Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Bull Fights on Acid
Catalonia's recent legislative decision to ban bull-fighting isn't really a big deal in a lot of ways. We are pretty burdened by "more important" news, but it's always interesting when governments ban cultural practices, especially peculiar ones. And while not unique to Spain, Bull-Fighting is still a peculiar custom.
I don't know anything about bull fighting, but it seems like one of the few artistic expressions of human power left. I stress human because, at its core, a bull-fight is a display of our species dominance over the natural world. It's an ancient custom, and its evolution has continued to the present day, mirroring the evolution culture of mankind exquisitely.
But I'm not going to go into the details. If you want them, go read Hemingway.
My beef (I looooove bovine-puns) with this is that, while fascinating to note that it may be Catalan's subconscious desire to further its cultural schism from "Spain" as a nation (it's already fairly autonomous in terms of governance), it appears that the main reason why the ban took effect was the animal rights cause.
Animals don't have rights. People who think the contrary are just misanthropic. The right to anything is a completely human concept, the foundation of which lies in our attempts at maintaining some kind of functioning society. For centuries, some people were granted rights, while others were arbitrarily denied. Only recently do we see an attempt to live harmoniously and give everyone equal rights. It's a bold code, and it certainly doesn't apply to the animal kingdom.
No species participate in a social order with another species. Individual animals certainly do, but we as individuals essentially consider them nominal members of our own species. Now, within their species, you don't see any kind of establishment of "rights". Usually there's a dominant member of a closely knit society, and the rest try to eek out a minor existence until they bone someone successfully enough to spawn something. Otherwise, its some kind of fascist colony (and we all know how that turns out....great!). And besides that, solitary. That's about it.
Humans are granted rights because we manage to exist in a society where we balance being relatively efficient/happy, and not really wanting to rise up against our governments...as long as we're given some kind of "freedom". It's a give and take. Humans abide by a certain order of laws, and within the confines of those laws, they have certain rights. If they break those laws, those rights are stripped.
Animals do not participate in this give and take with people. Either they give completely (domesticated animals) or they take (read: kill us) completely (wild animals). (Some animals take us completely, but that's just gross). We obviously prefer our domesticated animals, but we never assumed they have rights. They're our slaves. We breed them for their milk, flesh, and speed.
Now it's true: we rarely kill these slaves for entertainment, and yes, bulls are domesticated and destroyed for our entertainment. But is that so wrong? Does that make us barbaric? Well, yes, but who cares? I'd much rather be considered barbaric than whatever you consider most of the underhanded white-collar pseudo-criminals that are destroying the fabric of society today. Banning these little semblances of our "barbaric" past is merely misdirected guilt over how fucking disgusting we as a culture have become.
So for all you who feel bad that humans have ravaged the natural world, enslaved a bunch of hapless animals, and are bound to destroy the atmosphere and most things on the planet, just remember: Bruce Willis is here to help...but he's only one man.