Thursday, December 13, 2012

Self-sabotage at Green Mountain College

The people of Green Mountain College think it has been wrong for the public to protest their decision to kill their oxen instead of letting them retire at a sanctuary, because the people of GMC are against factory farms so the public should join them in protesting factory farms instead.

Some of them think that protesting GMC's decision to kill their beloved and hard-worked (if that's not too cognitively dissonant) oxen is serving the interests of industrial agriculture by attacking one group's efforts to challenge that hegemony.

Sorry, GMC folks, but that doesn't make any sense.

First, the people you are admonishing already protest factory farms. They care about animal welfare, and that is why they are protesting GMC's efforts regarding their oxen.

Second, killing two oxen after 11 years has nothing to do with moving away from factory farming. And the public outcry against the desire to kill them is not against your efforts to be independent from industrial ag.

The issue is not you or various elements of the public. It's Bill and Lou, and most people think Bill (Lou having already been dispatched) deserves a peaceful retirement. The more you try to rationalize the decision to kill them, the more unhinged and unlikeable you appear to be. And that, not the public's protest, is what reflects badly on, and thus most threatens, the mission we share.

Update, Dec. 22:  The most reactionary students at Green Mountain College continue to amuse with their self-righteous victimization narrative. After the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, they suggested that compared to that crime they ought to be absolved of murdering Lou and allowed to murder Bill. Now they have likened those trying to save Bill and Lou's lives to Fred Phelps and family’s Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, which blames all unnatural death on the tolerance of gays and travels around the country to disrupt funerals to celebrate those deaths as God's righteous punishment. The WBC, basically, hates everyone except themselves, which does not seem very different from what we've seen out of GMC.

But it gets more confused. The WBC post was a tongue-in-cheek letter of gratitude to the Phelps family for raising awareness of issues of intolerance and facilitating support drives. In their enthusiasm to embrace this new model of empowered victimization, the GMC students forget that elsewhere they and their professors (falsely) accuse animal rights and welfare activists of using GMC's intransigence (standing by their "values", as Fred Phelps would agree) for their own publicity. That is, they are now embracing a codependent tactic for which they had earlier attempted to condemn "ARAs". How must be logic twisted and mirror fogged to evade the truth!

Green Mountain College

Update, Dec. 24:  Another example brought to our attention of getting everything backwards (even their own defensive positions) is from GMC student Emily McCoy. On Dec. 14, she shared on Facebook a photo of President Obama wiping away a tear for the victims of Newtown, Conn., with the caption, "Pretends to cry about school shooting — while bombing innocent men, women, and children in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine." The first commenter (Jon) expressed disgust, which McCoy and others fended off, rightly noting the commander-in-chief's hypocrisy. But then she added, ‘Jon's reaction reminded me a lot of ARAs [animal rights activists] being all "everyone feels sorry for the billions of animals in CAFOs [concentrated animal feed operations], but you have a chance to spare the lives of THESE TWO OXEN. COMPASSION!"’

Her thinking almost defies analysis. Which it would have to, because it is animal rights and welfare activists who point out that killing Bill and Lou (and all the other animals on GMC's play-farm, since they insist on making that the issue) is the same result as on factory farms. She must see that, since she can see that we need to decry all of the deaths wrought in our name in other countries along with domestically. That is, killing in one's own backyard and killing in a distant place are both wrong. Killing in CAFOs is wrong, and so is killing in the "happy" farm. Of course, it's not the killing that bothers McCoy, and in that she is aligned with the President, who weeps for irrational carnage but has little problem with it when it is suitably rationalized. And so she believes that compassion means killing Bill and Lou, simply because they are not at a CAFO.

Just as McCoy challenges the President's compassion, we question hers.

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