Friday, August 22, 2008


I knew it would come eventually. At some point it would come out and though they would have denied it if I had told them this was their worldview it didn't take long for them to type it out themselves.

There's been a protracted discussion on a local neighborhood elist which started with a Herculean effort to save a wounded dog wandering at large in the neighborhood. Frustrated by what one neighbor saw as extraordinary effort to save an animal which barely had an owner they dared to wonder if folks had shown as much interest in local schoolchildren. Parents of 'furkids' were highly offended and quick to defend their actions but it wasn't until today we got the absolute truth--well their version of Truth anyway.

"There are plenty of organizations and impromptu groups who form to take care of people, too. One is not more important than the other. It's two different things."
There you have it: separate but equal. A human life is not more important than animal life. It's not conservatives that are concerned about spending or taxing wisely that will cripple public education, it's folks who think that children are no more valuable than dogs and cats and other life and so will withhold their support from public schools in favor of Metro Animal Control or Parks or saving the planet because 'one is not more important than the other' they're just different.

I'm a throw-back living in a post-modern age. I know that. This is just the latest evidence. I live in a world where people will expend enormous amounts of energy saving a dog with a fatal wound and demanding the city 'do something' NOW while also demanding their right to kill a child in utero and condemning me for trying to save him.

God have mercy on us all.


Meredith said...

That scenario is so unbelievable to me--and yet, I believe it.

Helen Huntingdon said...

I followed a link here from Tiny Cat Pants.

Yikes, it get strange when this argument gets going.

When a monumental effort to save a dog is going on, it certainly makes sense to ask whether the same community makes the same effort for humans. Where that gets iffy, though, is that when the answer is "no", how people express their dismay tends to carry strong implications that the effort to save the dog is wrong or should be stopped. It isn't wrong. We just need to take care of people too.

Then we get into all the moral judging of people who put their volunteer time into animal care when there are people around who need help. Shaming happens. It's generally counterproductive. It'd make a lot more sense to try to shame those who don't do anything to help dependent animals or people instead of shaming those who do make the effort.

So now we're in useless-snarking land, where both sides are right. It absolutely is wrong to take worse care of people than of animals. It absolutely is wrong to leave members of a human-domesticated species to manage on their own. So we have all these people who are right snarking at each other instead of getting on with helping.

How is this good?

Kay Brooks said...

I'm not shaming anyone for helping a dog. I wasn't the one asking if they had done anything for schoolchildren. Someone else did. I was not and am not being snarky or disrespectful.

I am pointing out that there are people who believe that the life of an animal is equal to the life of a child. The original elist poster said one is not more important than the other...and you seem to be saying that yourself. I strongly disagree.

I'm pointing out how that belief, when it grows, will impact how government spends our money and 'it's for the children' won't carry the same weight it has.

My post is an observation about how my world has changed. If you haven't recognized that change, perhaps we're from different generations.

Helen Huntingdon said...

and you seem to be saying that yourself.

And yet I didn't say that. If yours is a natural enough reading of what I did say, then that you're being snarky or disrespectful is an equally natural reading of what you did say. It doesn't mean those readings are right or the only readings.

I don't know if it's a generational question, but I certainly work alongside Buddists on a daily basis, to whom animals are not only people reincarnated, the dog in question might be Grandma. Maybe exposure to multiple major world religions is a generational thing. They unblinkingly tolerate my appetite for steak, so I can certainly unblinkingly tolerate their refusal to elevate humans to the highest and only real life form.

And I can see where they're coming from with the concern that the belief that humans matter most no matter what, when it grows, will impact how government spends our money and may well lead to even greater destruction of the environment than we have already.

Helen Huntingdon said...

I don't for a second think you intended snark, but rather moral horror.

But it's a complicated issue. People are getting defensive for good reasons on both or all sides. And all the defensiveness isn't helping anybody -- that's my only real point.