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Theory of European Rationalism

Aida is best remembered for the theory that the 'rationality' of Western civilization was consequential upon the practice of raising and killing livestock. This hypothesis, called the "livestock rearing theory" (家畜飼育説 kachiku shiikusetsu?)[2], was set forth in his 1966 book Rationalism (Gōrishugi). He associated the slaughter of domestic animals, which had been hitherto reared with great care, with the nonchalant belligerence of Western soldiers. In his view, Westerners are free from the kind of hysteria Japanese soldiers would often show at the sight of bloodshed. Aida blamed this very hysteria for the excessive acts of cruelty that the Japanese were accused of during the Second World War. Westerners, on the other hand, have so long been accustomed to calmly butchering animals that they developed a rational approach to slaughter, which they extended to human conflict. The Japanese hardly had any contact with livestock owing to the Buddhist taboo of eating meat and were too emotive to master the Western sort of nonchalance.

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