Ed Chernoff, who blogs beautifully but infrequently, writes here about “The Question” and an encounter with a dove.
(It seems that nobody ever asks me “The Question” anymore. I don’t know why that is; I may just be associating with more compassionate people than I used to.)
Ed’s cat Willie brought Ed a dove. Ed saved the bird. Then, writes Ed, “Willie watched it go, and then looked up at me with what I perceived to be pity.” To Willie, doves are prey. The fact that they are prey (and cats are cats) only by an accident of birth does not change that fact. Cats have no compassion for doves.
Most people are like Willie. They can’t understand why we try to deprive them (society) of their (its) prey. Without compassion nobody will ever understand why we defend; with compassion nobody will ever need to ask.