A Response to “Just Pretend This Dead Lion Is A Human Baby, And Then You Won’t Be So Upset”

So this blog post has been popping up on my feed a lot lately:

Screenshot 2014-07-05 11.26.45

Click Photo for Link to Post

 

For anyone who doesn’t know, Kendall Jones has attracted a lot of controversy for posting photos of herself with big game trophies.

Those original photos shocked me, but it was nothing compared to what came next.

Matt Walsh wrote a long-winded post on the controversy asking why we are more upset about the killing of wildlife game in Africa than the killing of millions of babies in America.

*siiiiiiiigh* Do we really have to go over this again? 

I tried to avoid it as long as I could since the article riled me up like very few things have lately. I’m usually a pretty patient person, but this hit my threshold immediately. Now it’s all over my feed and people are talking about it and there’s more people defending Walsh with misconceived notions of what they’re saying and a complete misapprehension of the actual point than there are people willing to have a real discussion, so it’s time for me to put my opinion out there or I will go insane trying to hold it in.

So I decided to go over Walsh’s post point by point in hopes of bringing to light some of the problems with his arguments and opening a dialogue so we can stop with the dichotomy of “you’re a sinner” vs. “you’re an idiot” that seems to be ruling the Internet now.

(You can click the above photo to get to Walsh’s post. If for some reason that isn’t working, you can click HERE instead.)

 

Settled in? Let’s begin then.

 

Matt begins by setting the stage. Fair enough, I won’t reiterate the background story yet again.

Here’s Kendall’s opinion, according to Matt:

“Kendall defends herself by saying that the hunts serve two purposes: 1) feeding hungry villagers, and 2) conservation.”

I highly doubt that she’s actually helping feed anyone very much, but I won’t argue with that. I do take issue with her thinking she’s somehow helping wildlife conservation by killing endangered species, but I’m willing to cut her some slack. Somebody else can (and probably has) brought this to her attention.

But the real problem is when Matt says,

“I also think they make for some pretty cool Facebook photos, but that’s just me. At least, I prefer these over the pornographic garbage that clutters half of my newsfeed on a daily basis.”

This is the first clue that Matt doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Excuse me? You have porn all over your newsfeed? I don’t think so. I think really you’ve seen photos of girls wearing the clothes they want and you’ve taken offence because your pastor told you that a book said that a man said something that’s been reinterpreted so many times by now that you could start an Internet fight over this. Calm down, Matt.

Now if Matt wants to call his Facebook feed pornographic, I guess he’s allowed to do that, and it’s a different topic entirely so I’ll avoid it, but it immediately gives you a deep look into Matt’s brain. He thinks that society’s values are all capital-W WRONG. Pictures of dead animals = cool! Pictures of girls = porn!

Matt, this is not porn, okay? Get over yourself.

Matt, this is not porn, okay? Get over yourself.

What??? Okay, I’ll leave that issue aside and move on.

 

“We’re surrounded by death and evil, but we don’t complain until someone shoots a cheetah? That seems a bit arbitrary, if you ask me.”

Um, no, just no. We’re not surrounded by death and evil, what a terrible thing to say about your own countrymen. That seems a bit arbitrary if you ask me. But even if we are surrounded by death and evil, that’s not a good reason to allow cheetahs to die. Is that what you’re saying? That we should shut up about the death of cheetahs because it makes us hypocrites? Why don’t we shut up about all social rights because we spend too much time on the TV. Why bother about anything?

Immediately after that, Matt says,

“Many of the liberal blogs having a meltdown over Kendall Jones are the same ones that spent a week hailing Emily Letts, who filmed her own abortion. ‘What kind of monster smiles after killing something?’ they say about the woman posing with a tranquilized rhino, but not about the woman giggling while an abortionist executes her baby.”

(Note: The above link in the quote, which I have included, takes you to Matt’s blog post on Emily’s video. For Emily’s video itself, Click Here There’s nothing shocking or disturbing in her video, she just films herself)

First of all, I’ve read Matt’s post, and it is really, inhumanely mean to Emily. That’s just not nice, Matt, I thought you were supposed to be kind and loving toward everyone. Isn’t that what Jesus said?

Second, Kendall is hunting endangered species for sport. Emily is making an informed decision that is hers and hers alone to make about something that will profoundly affect the health and well-being of both her and her baby.

Third, anytime someone puts a camera on me, no matter what I’m doing, I giggle like I’ve lost my mind. I don’t think it’s fair to say Emily is laughing maniacally because she’s, as you so brilliantly put it, “executing” her baby.

Fourth, Emily did something very brave by taking a stand for women all over America. She helped promote equality because women have a right to do what they want with their bodies without men dictating their actions. This doesn’t mean they can go on a shooting spree without facing the consequences, this means that they can make their own decisions. As for your knee-jerk reaction to compare a killing spree with getting an abortion, there’s quite a difference, but I’ll get to that later, so hold that compulsion in for a while, okay?

Matt, you’re coming across as an asshole so far. But okay, maybe you’re angry about something you believe in and that anger is accidentally seeping into places you never meant for it to go. Fine, I do that too sometimes. Let’s keep going.

Matt continues:

“The whole dynamic is just deranged. Has the world ever known a culture as delusional as ours? Has a society ever been so confused?  I’m no anthropologist, but I have a hard time believing that any previous civilization could have developed such a perverse mix of hedonism and puritanism.  We’re told we shouldn’t bat an eye when a network sitcom centers an entire episode around teenage gay sex, but at the same time, we should be thin skinned and innocent to the point where news channels have to deliver disclaimers before airing the word ‘redskins.’

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!!!!!?????!!!!!!

Let me break this down for you.

Protesting a television episode about gay sex = sexism.
Freely using the word “redskins” = racism.

How can you possibly think that we should get angry because there’s gay sex on TV (by the way, Glee is far from being the first television episode to feature gay sex, you seem way behind the times, sir) but we should totally be okay with blatant racism? Do you not understand how discrimination happens?

Of course we shouldn’t bat an eye if an episode of a popular TV show is about gay sex. Gay sex is a thing that happens. TV shows tend to be about things that happen. What if it was the Nature Channel doing an episode about how some monkeys have gay sex with each other, would you be upset then? Maybe, but probably not, because according to you, they’re just animals so who cares right?

I’m not telling you that gay sex is okay (although that’s what I think), I’m simply telling you that of course we shouldn’t care about if a TV show does an episode about it. To compare that to the use of the word “redskins” is absurd. Face it, America is pretty racist and it’s about time someone does something about that. Most people don’t even realize how racists the word is, so OF COURSE we should have to deliver disclaimers before using it.

Do you not understand at all how change happens? How progress happens? Apparently not. But to be fair, you’re using the media yourself (a blog) to try and affect change so I have to hope that you understand it a little bit. Fine. I’ll let you have that.

And maybe you do understand what I’m saying, but you’re trying to draw parallels to back up your point. Again, I understand that, it’s a good technique if you use it right. Maybe you just didn’t hit the bullseye this time.

Next point, please.

“Because that’s what this is: insanity. It’s not even that our morality is inverted or reversed – even that would be too logical. What we are experiencing is nothing short of moral anarchy. Now that we’ve made a mockery of virtue and a religion of death, we are left with nothing to be truly outraged about. So we become the violent answer to the man who gets home and releases his pent up anger by kicking his dog; we get home and release our pent up righteous indignation by killing the man who kicked his dog.”

Nope, sorry Matt. This is ridiculous.

This is not moral anarchy. Moral anarchy would be everyone doing whatever they want. This is informed consent. This is democracy. I know you don’t believe in either of those things but your opinion doesn’t really matter when your facts are wrong. Don’t call things anarchy when they aren’t.

I have no idea what you mean by making a religion of death. That’s probably the stupidest thing I’ve heard all week. Nobody’s worshiping death or claiming that death told them what to do. Calm down. We haven’t made a mockery of virtue either, as again, being virtuous has nothing to do with agreeing with your personal beliefs which, by the way, you haven’t even really spelled out yet let alone defended. All I really know so far is that you’re angry with what everyone thinks, but I don’t really know what you think (I’m only really making assumptions about what you think).

The man kicking his dog analogy doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It’s clever though, but meaningless.

Is this the kind of thing you're talking about?

Is this the kind of thing you’re talking about?

Moving on…

“Personally, I don’t care about Kendall’s hobby either way.”

Fair enough.

“[The majority of those who oppose Kendall], by any reasonable estimation, are either in favor of, or largely indifferent to, the murder of babies. They see the killing of ‘endangered species’ as the greatest act of evil, second only to verbally opposing gay marriage, and perhaps now third to calling an overbearing female “bossy.”

It’s not that they value animal life over human life, necessarily. They are humans themselves, and I’m sure, given the choice, they’d gladly choose their own existence over even the most endangered of sea turtles. They also generally recognize the Holocaust or 9-11 to be tragedies far more serious than a wildfire that wipes out half of a forest’s native squirrel population.”

Oh, Matt. This was a very, very dumb thing to say. You just revealed yourself with absolute clarity to be homophobic and misogynistic in the same sentence, not to mention ill-informed, ignorant, and immoral.

But you probably don’t understand why I’m saying that. I’ll go step by step.

  1. Killing endangered species, deliberately, is a heinous act. Are we actually debating this? Humans, the number one threat to the survival of all other life forms, are consequently the only life forms with the capacity to save endangered species so naturally the responsibility falls to us. Are you suggesting we kill whatever we want just for fun? Are you unaware of how many species are gone forever because of exactly that? How could you even suggest that it’s okay to eliminate entire species from the tree of life?
  2. Verbally opposing gay marriage is what’s known as discrimination against someone based on their sexual orientation. It’s an infringement of basic human rights. Most free-thinking people consider it to be pretty reprehensible. If you don’t agree, fine, but keep it to yourself if you don’t want to be labelled homophobic or bigoted. This is something people don’t seem to understand: you have the right to your opinion (say, being gay is wrong) but you do NOT have the right to take away other people’s rights because of said opinion.
  3. Where have you been for the last hundred years? This is women’s rights 101. Calling a women “bossy” for any reason other than that she’s actually your boss and is taking advantage of her position = sexism. Get up with the times, Matt. Take a Women and Gender Studies class. Please, don’t play this card.
  4. Given the situation, anyone would probably choose their own life over the life of an attacker. So would an animal. It’s called the survival instinct. But that’s not even what you’re suggesting. You’re suggesting that people value human life over animal life because they wouldn’t voluntarily die to save endangered turtles. What??? Why would they do that? That’s not even a realistic scenario, but even if it was, nobody who is dedicating their life to saving animals would just decide to quit and die. But even if the situation arose and it turned out that the only way to save a certain species was, say, to donate all of your blood. Actually… a lot of people would gladly do that. A lot.
  5. Of course the Holocaust and 9-11 are more tragic than a wildfire. A wildfire is an act of nature that is part of the circle of life. It’s unavoidable. Acts of terrorism, on the other hand, are 100% the product of human brutality. A wildfire is not lifeforms killing other lifeforms, the Holocaust was. I call bullshit on your part, Matt. Shame on you.

By the way, Matt, you haven’t even gotten to your main point yet. I’m 2000 words into my response so far and I have to say I’m pretty disappointed by what you’ve had to say about stuff that isn’t even yet relevant.

“I’m not saying that they don’t sincerely love animals, I’m just saying that it’s easier to love animals. It’s easy to be pro-animal rights, which is why so many people are. It’s difficult to stand for human life. That’s really the only rhyme or reason to what is rejected and embraced in our culture. We take the easy route.  No matter what. Convenience is the key — convenient values, convenient virtues.”

Ooooh, I get it, you think this all boils down to convenience. Okay, never mind, we’ve got to your point. Sorry man, I jumped the gun on my last paragraph.

Wait, you think this is all about convenience? Huh? I’m sorry, it’s easy to be pro-animal rights because it’s difficult to defend human life? Why, yes, it is difficult to defend human rights, especially from people like you, Matt, who wants to take away a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. That’s why it’s so much easier to defend animals.

You go on for two whole paragraphs talking about how babies are so damn inconvenient, compared to say, a leopard. See, we have to take care of babies for 18 years. 18 whole years!

18 years? Are you kidding me?

18 years? Are you kidding me?

Look, Matt, you must not like having fun, because you seem to be suggesting that all humans want is to be able to have fun without any consequences. Guess what? That’s exactly what we want. That’s what everyone wants. Humans want to be able to have fun. It’s not that hard.

Oh but that’s not okay with you, is it? You need people to have consequences. You need there to be some sort of terrible punishment in order for your world to make sense because otherwise you’ve wasted a lot of time denying yourself pleasure that you could have had for free. Isn’t that your reasoning? Matt, that’s silly.

Okay, maybe that’s not your reasoning, but that’s what I’ve heard from so many people who share your views that I feel this isn’t an unfair assumption to make.

Either way, I’d just like to point out how flawed that reasoning is, if not for you, than for the other people out there who feel this way but maybe aren’t quite sure why.

See, morality doesn’t come from the threat of punishment. Morality comes from the will of humans. Even if you believe that God handed down rules from on high, then it’s not immoral to break them because you will be punished, it’s immoral to break them because you deliberately decided to. Does that make sense?

So when people want to do things that are fun without having to face the potential consequences of that fun, well, that’s not an act of morality at all. That’s just called desire.

Everybody wants to have sex (a generalization, yes, as there are exceptions, but a fair generalization nonetheless). But see, people don’t have abortions because they want to have sex without consequences. At the very least you have to admit that that’s what birth control is for. If you’re going to argue this, please argue with the correct information.

Okay, that’s enough, I want to move on. I can go into more detail about morality, but I’d rather discuss that in a post that’s more focused on morality. Let’s keep going.

“As a eugenic society, we teeter always on the edge of psychopathy. Our acceptance of infanticide eats away at us, under the surface, inside our souls. We fear the loss of our own humanity, so we lash out every once in a while, and pour out all of our tempered moral outrage onto someone — anyone — who can give us a nice, safe outlet. Whether it’s a hunter, or a supposedly ‘homophobic’ reality TV star, or an actually racist NBA owner, we unload our vast reserves of righteous fury, reveling [sic] in the opportunity to prove to the world and to ourselves that we still have standards. We still care. We still feel.”

Whoa, that’s some pretty dark stuff. Our acceptance of infanticide eats away at us inside our souls?

Red flag on the play.

Here’s the definition of infanticide taken from Goggle:

in·fan·ti·cide
inˈfantiˌsīd/
noun
1. the crime of killing a child within a year of birth.
2. a person who kills an infant, especially their own child.
And now the definition of abortion, again, taken from Google:
a·bor·tion
əˈbôrSHən/
noun
1. the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Hmmm. Those are different things, Matt. I’m sorry, but you’re incorrect. We’re not committing mass infanticide.
I’m not sure why you think we’re somehow misdirecting our angst onto other issues since each of the issues you mentioned (you picked bad examples though) is its own issue that deserves our “righteous fury” and not some sort of ill-guided attempt to assuage our guilt.

“It’s all a charade, of course. And the Indignity DuJour will soon be replaced by something else, as we flutter quickly from one puffed up atrocity to the other, never stopping long enough to ask any serious questions about it. Never letting the noise die down quietly enough to have a real conversation about anything.”

Look, I agree that our attention spans these days are very short, but that’s not really the issue at hand. The fact remains that you seem to be quite ignorant of society right now as the opposite is actually true. There are many, many, many people who are adamantly fighting for human and animal rights. In fact, this is a really exciting time to be alive if you want to be an activist. We’re in the midst of a revolution and it’s kind of awesome (but frustrating). So for you to say this is just kind of insulting to everyone out there who really does care about something and is trying to affect change.

No hate here

No hate here

 

“We are very sad that a woman killed a lion — why?

Because the lion is endangered?

Because it’s ‘majestic’ and ‘beautiful’?

OK, why does that matter? There are other beautiful things, there are other animals. We [sic] do we need these? Who cares if they are exterminated from the face of the Earth?”

Jesus, Matt, where does it stop? You’re just making yourself look bad (or worse). Who cares? THE VERY PEOPLE YOU ARE CRITICIZING CARE. How can you ask that question?

But it gets worse because you continue this nonsensical rant of “rhetorical” questions while all the while the answer to them is staring you right in the face.

“Because it will upset the ecosystem? OK, but who cares about the ecosystem? Why does the ecosystem matter?

Because all living organisms depend upon it? OK, but now we’re back at the original question — who cares about the living organisms?

And why do we instinctively place some organisms over others? Why aren’t you upset when I kill cockroaches, but you would be if I killed a bald eagle?

What is life, anyway? Why does it matter? What makes it valuable? What makes some life more valuable? Why is your neighbor more significant than the tree in his front yard?

Why do we weep when a life is taken? Why do we usually celebrate when a life is born? Why are you here? Why was the lion here? Why should the lion be treated with dignity? Why should you be treated with dignity?”

Matt, you happen to be arguing with animal rights activists. I think you’re the one who’s more upset when you kill a bald eagle than when you kill a cockroach, not the people you’re addressing. In fact, I think you’re the one who doesn’t know how to place value on living things. I know I know, these are all “rhetorical” in your mind, but they aren’t. They have simple answers, answers you could get from the people you’re criticizing by asking them honestly instead of sarcastically saying they’re stupid and hypocritical.

But here’s where you really deliver the full brunt of your ignorance.

“If you answer these questions, you can only come to one of two conclusions: it’s all meaningless and nothing matters, or life is inherently sacred, especially human life.

Confront these mysteries and you will either end up a suicidal nihilist or a pro-life zealot.

There’s really no room in between, despite our fevered desire to find one.”

Wrong on all counts, Matt. Not “wrong” as in morally-wrong, or I disagree-with-you-wrong, but simply incorrect. Like saying 2+2=5 incorrect. This is what’s called a false dilemma. You’ve preposed that there’s only two possible outcomes to answering these questions and that there is absolutely no room in between.

FalseDilemma

That’s just ignorance on full display. There is lots of room in between. There is a whole spectrum of in between. In fact, you can’t really be one or the other. It’s almost impossible to be 100% suicidal nihilist or 100% pro-life zealot. You almost have to be in between.

But even barring that, neither conclusion follows from the questions you’ve asked. Protesting the killing of animals does not equate meaningless, nor does protesting abortions equate the sanctity of life.

And even barring that, you still haven’t backed up your assertion.

So let’s move on now from the questions you’ve been asking.

You never explicitly stated what this argument is about, but you have inferred it, and I think you’ve done so clearly, so good on you for at least not being obscure about your views.

 

I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you think abortion is murder. Am I right? I think I am.

And because of that belief, you think that abortion should be illegal. This is what I’m assuming you’re arguing for.

But Matt, making abortion illegal will cause more people to die. I know you don’t understand how that works, but just hear me out.

Making abortion legal, or illegal, has almost no effect on how many abortions occur. Either way, women still get abortions. Okay, that’s a statistic, whether you like it or not. The legality of abortion is not really a substantial correlation on the quantity of abortion.

So why make it legal? Why make it illegal? Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

Well, you say you believe in the sanctity of life, don’t you?

Then shouldn’t you do what you can to save lives?

 

Let’s look at some stats from the World Health Organization:

  • After declining substantially between 1995 and 2003, the worldwide abortion rate stalled between 2003 and 2008. [1]
  • Between 1995 and 2003, the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age—i.e., those aged 15–44) for the world overall dropped from 35 to 29. It remained virtually unchanged, at 28, in 2008. [1]
  • Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and nearly all unsafe abortions (98%) occur in developing countries. In the developing world, 56% of all abortions are unsafe, compared with just 6% in the developed world. [1]
  • The proportion of abortions worldwide that take place in the developing world increased between 1995 and 2008 from 78% to 86%, in part because the proportion of all women who live in the developing world increased during this period. [1]
  • Since 2003, the number of abortions fell by 600,000 in the developed world but increased by 2.8 million in the developing world. In 2008, six million abortions were performed in developed countries and 38 million in developing countries, a disparity that largely reflects population distribution. [1]
  • A woman’s likelihood of having an abortion is slightly elevated if she lives in a developing region. In 2008, there were 29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years in developing countries, compared with 24 in the developed world. [1]

(This information is taken from the WHO website. The article was published in January of 2012, you can download it here: induced_abortion_2012 or go to the WHO website. )

When you legalize abortion, you give access to safe abortions. This means that the mother is less likely to die as well as the child. That’s a better risk, isn’t it? I mean, just mathematically, that’s saying you could save one life or lose two lives. MATH.

As well, where abortions are legal, contraceptives are more accessible. That means you can prevent the need for abortions in the first place. (by the way, Matt, abortions happen because of pregnancy, not because of irresponsibility or a lack of morality. Cause + effect.) So again, legalizing abortions = less abortions = saving more lives.

Now, there’s some science to abortions as well. See, most of the time when a woman’s egg gets fertilized by a man’s sperm, it doesn’t really matter because the fertilized egg fails to implant in the lining of the uterus, and it gets flushed away by the body. Is that an abortion? Is a woman’s period an abortion? I sincerely hope you don’t think that, Matt.

But that’s science, and honestly, I have a working understanding of it, but I’m not very good at explaining it yet, so I’m going to refer you to a post that does a much better job.

This post also talks about the statistics I just mentioned, and goes into further detail about how to actually cut down on the abortion rate, which you equate with murder. So allow me to redirect you:

Screenshot 2014-07-05 15.46.47

(Again, if the picture link doesn’t work, here’s an alternative: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html)

Alright, Matt, I think I’ve talked almost enough. There’s just a few final points I want to make.

Ultimately, we’re not really the ones affected by the debate over abortion. We can’t have abortions. So immediately, we kind of lack perspective. Here’s the thing, a woman should be allowed to make her own decisions.

What about babies? They can’t speak up for themselves.

At the early stage that most abortions are performed, fetuses don’t even have nerves, which means they can’t feel anything. There’s nothing really to snuff out. As I said before, a lot of fertilized eggs get “aborted” by the body but nobody’s angry about that.

So where do you draw the line?

You and I don’t.

Society does.

We’re a part of society and we both have our right to vote on decisions made by society, but really, it’s not up to us as individuals to tell others what to do. If a woman wants to get an abortion and society says it’s okay, then it’s okay for her to do that.

Society used to say it wasn’t okay and not only were millions of babies being aborted anyway (abortion is not a new thing, Matt), but the mothers were also dying.

Then society realized that this was a dumb idea, and now there are less abortions occurring and less mothers dying as well.

How can you say you believe in the sanctity of life if you support death?

 

Truth

Truth

 

I’m calling you out on your ignorance, Matt, but please understand, I don’t mean that as an insult. I mean that you just don’t know. Maybe nobody told you, or maybe you didn’t want to hear, but you’re missing information. You don’t have the facts. You’re clinging to a belief system but you don’t seem to know why. Well, now I’ve told you. It’s up to you whether or not you hear.

“So I’m not telling you what to think about these things, I’m only telling you that you need to think about them.

And, once you do, maybe your priorities will change a little bit.”

I couldn’t agree more, Matt.

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Costelas Costelas and commented:
    Um amigo canadense muito querido respondeu a um artigo em que o autor compara o ato de matar animais ameaçados na África ao aborto. O autor também é homofóbico.
    O artigo resposta, de Samuel Rafuse, é um tanto grande, mas vale a pena ver o escritor descredibilizar um texto cheio de preconceitos e absurdos digno do nosso querido Rodrigo Constantino.

    Like

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