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A reader pointed out to me that my argument on animal rights vs. slavery:

This is not to imply that I agree with this assessment, but then again, the average US citizen of a Southern state in the early 19th century presumably had few qualms with slavery either. Opinion can change quickly. Outside a few pockets such as the Netherlands or the SF Bay Area, someone who supported gay civil unions, but not gay marriage, would have been seen as a hardcore progressive in 1999; in 2019, most of the US would consider that same person regressive, if not a moral troglodyte. Alternatively, consider the trend in support for interracial marriage: 1959 – only 4%; early 2010s – high 80%’s. Your grandfather who stormed the beaches of Normandy to “punch Nazis” was himself a fascist (by the standards of modern liberal discourse).

was brought up by Audacious Epigone back in 2012:

One of my favorite rhetorical devices to use on those who cast moral aspersions on the actions of historical figures involves a thought experiment about the consumption of meat, or more precisely, eating animals slaughtered for the sole purpose of becoming our dinner. It doesn’t seem inconceivable to me that in the future, the thought of engaging in such behavior comes to be seen as being as morally abhorrent as slavery seems to us today. Should they, and nearly everyone else they know, be at risk of being written off by posterity as perpetrators of turpitude for something that wasn’t even controversial in the early 21st century society in which they lived?

That such a shift sounds somewhere between far-fetched and inconceivable to a contemporary audience, of course, is exactly the point, just as the abolition of slavery would’ve sounded to 2nd century Romans and their contemporaries or the idea of amnesty for the resisting residents of Jerusalem following the first crusade’s successful siege of the city would’ve sounded to the crusaders and their contemporaries, including the saracens they put to the sword.

That also seems like a very legitimate point.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Animal Rights 
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  1. At the risk of sounding too much like Dmity, but why should one care about what posterity might think about our actions?
    Also sounds like an implicit admission that “progress” in the sense of ever-increasing universalism (even including animals like pigs) is inevitable anyway and that right-wingers will be seen as having been “on the wrong side of history”.

    btw, I’m not sure about some of the historical arguments either. iirc views about slavery in the American South actually became more extreme during the course of the first half of the 19th century (from a regrettable necessity that might eventually be abolished if conditions were right, as many Southerners saw it in the early 19th century, to John C. Calhouns “positive good”). And the crusades were a novel development of the 11th century, certainly at odds with what the early Christians had believed about military violence.

    • Replies: @Carlo
  2. Thanks for really fleshing it out in the sentience post, expanding greatly on the inchoate analogy I use IRL.

  3. Carlo says:
    @German_reader

    “And the crusades were a novel development of the 11th century, certainly at odds with what the early Christians had believed about military violence.”
    Christians are not hippies who sing all we need is love. The Cruzades were not at odds with traditional Christian beliefs, they were a late reaction to Muslim expansionism which became possible only after the end of the first millenium when Western Europe had the demographics and economical development to actually start pushing back the Muslims.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  4. @Carlo

    The Cruzades were not at odds with traditional Christian beliefs

    Among the early Christians, before Constantine’s conversion, it was at least controversial whether Christians could serve as soldiers (one of the arguments of pagan opponents of Christianity was that Christianity endangered the security of the empire because of Christian pacifism). And even later, in the Christian empire, the idea remained influential that shedding blood in war was something a good Christian had to do penance for, even if it was a just war.
    Viewing military violence under specific conditions as meritorious was a new development in Latin Christendom during the 11th century.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  5. Mr. XYZ says:

    Yeah, judging historical figures based on the morality of the times that they lived in appears to be more appropriate than judging them by our own, modern standards. Interestingly enough, this is why people such as Hitler are so condemned and hated. Specifically, what they did was extremely vile, repulsive, and reprehensible even by the standards of the times that they lived in–which is why the Nuremberg Trials were held immediately after the end of World War II.

    • Replies: @songbird
  6. songbird says:

    What I’d suggest is that the people who think of animals as people (some even use the word) are outliers, not indicators of a trend.

    Meanwhile, everything with this anti-historical moral dimension is purely a function of human group power dynamics. And these are resource gathering strategies with deep evolutionary roots. I mean, who were your most egalitarian groups? Hunter-gatherers, and they ate a lot of animals.

    None of this prevents meat eating from being tied to a human element – global inequity or global warming. But IMO, the moral roots will primarily be a function of people, not animals. Many environmentalists don’t even particularly like animals. They are more about ecosystems – more about Gaia. And for instance, hate the idea of endangered African animals successfully living on a ranch in America, or grey squirrels infesting Britain, or cane toads being in Oz.

    Africa’s projected population explosion might bring these people into conflict with Africans. It will be an interesting test of what instinct is more powerful, egalitarianism or Gaiaism. So, far egalitarianism seems to be winning, as regards immigration. I have previously postulated that growing the group is a more powerful instinct than environmentalism, which is a political successor to human sacrifice, and involves promoting group unity. If your group is much bigger, why care about factionalism? You can squash it with force using your new allies.

  7. joker2 says:

    Other than love for Mother Russia, Mr Karlin is woke as hell.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  8. joker2 says:

    Btw, you can also cite Germany 1946 or China 1950 etc as examples of sudden changes in popular opinions. Given humanities’ complexion, the forms of defeat can be varied like a garden.

    Universalism is basically that the tech of today makes it possible and a reality that we all bow to that one single winner.

    Smart guys can just take their own training in the art of lawyering and invent their versions of twisted clever-speak so they can join the winners’ side and bang the heads of suckers.

  9. anon[409] • Disclaimer says:

    “Alternatively, consider the trend in support for interracial marriage: 1959 – only 4%; early 2010s – high 80%’s”

    But only about 10% support it in the bedroom. The overwhelming majority of whites marry other whites. All that poll proves is that people have learned to tell pollsters the answers that won’t get them into trouble. Until cheap lab-grown meat is available, people will keep eating farm-raised meat, even if they tell other people they don’t approve of it.

  10. joker2 says:

    Re Epigone’s argument. I’d ask why cannot society tolerate mistakes? Why you have to invent arguments to tell everyone and anyone that it is somehow right and not wrong to do this and not do that? Why do you have to be correct? What harm does a statue of Gen Lee do to society of today? Other than those fuckers took insult delibrately unnecessarily?

  11. songbird says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    I think the reason Hitler is hated so much is that he is a useful moral parable for the Left.

    Imagine if he had been a Communist, who had killed tens of millions of Germans. Or if he had one of those Hawaiian names that was 20 syllables long, and there was some powerful taboo against shortening it, so you couldn’t easily say the name, in order to use it as a smear.

    Hitler is hated because he is a boogeyman, not because people read history, or remember it. The idea of a demonology is central to lesson, and this obfuscates the real lessons of the world wars, which is the hubris of the elites. Tojo thought he could take on the US, and Hitler thought he could take on the Soviet Union and the US, and neither was significantly challenged in their views, or had their plans arrested, by their political cohorts. This is really the most shocking aspect of WW2 to me.

    Of course, the allies had their own similar failings, seeking unconditional surrender and bombing cities, etc.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    , @Matra
  12. Denis says:

    I imagine that this is at least partly the point regarding the anti-statue jihad. By modern western standards, almost everyone in America was racist back then, as in any other country. Those who push for this nonsense must be aware of this, meaning that they’re aware that basically any figure in American history is fair game.

    So, they find an important guy from a hundred years ago, call him a racist, and start vandalizing all the statues of him. Then when some unfortunate people protest this by pointing out how ridiculous it is, they get vilified/deplatformed/fired/denied access to financial services, thus weeding out potential dissenters one by one. This way, if they eventually decide to target bigger historical targets, there’s less controversy, as many would-be opponents have already been cowed. Thus, they can remake American history as they please, in wonderful tandem with the Amazon book purge.

    Another added benefit is that not only were famous people racist, but basically everyone was, including your ancestors, and if you don’t express enough contrition for this, you might be a racist too!

    • Replies: @Gummy bear
  13. @German_reader

    Among the early Christians, before Constantine’s conversion, it was at least controversial whether Christians could serve as soldiers

    It wasn’t because the early Christians were pacifists, it was because serving as soldiers at that time required various official rituals, and these rituals involved worshiping the pagan gods. A huge taboo for early (and modern) Christians.

    And even later, in the Christian empire, the idea remained influential that shedding blood in war was something a good Christian had to do penance for, even if it was a just war.

    Yes, of course. It was always like that and is still like that now.

    Viewing military violence under specific conditions as meritorious was a new development in Latin Christendom during the 11th century.

    No, it wasn’t a new or Western development. You seem to think your two statements contradict, but they don’t.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  14. @joker2

    Citation needed. He knows very little about Russian history or society and seems to despise actual Russians. What ‘love’?

    Maybe you confuse HBD with right-wing nationalism, but that is a big mistake. Leftist globalists in Russia are all HBD, that doesn’t stop them from bowing to the Jew and ranting about misogynist oppressionz.

    • Troll: Anatoly Karlin
  15. @anonymous coward

    It wasn’t because the early Christians were pacifists, it was because serving as soldiers at that time required various official rituals, and these rituals involved worshiping the pagan gods.

    That was part of the reason, but there were also views that the violence which was part of army service was inherently sinful:

    [MORE]

    Melito, bishop of Sardis c. 170, regarded it as a special providence that Augustus had established peace in the empire at the time when Christ’s gospel of peace was proclaimed. He accepted a providential role for the empire in the purposes of God. But could an individual Christian fight to maintain this peace? Origen, who echoes Melito’s view (c.Cels. ii, 30), explains that Christians may not take up arms to fight, but offer earnest prayers for the just defenders o f the realm (viii, 73). Surviving fragments of early liturgies include prayers for the emperor and for the army, that they ‘may subdue all barbarian nations for our perpetual peace’. (See the Solemn
    Prayers for Good Friday in the Roman Missal, which probably g o back to the fourth century.) The pagan Celsus (c. 180) exhorts the Christians to accept public office and serve in the army. The evidence shows that during the third century the Christians followed his advice, and the more they did so the more alarm they caused to the pagans. As soldiers were converted, the question was asked if they could continue in the army after baptism. Tertullian thought not (De Corona 11); Clement of Alexandria thought soldiering no exception to the Pauline rule that Christians should remain in the state in which they were at the time of their being ‘called’ (Paed. i, 12; Strom, iv, 61—2). T h e impetus for the great persecution of Diocletian in 303 came when Christian army officers of high rank made the sign o f the cross during some sacrifices, and the augurers felt that the lack o f omens and signs was attributable to their presence. The story underlines a point made by Origen, that idolatry is one reason which keeps Christians out of the legions. But Origen also thought bloodshed wrong in principle for a Christian. The council of Arles (314) ruled against Christians in time of peace abandoning military service as a matter o f conscience; in other words, their ‘policing’ role is acceptable, but not killing. In the 370s Basil of Caesarea similarly allows for the possibility of just war, but even then a soldier who takes life is excommunicate subject to penance (Ep. 188, 13).

    (from The Cambridge history of medieval political thought, p.17,18).
    The issue was controversial among early Christians, though it’s of course true that in the end the view won which considered miltary service as being compatible with Christianity.

    Yes, of course. It was always like that and is still like that now.

    Crusaders didn’t have to do penance for the violence they committed as crusaders. In fact the entire point of the crusading movement (which was not least a penitential movement for warrior laymen) was that the hardships the crusaders endured in their battles for the faith were already a kind of penance, beneficial for their salvation.

  16. @songbird

    … and Hitler thought he could take on the Soviet Union and the US

    He had just taken on France and won. It wasn’t that illogical.

    Of course, the allies had their own similar failings, seeking unconditional surrender and bombing cities, etc.

    What, exactly, is failing about any of that? (Good arguments can be made that the bombings were not optimally planned, but they certainly helped wrap up the war quicker).

    • Replies: @songbird
  17. Matra says:
    @songbird

    One of my favorite rhetorical devices to use on those who cast moral aspersions on the actions of historical figures involves a thought experiment about the consumption of meat, or more precisely, eating animals slaughtered for the sole purpose of becoming our dinner. It doesn’t seem inconceivable to me that in the future, the thought of engaging in such behavior comes to be seen as being as morally abhorrent as slavery seems to us today.

    A professor of mine made this very argument in one of our lectures back in (I think) 1995. It was his way of pre-empting any student squeamishness regarding his matter of fact discussions of slavery and the British Empire. Even then I thought some of the blacks or leftists in class might take offence at it since non-whites were kind of being compared to animals, but none seemed to. One would have to be more careful using such a comparison these days.

    Hitler is hated because he is a boogeyman, not because people read history, or remember it. The idea of a demonology is central

    Hitler’s actions had a major impact on every country in Europe, and even the West beyond Europe, so very little demonisation was ever required to maintain his “boogeyman” status. (I don’t expect American White Nationalists whose country was never occupied or bombed by Germany to ever acknowledge that regular Europeans, not just Jews and communists, had very good reasons to be hostile to their beloved Germany). The real trick was somehow connecting Hitler’s unique worldview and his crimes to all other Europeans, including the countries most devastated by Germany. That has been truly impressive.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  18. @Denis

    Well notice how even the “good” guys like Audacious Epigone have to show we are not Nazis by showing that they are not actually evil WNs, and that they are actually willing to keep their House Negros like Daniel Chieh and Twinkie in their “white” state just to show the liberals how good they are, and that they are not those evil WN David Duke Nazis.

  19. songbird says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Germany may have been able to handle the USSR alone – though I understand many German generals thought it was a bad idea to invade it, but taking on both the USSR and the US at the same time was batshit insane. The Germans were using horses to transport Polish artillery to France. Meanwhile, America made the vast majority of cars in the world before the start of the war. Hitler should have taken the unconventional step of declaring war on Japan, making it near impossible to have a shooting war with the US.

    The end of the war was very suboptimal. Having paid so much to develop and build the bombers, under the myth of precision bombing, they were forced to justify them by bombing cities. IMO, this contributed to the mantra of unconditional surrender. Besides which, in the case of Europe, I’m not convinced the money wouldn’t have been better spent on superior tanks and supply lines for those tanks.

    Unconditional surrender led to over 100 million in Eastern Europe being forcefully brought under communism, and a great destabilization in East Asia. Perhaps, though, looking at the US, Western Europe and even SK today, it was really for the best to have a freezer effect.

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