Walking around on a thirty thousand plus campus will more than likely result in some strange encounters with few idealist, outcasts, and rebels. The other day I had a conversation with an Anarchist promoter and a Vegan activist- on the same day. Both were interesting and idealists.
They say first impression is crucial and if this Anarchist is a representative of the larger Anarchist movement, which I doubt it is, then no wonder why the movement is near extinction. The young man must have forgotten to shower, brush his teeth, put on deodorant, and wear clean clothe before representing his Anarchist club/movement/ideas. The whole time I was speaking to him I could not breathe properly because I’m one of those people who almost exclusively breathe through their nose and when I’m cornered, the discomfort is evident on my face. Despite these turnoffs, I had a productive discourse with the young Anarchist.
As a product of anarchy, my first question undoubtedly dealt with Anarchy as a theory and anarchy in practice i.e. Somalia. The young Anarchist distinguished “Anarchy” and “anarchy” – the difference, as he explained, is that Anarchy with capital “A” is not the same as the lower-cased anarchy. Somalia, he said, is in a state of anarchy not Anarchy. But I pressed him to differentiate between Somalia and the Anarchism theories imagined by Russian Anarchist – no comprehendible answer, at least in laymen’s term because, as he believed, true Anarchy does not result in a situation like that of Somalia.
I pressed again to make him understand that once Anarchy is enacted, there is no mechanism to keep it organized or peaceful – especially in a capitalistic society that believes the only thing one needs is more and more of material and acquire such material by any means possible. To him though, Anarchy is like Utopian but without the hassle of organized government or state protocols. So I wanted to find out what crime and punishment looks like in Anarchistic society. Again, it was incomprehensible because his answer was that when someone commits a crime – I mean a crime like murder or rape – then the person should be brought before a group of people, including the victim and their family, who listen and decide what to do with the perpetuator. So I asked, then “what”? No response.
The problem with Anarchism, like any other theory, is that it is just an idealist theory that cannot be practiced in its purest sense just as socialism and capitalism cannot be practiced in their purest form, at least in our modern world. Imagine Adam Smith’s capitalism put into practice in its purest form.
Although I have long been aware of this concept, I never really understood why people think enslaving dogs and cats are ok, but eating any animal meat is a crime against nature. Waiting for my bus, a young man who happens to be in my International Development class approaches me with a brochure showing terrible pictures of animals being abused at livestock factories. I declined to take the brochure at first but then I thought what the hell, it doesn’t hurt to learn more. Yet what I saw, albeit terrible, did not change my believe that animals and humans depend on each other not for emotional reasons but for resources and a balance to nature. Let me explain this. My understanding is that the world’s resources are not enough for both humans and animals to share because there is less than 30% land and billions of people and animals of all kinds compete to survive in that tiny space of productive resources.
So instead of enslaving (I use this term purposefully to make the connection that animals do not choose to be pets, people force them) animals for our entertainment and service (like hunting dogs), we ought to leave them alone and let them be the wild animals that they are. Why should dogs, cats, fish, etc. be forced to live in an environment that is not natural to them? Why should a middle-aged woman fulfill her emotional vacuum through the domestication of a dog when she could get that from a human being only if she tried?
It is strange how pet owners never think about how animals do not choose to become a pet but are only forced to; yet when I eat a goat or a chicken meat, I’m being cruel to animals? Imagine in a world where chickens, camels, cows, goats, and sheep out number humans 100 times more? I don’t think vegetarians ever think about that. I really believe vegetarians do not think critically about their choice based on practicality but only as an emotional reaction.
When I saw those pictures in the brochure, I was disgusted and appalled but when my emotions came down and I thought critically, I realized that pet owners are forgetting how too many of them pay to go to a zoo in order to watch poor animals caged and humiliated for their entertainment but instead too often focus how very bad people treat animals awfully, which I categorically condemn in the strongest terms. Indeed I came to the conclusion that many people who claim to be animal lovers are more often than not are being cruel to animals because they are forcing animals to unnatural behaviors and environments.
Still, I maintain that for one to be a true animal lover, one has to leave animals alone – don’t keep them as pets, don’t pay to watch them race for their lives on TV (dog and horse racing), don’t pay to keep them caged and humiliated in zoos, and don’t support animals being paraded about on pageants but simply leave them alone. If you really love animals and want to help them, focus your effort on fighting to save their habitat instead of solely focusing on industrial abuse. As for me, I do eat them for food and food alone. Does that make me a cruel person to animals? I think not.