Quotable (#128)

‘The Fatal Conceit’ escalated to a whole new level:

Nowadays many of us have little contact with the wilderness, making it easy to view nature with rose-tinted glasses. The images we see of nature feature mostly pristine landscapes or healthy, photogenic wild animals. But this incredible beauty masks huge suffering. Many wild animals endure illness, injury, and starvation without relief. For example, the pain of animals that fall prey to predators like Cecil is especially horrific. Gulls peck out and eat the eyes of baby seals, leaving the blinded pups to die so they can feast on their remains. A shrew will paralyze his prey with venom so he can eat the helpless animal alive, bit by bit, for days.

The natural suffering of wild animals is real and breathtaking in its enormity, but incredibly little is being done to reduce it. Although many organizations work to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity, few focus on the well-being of individual animals. And despite more people taking notice of the torment wild animals endure at the hands of humans who hunt and poach them, little thought has gone into the question of how to help wild animals avoid natural agonies.

Despite the exotic nature of this example, it is still illustrative. There’s probably no ideological polarity of greater ultimate significance than that dividing those who want to shrink spheres of moral concern / interference, and those who want to — perhaps very drastically — expand them.

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