Thursday, July 5, 2012

Killing Joy

Ostrich on White
What if your neighbor wanted to make some extra money and he found three ways to do it:

He discovered his climate was perfect for growing cacao, the source for chocolate.  So he bulldozed all of the trees in the community park, planted the cacao in the freshly plowed earth, and sprayed herbicides and pesticides (that were illegal in this country) to ensure that his crop would be successful.  He kidnapped some neighborhood children to work in the park, forcing them to harvest the cacao without compensation and housing them in his lawnmower shed, without plumbing or electricity, healthcare or education.

He also found that he could make a tasty drink by incorporating a bit of poison into it, which gave the drink an attractive color.  It wasn't enough poison to kill anyone, but they would likely contract cancer after years of consumption.  But, even though the poison was a known carcinogen, it was legal to use.

Another way he found to make money was dog fighting.  He found a loophole in the local laws and so converted his backyard into a dog fighting ring.  Then he rounded up a number of dogs and used cruel methods to train them.  He also added cock fights to the mix.  After all, if animals aren't pets then they really don't have any feelings and this would be another way to increase revenue.  Then night after night, he hosted vicious fights to the death.

What would you do?  Would you be horrified?  Would you report him to the authorities?  Would you have him arrested?  Would you petition lawmakers to change laws to ensure that his operations be shut down?

But what if similar things were occurring behind closed doors, under corporate supervision, here in the U.S. or across the sea in foreign countries?  Would you have the same reaction?  

Week after week, Bill and I try to share the horrors of things that we as Americans condone:  slavery in the chocolate, coffee, tea, and other industries; carcinogens in our food, water, clothing, and personal care items; and unspeakable torture and cruelty towards animals in the meat and personal care industries.  But we are ignored.  We are killjoys.  Why do we want to spoil everyone's good time.  People insist that they like the taste of their chocolate/coffee/tea; they have their favorite personal care products and clothing manufacturers; and it would be impossible to live without meat?  They insist they can't do anything about it anyway.  Why do we want to rob them of their joy?  So they stick their heads in the sand or in front of the television and ignore the rest of the world.

So I guess from what I've seen, it's okay to most Americans for bad things to happen to other people.  As long as they aren't our neighbors or pets and as long as we continue to have our luxuries without any extra effort or expense on our part, we'll keep on supporting cruel systems and pretend it's not really happening.  We want our joy.

1 comment:

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

It's the NIMBY syndrome.

Kill joy all you want, it makes me second guess some of the things I find in my hands.