Arkansas Democrat Gazette |
September 11, 2002
History can't excuse abuse
WE'RE CURIOUS about one particular argument being used by those who breed
gamecocks, and want to go on shipping them across state lines for fun and
profit-cruel fun and bloody profit.
It's the Culture Argument again.
It's an argument that's been used before-about a lot of ethically
dubious practices: It's in my culture. You can't take that away.
Really? We'll see. A federal law to take effect next year will make it
illegal to ship gamecocks across state lines. And here in Arkansas, come
Election Day, the voters will have a chance to make this kind of cruelty to
animals a felony.
But it's a part of my culture!
News flash: Just because some practice is a cultural artifact (like
female mutilation, or sacrificing your first born) doesn't make it
acceptable. Which is why government-with the consent of the governed-oft
steps in to undo some long-standing practice whose barbarity has become
obvious. Alas, it also blesses new barbarities, like the abortion of
healthy but unwanted babies. Cultures advance or decay, progress or
regress. People must shape cultures, not just be shaped by them.
The sale of moonshine in poverty ridden Arkansas was part of this state's
culture not too long ago, too. Those who had a few ears of corn were able
to turn a small profit, if they could just avoid the revenooers. But that
didn't stop law enforcement from busting many a still anyway.
And don't try to shoot a deer from your truck window in September, no
matter what your grandpa used to do. Hot Springs may have a history of
gambling halls, but they went out when Winthrop Rockefeller came in. Before
the 19th Amendment, the culture of this country didn't condone women
Before the murder rate became unacceptable, there were few if any
obstacles to obtaining weapons in this culture. Background checks would
have been laughable.
Slavery was the cold heart and brutal soul of Southern culture until a
war you may have heard about put that peculiar institution safely in our
Even arguments from religion don't always stand up as the country
changes its cultural standards. Today, the government imposes its will on
certain Mormon families who have challenged the laws against bigamy as
unconstitutional. And religious feelings about immunization or blood
transfusions turn out to be an inadequate argument against modern medical
"It's in my culture," isn't an argument ender. It's an argument-beginner.
Because (a) not all cultures are equal, no matter what the
multiculturalists claim; (b) cultures change, one hopes for the better; and
(c) right is right and cruelty to animals is wrong.
This story was published Wednesday, September 11, 2002
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.|
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(Cockfighting: Arkansas Democrat Gazette editorial on cockfighting - 11 September 2002)