Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Veggie v. IQ

So, I'm gonna keep railing about the connection between vegetarianism and racial differences in intelligence.

My argument is simple: the bulk of the previous arguments used to justify slavery are the same as the arguments used to justify meat eating.

So, Saletan's new column proposes a way that we can have our cake and eat it too: growing meat.

Yeah, this will no longer allow me to lord over my peers with moral superiority, but it will open up a ton of restaurants and ethnic cuisines that were previously off limits.

You munch a strip of bacon then pet your dog. You wince at the sight of a crippled horse but continue chewing your burger. Three weeks ago, I took my kids to a sheep and wool festival. They petted lambs; I nibbled a lamb sausage. That's the thing about humans: We're half-evolved beasts. We love animals, but we love meat, too. We don't want to have to choose. And maybe we don't have to. Maybe, thanks to biotechnology, we can now grow meat instead of butchering it.

So, yeah we're an immature species but that's ok in this case.

Human sacrifice, slavery, the subjugation of women—every tradition seems normal and indispensable until we're ready, morally and economically, to move beyond it.

The case for eating meat is like the case for other traditions: It's natural, it's necessary, and there's nothing wrong with it. But sometimes, we're mistaken.

Animals are capable of various capabilities once thought limited to humans. We needed meat, but every year that goes by we gain more substitutes. Every year that goes by more environmental damage continues and children die due to high food prices caused by increased demand for meat in the developing world.

Anyway, the thing is this: Saletan took major flack for his piece last year on racial differences in intelligence. But, yet, here he is extolling the virtues of vegetarianism. To not see the connection between taking a scientific approach to human differences and animal similarities is to ignore the big picture. This isn't just about affirmative action or immigration or Barack Obama. It's about what it means to be human and what it means to be a compassionate human.

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