Ron DeSantis recently came out in favor of a bill that would outlaw lab grown meat in Florida. This provides a reason to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while, which is the degree to which cruelty to animals is polarized across party lines, and how Democrats are preferable on this issue. Most people don’t think of this as a kind of culture war topic, but there are consistent differences between the two major parties. If you’re an effective altruist, or even a utilitarian of any sort, animal cruelty is one reason to clearly favor the left. See here for my article on how although I still eat meat, my hope is that technology can one day put an end to factory farming.
In addition to the substantive differences between the two sides, I discuss the psychological and ideological motivations behind Republicans trying to stand in the way of animal rights. I identify the increasing hostility to all forms of progress among conservatives, based on the naturalistic fallacy. Before, the right might have been pro-life, but leftists were more opposed to “messing with nature” in non-religious contexts, by being more skeptical of things like GMOs and vaccines. I also go into how conservative parties have often supported government intervention to favor farmers, in contradiction to free market principles.
With our recent political realignment, the right has become the tribe of less educated and less trustful individuals. This means that rather than the naturalistic fallacy sort of being split into different domains, conservatives are just more consistently anti-technological progress, regardless of the costs. Opposition to lab grown meat can be seen as one more manifestation of this, along with hostility to vaccines and reproductive technologies. This is potentially a very disturbing development, although if leftists become more pro-progress in response the net impact could be positive.
On a different note, my debate with Curtis Yarvin this Friday, hosted by Anna Khachiyan, has sold out its original venue in East LA, so we’ve moved it to Glendale. More tickets are now available here, either $100 for regular seats or $55 for discount tickets. Look forward to seeing everyone there.