Matt Walsh ponders our different response to African big-game hunting and abortion:
I can sit here all day and write poems about the beloved walrus or the hallowed dolphin, but my pro-animal stance will likely never require anything of me. . . . A humpback whale will never show up at my door and ask me to take care of it for the next 18 years.  A Siberian tiger probably won't come to my house one day and demand that I change my entire life to accommodate it.  I might go out and adopt a pet, but that is always a deliberate act.  Babies, on the other hand, happen when we have sex.  But sex is fun, and babies are hard work.  Babies intrude on our fun.  They ruin it.  This, and only this, is the reason why we defend the slaughter of children while weeping over the remains of a murdered leopard.
He goes on to wonder how people explain their hierarchies of right and wrong.  Why is killing an endangered species wrong?  Where do you get that idea from?


Elise said...

Great Walsh post, T99. Thanks for the link.

raven said...

I'll second- thanks, I had never heard of him.
So rarely do people bring the discussion to First Principals-
Truly a breath of morning air.

Grim said...

It's a good piece, but there are a couple of other options besides the ones he offers. One is aesthetic: if you follow Protagoras instead of Socrates, the only viable measure of something is its existence as a phenomenon in our mind. Now if that's the case, then the beauty of the phenomenon is itself worthy -- and the lion or leopard is justified in a way that the baby isn't, since the baby never appears except as a concept if aborted.

Of course, the other obvious way is to assume a pure hedonism: value lies in pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. Now unborn babies are thought not to have a capacity for either, at least at early enough stages of development, so they can't come in for moral calculations if we restrict moral values to pleasure/pain (except, possibly, as a source of expected future pleasure or pain -- but that depends on another who can currently bear the expectation).

I suspect the truth is that most Americans these days are hedonists proper. The child doesn't matter to them because it doesn't appear; but if they think about it, it is as an anticipated source of pain and discomfort. The lion imposes no costs, as the man rightly says, but some pleasures: so it is a good to be preserved, and the child is an evil to be avoided.

Texan99 said...

That is pretty much the only alternative to a moral worldview that I can understand: everything is strictly about how good it makes me feel. But then it's hard to preach to people on that basis, which the folks who are outraged over the lion-hunting feel quite free to do.

Elise said...

Actually, it's quite easy to preach to people on that basis because the emphasis is on what matters to me. I can therefore feel free to do as I please regardless of the consequences for others and at the same time feel free to castigate you for doing something that displeases me.

There would seem to be a second-order (if I'm using that phrase correctly) problem in that the people I'm castigating are free to do as they please while ignoring my demands that they stop. That should lead to a philosophical struggle with why what pleases me is good while what pleases you isn't but I suspect that struggle is resolved as a practical matter among the outraged simply by the idea that might makes right (although they would, as Walsh points out, never think about that clearly).

Eric Blair said...

I see this sort of thing and can think of nothing but a false equivalency.

It's not like any woman is having an abortion and then taking a photograph posing with the remains, is it?

There is a difference there.

Texan99 said...

You mean like the woman who videotaped herself grinning and giggling through her abortion, and was widely lauded for it?

Ymar Sakar said...

They need a way to expiate the guilt of participating in the Left's war on humanity. Those Kendall, they will put back in the kitchen for their Polanskis and Hollywood directors to get.

But Hobby Lobby is the real danger, so they will crush them, and no guilt will be felt because they expiated it on Kendall.

In reality, a woman's right to choose strength is Kendall, thus she must be destroyed, since the Left only allows the women's right to choose by forcing them to attack Hobby Lobby. Kendall is out of control and needs to be put back in the kitchen, that's what all the Facebook gurus are thinking, even if they don't write it or say it. Because they can't, they are easier to control by the Left, when the Left presents a sacrificial goat like Hobby Lobby.

Religions don't make sense unless you are a believer or a theologian. The Left doesn't make sense either unless you specialize in psychological warfare and kidnapping brainwashing.

Eric Blair said...

Tex, the woman who did that was an outlier, and roundly mocked and ridiculed for it, by pretty much everyone I saw commenting on it. Left or right. Find me any more.

Posing with exotic game kills and acting all proud about it seems part and parcel of the act.

Like I said, there is a difference. If you don't see that immediately, you don't want to see it.

Walsh is a polemicist, and as such, should be understood for whatever emotion he's trying to gin up.

Texan99 said...

By the same token, the young lady from Texas Tech was not killing lions for fun, but in the understanding that she was helping villagers.

Yes, the woman who filmed her own abortion procedure was an outlier, and you might say that the many progressives who praised her for her clear-eyed courage were outliers. ("Stop being ashamed! Come out of the shadows!") On the other hand, people who fight to preserve legal abortions are widely revered, even by moderates and mainstreamers. I think the blogger's point that people aren't thinking these contrasts through is valid, as is his argument that, if there's no basis for condemning abortion, any basis for condemning big-game hunting is suspect.