[lbo-talk] 10 charts...

Alan Rudy alan.rudy at gmail.com
Fri Apr 22 07:37:37 PDT 2011

On Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 6:14 AM, Somebody Somebody <philos_case at yahoo.com>


> it's self-evident that not slaughtering cows and chickens for food is more
> ethical and progressive than doing otherwise, all else being equal.

> It's like making fun of those who don't engage in physical violence for
> sport.

> I blame Marx for an obsessive focus upon what makes humanity singular. And
> human weakness - it's easy to poke fun at those who are morally superior. Of
> course, some dispute whether morality has any meaning, despite submissively
> obeying their own moral codes.

Wow, what a reified set of claims... you write of self-evidence, assume that meat eating = "slaughter", treat violence as if it were a straightforward concept, implicitly assert that moral superiority is clear cut and then accuse Marx of obsessive focus on the singularity of humanity? Nice.

I think raising and slaughtering animals humanely (problematic concept, I know) is a great idea, the reason I am 90% vegetarian is because of the social and ecological contradictions of international meat provisioning but I'd be the last person to suggest that there's anything ethically simple or self-evident about the ethics of meat.

Second, where does physical violence in sport start for you? Is it the boundary between soccer/basketball and rugby/American football? Where does lacrosse fall in your analysis... have you spent any time thinking about this? Is collegiate, freestyle or greco roman wrestling violent or is your problem with mixed-martial arts and boxing? Is it interpersonal violence you are concerned with? If so, what about of the violence free climbers, swimmers, divers, runners, snowboarders, mountain bikers, surfers, etc. do to their bodies in training? Is that self-evidently "bad", too? Hell, there's (99% of the time) no interpersonal violence in motocross, snowmobiling, or Formula 1 either... what of baseball, softball, tennis, volleyball, etc. are they OK? Or is it not the sports themselves but the sensibility embedded in them you don't like? Are we allowed to throw and hit things but not people violently?

And, keerist, I'm with Doug, where the hell is Marx obsessively focused on the singularity of humanity or are you obsessively insisting that there is no meaningful difference between human beings, "higher" primates, cows, birds, fish, algae or, now that we're headed down this road, plants? Marx's materialist conception of history generates just exactly the methods necessary for addressing these issues while situating them not in some sort of transcendent self-evidence or set of transhistorical real categories but in relation to really existing socionatural/poltical economic/ethiconormative conditions. Marx focused on these issues to escape just exactly the kinds of disembodied, idealist and reified perspectives you advanced NOT to generate a new set of reified categories. It is bourgeois sociological, political theoretical, anthropological and humanitarian misreadings of Marx that undergird your positions - I was taught Marx your way by only one theory professor and he had absolutely no capacity to respond to the more relational, materialist and historical reading all the others I had taught and would teach me...


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