03 September 2013


My friend Mylan linked to an op-ed column by Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times. Let me make a few comments.
  1. Kristof says that "SeaWorld [marine park] denies the claims [of mistreatment], which isn't surprising since it earns millions [of dollars] from orcas." This is cynicism. Kristof should address SeaWorld's argument, not question its motives. How would he like it if his readers questioned (or speculated about) his motives? (For example: Does Kristof own stock in a rival company?) Charity requires that good (or at least benign) motives be imputed to arguers. Cynicism is the imputation of bad motives. Cynicism is not argumentation; it is the evasion of argumentation.
  2. Kristof writes: "The juxtaposition of the two reviews made me wonder: Some day, will our descendants be mystified by how good and decent people in the early 21st century—that's us—could have been so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals?" Good question! I would replace "animals" with "fetuses."
  3. Kristof writes, by way of apology for his "hypocrisy," that he eats meat ("albeit with misgivings") and has "no compunctions about using mousetraps." Eating meat and using mousetraps are as different (morally speaking) as night and day. Using a mousetrap can be justified by defense of self or property (though there are more humane ways of getting rid of pests). Eating meat cannot be so justified. Nobody needs to eat meat in order to survive or flourish. This shows that Kristof has not given much serious thought to the topic of the moral status of animals. He knows just enough about the topic to be dangerous (since he has a large audience).
Now you see why I don't read Kristof. Had Mylan not linked to his column, I would not have read it.

02 September 2013


This blog had 866 visits during August, which is an average of 27.9 visits per day. A year ago, the average was 58.1