed it is imperative that all factors be considered. When the suffering of animals is left out, the project is incomplete. Insensitivity to animals is a blind spot. Within the shadows behind that blind spot lurk other blind spots which poison and defeat the civilizing project. The same thing is true of other moral blind spots: For most of the last 6,000 years, since the conquest of the Aryan Invaders, most people believed slavery was acceptable. Most believed women should not have status independent of men, were not worthy to own property, and were simply inferior. In holding to such twisted beliefs one will inevitably think in twisted ways about other things. Such blind spots darken other areas around and behind them. We got closer to a lawful and ethical world when we declared slavery and the disenfranchisement of women to be wrong.

But we continue to have a blind spot regarding the animals. I watched (February 22, 2005) a PBS special about torture; I was amazing that there was not one word said about how humans torture animals and how our insensitivity to the animals enables us to torture humans. The systematic terrorization of our food animals is the great ignored issue. Lawmakers and religious leaders alike say little or nothing about it. The only intellectually honest positions to take are first, to oppose the killing of all animals for food or second, to devise a method of rearing and killing then that is painless to them and harmless to the environment. We do neither. For us to tolerate and defend the torture of animals in factory farms we must make ourselves insensitive and think in twisted and irrational ways. We can civilize the world and create an ethical-legal-economic-environmental-religious unified
theory only when we factor in the suffering of animals.

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