[Note: This entry spoils portions of the most recent season of The Mandalorian, as well as the excellent rational story Metropolitan Man. Please only read this entry if you don't mind casual discussion of spoilers. I also spoil a few other pieces of fiction, but as most are over 100 years old, it's honestly your fault if you haven't read them by now.]
|Well worth the read.|
The power and fear you feel from Anakin in Rogue One is one-upped by Luke in The Mandalorian. It does not matter that Luke is a Light side user; his power is so overwhelming in that scene that his intent does not matter. No one should wield that level of power. Lex’s argument applies: he is just too dangerous to live in our world.
|An unequal power dynamic.|
It is too easy to say that free open discussion norms trump the outright ban of certain topics. It is too convenient to claim that the needs of tortured animals are so immediate that they take priority over making the animal advocacy community a safe space for disadvantaged members. We can accomplish our goals of doing good without trampling on the needs of other communities. There is no need to take the position that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton did when they opposed the fifteenth amendment. Frederick Douglass stood with them from the beginning, but was abandoned when the right to vote was being proposed for black men. I look back upon such decisions in disgust; why did the leaders of these causes break ranks so readily? Why could they not stand together? And then I think of the work that Animal Charity Evaluators is doing and wonder: to what degree are we justified in trampling over others' rights and needs?
ACE holds the position that corporate campaigns to help animal advocacy are good. They may or may not be effective at reducing the total amount of suffering undergone by farmed animals in industrial agriculture, but regardless they are considered as accomplishing good. Yet by working with a company like Burger King, praising it for introducing the Impossible Burger, for example (in 2001 PETA's campaign caused BK to release a veggie burger; then PETA targeted them again in 2006, showing that working with orgs like PETA to reduce bad publicity is a waste of time), we are trampling over the needs of the animals that Burger King kills. Is this justified? I want to say yes. I think that it is still good to endorse corporate campaigns because they reduce real suffering in expectation, even if other animals are tremendously harmed by the organization that we are working with and effectively praising.
Similarly, I recognize that there are black, indigenous, and people of the global majority (bipgm) that are actively harmed by some of the organizations that are doing effective animal advocacy work. They are not harmed nearly as much as the animals are in the previous example, but they are definitely harmed significantly. Is it justified to trample over their needs in order to effectively help the massive number of animals being tortured? I argued for 'yes' in the previous paragraph. Shouldn't I also argue for 'yes' in this one? The harms being incurred in the former paragraph are certainly higher than those being incurred in this one. And yet I find myself leaning toward 'no' instead. It doesn't feel justified to me, but I'm having trouble identifying why this is.
|PCRM's reprehensible campaign.|
Similarly, I want social justice for BIPGM while we work toward effective animal advocacy. I do not feel that it is justified to trample over fellow humans' rights while we do our work. So why am I seemingly okay with trampling over the other animals' rights while endorsing corporate campaigns? Am I being speciesist? Am I undervaluing the needs of the animals being harmed in the former paragraph? Or am I overvaluing the needs of the humans being harmed in the latter paragraph?
Currently, I just don't know what to think, other than to emphasize that figuring this out is a relatively high priority path for me to be on. And so I will continue to discuss these issues with others until we can come to an appropriate and justified solution.
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