Respect for Life
thoughts by Anitra L. Freeman

     Sometimes a duck is only a duck.
     One thing I have observed in the "Whales Good : Makah Bad" discussions is that many people seem to base their "respect for life" on "respect for consciousness" -- the more intelligent something is, the more you must protect and defend it, and the more it behaves in the manner you consider to be socially and ethically intelligent, the more you will respect and defend it.
     I believe in respecting life, period, and respecting people, period. That doesn't mean that I can't eat anything at all, because I weigh 185 pounds and I'm obviously eating something. (Flayed baby carrots, at the moment.) It also doesn't mean that I have to approve of anything that people do, because obviously I don't. It does mean that I make an energetic effort to respect the person while opposing the behavior. I know I slip sometimes -- I once said in a public speech that "Mark Sidran is the Beast Whose Number is 666" -- but when I do I sit myself down and say, "Anitra, I don't like what you just said and you're going to have to change it, but that doesn't mean I don't love you."
     Many people seem to believe that if they do not express utter disgust with people who are behaving badly, that they will be encouraging that behavior. I ask you to consider the opposite. When somebody knows that you despise them and consider them beyond the pale of humanity, just what motivation do they have for giving one sweet hot damn what you think any more? If somebody has felt your approval and has grown to like you, too -- that's the person who is more likely to value your opinion. If someone feels that they are only as good as their past behavior, how are they going to change it? If someone feels that they are capable of any good possible -- then they can go do something.

The Flip Side

Anitra's Writing Page