Luke wrote:Perhaps. But shouldn't killing animals for food (outside of an extreme survival situation) be called "idiot brutality"? Is "idiot compassion" any worse than "idiot brutality"?
Idiot compassion is dishonest because it deludes itself into thinking that it is helping. Better? Worse? Who can say?
Is saving one animal's life less valuable than saving one person's job? You seem to think "yes," but I think "no" because I feel that killing is almost always the worst possible action according to Buddhist ethics.
Obviously, I was unclear. No I do not think an animal's life is less valuable than a person's job. I make no distinction between the life of an animal and the life of any other sentient being, including humans. And clearly a life is more important than a job.
However, I am "allergic" to all forms of political correctness (both right- and left-wing). I see the automaticness
of your assumption (i.e. "almost always
") as being in that category. The entire scenario is ridiculously implausible to begin with, but to judge one outcome as automatically
better than another, without a careful analysis of the likely outcomes is intellectually and ethically weak, IMO. Our calling as bodhisattvas, I think, requires better of us. Instead of just jumping on one scenario as automatically right, it behooves us to think carefully what really would happen.
It is not enough to look at what suffering we are reducing. We also need to examine what suffering we are creating in the process. As un-enlightened beings, we cannot actually know those outcomes with any degree of confidence. Yet, as ethical beings, we are obligated to try. What makes Buddhist ethics different from Christian (or western in general) ethics is that there are no simple solutions in Buddhism. You can't just look up in a Book and find a commandment that makes it a no-brainer.
Luke wrote:You seem to view the lives of animals as being of much less value than the life of a human.
Absolutely not. See above.
Om mani padme hum