Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"The absence of hypocrisy"?

Recently, in a blog post, an "abolitionist" pro-AR blogger made the comment that "abolition is the absence of hypocrisy". That blog post can be read in its entirety here. Just how valid is this claim that "abolition is the absence of hypocrisy"? Are these "abolitionists" actually free from hypocrisy? Do they actually practice what they preach so incessantly and obnoxiously ? Hardly it would seem. This "abolitionist" blogger admits on her own blog to giving her dog a diabetes drug that is derived from pigs, and is a byproduct of the pork industry. She also freely admits to feeding her cat fish. Here we have someone who claims that she wants the abolition of all animal "exploitation", yet she is supporting two industries, pork and fish, that she claims to hate and want abolished, for the sake of her own pets! That isn't just hypocrisy, it's also "speciesist", that cardinal sin of sins that ARAs claim to hate so much, because she is apparently willing to place the needs of her own dog and cat above the "rights" of the pigs and fish that she claims shouldn't be exploited. To say that is hypocrisy would be an understatement. It's more like living in a glass house and throwing boulders!
Such hypocrisy, however, isn't limited to this particular individual, it permeates the entirety of the whole AR/vegan/"abolitionist" movement. Countless wild animals are killed in industrialized crop agriculture to produce their vegan, allegedly "cruelty-free" foods. Many ARAs have been known to freely accept medical treatments that are based upon animal research, while they pontificate about the supposed evils of "vivisection". They use computers to preach and proselytize on their countless blogs and websites. Computers of course, are powered by electricity, and the production of electricity, even more environmentally friendly production methods such as wind, hydro, and solar, causes countless animal deaths through pollution, wildlife displacement, and habitat destruction.
Upon closer examination, it would seem that the "abolitionist" AR lifestyle is anything but the "absence of hypocrisy". There is plenty of it to be found, and most of the adherents to the AR lifestyle are too sanctimonious and arrogant to address it. Instead, they make all kinds of rationalizations and justifications for their hypocrisy, because to seriously address it would require them to step down from their faux moral high ground and reconsider their chest-beating narcissism. And few of them are willing to do that in my experience.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Notice how her main concern is with "absence of hypocrisy" (which is all about her) and not about actually doing the most good (which is about others)? These morons don't understand the notion that 99% of people making a 1% reduction has essentially the same effect as 1% of people making a 100% reduction. They also don't understand the basic maxim that the perfect is the enemy of the good - ie, they are completely lacking in any critical reasoning about the reality that they do more harm than good with their approach.

I mean, really - this person once lamented at her "suffering," that it's marginally difficult to obtain non-leather seats for a new luxury vehicle. In the next breath, she'll tell you there's no difference between beating a human slave to death, slaughtering a cow that's been raised under the worst industrial agriculture conditions, and eating an egg that came out of a chicken that walks around your yard. To call it a complete joke would be to understate the situation.

As for "happy meat" (don't they love these ridiculously loaded words?), they also don't grasp the notion that if the price of something goes up, its demand goes down - especially when there are substitutes. But again - they could actually care less about animals and the absolute amount of suffering. They only care about the perfection of their mental construct and deluding themselves about their own supposed ethical perfection. Which, of course, ignores the lesson of Icarus and any number of allegories which speak of the folly of humans who obsess over striving for their own personal perfection. It's a horrible illness.

We should collaborate on putting together an FAQ for dealing with all their weak arguments. One of my favorites is their objection to sustainable, humane livestock practices, saying that it can't be scaled for 6-7 billion people. Meanwhile, they go driving 20 mpg SUVs (which they justified buying over a 48 mpg hybrid because of their two slaves, I mean, pets, which of course would fit in the hybrid with the seats down) and the hubbie's 20 mpg luxury vehicle (with leather seats) and think all is hunky dorry by buying a $50 indulgence, I mean, carbon offset. Yeah, what if 6-7 billion people each wanted to drive 20 mpg vehicles 15,000 miles a year. Would those 6-7 billion people then buy $50 indulgences and everything would be OK?

I guess one can't seem saintly enough by cutting back on fossil fuel use. No fuzzy wuzzys with little faces that one is "saving."

Speaking of animal use and abuse, I saw one of those 20 mpg SUVs plow over a little white terrier a few days back. Maybe a saintly vegan abolitionist was driving it. The death and suffering is fine, because it's "structural."

Keep up the great work, Griz.

Tiger said...

They use computers to preach and proselytize on their countless blogs and websites. Computers of course, are powered by electricity, and the production of electricity, even more environmentally friendly production methods such as wind, hydro, and solar, causes countless animal deaths through pollution, wildlife displacement, and habitat destruction.

If you want to hear what some people are saying RE the wind industry, one place to look is here: Wind Watch. (I found the link off a blog owned by a rather outspoken critic of wind power in general; something I found while Yahoo-ing "'wind turbines' 'bird kills'".)

Hard to tell where they come down on wind use (in favour as opposed to against), but a cursory look at the site suggests they're not exactly in favour of it.

Their FAQ regarding the impact on wildlife is interesting, not just from the hazards wind poses to winged life but to land animals too. IE: recently in India an area turned into a wind farm is now devoid of wolves and striped hyenas where they could be found even just three years ago. They're all gone now.

And another well-known impact regarding wind's impact on wildlife is Altamont Pass, and the eagles there that suffered a number of fatalities due to wind farming.

I don't know about hydro and solar (I haven't looked into that yet), but wind energy is certainly not as eco-friendly as it's touted, if it's killing and displacing wildlife.

(Not that I think the AR's will care. Out of sight; out of mind.)

PS: Same Tiger from AR.net

Grizzly Bear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grizzly Bear said...

Hi Tiger

Yes, there certainly are problems with wind generation. The biggest problem seems to be birds hitting the turbine blades and being killed. I support wind use, so long as the location is well planned and the most sensitive areas are avoided, such as the pass you mentioned where there are eagles dwelling.

Hydro, in my opinion, is probably the least wildlife friendly of these options. When a dam is built, especially a large one, a large amount of land ends up flooded, destroying habitat. The destruction of Glen Canyon to form Lake Powell is an example. Fisheries are also disrupted by hydro power, and thus wildlife that depends on that fishery can also be effected. A classic example is all the dams on big rivers in the Pacific Northwest and their effect on salmon runs.

Solar is probably the option that least effects wildlife, but it too has an issue. Solar panel arrays are huge. They take up many, many acres. Under current technology, they have to be big if they are going to provide any significant amount of usable energy. The sheer size of them can cause habitat destruction and have a negative displacement effect on wildlife.

I support the use of all these forms of alternative energy, but as a wildlife biologist, I think they should be well-planned and well-placed so as to minimize impacts on sensitive ecosystems.

Grizzly Bear said...

"As for "happy meat" (don't they love these ridiculously loaded words?),..."


Yes, they certainly do love loaded terminology. And they throw those terms out there ad nauseum, and hope that people don't think critically about just how loaded they are. "Happy meat" is just the latest of them. Other classic loaded AR terms would be:

"Factory farm"- Just what makes a farm a "factory farm"? Size? At what point in size does a regular farm become a "factory farm"? Is there an objective way to determine what is a "factory farm", or is it like pornography, in that you can't really define it, but damn it, you know it when you see it?

"Trophy hunting" - This inane term makes the erroneous assumption that hunting for a trophy and hunting for food are necessarily mutually exclusive, which of course they are not.

"Vivisection" - Vivisection literally means cutting up a living thing. Since the vast majority of research using animals only involves minor procedures like injections or blood draws, such a term is hyperbolic, inaccurate in most cases, and outdated.

As I said, ARAs intentionally use these emotionally-charged terms and hope that people don't analyze them critically.


"It's a horrible illness."

Perhaps so. I'm not a psychiatrist, nor do I even play one on TV, but I can't help but wonder if a shrink would have an absolute field day with Mary and some of her disciples like Dan ( who BTW, refused to respond to my last response to him, did you notice? ).

"We should collaborate on putting together an FAQ for dealing with all their weak arguments."

Yes, perhaps so. I've thought of putting such a thing together before, but the more knowledgeable people we can get in different areas such as agriculture, scientific research, etc. the better it would be. I know a lot about wildlife management, and hunting/fishing and conservation issues, but I'm certainly no expert in other fields. It'll have to wait though. I'm leaving tomorrow to go on an annual elk hunting trip with some friends and will be gone most of next week. When I get back, I may do a post putting out a call for knowledgeable people who might want to collaborate. There are lot of knowledgeable people on the AR.net discussion board.

John said...

Blood sugar level increases for diabetic patient because either body fails to generate enough insulin or fails to utilize body’s own insulin in an appropriate way.

Anonymous said...

"We should collaborate on putting together an FAQ for dealing with all their weak arguments."

Perhaps a good start would be trying to debunk all the answers from a list of 20 frequent asked questions elaborated by Professor Gary Francione at http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/?page_id=73 . You may notice that he is not such an easy target like PeTA and Peter Singer, not to mention vegan evangelist teacher Dave Warwak.

As for the incidental deaths, I’ve already posted an answer at http://thespeciesistscorner.blogspot.com/2007/09/respones-to-pro-ar-comments.html . Feel free to debunk it.

Finally, I have to recognize that are two features of your site that I really appreciate. It makes a clear distinction between animal welfare and animal rights and correctly states that the full observance of animal rights will require not only the abolition of hunting but a meatless and petless society. Congratulations.

Attentively,

Cláudio Godoy

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a good start would be trying to debunk all the answers from a list of 20 frequent asked questions elaborated by Professor Gary Francione

Ooh - "Professor." That sounds authoritative.

I started perusing that list of "questions" and all it is are very narrow strawmen that he then puts his own silly frames onto. We created domestic animals - well, we create children, too, and we can't eat their meat. He just uses stupid analogies that he employs uncritically. It's basically circular reasoning, since the assumption is that children are the same as animals in terms of rights.

I know you simple-minded ARAs fall for this, but that's usually because you have no training in critical thinking, particularly logic.

What's particularly amusing and ironic is I see he goes on to address the illogical syllogism about Hitler and vegetarianism, yet uses that same kind of tortured logic for his own arguments.

Anyone who starts from a point of using terms like "slave" to describe a domestic animal has lost any credibility with respect to being accurate with terminology. Humans are intelligent because we are able to make meaningful distinctions. The reason slavery of humans is wrong is that skin color is a stupid distinction, whereas vast differences in capacity to think, communicate, and experience life itself are meaningful differences.

Here's a simple example - if humans are somehow not allowed to kill other animals because they have an equal right to life as we do, how come non-human animals can kill other animals? The application of human right to life falls apart when applied to animals in so many ways.

I see he also shows that the lines he draws about who gets rights is totally arbitrary about what he considers to be "sentient." The mere fact that "sentience" (however vaguely and subjectively defined) is seen as the determinant of who is allowed to have rights and who isn't is a completely arbitrary metric. Humans don't have an equal right to life because we're sentient. We have it because we're human beings, and it's practical to outlaw non-defensive killing because if we didn't our societies would fall into anarchy and we as a species would go to pot. If we kill domesticated animals, our society doesn't fall apart. That's why we make such distinctions - morality is a matter of practicality applied to perpetuating human survival in the world.

The fact that you think silly people like Francione are unassailable only demonstrates how narrow your mental world is.

Anonymous said...

“Ooh - "Professor." That sounds authoritative.”

I’m really sorry. Please forgive me for the employ of the authority fallacy. You are absolute right, the relevant here is his ideas not his titles. So, let me rephrase my request. Perhaps a good start would be trying to debunk all the answers from a list of 20 frequent asked questions elaborated by Gary Francione at http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/?page_id=73
. Now it sounds better and unpretentious.

“I started perusing that list of "questions" and all it is are very narrow strawmen that he then puts his own silly frames onto. We created domestic animals - well, we create children, too, and we can't eat their meat. He just uses stupid analogies that he employs uncritically. It's basically circular reasoning, since the assumption is that children are the same as animals in terms of rights.”

Thank you for the attempt to debunk the first answer of his list of 20. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand where the straw man argument is. The whole point here is that we can’t use our children as our resources just because we were responsible to bring them to existence. So, as for using children for food, poor parents can’t follow the Swift’s modest suggestion ipsis literis. But in the past, Carthaginian parents “created” children too and sacrifice them to their god. Today we can’t sacrifice our children to the gods. Slave owners forced their slaves to create slave children. But today we can’t enslave people. Unfortunately, some parents in poor countries still sell their children to prostitution and to work as slaves in cocoa plantations, for instance. But just because they can do that, it doesn’t mean that’s morally right. The same rule is perfectly valid for nonhuman animals because they are sentient like children, so they are exactly the same in terms of having the basic right to not be used as resources by moral agents. Today we can create nonhuman animals for their meat, but just because we can do that, it doesn’t mean that’s morally right.

To debunk an argument, we have to explain exactly why it is stupid, circular or a straw man. It’s not enough just saying that. Feel free to debunk the other 19 answers, but please don’t forget to explain exactly why they are so illogical and intellectually corrupted. If your debunks are solid, I promise to reconsider my positions and maybe we will go hunting together next time.

“I know you simple-minded ARAs fall for this, but that's usually because you have no training in critical thinking, particularly logic.”

That’s why I came here. Maybe I have something to learn.

“What's particularly amusing and ironic is I see he goes on to address the illogical syllogism about Hitler and vegetarianism, yet uses that same kind of tortured logic for his own arguments.”

Please develop. Where is his tortured logic? Give some examples and explain exactly why Francione is so illogical. Answer by answer of his list of 20 FAQs. Because, you know, we have no training in critical thinking, so maybe we can learn something.

“Anyone who starts from a point of using terms like "slave" to describe a domestic animal has lost any credibility with respect to being accurate with terminology. Humans are intelligent because we are able to make meaningful distinctions. The reason slavery of humans is wrong is that skin color is a stupid distinction, whereas vast differences in capacity to think, communicate, and experience life itself are meaningful differences.”

The core of slavery is treating any person as an object. Regardless of skin color, gender, and species, when it is relevant for that matter in the last case (because I usually treat lettuce and cabbages as objects, but they couldn’t be consider as slaves, because, you know, they don’t have an interest in their liberty). In fact, we are so generous that we refuse to treat any person as an object, regardless of their stupidity.

“Here's a simple example - if humans are somehow not allowed to kill other animals because they have an equal right to life as we do, how come non-human animals can kill other animals? The application of human right to life falls apart when applied to animals in so many ways.”

See the last paragraph of the answer number 5 of the Francione’s list. And please reread my short essay about why in some circumstances we can’t apply the right to life of the nonhuman animals exactly in the same way we would apply it to human beings at https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4282775515189675289&postID=5941965217976959311 . And, repeating my previous request, feel free to debunk it.

“I see he also shows that the lines he draws about who gets rights is totally arbitrary about what he considers to be "sentient." The mere fact that "sentience" (however vaguely and subjectively defined) is seen as the determinant of who is allowed to have rights and who isn't is a completely arbitrary metric. Humans don't have an equal right to life because we're sentient. We have it because we're human beings, and it's practical to outlaw non-defensive killing because if we didn't our societies would fall into anarchy and we as a species would go to pot. If we kill domesticated animals, our society doesn't fall apart. That's why we make such distinctions - morality is a matter of practicality applied to perpetuating human survival in the world.”

If we were talking about Coelenterata sentience, I would have to agree with you about the difficulty of where we should draw the line. But even in that case, I would give the benefit of doubt to them and would avoid using them as resources. For instance, I wouldn’t hunt any jelly-fish, even if I had an immense pleasure in killing them. Francione argues he is not sure if insects are sentient, but here I strongly disagree, because they clearly have wantings and preferences. And that’s the base of having basic rights, since we have the right to life because we don’t want to be killed, the right to physical integrity because we don’t want to be hurt and the right to liberty because we don’t want to be confined. As a hunter, perhaps you have more experience with dealing with nonhuman animals than me, but I can dare to say they have the same basic interest that we have. And, by the way, stones, for instance, don’t have rights because they are stones but because they are insentient. And if a Nazi society kills Jews, their society doesn’t fall apart (I mean, if there were no American, Russian nor English to destroy it). If a slave society in the south of the United States enslaves black people, it doesn’t fall apart (unless an anti-slave society invades it and abolishes slavery). Just to mention some hypothetical examples. That’s why we shouldn’t make arbitrary distinctions based on irrelevant biological traits when recognizing basic rights. Morality is treating the other with respect. And, believe me, we will be able survive if we stop using any sentient beings as resources. Don’t worry about that.

“The fact that you think silly people like Francione are unassailable only demonstrates how narrow your mental world is.”

Isn’t calling names an ad hominen fallacy? I thought logical fallacies were not allowed here. Let’s discuss just the ideas.


Respectfully,

Cláudio Godoy

Grizzly Bear said...

Hi Claudio

"Perhaps a good start would be trying to debunk all the answers from a list of 20 frequent asked questions elaborated by Professor Gary Francione at http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/?page_id=73 ."

I read the Francione page you refer to. Most of these "FAQs" I have seen before in one form or another, in other AR forums. Not a lot of original thought there. Quite honestly, Francione doesn't impress me. This is someone who seems to actually believe that there is no moral difference between humanely raising and slaughtering animals for food to feed ourselves, and dogfighting, which is done for no other purpose than crazed, completely sadistic bloodsport. This was stated in a recent op-ed by Francione entitled "We're all Michael Vick". As far as I'm concerned, it's very hard to take someone seriously who offers up such an inane, absolutist, intellectually stunted view. At least Singer, though I disagree with him on many things, is a deep, dynamic thinker, and I respect him for that. Francione, by contrast, is a rigid, absolutist ideologue. I do have one question though, that perhaps you can answer for me. Why is it that so many in the "abolitionist" crowd seem to follow Francione like sheep and worship him like apostles? It's almost cult-like.

Grizzly Bear said...

"Anyone who starts from a point of using terms like "slave" to describe a domestic animal has lost any credibility with respect to being accurate with terminology. Humans are intelligent because we are able to make meaningful distinctions. The reason slavery of humans is wrong is that skin color is a stupid distinction, whereas vast differences in capacity to think, communicate, and experience life itself are meaningful differences."


This is an outstanding paragraph, anonymous. You've have touched upon a brilliant point. The reason that the comparison of racism and sexism to "speciesism" is so inane is because racism and sexism are IRRATIONAL. "Speciesism", however, is not irrational. Indeed, all species are "speciesist" and have to be if they are going to survive. "Speciesism" is simply a part of natural selection ( "survival of the fittest"), a fact that is very much a stumbling block to any arguments in favor of AR, IMHO. "Speciesism" is perhaps the most flatulent concept ever created. It is nothing more than political correctness run completely amok.

You've touched upon something else here that I've been thinking about and planning a doing an entry on, and that is if the idea of domesticated animals being "slaves" is valid. I'm not going to fully elaborate on my train of thought here ( but will later in the entry concerning this ), but it seems to me that if one thinks from an evolutionary "big picture" perspective, it can be argued that human domestication of animals is actually a form of symbiotic relationship. As I said, I'll explore this line of reasoning in an upcoming entry.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to go through all 20 because I already hit 3 or 4 and showed them to be bunk. It's not my job to prove anything or knock down some random guy's arguments.

All this stuff about "moral agents" is vague and meaningless, since you don't even understand what the word "moral" means when you divorce it from some kind of conceptual purity. Morality is about standards, based in time and place, which help a society function properly. That is why it can be okay to have slaves in one time and place and wrong in another time in place.

Appeals to arguments like "we don't have to do it so we shouldn't" are silly, since obviously we do a lot of unnecessary things, many of which have destructive sides to them. What we as societies allow ourselves to do is mostly based on the net balance of good and bad in a given time in a given place.

As for you being here to learn - I highly doubt that. You have an agenda and you're trying to convince me to accept your point of view. The standard way in which this is done by ARAs is with copious amounts of guilt-tripping from a supposed place of moral authority. Unfortunately, such tactics don't work on me.

Touching on your belief that insects should have basic rights, how exactly does that work? There goes tilling soil, driving vehicles, spraying chemicals to kill of mosquitoes, and so forth. Welcome to a big jump in malaria.

As for your Nazi analogy, you're actually making my case. It didn't cause their society to fall apart, but rather brought on a reaction from outside forces who objected to what they were doing. It also wasn't the primary reason that people engaged them in war.

None of this really matters, since you're never going to be able to prove where the line should be drawn for which beings get rights, nor why. I mean, you can have your reasons, but unless there's consent among the others you share a society with, it won't go anywhere. We see this same dilemma when it comes to struggles over reproductive rights in the United States - when does life begin and all that.

And even if one can determine what "sentience" really is (ie, where to draw a line), you're still left with the problem of demonstrating immorality in killing a sentient being. Like I said, it is immoral (in most instances, not all) to kill another human being. We make exceptions in terms of self-defense, in war (which is interpreted as collective self-defense), and in certain capital cases (which is seen as protecting society from an irredeemably evil person). If we didn't the measures to punish killing other people, then society would fall apart into a melee of blood feuds. But no matter how many pigs or cows or fish we kill, society is not going to fall apart - they won't and can't take vengeance upon us, and they are not perceived as our relations. It's the reason why people like Mary Martin are able to rationalize killing pigs to keep her dog alive - the latter has a relationship with her, whereas a faceless, nameless (to her) pig does not.

None of this means that it is wrong for you personally to make choices about what you will and won't do with respect to other animals, but it's merely to show you that the obstacle to "abolition" is essentially insurmountable for very clear reasons which will likely never change.

When you remove the sentiment/emotion from the discussion, that becomes pretty clear. In an ideal world would I want animals to die to feed humans? No. But that's how it is - we're part of the cycle of life and the complex food chain on the planet. No different than any other animal. So I'm not going to lose sleep over efforts to deny what's natural and force humans into thinking and behaving in ways which they will never assent to, as a group.

Anonymous said...

“I'm not going to go through all 20 because I already hit 3 or 4 and showed them to be bunk. It's not my job to prove anything or knock down some random guy's arguments.”

They aren’t randomly chosen arguments. Francione has been teaching animal rights for more than 20 years, so he must have an idea about what the most frequent questions about animal rights are. Of course it’s not your job to prove anything, but since you are so prone to criticize us, I thought you would be delighted to dismantle some of his arguments, word by word. Besides this, you are the one who suggested that "we should collaborate on putting together an FAQ for dealing with all their weak arguments." Perhaps these arguments are not as weak as you stated.

"All this stuff about "moral agents" is vague and meaningless, since you don't even understand what the word "moral" means when you divorce it from some kind of conceptual purity. Morality is about standards, based in time and place, which help a society function properly. That is why it can be okay to have slaves in one time and place and wrong in another time in place.”

If you have moral agency, you are responsible for what you do as long as you are aware of the full consequences of what you are doing towards another one. And you can chose not doing something which may affect negatively another one since you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The base of moral agency is our ability to have empaty, which precedes our ability to reason. However, a moral system needs to be structured by rational thought. If you argue that any morality is as good as another one as long it prevents any society to fall apart, you would necessary have to agree that a morality based on universal moral truths is no exception for this rule, falling with contradiction with your own moral relativism. And let me ask you something. Would you support human slavery in the future as long the society functions properly? How about cannibalism and infanticide? Aren’t we supposed to evolve morally since as rational beings we can learn with our mistakes in the past?

"Appeals to arguments like "we don't have to do it so we shouldn't" are silly, since obviously we do a lot of unnecessary things, many of which have destructive sides to them. What we as societies allow ourselves to do is mostly based on the net balance of good and bad in a given time in a given place.”

Perhaps the concept of moral imperative sounds a little bit absolutist to you. Completely avoiding the instrumental use of any sentient being is perfectly feasible. Unfortunately, completely avoiding any harm is not possible, as I wrote previously at https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4282775515189675289&postID=5941965217976959311. Arguing that since it’s not possible to completely avoiding harm we should be allowed to deliberately harm or exploit someone is a non sequitur. The most important thing here is our intention to avoid deliberately harming anyone. Rights based morality (Francione’s approach) is based on our intentions, in opposition to utilitarianism (Singer’s approach), where the interests of some individuals may be deliberately sacrificed in the name of the greater god. When you talk about a net balance of good and bad, which criteria exactly do you employ to decide who are the ones who would be sacrificed in the name of the greater good of a certain society? Perhaps skin color just because it was OK in a given time in a given place? Or degree of intelligence, as stated by Singer, who may agree with marginal human cases vivisection? For that matter, see http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/?m=200611.

“As for you being here to learn - I highly doubt that. You have an agenda and you're trying to convince me to accept your point of view. The standard way in which this is done by ARAs is with copious amounts of guilt-tripping from a supposed place of moral authority. Unfortunately, such tactics don't work on me.”

It was just a little bit of irony. Obviously I’m not here to “educate” anyone, since I would have to be extremely naïve to imagine I could persuade one of the less receptive people regarding animal rights. People who kill or hurt sentient beings for “sport” will seldom go vegan, because the harm they cause is not hidden from their views and there is no plausible excuse about the necessity of that harm. However, I did come here to learn, because I sincerely want to understand why you seem to give so much importance to us. Why do you waste your precious time creating copious anti-AR websites and reading AR websites in a daily basis? Aren’t our ideas so stupid to deserve such amount of attention? Since we are a tiny bunch of lunatics who will never have a say in our society, why do you care so much about us?

“Touching on your belief that insects should have basic rights, how exactly does that work? There goes tilling soil, driving vehicles, spraying chemicals to kill of mosquitoes, and so forth. Welcome to a big jump in malaria.”

As sentient beings, they do have basic rights. We can’t use them instrumentally, except in some circumstances related to our self-defense. That means no honey, no silk and no butterfly expositions Of course we are entitled to kill them in self-defense, in the same way we are entitled to kill lions, grizzly bears and other human beings whenever is necessary to defend ourselves. About their incidental deaths due to human activities, read what I wrote previously at https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4282775515189675289&postID=5941965217976959311.

“As for your Nazi analogy, you're actually making my case. It didn't cause their society to fall apart, but rather brought on a reaction from outside forces who objected to what they were doing. It also wasn't the primary reason that people engaged them in war.”

In the same way the realization of the immorality of the instrumental use of all sentient beings by moral agents will bring such a reaction that our society will have to change in the future. As for the Nazis, let’s suppose they had won the Second World War. Instead of falling apart, their society would have many benefits to offer in terms of medicine, since they had no problems in vivisecting humans. Because there is no doubt that we can learn a lot with vivisection in terms of human health, especially when it is undertaken in the right species. And let me ask you something. If you happened to be a member of a tiny bunch of human rights lunatics in such society, would you be hypocritical to use its medicine in order to save the life of your child?

“None of this really matters, since you're never going to be able to prove where the line should be drawn for which beings get rights, nor why. I mean, you can have your reasons, but unless there's consent among the others you share a society with, it won't go anywhere. We see this same dilemma when it comes to struggles over reproductive rights in the United States - when does life begin and all that.”

In the case of the creatures whose sentience is more controversial, we give the benefit of the doubt to them by not using them, as I stated before. And this is not a simple matter of opinion, because we need empirical evidence to support our opinions. See answer number 9 of Francione’s FAQ. As for the reproductive rights dilemma, see the answer number 11 of the same list.

“And even if one can determine what "sentience" really is (ie, where to draw a line), you're still left with the problem of demonstrating immorality in killing a sentient being. Like I said, it is immoral (in most instances, not all) to kill another human being. We make exceptions in terms of self-defense, in war (which is interpreted as collective self-defense), and in certain capital cases (which is seen as protecting society from an irredeemably evil person). If we didn't the measures to punish killing other people, then society would fall apart into a melee of blood feuds. But no matter how many pigs or cows or fish we kill, society is not going to fall apart - they won't and can't take vengeance upon us, and they are not perceived as our relations. It's the reason why people like Mary Martin are able to rationalize killing pigs to keep her dog alive - the latter has a relationship with her, whereas a faceless, nameless (to her) pig does not.”

I really can’t understand why you wrote sentience between quotation marks. Don’t you consider yourself a sentient being? I mean, isn’t your life, physical integrity and liberty important for you even if their violation benefited someone else? Of course the case would be totally different if you were trying to violate someone else’s rights. In this case, you should have to be stopped by all necessary means.

Capital cases are all human rights violations, because we can prevent irredeemably evil people to commit more crimes just by keeping them in jail for the rest of their lives. Killing them just by vengeance is nothing more than using them as a way to placate the emotions of the law-abiding members of society. Why don’t we vivisect them or donate their organs? Wouldn’t it be better for society in practical terms? According to our current concept of universal human rights, which is a moral absolutist one, it’s wrong to use instrumentally any human being without his consent, regardless of our culture, our traditions and our emotions. We, AR nutters, just want to expand our current society moral horizons by recognizing the right of all sentient beings to not be used instrumentally by moral agents, because doing otherwise would be a violation of the principle of equal consideration.

You are right when you say our society would fall apart into a melee of blood feuds if we don’t criminalize ALL homicides out of the contexts of self defense and state of necessity. But that wouldn’t be necessary true in a Nazi society which didn’t considerate killing Jews a crime as long as these Jews were totally powerless in that society. In the same way, pigs, cows and fish simply don’t fall our society apart because there are defenseless. On the other hand, if you killed a baby grizzly bear in one of your hunts and his mother happened to stay just behind you at that moment, you would certainly be cut to pieces. So be careful next time, because some of them can take vengeance upon us.

Finally, whether we perceive some sentient beings as our relations is not a measure of their rights. For instance, I’ll never meet most of Chinese human beings, but I wouldn’t agree with their use as forced organs donors even if it would benefit someone of my family. As for Mary Martin’s dilemma, see answer number 13 of Francione’s FAQ.


“None of this means that it is wrong for you personally to make choices about what you will and won't do with respect to other animals, but it's merely to show you that the obstacle to "abolition" is essentially insurmountable for very clear reasons which will likely never change.”

I believe we are absolute free to make whatever we want, provided we don’t violate someone else’s rights. As for the obstacles to abolition (without quotation marks because this word is perfectly valid to express our position) being essentially insurmountable, I really appreciate your employment of the word “likely”. It really gave me some hope.

“When you remove the sentiment/emotion from the discussion, that becomes pretty clear. In an ideal world would I want animals to die to feed humans? No. But that's how it is - we're part of the cycle of life and the complex food chain on the planet. No different than any other animal. So I'm not going to lose sleep over efforts to deny what's natural and force humans into thinking and behaving in ways which they will never assent to, as a group.”

As I stated, our ability to have empaty precedes our ability to reason, but a moral system should be based on rational arguments. And Animal Rights follows that rule. About not eating other animals, you can just start today. As far as you are concerned, it’s totally under your control. It’s just a matter of really taking the other animals seriously and not just saying that. Yes, there are many predators on nature, but as moral agents, we are above them. We can’t consider nonhuman animals inferior than us and at the same time our source of moral inspiration. And what is natural is not always necessarily moral. And, by the way, morality is not a matter of opinion polling, as you moral relativists seems to believe.


Attentively,

Cláudio Godoy

Anonymous said...

And, by the way, morality is not a matter of opinion polling, as you moral relativists seems to believe.

You know what fascinates me? That the more extreme someone is, the more they sound like their enemy. That sentence sounds like something Sean Hannity would say.

Anonymous said...

Sound familiar?

Some always look for root causes to justify inexcusable behavior in the world. But they search in vain, because a mask of moral relativism obscures their vision. The cause is evil, and it provides no excuses.

If I were the author of evil and seeking recruits to implement my agenda, I would disguise my nature and try to maximize moral confusion. I would enlist my servant, moral relativism, to dupe the world into rejecting absolutes – to erase God's law from people's hearts.

What better way to turn the world to darkness than to deceive well-meaning people into becoming God-mocking relativists?

When we deny moral absolutes, we can rationalize anything because we remove any objective basis on which to condemn misconduct. One more chilling manifestation of this is the undeniable wave of anti-Semitism that is currently inundating the world, not just the Middle East. In the last week, I've seen dozens of reports documenting incidents against Jews throughout the world. But true to relativistic form, we are calling it by other names. Who would have thought that this unspeakable evil could be resurrected in such full force so quickly after the world promised it would never forget?

Once you get past the veneer of relativism, you will see that it is intellectually bankrupt. Hidden somewhere in the words of everyone who argues for complete relativism is a belief that there are, indeed, some acts that are wrong. The bottom line is this: When someone says that all truth is relative, he or she is making either a relative statement or an absolute one. If it is a relative statement, then that statement, by definition, is not always true. On the other hand, if the belief that all truth is relative is absolute, the very statement itself must be denied, because it denies absolutes. The pure relativist cuts off the branch on which he is sitting while telling you that branch cannot be severed. The landing is mind-shattering.

Indeed, secular humanists smugly touting moral relativism are so muddled with contradiction that they don't see that their value(less) system furnishes the fuel that drives the engines of oppression. In this century alone, the totalitarian systems of Nazism, Fascism and Communism that murdered millions of people were philosophically grounded in a virulent antipathy toward God and His absolutes.

While many wear relativism as a badge of enlightenment in this post-modern world, it is a singular menace that distorts the mind and punctures the soul. As corny as this may sound, those who still have the clarity to recognize evil must summon the courage to identify and oppose it.


This is where it comes from.

Grizzly Bear said...

"The most important thing here is our intention to avoid deliberately harming anyone."

Nonsense. It isn't just about intentions. It's also about results. Our own laws reflect this. For example, if I go out and get in a car accident, and someone dies, I can be charged with all kinds of crimes that might include any of the following: manslaughter, vehicular homicide, reckless driving, careless driving, speeding, running a red light, etc.. I may not have INTENDED to hurt or kill anyone, but I can still be held responsible if my behavior produces that result, regardless of my intentions. In my experience, ARAs place far too much value on intentions, rather than on results. You can paint me cynical if you like, but my guess is they do that because to actually consider actions and results requires them to confront the stark reality of their own hypocrisy.


"Rights based morality (Francione’s approach) is based on our intentions,....."

And as I have just shown, judging intentions rather than actions is a rather vacuous moral system.


"Why do you waste your precious time creating copious anti-AR websites and reading AR websites in a daily basis?"

Because it is a subject that interests me. Why do people waste time creating websites about baseball, cars, table tennis, medieval history, fashion,or any other subject under the sun? Because it interests them. "Copious anti-AR websites"? Surely you jest! Pro-ar blogs and websites greatly outnumber anti-AR websites, and my guess is that you know it. Those who are anti-AR have just as much right to express our views on the subject as those who are pro-AR. Your statement seems to be indicative of someone who is uncomfortable with the fact that a blog such as this exists.


"As sentient beings, they do have basic rights."


You keep using the term "sentience" but you have yet to prove that "sentience" is a valid criterion for determining what is a rights-holder. "Sentience" is a vague and subjective criterion for determining rights status. Furthermore, it is completely arbitrary and in reality has no more validity than any other criteria.


"That means no honey, no silk and no butterfly expositions."


You're suggesting that insects are "sentient"? If you're going to make an outlandish claim such as this, you're going to have to prove it. And when I say prove it, I mean via hard biological science, not by Francione quotes or philosophical babble.


"If you happened to be a member of a tiny bunch of human rights lunatics in such society, would you be hypocritical to use its medicine in order to save the life of your child?"


Yes.


"On the other hand, if you killed a baby grizzly bear in one of your hunts and his mother happened to stay just behind you at that moment, you would certainly be cut to pieces."


First, no ethical hunter would kill a bear cub. It is not ethical sportsmanship, and furthermore it is illegal. Second, you're ignorant about bear behavior. A mother grizzly would likely have charged or attacked you at the first perceived threat, long before you could get close enough to get between her and the cub.


"So be careful next time, because some of them can take vengeance upon us."

Being as I don't shoot cubs or hunt in grizzly territory, your "advice" rings rather hollow. Such a statement seems to show gross ignorance of what ethical sportsmen do and do not do, and perhaps blindly buying into some kind of stereotype of hunters. Try taking off those ideological blinders!


"As for Mary Martin’s dilemma, see answer number 13 of Francione’s FAQ."

That doesn't fly. Dr. Martin is a hypocrite pure and simple. For her to use a drug that is a byproduct of pork production on her dog, while claiming that using pigs for instrumental use is morally wrong is the height of hypocrisy. It fits the very definition of the word. Furthermore, it is in fact "speciesist", because she is putting the needs of her dog ahead of the supposed "rights" of the pig! It is gross hypocrisy, pure and simple. She then compounds it by trying to rationalize her actions instead of actually having the courage to face up to her hypocrisy.