This, in the face of change, makes no sense. But tradition is a bastion of life for people, the glue of a community, a long-established habit, the place of return that feels like a homecoming.
It's only when we see the starkness of a statement like: 'It's the cannibal's argument,' we might pause long enough to consider whether it's a good enough reason to go on doing it in the future.
All life is change. Adaptability, flexibility, is the hallmark of survival and survival strategies. Even an animal, (and we might, in our darkest moments, consider cannibals as animals,) knows to change its behaviour when the circumstances of its life change.
Not so very long ago, slavery was a huge issue. Though not totally resolved, especially in violent domestic situations, it has mophed into sustainability as a key modern concern. Survivability will come next if we do not adapt with the felicity of the wise creatures who live 'closer to nature'. They are in direct contact with it, night and day. So are naturally more attuned to its cycles and rhythms. We could still adopt 'Nature as our teacher' as did a First People, the native Americans. If we can find the humility in our hearts to do so.
Change the context, reframe it. Change the way you see it.
You can destroy the Cannibal's Argument by saying: 'It's a matter of degree.'
Equally, you can find the mid-point, the point of balance. Where the best of the old and the great new meet. But youth do need the rain-check on reinventing the wheel too many times. What is fresh and exciting to youngsters can actually be quite an old idea dressed up newly. This is what reinvention and makeovers are about - putting a new shine on life!
More pedantically, and realistically for most of us, a headteacher I know justified her community's habit of leaving rubbish 'just outside their property' in the same time-honoured fashion. 'They've always done it. It's the tradition in life here.' Her comment implied I was wrong, and foolish, to question this behaviour.
Tradition, it seems, needs a makeover too!