William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Wednesday, 4, May, 2011

Men Are Not Potatoes

Filed under: People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 10:28

Which is a line from Starship Troopers.  Not the cheesy movie, but the Heinlein novel.  The protagonist is sitting in OCS, and his instructor asks him how many POW/MIAs are worth resuming a war for.  When the protagonist insists that one does not leave a man behind, the instructor says the student doesn’t know the worth of a man, that it makes no sense to kill more to save a few.  The protagonist is claiming that one potato is equal to a hundred potatoes.  “Sir, men are not potatoes.” is the answer.

This and this put me in mind of that statement.  Men are not potatoes, and pets are not people. It really does seem that some folks see no moral difference between animals and humans.  I know my animals don’t treat me the way they do out of concern for my autonomy and well being.  I know they would happily eat my decaying body if there was nothing else around, and if Tinker were ten times larger than he is I would be his cat toy.  A thing is what it is.


  1. That’s a perfect example of political correctness – being offended on someone else’s behalf.

    Personally, I think our pets are better (well, smarter) than we are. They know what’s important: keeping one’s species alive, defending one’s family, and believing one’s own eyes. You can’t lie to a pet because they don’t understand English, but they -do- understand actions.

    Comment by Dave H — Wednesday, 4, May, 2011 @ 10:57 | Reply

  2. When our cats were kittens, they had a habit of gently placing a paw on your lips when you were sleeping. I always figured they’re just seeing if you are still breathing, or are you lunch yet?

    Comment by Wayne Conrad — Wednesday, 4, May, 2011 @ 13:36 | Reply

  3. I love my cats, and I would probably brave fire and high water to save them. But they are my pets. They’re barely domesticated, my friends claim they go borderline feral when we’re out of town, and the local mouse network knows that we have a passel here and that they take their lives into their own naked paws if they venture into my house. And I love the fact that my cats have helped my children–invaders into my cats’ cushy lives–heal from some of the emotional trauma they endured before coming to live with me. And I know I’ll grieve their loss when nature runs its course (our oldest cat, reigning queen of the house, is 13). But they are animals, and will always behave as such. When they do stuff I don’t like, well, they’re just being cats. And since they’re cats, they don’t really care about names (rarely do they come when called); they just recognize, “What, ho, that human sound refers to me.” And they certainly don’t care about whether I call them pets or domesticated companions, as long as I’m there to shovel out the kibble and dole out the skritches.

    Comment by Auntie J — Wednesday, 4, May, 2011 @ 19:04 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the link!

    Comment by Lawyer with a Gun — Friday, 6, May, 2011 @ 08:01 | Reply

  5. Thank you once again for the link!

    Comment by James R Rummel — Saturday, 7, May, 2011 @ 22:12 | Reply

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