Software Nerd

Monday, May 15, 2006

Law to enforce vegetarianism

Imagine this (fictional) news-story:

Sacramento, May 1st 2035: Governor, Richard Nader, today signed a bill that will make California the first vegetarian state in the nation.

The slaughter of animals has been illegal in California for the last decade, and taxes on meat products have been raised steadily. Per capita beef consumption has dropped from a high of 66 pounds per year at the end of the last century to just under 10 pounds today. Some cities, led by San Francisco, already ban the sale of meat and meat products within their jusrisdictions.

Lawmaker Ron Reagan III, who sponsored the bill, said: "Violent acts toward animals have long been recognized as indicators of a dangerous psychopathy that does not confine itself to animals. Without an all-out ban, people in the less progressive areas of the state were making a mockery of the rule of law. A vast majority of Californians don't support cruelty and killing. It's really simple actually; I think the bible says it well: 'Thou shalt not kill.'"

Think it can't happen? I'd agree. Wait though... why not? What's the reason? The only reason it would not happen is because it would not have popular support,.

I worked on one commuting assignment that had a liberal dinner expense account: Wolfgang Puck type restaurants at least once or twice a week. The veal at some of those places is yummy. My food-orders led to some discussion about the ethics of veal-eating. I figure there's a fair number of people who'd sign up to ban veal. A fair number, but not enough. So, what's a PETA activist to do? The answer: target a smaller constituency. They came up with a very creative target. Any ideas?

Foie gras! Who is going to object to a ban on foie gras? How many people even eat foie gras over their lifetimes? How many even know what it is? How many who eat it will really miss it if it's gone? Foie gras is a target with little democratic (small "d") support.

A veal-eater ought to object to a ban on foie gras; a beef eater should too. Will they? Nah! That would be to defend a principle, rather than to defend something real. Too abstract to worry about. So, Chicago just went ahead and banned it.
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When the Nazis came for the communists,I remained silent;I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,I did not speak out;I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,there was no one left to speak out.

- Martin Niemöller


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