Ansichten eines Informatikers

Vegane Löwen

6.1.2023 13:00

Aktuelles von der Woke-Front. [Update/Korrektur – Update 2/Gegenkorrektur]

Martha C. Nussbaum, amerikanische Philosophin und Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, plädiert dafür, dass die Menschheit dafür sorgen und es veranlassen möge, dass wilde Tiere endlich aufhören, andere Tiere zu fressen.

Should we try to leave nondomesticated animals alone in “the wild,” imagined as their evolutionary habitat, but also known to be a place full of cruelty, scarcity, and casual death? Or do we have a responsibility to protect “wild” animals from scarcity and disease and to preserve their habitats? And what about predation of vulnerable animals by other animals? Could it possibly be our responsibility to limit that? Can we envisage such a thing as a multispecies society, where “wild” animals are concerned?

And what is “the wild”? Does it even exist? Whose interests does this concept serve?

My answers to these questions will be, in some cases, controversial. But my conclusions, albeit provocative, are also tentative, since we are searching for new ways to think and act in a world dominated everywhere by human power and activity.

The fascination of an idea of “wild” Nature lies deep in the thinking of the modern environmental movement. The idea is entrancing, but also, I believe, deeply confusing. Before we can make progress, we have to understand its cultural origins and the work it was meant to do for those who employed it.

Here, in a nutshell, is the Romantic idea of Nature: Human society is stale, predictable, effete. It lacks powerful sources of energy and renewal. People are alienated from one another and from themselves. The Industrial Revolution has made cities foul places where the human spirit is frequently crushed (as in Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills”). By contrast, out there somewhere—in the mountains, in the oceans, even in the wild West Wind—there beckons something truer, deeper, something uncorrupt and sublime, a type of vital energy that can restore us, because it is the analogue of our own deepest depths. Other animals are a large part of this “wild”: of Nature’s mysterious and vital energy (think of Blake’s “Tyger, tyger, burning bright”).

Dann geht’s nicht weiter, wegen Paywall, aber ich habe das ja auch über diesen Artikel gefunden: You’ve Got to Be Kidding: Professor Demands Animals Stop Eating Each Other

In her article, “A Peopled Wilderness,” appearing in the New York Review of Books, December 8, 2022, Nussbaum suggests that we need to think seriously about curbing predation in nature. It disturbs her that animals eat other animals: this is not how things ought to be. We must be careful in what we try to do to correct this morally bad state of affairs, since through lack of knowledge, we may worsen things; but this is no excuse to let matters slide.

To be clear, she is not just proposing that we should make sure that lions can’t get into the deer cage at the zoo; she is talking about the possibility of getting animals in the wild to cease to kill and eat each other. Her idea illustrates and extends a besetting sin of contemporary moral and political philosophy, its idle utopianism. The ordinary circumstances of the human condition are rejected, and philosophers devise fantastic schemes to remake the social and political world to their own liking. As Thomas Sowell says:

What they are seeking to correct are not merely the deficiencies of society, but of the cosmos. What they call social justice encompasses far more than any given society is causally responsible for. Crusaders for social justice seek to correct not merely the sins of man but the oversights of God or the accidents of history. What they are really seeking is a universe tailor-made to their vision of equality. They are seeking cosmic justice.

Nussbaum illustrates Sowell’s insight in a ludicrously extreme fashion. Here is what she says:

We are very ignorant, and if we tried to interfere with predation on a large scale, we would very likely cause disaster on a large scale. We basically have no idea of how species’ numbers would change, what shortages would be created, and we are totally unprepared for dealing with the likely consequences of such interventions. The only way we could protect weaker creatures from predation is by turning larger animal reservations into zoos of the bad old sort, with each creature or group in its own enclosure. . . . On the other hand, the suffering of vulnerable creatures and their premature deaths matter greatly and seem to demand some type of intelligent action. It simply is not among the goals that make up the form of life of these creatures to be eaten by predators. Their form of life is their own, and they seek to live it undisturbed, just as we do, even though at times we too are also prey for aggressors. These species would not have survived if they were not pretty good at escape. To say that it is the destiny of antelopes to be torn apart by predators is like saying that it is the destiny of women to be raped. Both are terribly wrong, and demean the suffering of victims.

Nussbaum maintains that people have failed to recognize the need for reform of the natural world because of a false idealization of nature in the wild, and she has insightful comments on the prevalence of this idealization in the Romantic Movement. But her picture of the Romantics is one-sided: Tennyson famously wrote in In Memoriam of “Nature, red in tooth and claw/ With ravine” which “shrieked” against the creed that God is love.

So ganz habe ich es nicht verstanden, aber es scheint so zu sein, dass sie Natur und Wildniss für verfehlte Diskurse hält, die nur auf einer falschen, gewaltorientierten Menschlichkeit beruhen und gegen die kosmische Moral un das Gebot der Gleichheit verstoßen. Deshalb müsse man nun auch im Reich der nichtdomestizierten Tiere für Gerechtigkeit sorgen, quasi die Fortsetzung des Feminismus als Schutz gegen Männer in Form des Schutzes der Gazelle vor den Löwen. Weil es aber sehr schwer sei, in den Jagdvorgang als solchen einzugreifen, müsste die Natur umgestaltet werden wie ein altmodischer Zoo und jede Tierart in eigenen Reservaten gehalten werden, wo sie unter sich sind.

Und das Argument, dass das eben Natur sei, lasse die nicht gelten, weil der Mensch nun mal dominant und deshalb für alles verantwortlich sei:

Nussbaum has two arguments against this response, neither of which is adequate. First, she says “nature” can’t be considered apart from human beings: we now dominate the world and are thus responsible for what takes place within it:

All land in our world is thoroughly under human control. Thus ‘wild animals’ in Africa live on animal refuges maintained by the governments of various nations, which control admission to them, defend them from poachers (only sometimes successfully), and support the lives of animals in them through a range of strategies (including spraying for tsetse flies and many other matters). There would be no rhinos or elephants left in the world if humans did not intervene.

This passage makes an illicit jump. Nussbaum is right that in government-maintained animal refuges in Africa, measures have been taken to help animals in various ways. But it does not follow from this that most animals in the world lead lives supervised by governments. Most of the world’s land is under the control of some government or other, as she says, but the conclusion Nussbaum insinuates that most animals are under human control simply is not entailed by her premise. More fundamentally, predation was a natural fact long before humans arrived on the scene. We didn’t create it, and it is foolish to think we ought to alter it.

Nussbaum would counter my assertion with her second argument:

Used as a source of normative thinking in itself, the idea of Nature does not offer useful guidance. As John Stuart Mill correctly says, Nature is cruel and thoughtless.

Sie wirft damit also effektiv der Natur vor, sich nicht in das philosophisch-marxistische Weltbild einzufügen und fordert, dass die Menschheit die Natur einordnen solle, als würden die Kommunisten ein Land assimilieren. Die Ausdehnung der sozialistisch-kommunistischen Gesellschaft auf das Tierreich. Ganz Afrika einzäunen und jeder Tierart ihr Reservat zuordnen. Löwen auf Blumenkohl umstellen.

Geisteswissenschaftlerin eben. Philosophin. Professorin. Quotentussi.

Philosophie als die Kunst, Karriere mit allerdümmstem Geschwätz zu machen.

Update/Korrektur: Einige Leser schreiben, ich hätte sie aufgrund der Zitate missverstanden. Sie würde den Versuch, Tiere auf vegan umzupolen, ja gerade kritisieren und nicht befürworten. Den Vorschlag gäbe es, aber er käme von anderen und sie würde es kritisieren.

Update 2: Zwei Leser schreiben mir, doch, ich hätte Nussbaum richtig verstanden, sie wolle durchaus, dass der Mensch verhindert, dass Tiere sich gegenseitig fressen. Sie sehe lediglich die vorgeschlagenen Methoden kritisch und habe gemerkt, dass das nicht so einfach umzusetzen ist:

Hallo Hadmut,

es gibt Websites, auf denen der Artikel ohne eine Paywall gelesen werden kann, z.B.
Ich habe den Eindruck, dass Nussbaum zwar praktische Einwände gegen diese Idee sieht, sie aber eigentlich unterstützt.

So sagt sie: “We need above all to convince people that predation is a problem.” [So *nature* is a problem?]


“It’s important to keep pointing out that antelopes were not made to be food; they were made to live antelope lives. ”

No my lady. they were not “made” to be anything, they evolved just as antelopes, and the capacity of running fast evolved as part of their nature, helping to escape predators. Those predators were thus in a sense also part of the antelopes’ nature.

Mit freundlichem Gruß,


Nein, Sie haben Nussbaum nicht mißverstanden!

Falsch verstanden haben das „einige Leser“.

„Killing insects does not inflict a harm of which my theory of justice for animals can be cognizant, because my theory insists that sentience is a minimal threshold for justice. This opens up food sources for many creatures.“

Vegan ist nicht das Hauptziel; „Synthetic lab-grown meat or even plant-based meat would be far superior. Even a humanely killed animal would be superior, since predation deaths are usually very painful.“

Palliativkliniken für Futtertiere müssen her.

Ich finde ja die Formulierung schon scharf: humanely killed animal

Erinnert mich an einen Star-Trek-Film, ich glaube, das Unentdeckte Land, in dem die Klingonen sagen „Menschenrechte, schon das Wort ist rassistisch.“