Two days ago, I saw this short video of a person who takes care of goats. Goats with special needs.
From the video, I was able to gather that these were goats with missing limbs or broken limbs or some form of birth defect – like a goat born with a hole in its heart, etc. There were LOTS of goats in this person’s home. They had a “farm” scene as well, as far as I could tell, where the goats could roam around instead of only being confined to the living space with their human. There was also a goat, which was very shy and probably had anxiety issues and it has a “duck” costume that it snuggles into, which makes it feel better. The goat with the hole in its heart? It was operated upon by a pediatric surgeon, which probably made this goat the only such goat to receive open-heart surgery. All the goats looked well groomed and well-taken care of. The splints on their legs seemed to be of a great quality. ( This is in a “First World” country. )
My first reaction was “Awww, so cute!”, which was immediately followed by, “WTF! How much money is this person spending on taking care of goats?! This could be better spent taking care of humans you know. It’s not like there is dearth of starving humans or humans with special needs! Isn’t it overkill paying for a goat to have open heart surgery to repair the hole in it’s heart?” Which was followed by, “Who am I to judge? It’s not like I’m spending any time or money taking care of either humans or goats!”
Since then, I’ve been thinking about all three aspects of my thoughts about this “goat story”. ( Being mindful of one’s thoughts can be a pain. )
Do humans deserve more than goats?
If goats get what I perceive as “more” than humans, is that a problem?
For whom is it a problem?
Instead of questioning something nice that another human is doing, shouldn’t I be looking at what nice things I can do?
I was also reminded of something I’d read in one of the books in the Malazan Book of The Fallen Series by Steven Erikson. The book is called Midnight Tides and this is dialogue between the Feather Witch and Udinaas.
‘This destruction, this slaughter. A terrible thing to do.’
‘Maybe they deserved it. Maybe they did something-’
‘Feather Witch, the question of what is deserved should rarely, if ever, be asked. Asking it leads to deadly judgement, and acts of unmitigated evil. Atrocity revisited in the name of justice breeds its own atrocity. We Letherii are cursed enough with righteousness, without inviting yet more.’
Ah. Righteousness. As if my virtues are somehow better than another’s. And the point of “whataboutery”. Whataboutery is “the technique or practice of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counter-accusation or raising a different issue.” Not that the person taking care of the goats is asking a question or making an accusation. They are merely carrying on doing what they do. Someone decided to do a feature on them and now the story is being shared on large Internet, public platforms. As long as they aren’t hurting anyone, does it give me the right to question where they choose to direct their generosity? “But what about humans beings in need?” is whataboutery.
What about the people starving in X country?
What about the people dying in X region in my country?
What about the people begging at traffic lights in Delhi?
What about the family that lives in the open on the ground floor of my residential building, making a living ironing clothes – what about their 6 month old daughter who needs to be left alone with stranegrs sometimes as the parents make deliveries of freshly ironed clothes?
What about me?
There’s no end to that. Best to look at what best one can do within one’s own circle and to not come in the way of others who are doing their bit.
More power to the friend of the goats. Goats of Anarchy.