Sunday, February 19, 2012

The moral dilemma

This is a continuation of the rant in my last post, if you missed it.

I was reading a book based in Nazi Germany.  A man had to prove himself to Himmler by killing another man.  He was told that if he killed the man, the man's three children would not be killed.  He couldn't do it.  In his belief, it was wrong to kill under any circumstances and Himmler, true to his word, killed the man and his three children.  The point was to emphasise that the man chose his own ego over the lives of the children.  What would you have done?  Is it right to kill one man to save others?

My thoughts on this are inconclusive, and we'll get to how this relates to the moral dilemma of eating meat in a minute.  But here's the thought.  Should the man have sacrificed his morals and saved the children?  I think not.  Because you cannot be responsible for another person's actions.  If Himmler was going to kill the kids, then that is his choice based on his moral standing and not the man he gave the ultimatum to.  Who's to say he wouldn't have killed them anyway.

It's like the woman who stays with her abusive husband because he threatens to kill himself if she leaves.  What other people do is up to them.  We have to live by our own moral code or what's the point?  We have a collective moral code called laws and legislation to prevent acts which harm others.  It doesn't always work as a preventative measure which is why we have courts and judges and disciplinary procedures.  This doesn't always work either.

But there has to be a modicum of free will doesn't there.  We can't police everything all the time.  Imagine if we did.  People would be afraid to go to work in case they accidentally did something wrong.  In my experience, most people spend too much of their work life covering their arses as it is.  Compliance with legislation is one of the main expenses of many Australian businesses which is sending them broke.  It's not just cheap labour that's sending them overseas.

You want to put cameras in all the meatworks and feedlots in Australia and have them monitored full time?  Who's going to pay for that?  Would you work for a company that had you on camera 24-7? What else will they be monitoring? What if you're late back from your 15 min break?

Is it right to kill an animal to feed a family? That's the moral dilemma I've been asked to justify.  If so does that mean that we deem animals to be lesser creatures?  I don't think so.  I believe that I can work with cattle and eat them but also give them respect.  I also believe that eating meat is a natural thing to do.  Other animals do.  If you think that eating meat is cruel to animals then don't eat meat.  I personally enjoy a nice piece of steak.  And I'm happy to argue the point with anyone who wants me not to.

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