For a time in my life, I was a vegan and a member of PETA. Since then, I have changed a lot, but I still understand how animal rights activists think and what they want. In a nutshell, and quite simply, they think that meat eaters are moral monsters and they want to ensure that no humans eat meat. That being said, they’re not afraid to think of new ways to accomplish their goals. An article in The Atlantic touting meat grown in laboratories as a substitute for meat from animals is a case in point.
Derek Thompson begins his article with the provocative claim, “There are two big truths about eating meat from animals.”
If I didn’t know better, I would’ve assumed that the two big truths are: 1. meat is delicious, and, 2. humans are designed to eat meat. But I know better, and Thompson drops that claim as a setup for a few of animal rights activists’ favorite canards:
First, animal flesh imposes a high moral and ecological price for a tender medallion of food. Factory farming incurs the torturous treatment of millions of chickens, cows, and pigs each year. This constitutes a rolling moral catastrophe. What’s more, one-sixth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are directly attributable to raising livestock, and the figure is rising as more countries enter the global middle class. For most Americans, cutting meat out of their diets would reduce global warming more than giving up driving.
I’ll circle back to Thompson’s palaver in a bit. Before doing that, though, and in the issue of fairness, the staff writer for The Atlantic does utter actual truth with his second “big truth about eating meat from animals.”
But here’s the second truth: Americans don’t really care about all that. Or, perhaps more subtly, many of them do care. But weighed against the panoply of meat-related rewards—the succulence of a perfect ribeye, the abundance of affordable meat options at the grocery store, the convenient protein-density of the food, and the opportunity to try the glazed duck at that place all your friends have been going on about for weeks—the moral and environmental costs of meat register as real, yet ignorable; snowflake static on the radar.
Thompson is correct. “Americans don’t really care about all that.” What he misses is that we don’t really care about all that because “all that” is mostly bunk. Notice how he places animals over and above the well-being of humans. What’s immoral is the notion that humans should forgo food because we don’t want to hurt animals. Wrapped up in Thompson’s leftist moral preening is a subtle dig at the growing global middle class. “See,” he almost snarls out, “it’s capitalism’s fault that people are eating more meat.” And then he gets to a growing favorite position of leftists – eating meat causes climate change.
A friend of mine from K Street warns that if conservatives aren’t wary and watchful, we’re going to wake up one morning and discover a hefty carbon tax placed on red meat.
But never mind all that, Thompson implores. He has a solution: fake meat. He writes, “Perhaps the road to a post-meat diet leads through a new agricultural revolution, where technology expands the modern menu with new foods that don’t require the mass-scale suffering of animals.”
I find it interesting that the side opposed to GMOs is now pushing artificially constructed “meat.” Make no mistake, though, just like their opposition to GMOs is because leftists are opposed to human flourishing, a push for fake meat is also a reflection of leftists disdain for humanity.