OxBlog

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

# Posted 7:56 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

FUR IS MURDER (BUT WOOL IS ONLY THEFT): It's interesting how ethics change with the times. Suddenly, fur is OK again. As for being a vegetarian, it turns out we've been having the same debates for hundreds of years (at least according to a new history of vegetarianism).

Surprisignly, no less a personage than Ben Franklin once abstained from the consumption of flesh. While a vegetarian, Franklin also made his first voyage on an ocean-going ship. He later recalled that:
Our People set about catching Cod, & haul’d up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my Resolution of not eating animal Food; and on this Occasion, I consider’d . . . the taking every Fish as a kind of unprovok’d Murder, since none of them had or ever could do us any Injury that might justify the Slaughter. All this seem’d very reasonable.

But I had formerly been a great Lover of Fish, & when this came hot out of the Frying Pan, it smeled admirably well. I balanc’d some time between Principle & Inclination: till I recollected, that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you.

So I din’d upon Cod very heartily and continu’d to eat with other People, returning only now & then occasionally to a vegetable Diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do
And so it goes.
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Comments:
When did fur become ok again? Is this something you picked up from that last NYT article? Because if those people were talking about 'fur', they might have meant something else.
 
So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do

How perfectly Franklin sums up (but here indulges in) J.J. Rousseau's central critique of modernity: that the Modern supremacy of cold-hearted reason has caused us to rationalize away our morals (and consequently, our humanity).
 
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