St. Thomas Aquinas observed that cruelty to animals is often a moral precursor to cruelty to human beings. Psychologists have long noted the same point in studying the lives of serial killers and other psychopaths.
But what can you say about a regime like that of the People's Republic of China, whose systematic and soulless brutality extends to both?
It's good to see that my former congressman, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), is doing something to justify his paycheck. But more needs to be done to combat the economic complicity of American companies in China's barbarism. Wal-Mart needs to join Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google on the list of morally reprehensible corporations whose complicity with Chinese cruelty and tyranny raises serious moral questions for those of us who do business with them.
I'm already considering closing down the four e-mail groups, with a total of over a thousand members, I run at Yahoo, and canceling my account there. Although the chronic unreliablity of the platform is also a contributing factor, I'm thinking about moving this blog elsewhere (Blogspot and Blogger are owned by Google). And I'm not sure I want to do business with Wally World at this point, either. I may not see the bloodstains on the clothes I buy there, or taste the blood in my groceries, but I know it's there all the same.
Somebody wrote in response to my previous suggestion on this blog of a boycott of Yahoo that boycotts don't work. Maybe not- if influencing policy is their objective. But there can be such a thing as simply deciding that to do business with someone is to become morally soiled, and to cease to do so for that reason alone.
One thing is depressingly clear: another thing that doesn't work is political and economic engagement with the most brutal regime on the planet in the hope that capitalism will make it more humane. Aside from the fact that it doesn't seem to be working- China is becoming increasingly powerful economically due to having caught the capitalist 'bug,' without becoming notably less brutish- another fact needs to be borne in mind.
Capitalism has many virtues. That it inculcates altruism and kindness has never, to my knowledge, been urged as being among them.
The United States needs to do business with China as little as possible- and always on terms which are as disadvantageous to China as possible, even at the cost of operating contrary to our own economic interests. As highly as we value free markets, Americans, after all, value decency more.
HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow