I have long distinguished the difference between those who engage in productive thought, and those who practice something that only appears to be useful thinking, using the words scholars and professional academics.
They are not mutually exclusive, of course, and are only rough guides. A scholar can be an academic in the employment sense, but not all professional academics are not scholars.
Many professional academics are like Michael Plant, our first of two examples today of what passes for anti-meat thinking, a growing area of “research”.
Plant wrote the peer-reviewed paper “The Meat Eater Problem” in the hilariously named Journal of Controversial Ideas (motto: don’t blame us!).
Plant—you have to laugh at his name—wrote:
First, we must save strangers’ lives, at least if we can do so easily: you would be required to rescue a child drowning in a pond even if it will ruin your expensive suit. Second, it is wrong to eat meat because of the suffering caused to animals in factory farms…
I argue that, if meat eating is wrong on animal suffering grounds then, once we consider how much suffering might occur, it starts to seem plausible that saving strangers would be the greater evil than not rescuing them and is, therefore, not required after all.
More hilariously, Plant, who admits he eats meat, and is at the Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Oxford and the Happier Lives Institute.
The Happier Lives Institute. I laughed, and thus was made happier, at seeing this. Good jobs, fellas.
Plant in the article thinks this a new version of the Trolley Problem. I wasn’t clear about what he meant. Something like a drowning child on one track, and a crispy, slathered-in-butter full-pound medium-rare ribeye on the other?
That problem is incomplete. The ribeye might have been raised on some horrible factory farm, or it might have been from a free-range grass-fed hormoneless farm owned and run by a non-conglomerate. Or the kid, if it lives, might turn out to be a professional academic—or a scholar.
Hard to know what to do!
Depends on how horrible the factory farm is, how much you loathe academics, or how hungry you are, I suppose.
Incidentally, one to think about saving strangers is treating them medically, and not just from a burning ditch. The practice of medicine, and every single other program that helps people live, would be out because meat.
Another thing is, or should be, clear: humans before animals every time. Thus, if you saved your kid from a miserable death by drowning, only for that kid to go on to become a McDonald’s habitue, then you rescue the kid every time. Even if it isn’t yours. And even it is destined to become an academic who consider peer-reviewed papers the apex of human thought.
Our second examples are George Monbiot, who is neither academic or scholar, but is a propagandist, and Gunhild Stordalen, who is a physician academic, and who founded something called the EAT Foundation.
These two are holding an event next week to waken people to a most terrible scourge. A thing so destructive that if it is not controlled by caring academics, it will destroy us all.
What’s the biggest cause of the sixth mass extinction of species?
What emits more greenhouse gas than all the world’s cars, aeroplanes and ships put together?
What kills 75 billion animals a year?
It’s time to face the facts. Our food system — dominated by meat, fish and dairy — is devouring the planet. If we want to leave a liveable world for the next generation, we need to reboot food.
I’ve learned one amazing thing about academics who don’t want the lower classes to eat meat—Experts and rulers will always be allowed—and it is this. None of them, and I mean not one, know that animals eat each other.
Rather, they might know this simple fact, but they have not assimilated this knowledge. It has not affected their thinking in any way. Isn’t that something?
Somehow they have convinced themselves that only man eating other animals matters, and that animals eating other animals does not. Animals eating other animals is never seen as harmful, or “unsustainable”; it does not contribute to “climate change”, or “systemic racism”, or anything bad. It is natural.
Whereas man-the-animal eating other animals isn’t natural. And to be discouraged. If one is not in the Expert or ruler class.
The argument of these people is not religious, say, against the killing of other beings (though you must kill something to eat, and live). But because they believe if there are too many men, there won’t be enough meat for them. This is backwards. It is because there is so much food there are so many men.
You must admit, though, that the idea of eliminating food to solve “climate change” is as pure a professional academic idea as you can find.
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