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comment by wasoxygen
wasoxygen  ·  3325 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The 4 Ways People Rationalize Eating Meat  ·  x 2

    the products of cheap human labor that I wear and consume, as you point out.

You refer to my mention of sweatshops. That could make for an interesting conversation, if you don't mind departing from the topic of meat.

I don't oppose sweatshops. I don't prefer clothing manufactured in facilities that guarantee comfortable conditions for workers.

Suppose you are scandalized by this information. Suppose that you determine to raise my awareness of the considerable human suffering that occurs in sweatshops.

Perhaps you watch documentaries to learn more about what happens in sweatshops. You discover alarming details. You feel certain that I can only act so casually toward sweatshops because I am ignorant of the truth.

You post shocking photos of sweating, weary children bent over sewing machines, of corpses burned in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. You recount stories of female workers who agreed to have sex with managers in order to get better working conditions, and you use the word "rape" when describing this scenario.

Your strong feelings on the topic lead you to use strong language in discussing the matter, to the point of being verbally abusive toward me.

What would you think if I focused on the shocking nature of your images, and your not-strictly-precise use of the word "rape," and your abusive language, in my response? Wouldn't it seem a little convenient, a little self-serving, that I deliberately miss your point by focusing on the manner and details of your presentation? I can dismiss your entire message because you do not present it in a calm, emotionless, and unoffending manner. (For your part, you feel that it will be all too easy to ignore the message if you do not raise your voice and display arresting images. You feel your only choices are to be ignored or reviled.)

What if I found exceedingly rare examples of sweatshops that were exceptions to the patterns you are concerned about? What if I asked you ridiculous questions that were obviously not honest attempts at gaining understanding, but carefully-crafted "gotchas" designed to trip up your argument? ("What about factory robots? Aren't they abused too?")

Perhaps no one would blame me if I ignore you when you become abusive and incendiary. But I feel like I am doing myself a disservice by not getting to the bottom of the question "What is this person so worked up about?", even if I have to make an effort to overlook the excesses of your presentation.

mk  ·  3325 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I agree with you. We often do ourselves a disservice by become emotionally invested in an outcome that usually doesn't hang in the balance.

Is that how you feel about sweatshops? I am casually aware that you've been having some meat-related discussions, but haven't read through them (As an aside, I think I am granted far more omniscience here than I have). I claim to put my concern for sweatshop workers higher than that of farm animals, but my actions don't provide much evidence. Do you prioritize their plights opposite to my claim?

There is hypocrisy in my lifestyle. Hypocrisy isn't something we aren't supposed to come to terms with, and yet we all do.

I have mentioned before here that I believe that what we do is what we want. I suppose if I have a streak of objectivism in me, that’s where it can be found. I don't want to be an ugly person, but I don't want only not to appear ugly. Then I am ugly and dishonest.

On a very loosely related side note, I am glad that you found the flaw in my deconstruction of measurement in DC.

wasoxygen  ·  3325 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Is that how you feel about sweatshops? ... Do you prioritize their plights opposite to my claim?

I'm with you: I care far more about a single human sweatshop worker than I do about any animal raised for food. My wish is to minimize needless suffering, and I suspect that humans are more capable of suffering than animals. Maybe I am wrong, maybe humans can use their intelligence to better rationalize and cope with difficult circumstances. I should also feel bad that a food animal has no hope of escape and no voice or agency to try and improve their fate. Still, I feel worse when I see a human suffering; maybe it is just bias because I am in the human club.

Is there any contradiction in not opposing sweatshops? The best way to help sweatshop workers might be to sacrifice all our leisure and spare resources and dedicate ourselves to sweatshop worker relief. I am not willing to do that. Campaigning to get Nike to manufacture with stricter labor standards might cause Nike to improve working conditions in the third world ... or to close factories in the third world and move operations to more developed countries.

The everyday decision we make is whether to purchase or not to purchase an item that was made in a sweatshop. Which decision helps the sweatshop worker more? Can it be helpful to an Indonesian worker to spend nothing on the product they make and buy an $80 hoodie instead? What is the sweatshop worker's next best alternative to working in the sweatshop? Whatever it is, "next best" is at least somewhat worse.

    my actions don't provide much evidence

I prefer to be judged by my words rather than my actions. It's easier to make nice words! So I try not to let myself get too bothered by hypocrisy and the unrealistic goal of living in perfect harmony with ideals. I think most of us are already pretty decent, and it's enough to try and be a little more decent whenever we can.

    I think I am granted far more omniscience here than I have.

What? You don't read every post on this site? I kind of assumed that you did, even though I feel Hubski is a damnable time sink even when I only skim.