Actor playing Heidrich in the film Conspiracy depicting the decision to start the Holocaust
All those with an analytical mind have at some point questioned the reasoning behind humans' cruelty to animals. The thinking mind knows how much power humans wield over animals, recognizes the submissive nature of most dogs and wonders just why some humans harm and torture animals. A well written essay in The Washington Post entitled "Why are so many people so cruel to their dogs? My search to understand a hidden scourge." delves deep into the thorny question with real life anecdotes.
For all his effort, the best that the author concludes is that the horrid behavior toward animals is driven by economic conditions. He tours a land he calls "No-No Land", rural, poor and uneducated - with PETA volunteers. However in this writer's opinion, the effort falls short. Exactly why do poor uneducated people feel the need to torture weaker beings? To seek an answer one must first ask, would these same people mistreat weaker humans if able to?. History gives us a glimpse to an answer with an emphatic YES! From Sulla to Timur to Hitler, there were always humans ready to do the most heinous, most cruel, acts of barbarism . They did it all, raped women, chopped the heads off babies, and burned people alive. Then had a good dinner and slept soundly until the next morning, when they started their evil deeds anew. In modern times, Reinhard Heydrich has captured infamy. An important Nazi leader, he would return from work each night to the loving arms of his picture-perfect family of three children, after ending a long hard day killing 10,000 mostly Jewish mothers, elderly and children.
How was Heydrich able to balance the horrid deeds he was doing during the day with the warmth and love of his family in the evening? This question has perplexed humanity, in particular psychiatrists, for nearly a century. Behold the story of Tariek in the aforementioned article, sitting on his porch in No-No Land with his dog Tee Tee and her two puppies. They are dying as Tee Tee is so malnourished that she has nothing to give of her body. Tariek is offered to have the dogs taken away to be nourished. He says NO! He says "this is a business, I sell them puppies". The PETA people plead to at least take the mother and one very sick puppy. Again an emphatic NO!. In desperation they offer him money, reply is "I don't need money, I have plenty of it." And to prove it he pulls out a large wad of cash. What's going on here? What exactly is going through Tariek's mind as he utters those contradictory words? Is he searching for an excuse to be cruel?
To this writer, this sort of banal cruelty emanates deep within the moral soul. Economics do play a large part, as the capitalist system of winner take all leaves out huge chunks of the population. These leftovers are angry, frustrated and boxed in, so they redirect that anger onto an object where they are clearly superior and dominant. "I may be a loser among humans, but in my home I am still king". And to prove it to themselves, they beat up on the poor dog. But economics does not fully capture the issue; Heydrich did not have poverty issues, yet his cruelty became legendary.
Again to this writer, who is no behavioral sociologist, the conduct springs from an internal imbalance in the value system of the individual. Education can mitigate, but sadly these abusers are created faulty at inception. In this instance wealth and education become key medicines in addressing an affliction of birth. But as almost all medicines are, they are not curative, but rather temporary relief. Thus a highly educated and wealthy individual can fall back into his natural state at any given moment. Michael Vick is a perfect example of this phenomena.
If the patient is defective at birth and incurable, is there anything they are motivated by? Yes, FEAR! They are motivated by fear in the same manner as all of life is. They fear punishment as much as anyone. This is how murder, rape and thievery has been mostly eradicated among humans. Punish them and self survival will kick in, no more chummy self adulation. Thus the question arises "why have our political and moral leaders not implemented the legal punishments that would go a long way in taming animal cruelty"? Again, because our elected leaders are but a mirror image of society itself. In a system where 40 senators can block any new laws, a proportion of lawmakers are born just as defective as the respective proportion in the general population. In fact a cogent argument can be made that the incidence of defective legislators is even higher due to the arduous path required in attaining office. It is not coincidence that all animal welfare legislation is blocked by red states, the so called No-No Land!
Acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications of a minor personality flaw in the abuser, they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. The correlation between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented in multiple studies. Cruelty is cruelty! Many of the abusers are the same people that beat up their wives and rape their daughters. The only reason they are not possibly running a concentration camp is because they were not offered one, as Heydrich was.
While we humans always shine a glorious light on ourselves, in fancy television commercials and feel good articles, no one points the finger at the true culprit of our cruel intentions. Blanketed over by society, the defective among us roam free to partake in evil. Until punishment is fielded for animals mirroring human cruelty laws nothing will change. No amount of nice talking will convince, no amount of shaming will cajole, no amount of dejection will impact.