Thursday, April 27, 2006

Animal "Rights" Trump Human Rights

It has finally come to pass - Chicago has banned the sale of foie gras in the city's restaurants. They use terms as "inhumane treatment of birds" to defend their ban. I'm only little surprised by the twisted and corrupt multi-level dishonesty this represents. On one level, they believe there is some modicum of respect for birds (or any other animals) if we treat them well right before we actually chop them into little kababish pieces, or mince them into fine ground meat, or stuff them into tiny cans. Then they talk about avoiding "inhumane treatment of animals" while completely ignoring the fact that the word "inhumane" has at its root, the reference to *human*! It is a corruption of language to rob the proper meaning and references of these concepts and apply it to something totally different. What is truly inhumane here is the legal refusal to allow a human being to enjoy the rewards of his labor and his achievements. It is fully immoral and inhumane to tell a man what he can and cannot do with his own money! It is inhumane to deprive a human being his values and his enjoyment. And it is especially immoral to sacrifice the rights and the enjoyment of human life for a hypocritical committment to the "rights" of animals! It is hypocritical because how can you defend the "right" of an animal to be treated well when alive, when the sole purpose of the animal's being kept alive is for it to be killed, chopped, minced, or canned for our consumption! Besides, on what standard and logical foundation is the concept of rights applicable to animals? Peter Singer, and his ilk, have at best an insanely warped concept of rights. If a right is merely to guarantee the curtailment or abolition of suffering (like of animals) then one must ask: should we stop the regular wars of the jungles by imprisoning predatory animals that hunt and brutally, grotesquely kill their prey? Should we apply the concept of rights to animals in the wild, protect helpless preys from their predators, and "civilize" nature's brutish society of 'survival of the fittest'? If the utilitarian concept of rights is the standard, then every little creature - even a worm on the ground - has rights. In one of my earlier posts on "Response to Singer", I said "rights are tools and requirements to protect life" and by that I mean *human* life. Life is our most basic value, and the right to life protects and guarantees that basic value. However, rights are not existential entities but conceptual things that we are able to grasp due to the nature of our consciousness. Our consciousness is necessarily conceptual and volitional. That is its nature. Hence, it is *only* to human consciousness (and not that of plants or animals) that the concept of rights, violation of rights, morality, evil, inhumane treatment, etc. are all applicable. An animal has no concept of "life" as such, and therefore cannot have a value of life. Their rudimentary consciousness only filters in sensations of pain and pleasure which conveys its physical existence to itself and guides its instintual responses. Its responses of pain, fright, pleasure, loyalty, fun, sadness, play, etc. are simple responses to postive or negative re-inforced stimuli. To claim that an animal possesses conceptual knowledge of values like life, sadness, joy or love, would mean that animals have some degree of self-awareness, that they understand to some degree the meaning of existing versus not existing, and that they enjoy positive life-affirming values like joy, love and fun. If we concede that animals have a conceptual grasp of their existence and of life-affirming values, then we will also have to accept the notion that animals have free will and volition, that they are not instinctual beings, that if they understand what life-affirming values are, then they must also know what negative values must be, and which ones to choose. The introduction of choices and alternatives implies a consciousness that can choose from those alternatives. Thus, we must reach the conclusion that if an animal can choose life and other life-affirming values, then it could also possibly choose death and destructive values - volitionally. An animal does not fight a threat or flee from danger because it values its life, but because it is instinctually and automatically hard-wired in such a way as to remain in existence or maintain the existence of its progeny. To claim that animals have some conceptual value of life would necessitate that one also claim that some animals do infact wish to die, or commit suicide, or wilfully destroy its chances of procreation. To ascribe the concept of value to animals would also necessitate logically to ascribe the concept of non-value. However, humans are the only species on Earth with a conceptual and volitional faculty; with a consciousness that is aware of itself and of the world it exists in. It is only to humans that conceptual values are applicable, these are not natural values like sunlight or water that is common to all species on Earth, but things like our existence, success, joy, pride, etc. - that are unique only to us, and have to be chosen and pursued volitionally to be of value to us - and for which we possess fundamental moral rights commensurate with fundamental moral values so that they are always guaranteed to us. Therefore, a culture that insists on applying the concept of rights to animals, a culture led by intellectually dishonest men like Peter Singer, are infact looking to rob those rights from humans. By declaring the rights of a volitional, conceptual being as invalid and less important than the so-called rights of a beast, they nullify the very basic values life and freedom and happiness that the fundamental rights are supposed to guarantee. This does not reveal their love for animals but their disgusting hatred for humanity.


Blogger Jason Hughes said...

I get what you're saying about the hypocritical stance of treating animals "humanly" when they're only being raised for food...

but I think I disagree with your premise of animals having no concept of "life," or a value of their lives...

but I don't have much time to get into it right now... perhaps over the weekend or something. :D I will say that it involves animals showing signs of "mourning," "laughter," and other such emotions... whether that actually translates into "rights," well.... that is a horse of a different color!

I see you've been a busy-writing beaver since you got internet back!

4/28/2006 11:25:00 am  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

I agree that it is legitimate to question my argument that animals have no value-understanding of life, given that they mourn and weep and laugh and play, etc.

I realized my post did not address those issues in detail. Therefore, I slightly modified it just now, added some further expositions and arguments, and tried to maybe cover those and other potential questions.

Besides, being that I am under house-arrest in my parents home (with a curfew that begins at 9:30pm but never ends), I have nothing else to do but think and write and blog and stuff. I wonder if you read my previous posts on the Obsessive-compulsiveness of my parents?

4/28/2006 05:17:00 pm  
Blogger Aethlos said...


4/28/2006 07:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but I think I disagree with your premise of animals having no concept of "life," or a value of their lives...'

Animals lack the ability to make moral choice. I can't think of any circumstance where an animal makes a choice not to kill. A lion does so because it must and cannot get cold feet or feel compassion for its prey. It kills because that's what it is driven to do.

the human ability to: “Desire more then one needs to survive and be capable to reflect on how to make it so.” or “...have the capacity to override instinct in favor of moral reflection and make art for its own sake.” is what separates us from the beasts and affirms our dominion over them.

Rodney Johnson

7/05/2007 01:11:00 am  

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