I use this as a paradigm for our whole attitude toward life, what you did was you worked very hard, you try to understand and try to direct these complicated, powerful forces and at the very end of the struggle you've made no progress at all. That upon discovering that, you've raised to a lofty moral height, and you've accepted your fate, and somehow went on.
The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.
The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. . . . A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive--and nowhere else!--and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. Self-interest, love of family, duty to country, responsibility toward the human race . . . .The basis of all morality is duty, a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual.
The cactus thrives in the desert while the fern thrives in the wetland.The fool will try to plant them in the same flowerbox.The florist will sigh and add a wall divider and proper soil to both sides.The grandparent will move the flowerbox halfway out of the sun.The child will turn it around properly so that the fern is in the shade, and not the cactus.The moral of the story?Kids are smart.
One of the main arguments that I make is that although almost everyone accepts that it is morally wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals, 99% of the suffering and death that we inflict on animals can be justified only by our pleasure, amusement, or convenience. For example, the best justification that we have for killing the billions of nonhumans that we eat every year is that we enjoy the taste of animal flesh and animal products. This is not an acceptable justification if we take seriously, as we purport to, that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering or death on animals, and it illustrates the confused thinking that I characterize as our moral schizophrenia when it comes to nonhumans.A follow-up question that I often get is: What about vivisection? Surely that use of animals is not merely for our pleasure, is it?Vivisection, Part One: The Necessity of Vivisection