My dog is dying, after a long life of beaches and forests and affection. She is one of the sweetest, gentlest, most enthusiastic creatures I’ve ever met, my friend and companion for nearly fifteen years. So even before the news and social media degraded and humiliated themselves by going into hysterics over the death of Cecil the Lion while covering up or excusing Planned Parenthood’s butchery and sale of human babies, I’ve had cause to reflect on human-animal relationships.
It in no way detracts from the goodness of my dog nor diminishes my devotion to her to observe that there’s a measure of narcissism in the love of animals. Our pets demand any number of little attentions from us, but they will never ask us to change our opinions. They will never challenge the validity of our inner worlds with their own.
Those competing inner visions humans have — other outlooks; conflicting opinions — that’s what narcissists can’t stand; that’s what really offends them. It’s not enough for a narcissistic tyrant that you do what he says, you also have to profess what he believes. It’s not enough that you leave him alone, you have to bake the cake for his wedding too. Narcissists can’t abide the Other. Competing inner worlds drive them to insane levels of cruelty, brutality and even murder. Animals never pose that problem for them. That’s why so many people who preen themselves on their love of animals are such rotten imbeciles when it comes to other humans. The PETA types who assault people for wearing fur, say. Philosopher Peter Singer who believes a baby may be morally killed but not a dog. Such love of animals is not love at all; just narcissism made flesh.