Reflections on Fundamental Matters by John H.T. Francis @JohnHTFrancis

Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Excerpt 4: Reflections on Fundamental Matters: Not for the Satisfied Mind – Chapter: On
Human Contradictions
416. We mostly live in societies where the more we develop and progress, the more animals we kill, and the
more sensitive we become about watching animals beings killed and knowing the details of how it happens.
We cry no for bullfighting, but we say yes to burger chains. We cry no to animal torture, but we say yes to foie
gras. We say we love animals, we seek to have some of them as pets, and we build zoos and parks to take our
kids to and watch them, but our collective behaviour is the biggest threat to the survival of most living species
on our planet. We want a nice juicy steak regularly, or we think tuna to be great for our diet. We want to help
animals on one side, but we need to eat them, kill them with pesticide, or chase them away to make more
comfortable space for us.
417. We want to preserve and spread human rights, workers rights, and female rights. But we also want to
buy as much as possible at the least cost possible, fully aware of the long series of infringements to our values
of which some of the cheap products we buy have been the result. These two attitudes are irreconcilable to a
large extent.
a. Some might argue that it is not the role of the consumer to be the moral judge on such issues; it is
the role of the regulator or the government that allows such imports to make their way into the
market. This is a valid reasoning. Nevertheless, the point on human contradictions remains.
b. All we are saying here is that, left to themselves, market participants can behave in contradictory
manners that require a watchful eye.
[…] 419. We reject torture and admit an inalienable right for every person to obtain fair judgment. We definitely
would not want to find ourselves in a situation where we are threatened by torture or receiving punishment
without due process. Yet, we know that our governments do operate a form of torture and legal mistreatment,
even in some of the countries known best for their freedom, rule of law, and human rights. We prefer not to
know about such details; we prefer to mind our own business and leave it to a small number of people to do
the dirty work for us. When we are scared, when fear takes hold of us, we allow even more of such actions to
take place. And the greater hypocrisy is that we feign shock, and we feign to be greatly indignant when such
practices come out to the surface.
420. We pretend that all humans are equal, or at least should have equal defined rights and duties, but our
news machinery and our government act every day in ways that point to the contrary, and we know it. A lost
life in a developed country is reported as a greater tragedy than a life lost in a poorer country, or when the
victims are remote or from a different culture. We equate few dead on one side, with thousands dead on the
other side.


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