For your reading (dis)pleasure, I’m offering here a list of the petty criticisms and backhanded jabs from Michael Pollan’s discussion of animal rights.
“Vegetarianism is more popular than it has ever been, and animal rights, the fringiest of fringe movements until just a few years ago, is rapidly finding its way into the cultural mainstream. I’m not completely sure why this should be happening now, given that humans have been eating animals for tens of thousands of years without too much ethical heartburn.” (305)
- Posed as a possible answer to the preceding question: “Perhaps as the sway of tradition in our eating decisions weakens, habits we once took for granted are thrown up in the air, where they’re more easily buffeted by the force of a strong idea or the breeze of fashion.” (306)
- “Because Singer is so skilled in argument, for many readers it is easier to change” (307). (See my comments.)
- “Liberation is the last thing such a creature wants. (Which might explain the contempt many animal people display toward domesticated species.)” (320).
- “A deep current of Puritanism runs through the writings of the animal philosophers, an abiding discomfort not just with our animality, but with the animals’ animality, too” (321).
- “To contemplate such questions from the vantage of a farm, or even a garden, is to appreciate just how parochial, and urban, an ideology animal rights really is” (325).
- “All of which was making me feel pretty good about eating meat again and going hunting — until I recalled that these utilitarians can also justify killing retarded orphans. Killing just isn’t the problem for them that it is for other people, including me” (328).