The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Rights and Morals, Words That Shouldn't be Bandied About
I suppose it seems that every time I get into an interesting subject, something new and revelatory about me is brought out.
Ok, as it turns out, I spent a couple of my formative years studying philosophy.
Some time after my stint in the US Army, I thought I would try to become an ethicist and delve into the morass of morals and ethics as applied to biology and medicine. I had been studying biology, micro-biology at that, and after a brief but mind numbing turn at production mono-clonal antibody lab work, I decided that philosophy might be more exciting.
As usual my thinking leaves something to be desired. After spending two years cloistered with dusty books, pale, clammy skinned neurotics that decent folks passing in the hall shied away from, and professors that mumbled passages from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Hobbes, while pointing a gnarled and accusatory finger at us lesser beings, you can imagine my surprise, when I found that they had even less of a clue than I did.
It all really came to naught as I realized that people in general just want an excuse to do whatever they felt like. Most ethical dilemmas, as it turns out, can be figured out via a common sense approach, lawyers not withstanding.
So to bring this to the subject at hand, Ms Bea Elliot commented on my post with a thought provoking discourse on animal rights.
I really hate to be so harsh, especially to a woman. But as Phillip of The Hog Blog, who has no such sentimentality and therefore thought it in my best interest to kick me square in the ass for allowing it. He felt, and rightfully so, that I was giving undeserved leniency to Ms Elliot's argument. Which was, unfortunately, mostly vacuous and without or with very little merit.
Let's get to it then, shall we?
So, in your defense you say: Animals are "tools". I suppose that falls in line with a belief once held that "blacks were made for whites" and "women were made for men". (?) Whatever suits your desires seems to be what "purpose" that "object" or being has. Who can argue with "logic" that sees himself as master? But I'll try.
Animals certainly have no rights, they do not even have a potential for rights. Therefore they can be considered property, and that Ma'am, means that I can use them and dispose of them in any way I see fit. That we, the ones that can hold rights, can also find moral imperatives to the treatment of animals I will agree to, the same as one might find that there is a moral imperative not to abuse the tools of your livelihood, or watch how you drive so you don't damage other peoples' property. Man and woman, regardless of race creed or color, are rights holders no matter what someone may say. The infirm, the handicapped, and very young, though they cannot directly exercise their rights, they are none the less potential rights holders and given all consideration for that. So you see, I am master of one, me. I seek no mastery of others, just myself and my skills.
So, you never hung around a crowd that had regrets of it's mistreatment to animals based on their "otherness"? I suppose you also didn't realize that Darwin's revelations of our "common ancestors" were vehemently challenged partly because it devastated the comfortable notion that animals were just "things". After his theories were revealed it was no longer as simple, to utilize those who were seen as more the same as us than not. --- Once his discoveries were published, it caused a great rift between the populace... Not to mention that his evolution theories challenged the ancient bibles... I hang around with this "progressive crowd" that analyzes this "new" knowledge; that we are all kindred and fellow earthlings.
Well, that's all very well and good, I hang out with men and women who appreciate the capabilities of the human mind, who celebrate the accomplishments of that mind. People who have mastered skills and are experts in their chosen fields, the men of substance, the women of intellect, the doers and creators of their own fates. I also know the men of the earth, men who have carved out their mark in this world with nothing more than their mind and hands, women that, using nothing more than a disciplined effort and the sweat of their brows created their own reality. That Darwin discovered the truth of how we crawled out of a primordial stew, does not make us anything more or less than creatures evolved from other creatures. With the exception that we are a reasoning predator, kindred to all other creatures.
The immorality is - is that it does not belong to you. As I said before, it is a theft. Not your "life" to take, have or negotiate. But no... I do not have to take the defensive to "prove" theft (harm) is wrong. It is the advocate of the supported act that is responsible for validating his view. I am the passive oppugn. My responsibility is to advocate why my position is rational, just, kind, etc. The initiator, the one who "acts" - (that would be you), is the one obligated to defend those acts.
You asked for it, and you aren't going to like it.
May I take the life of animal, you ask. Yes I may. As Phillip Loughlin stated, if it is right for the eagle, it is right for me. You either accept that if animals are the equal of us, then we are the equal of animals, and thus we may act in the same way and reasons as animals. If you accept that we are superior to animals, then you must, by the logic of that argument, cease to try to equate us with animals.
If we are superior to animals, then we have rights and animals do not, for the following reasons:
Humans are pursuers of projects; we have goals that are unique and have distinct values, and we make conscious commitments to fulfill our ends. As humans we have consciously determined reasons to value those ends that are ours individually, in a fashion that no one with a different undertaking does. We are agents of our own designs, we are self directed, autonomous, and and above all cognitive. When we pursue a task, we expect that there must be an exchange with others if we expect to reach our ends without interference. These then become our rights.
Rights by definition, are the result of an exchange, therefore animals can not have them because they don't engage in any form of exchanges.
Furthermore, animals do not make decisions based on free choice, the choosing among alternative possibilities. That is an exclusive ability of the rational mind. And I might add that rights are used to describe the choices we should or should not make. Animals as we all know, cannot make free choices, and as such, are without rights.
Now to the nitty-gritty.
We agree that animals do not have the capacity to reason, with perhaps the limited exception of some higher cognitive functions in a few species. None the less, they do not choose things based on rational criteria, nor are animals to be held accountable for their actions regardless of how we view those acts. The wolf is not evil for killing sheep, nor is the lioness good for nurturing her cubs. That, right there, determines the rights issue.
Since, there is no exchange in any animal's actions, that can be defined as relevant to the pursuit of a plan, they have no rights, and cannot function as a moral agent.
The fact remains, and it is an incontestable fact that any animal may be killed to ensure the life of another living creature, and that includes human beings.
Now someone might argue that there are moral reasons for not killing an animal. But that would not be a moral question in the least. Moral issues only apply to those that engage in exchanges, have rights, pursue cognitive objectives. You can say that there may be a social reason or perhaps a legal reason why you shouldn't kill an animal, but never a moral one. It just doesn't work.
So, we have dispensed with the idea that it is not moral to kill an animal. Unless you can find a hole in the logic I feel that I have proven my case and the defense of my acts as you requested.
I base what I think on this: We do know that the most common "rule" throughout the world - in every culture is the edict of "no killing" --- Or at least the golden words: To do on to others as you would have done on to you.
Usually it is a edict against murder rather than killing. But anyway...
Killing is the first capital "sin" is it not?
Actually the first Mortal Sin is "Thou Shalt not Murder" in the original texts. Biblically they did a lot of killing way back when. They killed each others with plagues, in battle, when they were drunk, heck they killed them with rocks, knives, even sharpened sticks. Man, there was a whole lot of smiting too! Smiting takes killing to a whole 'nother realm!
But of course you will say this is limited to mean only "human animals" and I say it means: all who live... All that breath, walk, swim, crawl and fly. All who are beings that could be "killed". Your view (of compassion and virtue) is exclusive - to only your own kind. Mine is inclusive to all "others".
Hey that's cool, if that's your thing. It just not mine and it has nothing to do with morals or rights either.
"As for food, I don't think that anyone can argue against it." Really? It's one of the most controversial subjects of our time. It's riding a close second and is closely related to the health-care debate, and global warming issues...
And because of our appetite for meat, 70% of pharmacuticals made in the US go to livestock, compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics. No one is arguing the merits or disadvantage of "meat"? Surely you jest!?
I never jest... Well not usually because I'm really not that witty. But you did take me out of context there. And again this has nothing to do with the morality of using animals, taking them, buying or selling them, or killing them.
I am not advocating "...a system that devalues the human mind, and places it squarely in the realm of an animal's", in that I'm not saying animals have a right to our social systems that require "a mind" to participate in: ie - driving, voting, entering contracts, etc. That a being is given "the right" to live his/her life without harm does not take anything away from the rights humans have which necessitate "a mind".
Since we have determined that animals do not have rights, we can dispense with the pretense, but for the sake of argument wouldn't you say that "Rights are Rights." And if that is the case, how would you limit their use? Maybe you shouldn't use the word rights...
"From the cottontail to the wildboar, their existence is part of mine, and becomes part of me." So literally, when you kill them - the cottontail or wildboar - you kill part of yourself. (?) Yes, that's what they say about some who hunt. That it is a self loathing... That they wish to experience their own death through experiencing it via an animal. How sad - to dislike ones own life so much that the only relief is to take another's from them...
Nope, no self loathing. Just the absolute certainty that I am the better for the experience.
"I assiduously avoid harming others." But really you mean "others" of your own species... I hate to be a stickler on this point - but I believe clarity is the way to better communication.
Right. What kind of "others" can there be? That's an odd question... unless you advocate equality for all.
"And compassion is a luxury I can ill afford. It is the surest way to get taken to the cleaners by those that are lazy, shiftless, and unwilling to sweat for every morsel of food they get." Ouch! Sounds like you might believe that "humans are ***intrinsically evil***".
Nah, not really. Just lazy and shiftless. And as I mentioned earlier, I truly believe that we all have to make our own way. The thing is I appreciate those that work hard and produce.
Finally in closing - I find your attempt to justify killing innocent animals as being on par with protecting my freedom of speech totally incongruant.(sp)
I don't think I was justifying anything with that statement. What I was saying, and I thought I was clear about, is that it is a hell of a thing that I will take a bullet for you in some far away, god forsaken hell hole, so you can politely cast aspersions at what I do. Granted, you are much more polite than some of the crazies I bump into, but it's almost the same thing. But I allow it because I am a nice guy and I believe in the social contract that is the Constitution.
In closing, you are welcome to attempt to poke a hole in what I said. To summarize:
Is it wrong to kill an animal?
Does it have a plan or purpose that it has created? No.
Does it have any conceptualization of the future? No.
Does it have a cognitive emotional bond to others? No.
Therefore an animal cannot pursue cognitive objectives,
It cannot enter into exchanges;
Without the ability to exchange, it has no expectation of rights.
Does it have a right to life? No!
The mere fact that it exists, is to be sustenance for another creature.
A chicken exists to provide eggs and meat for us to eat.
Wild turkeys exist to provide food for coyotes and lions.
If animals exist to be eaten, then it is not wrong to kill them.
Phillip was right. I've been too easy on the AR movement.
Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...