Anarchism and hunting.
I’ve given this a lot of thought now, so hear me out: The traditional Christian hegemony teaches that the plants and animals of the earth are here for us to exploit, and as a society, we do so terrifically.
We are also taught that we are somehow special, that we have a monopoly on consciousness. I’ve come to realize that consciousness isn’t anything but a human construct to rationalize the supposed disconnect in between our physical and mental or spiritual selves according to religious thought. There is actually only one entity, and it’s just a living bag of water and chemistry designed to effectively propagate DNA.
But we have feelings, right? So it wouldn’t be right to subject a human being to unnecessary suffering. Well, as we don’t have a monopoly on being alive, and therefore don’t have a monopoly on consciousness, it stands to reason that a cow probably doesn’t enjoy the slaughterhouse any more than a death row inmate. Pigs definitely have feelings, and like dogs can make great pets and companions. So, we don’t hold the monopoly on feelings either.
So where do we draw the line? If we don’t have a monopoly on feelings or consciousness, do we draw scientific boundaries such as the complexity of an animal’s nervous system to determine the ethics of its consumption? There is still some natural imperative behind the foods we eat, just as there is a natural imperative for the fox to hunt the rabbit.
We can’t all opt out of the corporate farming of meats entirely and become a nation of hunter-gatherers, but we can take steps to increase our self-reliance and contribute less to corporations that treat organisms as means to a bottom line.
In short, I believe eating meat is ethical, and tasty, and as an omnivorous species, important to our health. But I know that when I hunt or fish for wild animals, that animal has had as fair a shot at whatever that animal’s idea of happiness as could be expected of it. It’s not going to be factory farmed in a pen, or live in its own shit, or get fed food provided by the lowest bidder. I could ensure that the animals I hunt are taken humanely, and experience the humility of a person who has to take the steps between taking an animal and turning it into something you eat, instead of going to the corporate supermarket and skipping all the steps from something that lived to something that exists in your mind only as an ingredient.
The myth of scarcity.
Right now, we live in a country where the government pays farm corporations not to grow food.
According to Forbes, GE paid no taxes in 2010. In face, they collected 1.1 Billion dollars in tax benefits, even after generating 10.3 Billion dollars in pre-tax income.
Right now, large corporations pay (If they end up paying at all) 35% of their taxable income in income taxes. Middle class Americans pay 35% of their income (Average, of course there are variables, but bear with me). This is only equitable until you realize the middle class make 40,000 to 60,000 dollars a year, while a company like Wal-Mart will make 20,000,000,000 in pretax income. That’s not a measure of total sales, which measure in the hundreds of billions. That’s a fuck of a lot more zeroes, but they pay the same rate.
The income gap in the United States is quickly becoming a chasm. Right now, the US boasts the highest poverty rate in decades, and even individual states are having hard times footing the bill for basic services. The state of Arizona, for example, is currently putting new applications for AHCCCS (Access, out loud), the state medicare program, on hold for lack of funds.
Right now, in the largest cities in the united states, you can drive down a busy avenue at night past nightclubs with lines out the door, great cars parked outside, valet parking, lights, celebrity cameos, the works. Drive another few blocks to your nearest Veteran’s Memorial Park, though, and you’ll find, tragically, a bivouac site of homeless, many of them vets, some drug addicted, mentally ill, suffering from PTSD and the symptoms of drug abuse.
This, in a country where warehouses of food either are destroyed or not grown to inflate food prices, where we turn corn, a staple of world food, into fuel for our automobiles (With more tax subsidies!), and banks that received part of $700,000,000,000 in bailout funds are demolishing houses to get them off the books.
Scarcity is a myth, and we need a new paradigm to reflect that. We live in an advanced society where automation and efficiency are controlled with scientific precision, where the excess of production doesn’t justify grinding the middle and lower class, the gears of the capitalist machine, into dust. We need to move past the idea of jobs, and careers, and use our advances in manufacturing and distribution to eliminate false scarcity so that we can all live in a more just, fair, and truly free society.