June 05, 2008

Wailing about whaling

Wailing and Whaling, the Makah Seek HuntTradition for the sake of tradition or agreeing that in the age of grocery stores and delivery pizza, saying you need to kill something for the symbolism is bullshit. Right or wrong, most hunters readily admit they do it for the thrill. Killing for tradition’s sake seems legally viable, but when it comes to gigantic, indefensible whales, something changes.

What happens when somebody other than a Native American wants to do or kill something in the name of tradition? Do we legalize opium for the Chinese? Legalize persecuting the Irish for people of British ancestry? Legalize human sacrifice for descendants of Mesoamerica? Can we name more offensive racial clich├ęs?
Comment:  Wow, that's a deep argument...not.

"What happens when somebody other than a Native American wants to do or kill something in the name of tradition?" Well, let's break this down into two parts. One, there's doing or killing something that doesn't harm another human being. Two, there's doing or killing something that does harm another human being.

Guess what? If it involves harming another human being, it's illegal. So that immediately rules out unlawful persecution and human sacrifice. Duh.

What if an action doesn't harm another human being? Then our society's presumption is that it should be legal. The government shouldn't interfere unless it has a compelling reason to do so.

Drugs are a prime example. There's a mountain of evidence that the so-called war on drugs has failed. So why not legalize or at least decriminalize them? Why not make it legal for the Chinese and everyone else to use opium if it doesn't harm another human being?

Let's return to the initial question: What happens when somebody other than a Native American wants to do or kill something in the name of tradition? Well, let's see. The Amish don't have to obey a host of laws that violate their religious beliefs. Quakers can register as conscientious objectors rather than go to war. Sikhs can wear their turbans and beards in circumstances where others couldn't. Businesses must accommodate Jews and Muslims on their holidays. Non-believers don't have to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. Christian fundamentalists can opt out of reading "Satanic" books in school. Etc., etc., etc.

To make a long story short, our society tolerates all sorts of religious beliefs in the name of tradition. We work around them because we consider the First Amendment to the Constitution paramount. So why shouldn't we tolerate the Makah's religious beliefs also?

If it isn't obvious, I'm not arguing for whale-hunting here. I'm arguing against this pitiful example of "reasoning." Better luck next time, chump.

For more on the subject, see The Makah Whale-Hunt Controversy.

5 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
More making wacah-wacah about the beleaguered Makah. On another blogsite, white Christians were circulating an internet petition to be sent to Congress. The petition stated that white Christians were about to lose their freedoms, their culture, their history, their self-respect, their lands, and their very lives because atheists more and more were preventing them legally from the tradition of saying or naming or even displaying the name of their god. Whereupon writerfella asked, "And how long has it been since Native Americans, who lost their freedoms, their cultures, their histories, their self-respect, their lands, and their very lives -- how long has it been since writerfella and his people have been prevented legally from the tradition of saying or naming or even displaying the names of their gods?" The petition was withdrawn that very day and never has reappeared...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

dmarks said...

I'd like to see this... apparently some sort of KKK church with an online petition, which promptly vanished upon the presentation of an argument from you.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Fortunately, writerfella printed that petition when he encountered it and used that to carefully craft his response. Let him track it down (ca. April '08) and transcribe both items here later...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

So Russ found the one conservative Christian amenable to logic? Unlikely but possible.

I wrote about the subject Russ raised in Religion in Schools:  The Imaginary War Against Christianity. Check it out.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Actually, the petition had been lodged by a white Christian group (the plethora of names is so many that it escapes right now). That logic caused same to decamp surprised writerfella just as much. But logic is as logic does.
Still looking, by the bye...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'