Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - November 22, 2021
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Education continued: Political philosophy
  2. All-Creatures.Org Ministry

1. Education continued: Political philosophy

Those without political power readily grasp its importance to protect themselves, their families, and their assets. Oppressed people seek democracy or, more commonly in nations, representative democracy. Meanwhile, elites with power tend to resist the political aspirations of the general public, which threaten the political and economic aspirations of the elites. This has been a perennial struggle, but we might be seeing the last battles. Once elites gain control of the police and the courts, they can maintain control of the populace with sophisticated surveillance technologies, including speech, voice, and facial recognition; monitoring written and oral communications; and keep track of all movements through GPS data in cell phones. We are seeing this in China, where cell phone use with GPS on is mandatory. Such surveillance can easily happen anywhere that there is unchecked power. Once the elites have power, it might be impossible to wrest control from them.

Perhaps the public’s only protection is to understand the necessary conditions for successful democratic institutions, which might give the public the will to protect them. Students need to understand the mechanics of their government’s system of checks and balances, of course, and they also need to appreciate the political philosophy that legitimizes these institutions. One of the many components of political philosophy that students need to explore is the problem of a “tyranny of the majority” and the importance of independent courts to protect vulnerable minorities. As courts in the United States have become increasingly politicized, this has become a major concern.

Another issue is freedom of speech. It seems that, increasingly, people want to restrict speech that they find offensive on the grounds that it is “violent.” To be sure, speech can often seem offensive or hurtful, but restricting speech poses a far greater threat to general well-being than words alone. Great harm ensures if people cannot criticize their government or other institutions that can easily victimize vulnerable individuals. And, it is tempting for those in power to restrict speech they don’t like as “hate speech.”

We should encourage students to critically analyze other topics, including the roles of various institutions, when to defend institutions, and when to demand reform or radical change. All these topics relate meaningfully to animal issues and Christian faith. The ability to protest animal abuse effectively requires a generally free society. And, the freedom to worship as we please similarly requires basic freedoms. People are often tempted to abandon their freedoms when charismatic, authoritarians promise to give them what they want and protect them from (often exaggerated) threats. These authoritarians are never trustworthy. This is a fool’s bargain that, perhaps, cannot be rescinded once accepted.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

2. From All-Creatures.Org Ministry

Here is our recent All-Creatures Newsletter, which we hope you like and share with others to help stop the exploitation and killing of animals.

We just published another one of our vegan recipes. Which we hope you like and share with others to help stop the exploitation and killing of animals, and help stop global warming.

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