A fox hunting

MORALITY AND CULTURE

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I believe that there are no absolutes in cultural, political and moral factors.  What is moral in one culture may well be immoral in another.   
 I was particularly distressed to read that in Dec 2009 the European Court of Human Rights rejected a plea that The Parliament's ban did not breach those rights because it has the power to rule on Moral Issues. This is nonsense because it implies that it can rule morality on behalf of all the cultures within its jurisdiction. Are the moral standards of Islamic Culture to be forced to equate with those of Christian Culture?  
Many such conflicting moral standards have grown out of differences between cultures which originate from different necessities of economic well-being and religions. For instance, a milk producer's economic well-being is dependent upon a Rural sub-culture which accepts the several days of suffering that a cow endures when her mental state is disturbed by the removal of her calf. On the other hand, a factory owner's economic well- being depends, in part, upon living in an Urban sub-culture, (which would believe it immoral to take the calf away from its mother), but would accept the equally important necessity of, for instance, converting a piece of country into an environmentally dead area for an efficient factory on a "greenfield site". Separating calves and development on greenfield sites both have their detractors, but both are necessary to the economic well-being of their perpetrators. It seems inevitable that these different and conflicting necessities will shape different and conflicting sub-cultures and thereby conflicting moral standards .

CULTURAL CONFLICT IS BEHIND THE fox-hunting DEBATE

In my view, the debate about fox-hunting is essentially a conflict between an "Urban Sub-Culture" and a "Rural Sub-Culture" within "British Culture". 


"Urbans" can be defined, broadly, as those that are predominantly spectators of natural processes and participate in them only to a limited extent (eg. gardening). Therefore, they suffer relatively little economic damage from competition from wild creatures and plants (eg. squirrels, weeds). Consequently, most "Urbans" are highly susceptible to the propaganda of the animals rights (AR) lobbies. In particular the AR line that all wild creatures have a right to live out the full extent of life of which the species is capable.


"Rurals"

rURALS

can be defined, broadly, as those that participate in natural processes. Therefore, they can suffer relatively severe economic damage from competitors in the natural world  (eg. weeds, rabbits, foxes). It follows that most believe that wild creatures and plants which interfere with human economic well-being have no such right to a full life. The weakness of the AR line is shown by the fact that most concede that wild creatures should lose that right if they attack humans or are killed for food. The issue is confused by the fact that many Urbans, who believe that some control of predators is acceptable, also believe that shooting foxes is less inhumane than chasing them and catching them with dogs. I have explained why this is not the case.  

THE MORALITY OF fox-hunting

fox-hunting is considered immoral by the majority of those imbued with Urban sub-culture. In stark contrast, it is viewed as morally acceptable by those imbued with Rural sub-culture. For the reasons that I have discussed already morality is not absolute, but merely a product of a culture. Thus views on the morality of fox-hunting will vary inevitably depending upon the culture of the person whose view is being sought.  fox-hunting is not a practice where moral standards will be similar between virtually all cultures, (e.g. those that proscribe actions where  individuals deliberately harm other individuals outside wars). Rather, it is a practice which does not affect the physical or economic well-being of other individuals. In very many such cases moral standards differ widely between sub cultures. 

I do not like the idea of Halal slaughter, but it is part of Islamic culture which does no harm to those imbued with other cultures.Therefore, I would strenuously oppose a ban. Smoking does harm those around the smoker through passive smoking. Therefore, I support bans in public places. In my view fox-hunting is like Halal slaughter, rather than smoking. 

POLITICS AND CULTURE 

Politics is the art of the expedient. This implies that policies are strongly influenced by the culture of those people whose support is perceived as vital to maintaining or obtaining power for the politician(s) concerned. It follows that political values are aspects of the associated culture, rather than absolute. 
The implications of political involvement in the cultural clash behind the fox-hunting Debate (and other matters stirred up by ARs) are wide ranging. For instance The Ban has created a highly undesirable state of "dynamic tension" in the UK between those imbued with our "Urban Sub-Culture" and those with our "Rural Sub-Culture". The long term political consequences of such a conflict are hard to estimate, but they are highly likely to harm the aspirations of Labour to move from being "champion of the less well off" to being a "one nation" party. Other "sub-cultures" (E.g Islamic) have observed the Labour Party maltreat the Rural Sub-Culture and this is one factor in their increasing opposition to the dictums of The Labour Government. The persecution of "Rurals" does nothing to reduce the increasing intolerances within the British Culture.  This persecution is not just the Hunting Ban but is far, far wider. Much arises from the Government favouring the economic advantages of centralisation of E.g. Hospitals, Post Offices, Ambulances, Schools, Old peoples' homes. "Rurals" have a champion in the Countryside Alliance. Which is not just a new Field Sports Society, but fights to reverse the many shocking persecutions of "Rurals" , such as those listed above. Is the Government and some sectors of the Non-Public Sector so desparately short of money that they have to tear the "heart" out of our "Rural Culture" ?

A SOURCE OF CONFUSION  

I believe that much of the rather confused thinking that clouds the debate between "Town and Countryside" springs from viewing the differences, between the UK's Urban and Rural sub-cultures, solely in geographical terms. After all, many persons who imbue our Urban sub-culture, live and are welcome in rural parts of the UK. In truth, the differences spring from the fact that these sub-cultures have grown out of different necessities of economic well-being. 

POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY

It might be thought that the approximately 4% of "Rurals" (not to be confused with the 17.5% who live in rural areas) are such a small (and shrinking) cultural minority that the political and economic risks of persecuting them (E.g. by banning fox-hunting, closing schools, post offices etc.) were worth incurring in the interests of keeping and gaining the support of the majority of "Urbans" (E.g. most of the animals rights lobby and most of those of the voting public who subscribe to the AR line on Hunting with Dogs).

POLITICAL REALITY

The cavalier attitude towards a cultural minority, that is implicit in the Hunting Ban, is highly undemocratic and uncharacteristic of the traditions of the Labour Party, which used to have a good reputation amongst minorities. A majority of the voting public will grow to see the criminalisation of those who Hunt with dogs as a gross infringement of personal liberty. They will also come to realise that a parliamentary majority that has voted for such a proposal is verging on dictatorial rule. Many other cultural minorities have been alerted to the risks of intolerance inherent in the dictatorial rule of Labour as evidenced by the Hunting Ban and other dictums (E.g. much of the anti-terrorist legislation).

WEAKNESS OF MINORITIES 

Unfortunately the UK's System of Government, as currently practised, leads to a bias against minorities (such as those who go in for Hand Gun Sports or keep so-called dangerous dogs). Let me explain:- 

Foxman is sure that everybody will agree with the dictionary definition of True Democracy as "Government vested in all of the people." When the option of an outright ban received a majority vote in the House of Commons it was a travesty of True Democracy, because MPs followed the prejudices of the majority without giving equal weight to the interests of an ethical minority (i.e. one which does not act against "the good order of Society").   In contrast to many Heads of State and Upper Chambers in other countries, when push comes to shove, the UK's monarch and "upper house" only have an advisory role (any real power was removed by the Parliament Acts). Thus they have no means of preventing unwise legislation resulting from the majority in the House of Commons occasionally reacting hysterically to tragic events and/or pressures from single interest factions and/or the media (E.g. Detention periods before formal process). Minorities would be treated properly if more politicians understood that they were elected to Govern Wisely on behalf of ALL of the people. Unfortunately, a belief has grown up among many politicians that they are elected to represent the views of the majority of their constituents, rather than to balance carefully the interests between all the Economic/Social Groups and all the Cultures to which any of their constituents belong. In particular to tolerate the moral standards of any Economic/Social Group or Culture (E.g. Shia Law for Shias within, but not without, the Shia Communities), so long as they do not impinge on the physical and economic well-being of any other Economic/Social Group(s) or Culture(s). I have attempted to convince several politicians that the House of Commons is not a House of Representatives and cannot be, because the UK lacks the checks and balances built into other Systems of Government, but they persist in advocating the present situation which occasionally leads to " tyranny of the majority".  

CONCLUSIONS

When conflicting moral standard of one sub-culture (e.g. the "Urban" attitude on fox-hunting as exemplified by the Animals Rights lobby----ARs) is imposed upon those who live within another (e.g. the "Rurals" as exemplified by the Animal Real Welfare lobby); resentment and cultural, social, economic and political damage result, as is now happening widely within Great Britain.

A REQUEST

To deal with one arena only, how much better for GB and the long-term interests of the Labour Party it would be if "Urbans" were to tolerate factory farming, hunting etc. (even if they cause stress within the limits to which the animals concerned have become adapted; provided they have a useful purpose and are not grossly less humane than other methods of achieving the same ends). Likewise, if "Rurals" were to tolerate building on greenfield sites etc. (even if it is somewhat destructive of the rural environment ; provided all reasonable steps are taken to minimize impact on the environment and economically attractive alternatives do not exist).

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