Widespread access to wireheading would destroy society

Text taken from guest lectures at FHI (Oxford University) and at the Charity International Happiness Conference (2007).

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THE ABOLITIONIST PROJECT


INTRODUCTION

This lecture is about suffering - and how it can be overcome.
I predict that we will end suffering in the entire animated world.
Increasingly, our descendants will be animated by genetically pre-programmed wellbeing, on a scale far beyond our present elation.

First, let me explain why it is technically it is feasible to eliminate the biological causes of any type of uncomfortable experience - both psychological and physical pain.
After that, I'll be on the high moral Urgency of the abolitionist project - which is independent of whether one adheres to ethical utilitarianism or not.
Finally, I'll discuss why a revolution in biotechnology is causing this very case to happen, if not nearly as quickly as it should.

1. WHY IT IS TECHNICALLY Feasible

Unfortunately, we will not eradicate suffering through socio-economic reforms, exponential economic growth, technical advancement in the usual sense - or any of the other traditional panacea for the ills of this world - at least not exclusively through them. Improving the external environment is admirable and important; however, such improvements cannot recalibrate our hedonic treadmill beyond a genetic limit. Twin studies show that there is a [partially] hereditary set point for wellbeing - or its opposite - around which we all fluctuate over the course of our lives. This value is individually different. [It is possible, our Lower the hedonic setpoint by exposing ourselves to uncontrolled stress over a longer period of time. But even this readjustment is not as straightforward as it may seem: in times of war, suicide rates tend to fall; and studies1 suggest that people who have become paraplegic in an accident are neither more nor less unhappy than before six months after the catastrophic event.] Unfortunately, attempts to build an ideal society cannot break this biological limit - neither rights nor left utopias, neither market economy nor socialist, religious or profane, neither futuristic high tech nor the simple cultivation of one's own garden. Even in the event that Alles What traditional futurists postulate occurs - eternal youth, unlimited material wealth, morphological freedom, superintelligence, immersive virtual reality, molecular nanotechnology, etc. - there is no evidence that (in the absence of reward amplification) our average subjective quality of life is that of our hunters - and collector ancestors - or a native of New Guinea living today - would exceed. This claim is difficult to substantiate without sophisticated neuro-scanning, but it is supported by objective indicators of psychological distress, such as: B. Suicide Rates, reiterated. Unoptimized people are always exposed to the full spectrum of Darwinian emotions, including both terrible suffering and minor disappointment and frustration - sadness, anxiety, jealousy, and existential fear. Their biology is part of "what it means to be human".

Subjectively unpleasant states of consciousness exist because they are genetically adaptive. In the course of our evolutionary past, each of our basic emotions had a precisely defined signaling function that promoted certain behaviors and in this way improved the overall fitness of the genetic material in the respective environment.

Since the change in the external environment alone can never cancel out suffering and discomfort, the question arises as to what is technically possible.

The following three scenarios in the order of increasing sociological plausibility:

a) Wireheading
b) Utopian designer drugs
c) genetic engineering
and - what I want to focus on - the upcoming one reproductive revolution in the form of designer babies

a) As a reminder: Wireheading is the direct stimulation of the pleasure centers in the brain through implanted electrodes. Intracranial self-stimulation shows no physiological or subjective tolerance, i.e. it is just as pleasant after two days as it is after two minutes. Wireheading does not harm other people, the ecological footprint is small, it prevents psychological and physical pain and is probably much less harmful to human dignity than sex. Granted, lifelong use of wireheading is only an attractive prospect for a few severely depressed people. Which technical But there are arguments against its introduction?

Wireheading is not a permanent evolutionary solution; selection pressure would be the result of widespread adoption. Wireheading does not promote tending and caring behavior. Wireheads - both human and non-human - don't want to raise wirehead babies. Standardized, undifferentiated happiness under the guise of wireheading (or its equivalent) would indeed bring the human experiment to an end, at least if it were introduced globally. Direct neurostimulation of the reward centers destroys informational sensitivity to environmental stimuli. Provided we want to be smart - and get smarter still - we have a choice. Intelligent agents can have a motivational structure based on different levels of malaise, characteristic of some lifelong depressed individuals. However, they can also show the current mix of joy and sorrow that is typical. Alternatively, an informational economy of the mind is conceivable based solely on [adaptive] degrees of cerebral bliss - which I advocate.

Actually, however, this rejection of wireheading is too early, because for the distant future it cannot be ruled out that everything Unpleasant and everyday things can be outsourced to non-organic supercomputers, prostheses or robots ("offloading") while we indulge in a uniform orgiastic feeling of happiness - perhaps not orgiastic, but possibly another kind of ideal status that simply cannot be improved. But that's speculative. Whatever our ultimate goal, I think it makes more sense to strive for both superhappiness and superintelligence, at least until we understand the full implications of our actions. There is no moral urgency for maximizing superhappiness as there is for the abolition of suffering.

[It should be noted that the offloading option assumes that non-organic computers, prostheses and robots subjectively cannot (or at least do not have to) feel great pain, even if their functional architecture allows them to avoid harmful stimuli or to act on them to react. The absence of non-organic suffering is fairly indisputable when it comes to existing computers - shutting down a PC has no ethical implications, and a computer-controlled robot can be programmed to avoid corrosive acids but not experience agony when damaged. It is controversial whether any computer system with a classic von Neumann architecture can ever be called conscious. I am sceptical. However, this does not affect the offloading option unless it is argued that the subjective nature of the suffering is a functional requirement for any system capable of avoiding harmful stimuli.]

b) The second technical way of eradicating suffering is futuristic Designer drugs. In the age of sophisticated post-genomic medicine, will it be possible in a reasonable way to design really ideal pleasure drugs that bring about a lifelong, highly functional feeling of wellbeing without showing unacceptable side effects? The term "ideal drug for pleasure" is only to be understood as a kind of abbreviation. Such drugs can in principle encompass cerebral, empathic, aesthetic and possibly also spiritual well-being - and not just hedonistic pleasure in the usual one-dimensional and amoral sense.
We are not talking about relaxing mood enhancers that simply set the brain mechanisms of negative feedback in motion, nor about the shallow, opiate-laden satisfaction of a "Brave New World"; also not about drugs that cause a euphoric mania, accompanied by uncontrolled arousal, the loss of critical insight, grandiosity and grandiose ideas. Are we able to develop real wonder drugs that produce sublime wellbeing on a permanent basis that our hedonic treadmill can recalibrate to ensure a high quality of life for all?

A lot of people shy away from the word "drugs," understandably given the common harmful street drugs and their less than exciting medical counterparts. But even the academics and intellectuals of our society consume the prototypical stupid drug: ethyl alcohol. If it is socially acceptable to take a drug that temporarily makes people happy and stupid, why not develop sensible drugs that make people happier and smarter all the time? Presumably, in order to limit the potential for abuse, one would want every ideal pleasure drug - in one single, but extremely important sense - to be related to nicotine, at which the smoker's brain precisely calibrates the optimal level: there is no uncontrolled increase in dose .

Of course, drug-based solutions harbor all sorts of pitfalls. I think that - technically speaking - these can be overcome, but I do not want to go into detail here. There is a deeper problem. If it weren't for something fundamentally wrong - or at least inadequate - with our existing natural state of consciousness, as evolution has left us, then we would hardly be so eager to change something. Even if we are not ill, our everyday consciousness is quite good compared to what we call exhilaration mediocre. Ordinary everyday consciousness was probably adaptive in the sense that it helped our genes to make more copies of themselves on the African savannah; but why keep this as the default state for all time? Why don't we change human nature by literally fixing our genetic code?

Again, this rejection of pharmacological solutions may be a little hasty. Utopian designer drugs are always helpful to you finely tuned and easily reversible mind control, and I think they will be an indispensable tool in exploring the various areas of the conscious mind. But wouldn't it be better if we all With born of a genetic predisposition to psychological super health instead of being dependent on long-term self-medication? Would even the most ardent believer in abolitionism suggest giving all children drug cocktails from birth and continuing this for the rest of their lives?

c) Third, there is genetic Solutions, which includes both somatic and germline therapy. In this context, it should be noted that there are a small number of people who are always depressed or dysthymic, albeit to different degrees. Studies with monozygotic and dizygotic twins show that the predisposition to depression is to a large extent hereditary. In contrast, some people have an optimistic temperament. Beyond the optimists, there is a very small group of people that psychiatrists refer to as hyperthymic. Hyperthyroid people are neither manic nor bipolar, but by current standards they are always extremely happy, sometimes even happier than others. Hyperthymic people react "appropriately" and adaptably to their environment. They are generally considered energetic, productive, and creative. Even in a state of great happiness, they are not "over-excited".

What if we as a whole civilization had the opportunity to become genetically hyperthymic, that is, could adopt a motivational system based solely on the adaptive levels of our wellbeing. To put it more radically: If the genetic basis of the hedonic tone is known, then we would not be able to make many additional copies of hyperthymia-promoting genes / allele combinations, as well as their regulatory promoters - not abolishing homeostasis and the hedonic treadmill, but reducing our hedonic setpoint to a substantial extent raise higher level? Three comments on this:
First, at first it may seem that with this genetic recalibration, a different kind of uniformity is being accepted, but it should be remembered that happier people - and hyperdopaminergic ones in particular - usually target a wider range of potential Rewarding stimuli respond than depressive ones: They show a much more curious behavior. As a result, both the optimized individual and the posthuman society as a whole are less likely to get stuck in a sub-optimal rut.

Second, universal hyperthymia may seem like a gigantic experiment, and in some ways it is, of course. But all sexual reproduction is an experiment. We play genetic roulette, mix up our genes, and then roll the genetic dice. Most of us flinch at the word "eugenics," but that is exactly what we practice - in a clumsy and incompetent way - when choosing our future partner. The difference lies in the fact that in the coming decades future parents will increasingly be able to act rationally and responsibly with regard to their reproductive decisions. Preimplantation diagnostics will become routine, artificial uteruses will free us from the limitations of the human birth canal, and a revolution in reproductive medicine will gradually replace the old Darwinian lottery game. The question is not whether there will be a reproductive revolution, but rather what kinds of being - and what kinds of consciousness - we want to create.

Third, won't this reproductive revolution be the prerogative of rich Western elites? Probably not for long. Compare the short period between the introduction of, say, cell phones and their worldwide diffusion with the 50-year period between the introduction and global diffusion of radio and the 20-year period for television. The time span between the initial introduction and global acceptance of new technologies is rapidly decreasing. The price too, of course.

One of the advantages of genetic recalibration of the hedonic treadmill over its complete abolition (at least in the foreseeable future) is that the functional Analogies of pain, fear, guilt and even depression - without the uncomfortable qualia of which we understand them today - can be preserved. We can maintain the functional analogies of dissatisfaction - apparently the engine of progress - and gain judgment and critical insight that are lacking in manic euphoria. Even when the hedonic tone is massively improved and our reward centers are physically and functionally strengthened it in principle nevertheless it is possible to preserve a lot in the structure of our preferences. If you prefer Mozart to Beethoven or Philosophy to a thumbtack, this ranking would not change even with a greatly improved hedonic tone.

In my opinion, it would be better to radically change the structure of our preferences and seek a [please excuse the jargon] "re-encephalization of emotions". Evolution by natural selection has made us susceptible, for the benefit of our genes, to all sorts of dysfunctional behaviors that harm both ourselves and others.Let us remember Genghis Khan: “The greatest happiness is to disperse one's enemies, to drive them along, to see their cities destroyed, to see those who love them flow into tears, and to take their wives and daughters in one's heart . "

It is said that things are not that bad among academics, but university life also has its forms of urban wildness - competitive striving for status, the dominance rituals of alpha animals: a zero-sum game with many losers. Too many of our preferences reflect uncomfortable behaviors and states of mind that were genetically meaningful in the environment of our ancestors. So wouldn't it be better to overwrite our own unusable code? I have focused on genetic enhancement of hedonic tone here. Mastery in the biology of emotions would also mean, for example, that we are able to develop our ability to empathy to improve the functionality of the mirror neurons and to construct a constantly increased release of oxytocin in order to promote trust and public spirit. Likewise, we can identify the molecular signatures of, say, spirituality, aesthetic sensibility, or our sense of humor - and modulate or “overemphasize” their psychological mechanisms. From an information-theoretical point of view, an appropriate, flexible and intelligent reaction to our environment is not an absolute point on the hedonic scale, but rather that we are able to differentiate. Indeed define Information theorists sometimes use the term information simply as “a difference that makes a difference”.

To reiterate, re-encephalization of the emotions is optional. Technically it is possible to construct a sense of well-being in every sentient being and while keeping most (but not all) in the structure of our preferences. The three technical options for eradicating suffering that I have presented here - wireheading, designer drugs, and genetic engineering - are not mutually exclusive. Are they complete? I don't know of any other viable methods. Some transhumanists believe that one day we could all be scanned, digitized, uploaded to non-organic computers, and reprogrammed. Well maybe. I am skeptical, however. In any case, we do not prevent the suffering of the currently existing organic life, unless we include a so-called destructive uploading. A Holocaust option that I don't even want to consider here.

2. WHY IT SHOULD HAPPEN

Let's assume that within the next few centuries we will gain this godlike power over our emotions. Let's continue to assume that the Signal function can be replaced by unpleasant experiences - either by the recalibration favored here or by outsourcing ("offloading") everything unpleasant and routine to non-organic prostheses, bionic implants or non-organic computers - or perhaps by completely eliminating something like jealousy. So why should we all be abolitionists?

If one a classic utilitarian the abolitionist project must inevitably follow: it is Bentham plus biotechnology. You don't have to be a classical utilitarian to advocate abolition of suffering, but all classical utilitarian should join the abolitionist project. Bentham advocated social and legislative reforms that, as far as they go, are good, but lived before the age of biotechnology and genetic medicine.

For a scientifically enlightened one Buddhists the abolitionist project is also the logical consequence. Buddhists, unique in the world's religions, focus primarily on suffering in the living world. Buddhists may think the Noble Eightfold Path is a safer route to nirvana than genetic engineering, but in principle it is difficult for a Buddhist to argue against genetic engineering while it works. Buddhists focus on overcoming suffering through quenching desire. It should be noted, however, that this eradication is technically optional and it may lead to social stagnation. Instead, it is possible to do away with suffering and to continue to have all kinds of desires at the same time.

Followers of Islam and the Judeo-Christian Convincing tradition is a bigger challenge. Believers claim (despite anomalies in the empirical evidence) that Allah / God is infinitely compassionate and merciful. So when ordinary mortals can consider the well-being of all sentient people, it seems blasphemous to claim that the extent of God's benevolence is limited.

Most contemporary philosophers are not classical utilitarians, Buddhists, or theists. Why should we say ethical pluralist take the abolitionist project seriously? Here I would like to use Shakespeare instead of my own words:

"Because there has never been a philosopher
who could patiently endure the toothache "
[A lot of noise about nothing, Act One, Scene Five (Leonato)]

When one is beset by excruciating physical pain, one is always shocked at how terrible it can be.
It is tempting to assume that purely "psychological" pain - loneliness, rejection, existential fear, grief, anxiety, and depression - cannot be as excruciating as extreme physical pain. But mental despair is the main reason why more than 800,000 people worldwide take their own lives every year. Not that other things - great art, friendship, social justice, sense of humor, cultivating noble character, academic education, etc. - are of no value when, however, intense physical or psychological pain comes into play, be it in one's own or within In the life of a loved one, we find that this pain is immediate priority and urgent is. If you squirm in pain because you just got your hand trapped in a door, you will be rude to anyone who suggests remembering the nicer things in life. If you're desperate after an unhappy love affair, then you don't want to be tactlessly alerted to the fact that the weather is nice outside.

As long as it persists, extreme pain and emotional distress are so urgent and paramount that they push everything else into the background. But when the misery is over, why not just go on with our lives just as we did before?
Well, science strives for a “view from nowhere”, a fictional look through the divine eye. Physicists say that no "here and now" has the virtue of being equally real over any other. Science and technology will soon give us a god-like power over all living nature, which corresponds to this god-like perspective. I advocate that as long as there is a sentient being who suffers in a similar way as we do, that suffering should have the same priority and urgency as if it were our own suffering or that of a loved one. With power comes complicity. God-like power also means God-like responsibility. For example, the presence of suffering 200 years ago was certainly terrible, but it certainly couldn't be called "immoral" because there wasn't much that could be done about it. Thanks to biotechnology, this is now possible - or it will soon be. All forms of suffering will become an option over the next few centuries.

Unless you're a classic ethical utilitarian, the advantage of recalibrating the hedonic treadmill - versus simply maximizing superhappiness - is that at least a recognizable part of our current preference structure is preserved. A recalibration of the hedonic treadmill can be brought into line with an existing value scheme. Consequently, even a so-called Preferential utilitarian be satisfied. In fact, being in control of your feelings means you can go about your life plan more effectively. And what about the allegedly character-forming function of suffering? “What doesn't kill me makes me stronger,” said Nietzsche. This concern seems out of place. If other factors are equal, an improvement in the hedonic tone strengthens motivation - it makes us psychologically more resilient. In contrast, persistent low moods lead to syndromes of learned helplessness and behavioral despair.

I have not explicitly addressed the value nihilist - the Subjectivists or the ethical skeptic who claims that all values ​​are simply a matter of opinion and that it is impossible to logically derive a “should” from an “is”. Let's say I'm writhing in agony because my hand is on a hot stove. The pain in itself is motivation, even if my conviction that I should rather take my hand away does not follow the formal canon of a logical conclusion. If you take the scientific worldview seriously, ontologically there is nothing special about the here and now, and also not about me - the egocentric illusion is a device of perspective, brought about by a selfish DNA. If it is wrong for me to endure agony, it is wrong for everyone, everywhere.

3. WHY IT WILL HAPPEN

So it is technically feasible. A world without suffering would be wonderful, and the development of an established paradise would be even better. But again: what for? It is technically possible to make a cheddar cube with a volume of a thousand cubic meters. Why will there be a pain-free world? Maybe it's all just wishful thinking. Perhaps we will choose to keep the biology of suffering indefinitely2.

The counter-argument to this is that whether we support the abolitionist project or not, we are on one reproductive revolution of designer babies. Prospective parents will soon determine the characteristics of their future children. We are on the eve of the post-Darwinian transition, not in the sense that the selection pressure would decrease, but evolution will no longer be “blind” and “random”: there will be no more natural selection, but an unnatural one. We determine the genetic makeup of our future offspring, select and design alleles and allele combinations in anticipation of their consequences. There will be a selection pressure against worse alleles and allele combinations that were applicable in the environment of our ancestors.

Unfortunately, this is not a decisive argument, but just imagine that you were choosing the genetic presets for the mood - the hedonic set point - of your future child. Which setting would you choose? Maybe not necessarily for a lifetime of super happiness; but the overwhelming majority of parents will certainly want their children to be happy. First of all, it's more fun to raise. Most parents in all cultures say - I am convinced - they want their children to be happy. One might be skeptical of those parents who claim that happiness is the only thing they worry about in their children - many parents are very ambitious. But when other factors are equal, happiness signals success - perhaps ultimately the evolutionary origin of the fact that we value our children's happiness as much as our own.

The argument of parental choice is of course not decisive. Last but not least, it is unclear how many generations of free reproductive decisions lie ahead of us before radical anti-aging technologies require ever stricter collective controls over our reproductive behavior, as a swelling population of ageless, quasi-immortal does not multiply indefinitely within a limited physical space can. But even if centralized control of reproductive decisions becomes the norm and reproduction itself becomes rare, the selection pressure against primitive Darwinian genotypes is likely to be immense. It is therefore difficult to say which future form of society would actually allow the conscious creation of a predisposition for depressive or anxiety disorders - or even just the "normal" pathology of a non-optimized consciousness.

Non-human animals

So far I have focused on the suffering of a single species. However, this limitation of the abolitionist project would be very narrow-minded. However, our anthropocentric bias is deeply rooted. Hunting, killing and exploiting members of other species improved the overall fitness of our genes in the vicinity of our ancestors. [In this respect we are more like the common chimpanzee than the bonobo.] Unlike the incest taboo, for example, we do not have an innate predisposition that would make us see hunting and exploiting non-human animals as wrong. We read that Irene Pepperberg's African gray parrot, with whom we had a common ancestor a few hundred million years ago, had the mental age of a three-year-old child. However, so-called athletes are still allowed to shoot birds for pleasure. If these “athletes” were to shoot down babies and toddlers of our own species for fun, they would be classified as criminal sociopaths and imprisoned.

So there is a contradiction here: the cover stories in the news media often report horrific cases of child abuse and neglect, kidnapped young children, or abandoned Romanian orphans. Our biggest figures of hatred are child abusers and child murderers. On the other hand, we routinely pay for the industrialized mass killing of other sentient beings so we can eat them. We eat meat, although there is abundant evidence that these non-human animals that we factory raise and kill are functionally, emotionally, and intellectually - and most importantly, their ability to suffer - on an equal footing with human babies and young children are.

From an imaginary godlike perspective, I believe that we should morally take as much part in the abuse of functionally equivalent non-human animals as we do with members of our own species - as much in the abuse and killing of a pig as in the abuse and Killing a human infant. That hurts our human moral intuition, but it cannot be trusted anyway. It simply reflects our anthropocentric bias - not just a moral limitation, but also a limitation of intellect and perception. Not that there are no differences between human and non-human animals, just as there are differences between black and white people, free citizens and slaves, men and women, Jews and non-Jews, homosexuals and heterosexuals. Rather, the question is whether these differences morally are relevant. This is of great importance because it can have morally catastrophic consequences if we focus on an existing but morally insignificant difference between sentient beings. [For example, remember how Aristotle defended slavery. How could he blind be?] Our moral intuition is poisoned by genetic self-interest; it is not made for an unbiased, god-like look. But greater intelligence also means greater cognitive capacity for empathy - and possibly an expanded level of compassion. Perhaps our super-intelligent / super-empathetic offspring will find abuse of non-human animals as repugnant as we do child abuse: a terrible perversion.

Anyway, sure we won't stop eating each other? Our selfish bias is too strong. We like the taste of meat too much. Is the idea of ​​global veganism just a utopian dream?
Maybe. But within a few decades, the introduction of genetically engineered meat substitutes will mean that we can eat “meat”, tastier than anything we know today - without any killing or cruelty. As a foretaste of what is to come, at a workshop at the Norwegian University of Biosciences in June 2007, the “In Vitro Meat Consortium ”is formed.Crucially, the breeding of meat from genetically engineered individual cells is presumably infinitely scalable: global mass consumption would probably be cheaper than using entire non-human animals. Therefore - assuming that we continue to pursue profit and a market economy in the foreseeable future - cheap and delicious artificial meat will probably displace the intensive husbandry and mass killing of our fellow creatures.

One can ask oneself skeptically: Will the majority of people really eat gourmet artificial meat when it is cheaper and tastier than meat from slaughtered non-human animals? If we assume that the artificial meat is properly marketed, yes.
For if we find that we prefer the taste of man-made meat to that of slaughtered animals, the moral arguments in favor of cruelty-free diets will probably seem far more compelling than they are today.

But even if we achieve global veganism, terrible cruelty is sure to continue to exist in nature. Animal documentaries give us a strongly defused impression of life in the wild: It doesn't do well on television to show for half an hour how a non-human animal dies of thirst or starvation, slowly suffocated by a predator or eaten alive becomes. And does there really have to be a food chain? Nature is cruel; but aren't predators essential to preventing a population explosion and the Malthusian trap?

It doesn't have to be. If we want, we can use depot contraception, rearrange the global ecosystem, and overwrite the vertebrate genome to eradicate suffering for the rest of nature. Non-human animals do not need liberation, but rather liberation maintenance. We have an obligation to care, just as we do to human babies and young children, the elderly, and the mentally handicapped. The prospect may sound remote, but the destruction of habitat ultimately means that all that remains of nature later in this century will be our natural parks. And just as we don't feed frightened live rodents to snakes in zoos - we know it's barbaric - would we then actually continue to allow cruelty in our nature reserves just because they are "natural"?

The last frontier on planet earth is the ocean. Intuitively, this may seem like an overly complicated task. However, the exponential growth in performance in computers and nanorobotics technology means that in theory we can also completely redesign the marine ecosystem. Such a transformation is currently impossible, in a few decades it will be computationally feasible, but it will still be a challenge. Ultimately, it will appear technically trivial to us. So the question is: will we actually do it? Should we do - or, alternatively, maintain the Darwinian status quo. Here we are clearly in the realm of speculation. What might be referred to as the "principle of weak benevolence" may be invoked. In contrast to the controversial claim that super intelligence goes hand in hand with super empathy, the "principle of weak benevolence" does not assume that that our technologically and cognitively advanced offspring are also morally more developed than we are.

Let me explain this using a specific example: Given the choice of buying free-range or caged eggs, most consumers opt for free-range eggs. If the eggs from the laying batteries are 1 cent cheaper, most will still opt for the non-cruel option. While human malice, spite, and bloodthirstiness should not be underestimated, most of us have at least a weak tendency towards benevolence. However, as soon as a somewhat larger sacrifice has to be made, for example if the free-range eggs are 20 cents more expensive, sales unfortunately drop drastically. My view is that if - and it is a big if - if the necessary sacrifice made by the morally indifferent can be eliminated or negligible, the abolitionist project could be carried into the furthest nook and cranny of the living world.

David Pearce
(2007)
(see also 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)



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