On Impugning the Actions of Others

Freud called it Le narcissisme des petites differences. But sometimes, the differences are not so petty or small. I have spoken out against the concept of freedom foods, or animals, of animals raised in such a way that some body will slap the designation of “cruelty free” on them. I have seen this concept used in England and in America, and it seems to me plain wrong. No matter how you dress it up, an animal raised for food is going to be killed long before the natural end of death would arrive. These animals are exploited, no other word will do, and it is murder to raise them for food. The very term “food animal” should be an abomination in our language. I have complained, vociferously and with no little outrage, against Temple Grandin. No matter how popular, her dedication to killing animals appalls me. AND YET I cannot find it in my heart to rant and rail against PETA or the HSUS even if I disagree strongly with their actions or their views. For at the same time that I disagree, I also see they are accomplishing much that I could not accomplish and for that I have to be grateful. Incrementalism. The term never appealed to me. But by God, the HSUS definitely achieved something in California with Proposition 2. Ted Kerasote is a hunter and he and I have exchanged heated words on the topic. But this does not prevent me from recognizing that Ted wrote one of the best books ever written about dogs, Merle’s Door. I differ deeply with my friend Mathew Scully’s politics and religious views, but Dominion will always have pride of place on my bookshelf as one of the great works of animal rights. The writing in this book is magnificent, better, I would say, than anything else I have seen in this field, even though I am sad to see him put this talent to work for the likes of Sarah Palin or Senator Brown. I loathe some of the views of Hannah Arendt (subject for another blog – I found a fatal flaw in one of her favorite arguments). Yet, when she heard a group of German intellectuals lamenting the killing of so many Jewish intellectuals, she sternly and rightly reminded them that killing the 9-year-old Jewish boy next door was equally heinous and unforgiveable. I am no friend of religion, but Liberation Theology has achieved remarkable results in South America and it would be churlish not to recognize this fact. Intellectual generosity is often in short supply in the world of academia. Yet, sometimes we have to recognize that we just don’t know everything, or have all the answers and that those with whom we disagree can often be right on other matters and still have much to teach us.

About jeffreymasson

My new book BEASTS is out this March from Bloomsbury http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/beasts-9781608196159/ or the eBook http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/beasts-9781608199914/
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3 Responses to On Impugning the Actions of Others

  1. Hi Jeffrey, we love your book “Dogs never lie about about love”, we can’t wait to read your new book.
    Is it OK with you if we include a quote from your book in our blog ? We’ll also include a link to your site of course.
    By the way, we’ve also written a book “Paw Steps to Happiness”, it is about two dogs, Bella and Ollie (that’s us !), who show you how to be happy and bring happiness wherever you are, by following simple “paw steps”, such as playing, relaxing, dancing, laughing, reading, following your dreams and many others.
    Best wishes

  2. dima says:

    Hello, Jeffrey. My name is Dima, i am russian philosopher and creative writer. I wonder how to find your “against therapy” if it is possible for free. Especially i am interested in your ideas about Milton Erikson and crticial analitical aproach to this line. Did you write anything about him lately?
    Sorry for bothering, i ll be happy if you will have time to answer to few my letters, i am doing research in that field, as far as i know “against therapy” is not translated to russian.
    Your expirience in that field ( from apology to hard critical aproach ) is very interesting for me. Once more time sorry for bothering and spelling.

    Dima.

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