Why I vacillate between philanthropic and misanthropic antinatalism

I guess most people at least suppose they’re doing the best they can as the creatures that they are. Coping the best they can. Stumbling along, flawed and suffering. Lettin’ off steam when they can’t take it anymore. Or they honestly think might really does makes right because, you know, it rhymes.

But I can’t stop staring at the image of this brutalized turtle.

http://americablog.com/2013/06/turtle-beaten-to-death-golf-club-wisconsin.html?fb_action_ids=10151675402987904&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

I really don’t know what we need horror films full of monsters and aliens for. Mirrors entail a far lower production cost.

It’s been pointed out to me that adorable, furry cats play rather horribly with the lives of mice, which domesticated cats kill even when they aren’t hungry. But are they ever quite this wantonly vicious? I’ve heard female chimpanzees will kill and eat rivals’ young; it seems evolution took a really sick turn somewhere on the primate family tree and it’s never looked back. Not that the pleasures of civilization don’t delight me, but it really isn’t worth all this. Those are only palliative joys. And what relief do the props used in frog baseball get? Death.

At least the turtle is finished suffering now. Not that someone somewhere isn’t beating an orangutan who wandered into a palm oil harvest, or beating a puppy, or throwing a sack of kittens into a rottweiler fight.

Comments

  1. Chip

    For as long as I can recall, I have been more viscerally disturbed by human cruelty toward animals than by human cruelty directed at other humans. I know that a lot of people have this quirk, and that just as many are outraged when it is expressed — such as when I tell people, honestly, in drunken conversation, that I would rather see someone drop-kick a baby than hurt a kitten. I can't really justify it other than in flippant terms, but denying it would be like denying that I love beer-battered onion rings.

    What is this, then? Why should I be indifferent toward Timothy McVeigh's fate, yet wish, in my gut of guts, to see Michael Vick done in my the dogs he tortured? It doesn't seem to square with evolutionary theories of moral sentiment, but I've talked with too many people who have the same reflex to suspect that it's rare.

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    Ann Sterzinger

    I don't have any idea. I made it through work somehow today and then came home and lay flat on my back in a stupor. Maybe it's because we think animals, even red in tooth and claw, are innocent. They never ate that stupid apple, so to batter a turtle is to batter the essence of everything that isn't foul and twisted.

    Or maybe it's because, since they can't talk, they can't tell us how much it hurts, and we imagine thus they might feel infinite pain.

    Maybe it's because animals don't lie. A baby will grow up to be a liar. A puppy, no.

  3. Karl

    I think reading about animal brothels (see my most recent blog post) has finally finsihed off whatever smouldering cinders of compassion I had left for humanity. It also makes me think that Peter Singer's support of bestiality may be flawed (not to mention his copping out of a real debate with Benatar in his NYT piece). It's a sad, sad world.

  4. auban

    Domestic pussy-cats 'playing with' mice and wiping out the small-bird populations are simply practising their skills for when there are no humans. They keep waiting, maybe hoping…

    In any case that is a drop in the ocean compared with the hideous Pet-Food Industry.

    They are wiser than we. Perhaps we are not a global experiment by mice, but by cats (pace Douglas Adams)!

    Now let us read about "dancing" bears…

    Now read about "dancing" bears…

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  7. Srikant

    Ann, I remember typing something about non-human animals not being able to piss people off, since they are mute. Which is why violence on animals is, you know, not done in hot blood or spur of the moment. And makes them so unforgivable, as compared to violence on fellow humans.

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    Ann Sterzinger

    Well, my cat has certain nonverbal ways of temporarily pissing me off a great deal… but to kick her across the room would somehow seem more monstrous than kicking a toddler screaming "me." Still a mystery.

    1. Srikant

      There is also a play of powerlessness of animals — in a way even more powerless than infants, let alone toddlers. You can "cage" an animal, and you're sanctioned to do so for most animals by the society in general, and also the law. Such a treatment on any human being will invoke outrage.

      And another thing is that when you indicate to an animal (by even just aiming a blow) that you're pissed, it'll typically stop.

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    Ann Sterzinger

    But I do understand your point… what on earth could that turtle have in its power to do that would on its own provoke such violent horror? Maybe violence toward animals seems so much worse because it's almost always misplaced. I used to visit a pet store/shelter where they kept a bunny that had been beaten so badly that he always held his head crooked, with one ear pointing directly at the ground… possibly because he was blind in one eye, possibly because his neck was messed up. But whatever motivated the person to beat the rabbit, it certainly could not have been the rabbit's fault. Maybe misplaced violence toward animals is horrible because a. It's cowardly; the person doing it couldn't confront the person(s) who actually wronged them; and b. It underlines the utter lack of fairness in the universe; not only was the attack not the rabbit's fault, it was something a captive small animal could never muster the "merit" to escape or control. It reminds us of helplessness and impotence.

  10. bronstein72

    There are humans, bullied themselves or not, who opt to become bullies from age 5 and onward.
    Who drives cars way too fast?
    Who breaks other kids' toys?
    The left-wing ideologue says to get the 5-year-old bully help.
    The right-wing ideologue is probably making money off of bullying on some level.
    In Luc Besson's 'Leon the Professional,' Jean Reno spouts a 'no women no kids' killing policy. I would extend it to 'no animals,' but who's voting for me?

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  11. nadine sellers

    fine, i'll respond to the blog..first look = fine antinatalists, less toys in the dumpster–fine animal defenders, more spay and neuter–but of course, the line of logic is tense or terse.

    baby bullies are born each day they become boss in business; spay and neuter humans? or give a free kitten for the rabbit abuser and turtle killer; a bundle of fur with large eyes.

    the cage is full, time to abort this mission–mankind has exceeded its violent parameters, like rats, it has turned upon its kind. ergo = reduce the numbers and watch the space make happy.

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