January 20, 2009 at 12:47 pm (thinking, this and that) (, )

Though I don’t have any intention of watching the inauguration during the actual event (a classmate of mine sees this as a character flaw, but I really can’t see how youtubing it after class is really any different), I have to say I’m more hopeful than I have been in a few weeks regarding Obama’s centrist shift. It seems that Obama has appointed a vegan named Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory affairs. Sunstein seems like an interesting fellow. Here is a PDF of a primer he wrote on animal rights, and though his views differ from mine in some ways, this guy is no slouch and I’m happy to have him in the White House.

A few choice quotes that make a vegan’s heart hopeful:

“I believe that that meat-eating would be acceptable if decent treatment is given to the animals used for food. Killing animals, whether or not troublesome, is far less troublesome than suffering. But if, as a practical matter, animals used for food are almost inevitably going to endure terrible suffering, then there is a good argument that people should not eat meat to the extent that a refusal to eat meat will reduce that suffering. Of course a legal ban on meat-eating would be extremely radical, and like prohibition, it would undoubtedly create black markets and have a set of bad, and huge, side-effects. But the principle seems clear: People should be much less inclined to eat meat if their refusal to do so would prevent significant suffering.”

TRUE STORY! I feel like this guy pretty alright– reading between the lines, at least. I like his style: basically, I think this passage can be read from a centrist or radical viewpoint. Though he seems to be saying “sure, if you eat meat, just do it in a nice way” it seems more likely that he is actually couching his argument for abolition in centrist terms. A close reading I think would basically be more a long the lines of “IF meat could be eaten without suffering to animals (think that vat-grown meat they’re talking about), THEN it would be OK morally to eat it, BUT since it cannot be eaten without causing suffering, it is immoral to do so.” Ah, philosophy. This is why I just don’t eat animal products and call it a day, unless someone tries to get all up in my Kool-Aid about it.


“Those who insist that animals should not be seen as property might be making a simple and modest claim: Human beings should not be able to treat animals however they wish.”

We just might! Anyways, I can hear the right-wing heads exploding as I type, and probably some left-wing heads too although they blog about it less. More later (maybe), gotta go to school!


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