Your letter was a breath of fresh air, even though I don’t quite believe everything you said or feel as optimistically as you do. My attempts to be smug and cynical have been thwarted. Heh. If there’s one thing I totally agree with you on it’s that information in a vacuum helps no one, and that it takes the efforts of those with the information to spread it to the people. Otherwise, most families just perpetuate their knowledge through their generations, often in ignorance. Anyway, thanks for being kind and gentle – and intelligent. It’s effective.
Yes, there is some basic courtesy. Not much, but it’s there. And when there’s lack of courtesy it takes a real effort not to say, “Screw it, I’m not going to be courteous anymore; it’s not doing any good.” Also, those I find superior in the courtesy realm are those who manage to smile at others. It’s always a warming shock to get smiled at by a stranger. And then I try to do it and it fails most of the time. So I stop. I don’t know how they do it, those rare, impenetrable smilers.
Meat without the associated animal? I haven’t heard about this, but if there’s no nervous system I’d be all for it. I’ll have to look into it. I wonder what sort of “karmic repercussions” this might have.
I’m idealistic about the pain issue. I think that believing another’s pain is less important than one’s own is the definition of violence. And violence, at least among civilized, enlightened beings, should necessarily be discarded without looking back.
The remedy case is also a bit idealistic. I would say, regarding diabetes, that we should focus more on our diets so we can phase out the need for [ab]using animals to get us out of our jams. Western culture, as you’ve no doubt seen, is far too interested in treating symptoms of diseases rather than their causes. This is an extremely lazy, unnecessary, irresponsible and ultimately very violent affair with vast repercussions. But I’m with you – it would be nice to see it go away.
My statement about the equality in ease and expense of vegetarianism was not meant to be universal. My mistake. Again, I feel there are many places in the world where an omnivorous diet is achieved responsibly. If I lived in one of these places I would partake in the gifts that animals have to offer us. America is not one of those places. But I can still get all my nourishment at the local chain grocery store for the same price, and with the same effort, as if I were omnivorous. We all at some point learned how to shop for consumables of all varieties. Many of us just need to unlearn some of that and learn it again if we’re to be thoughtful about what we consume. So the inner-city mother, unless she gets her family meals at the McDonald’s or KFC drive-thru every night, does not have to spend more time or money.
Your comment about the Creationist museum contradicts your last statement. The thinking involved in such an institution is a sort of virus in itself, and will have some affect on children (and many adults, surely) who pass through it, despite what their parents have been teaching them. The guy who created it is doing an admirable job getting his word to the masses, no matter what the liberal press has to say about it. But sure, like Iowa, a certain amount of our pointing and laughing will make a difference.
It’s cool to hear that you’re getting some advanced responses from the religious side of things. One of the people I work with is fairly open-minded when the subject comes up. Then again, one thing I’ve been noticing is that Catholicism is taking advantage of these recent situations with Evangelicals to claim their own sort of superiority. Funny.
Anyway, it’s good to know you’re out there, and it’s been fun having this discussion with you.