The turkeys who vote for Christmas

It is entirely possible to celebrate Christmas without killing any turkeys. I’m a vegetarian, so for me, Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with eating turkeys. My meat-eating relatives also tend to enjoy a turkey-free Christmas because turkey isn’t one of their top ten favourite meats. Most meat-eaters don’t seem to actually like turkey that much; they just eat it at Christmas because it’s traditional. (There’s a Royle Family scene where everybody says they don’t like turkey, then the whole family is shocked by Barbara’s suggestion that they have something else in future. It’s one of several moments where the sitcom resembles a documentary.)

So you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s not just theoretically possible, but practically achievable and generally desirable to have Christmas without killing turkeys. When you balance the really strong desire of the turkeys not to be killed against the only mildly pro-turkey-dinner feelings of the humans, it looks as if the overall feeling is anti-killing-turkeys. If you rationally calculate the benefits and harms involved, a Christmas free of turkey dinners is not just the best moral choice but also the choice that best represents the wishes of all stakeholders. So that’s probably what will happen, right? If you’re a turkey who keeps hearing about how wonderful Christmas will be for “everybody”, maybe it’s tempting to make this kind of calculation and then vote for Christmas.

Of course, if you are a turkey, perhaps you will not grasp that nobody gives a fuck what you think. The cost-benefit analysis doesn’t include you, because you count for nothing. You are not part of “everybody” and you never were. That’s why a mild human preference for turkey dinners overrides your extremely strong preference not to die.

Siderea’s writing on The Two Moral Modes is the best explanation I’ve ever read of Donald Trump’s mindset.

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