I'm not a liberal.
What do I believe in, politically? Here you go: I believe, with all my heart, in...the miserable failure of ideology.
Ultimately, this makes me some kind of conservative. I know this from my time as a talk radio host. I didn't set out to be "conservative", I'm just going to be considered one. I'm too pro-science to be pro-choice, and I'm too anti-poverty to be flatly anti-capitalist.
So when I write in support of animal welfare, I'm not coming from where you might suspect. Don't put me, or in your -- or Rush's -- neat category.
A concern for animals stems from a biblical worldview. And yet, evangelicals in this country consistently position the welfare of animals against that of other vulnerables, unborn baby humans. Yes, legal abortion-on-demand is hideous on every level. It does not follow that we shouldn't care about animal cruelty.
In fact, it follows that we should.
Remarkably, we frequently hear about how a child's cruelty to an animal is an indicator of abusive tendencies, ones likely to manifest, or already manifesting, in abuse of humans. What about cruelty to animals, writ large, by a whole society? Might that not be reflective of a merciless, selfish, me-first, convenience-idolizing, turn-and-look-away culture? Sound familiar, fellow pro-lifers?
Come to think of it, the two issues are very entertwined. Consider the euphemisms heavily employed by both industries, the constantly changing terminology, the de-humanization of the human, the de-pigging of the pig.
And they meet at a deeper level. Just as both industries are equipped with vast lobbying resources, both are buttressed with the most powerful human force of all: the conscience. The conscience tries desperately to justify what we've already done, and are doing, particularly in arenas like sex and food. To assuage our guilt, we develop intricate moral "codes" that happen to allow for what we're already doing.
That's why, if you're sexually involved, outside of marriage, you'll fight and scrap and intellectualize -- anything -- to make the dissonance go away. It may even mean divising a counter-intuitive and counter-logical system that means there's probably no God, anyway. If it means compartmentalizing to the point of mental illness, you can do it. You can eventually kill the conscience. Mission accomplished. Same thing with food: You had a diet plan, but justification narratives positively leap out of your head when you approach the Drive-Thru window. Hey, Wednesday's a special day, so I'll supersize the...
If you dare read what's happening in factory pig -- excuse me, "hog" -- "farms", you will have dissonance. And justification narratives will jump to the fore. And, honestly, if you've got a good one, a justification that takes, I'm all ears. I loves me some bacon.
Just -- please -- make sure it's better than, "But those animal rights people are crazy, and..." or, "But abortion is far worse, and..." C'mon.
I'm a conservative who love his bacon, but I'm trying to be a man who also loves mercy.