Saturday, November 3, 2007

Response to pro-AR comments

I will get back to the discussion about "loaded AR terminology" in the next post ( hopefully! ). A pro-AR reader, Claudio, recently left some comments about the incidental deaths of wild animals that occur in crop agriculture, which I think is a dilemma of hypocrisy for ideological vegans who like to claim they live a "cruelty-free lifestyle" and like to use that as some kind of unjustified moral bludgeon against other people. Recently, he also smugly challenged me to "feel free to debunk it". As I have done before, I like to move pro-AR comments that I think are of some value to the forefront so readers can read them, and my response, without having to dive into old, dated posts. Claudio's remarks, and the original post he was responding to, can be found here. I'm not going to reproduce Claudio's comments in full here, simply for the reason they are lengthy, so please read them in the original thread.



"However, there are exceptional circumstances where incidental deaths of right-bearers are not punished and can be considered as a necessary evil. For instance, in an exclusively human context, the air pollution caused by human activities kills a great number of people and has severe consequences on the health of many more."



The analogy Claudio is using here is not a good one. In fact, it utterly fails. The fact of the matter is, polluters can be, and in fact are, punished under the law. Government regulations require pollution controls on everything from cars to power plants. If industries fail to implement controls or exceed the amount of pollution specified by law, they can face criminal charges and large fines. In some instances, even city governments can be fined, or face loss of federal subsidies for various things, if they exceed a certain number of "smog days". Drivers of cars that don't pass emissions tests are required to repair them so that they do, or face fines. Polluters are compelled by law to rectify the problem and they can continue to face ongoing consequences until they do. The reason we have these laws is because, as Claudio stated, pollution has a negative impact on the health of people, who are rights-holding beings. The laws are intended to minimize, as much as possible, the impact pollution has on people. This is not the case with incidental animal deaths in crop agriculture. Outside of perhaps endangered species laws, which are designed to protect only certain species, there are no laws that exist that even so much as attempt to protect animals from being harmed in crop agriculture. And of course, you will hear no ARA clamoring for there to be so, even though these supposedly "rights-holding beings" such as birds, insects, and rodents are killed by the thousands, if not millions, in industrialized crop agriculture. You see, for the majority of ARAs, their own complicity in animal suffering and death is a matter of "hear no evil, see no evil". Why? Because no one like to face their own hypocrisy. At the most, some will make rather transparent attempts to justify or rationalize their complicity with weak arguments, as Claudio has done here. If animals are "rights holding beings", do we not owe it to them to implement laws that at least try to save as many of them as possible from a cruel death at the hands of industrialized crop agriculture? It would seem so if we are going to claim animals have rights and we are going to be morally and intellectually consistent with what we say we believe. If it was millions of human children, rather than millions of sparrows and field mice, that were being killed by crop agriculture, would Claudio and his fellow ARAs demand that something be done right now to stop it, like most rational people would, or would they simply blow it off as "collateral damage" or "a necessary evil" as they do with animals that are killed? If animals hold the same basic rights, such as the right to life, as do human children, then how can they possibly dismiss the deaths of the animals if they would not dismiss the deaths of the children? This is why animal rights is such an intellectually bankrupt and ethically vacuous position: it has a flawed foundation of self-serving, selective moral outrage that results in blatant hypocrisy.




"As I stated in another forum, non-human animals will never be members of human society, because their lack of moral agency, so they can’t engage in a human social contract."


Which is precisely the reason animals do not have rights. The concept of rights is nothing more than a kind of social and legal contract that has been devised by humans to help maintain order and protection for people in human society. It helps protect us from chaotic, destructive behavior that would have negative impacts on the survival and well-being of our species. It is really nothing more ( unless, of course, one subscribes to some kind of "natural rights theory", which I reject because it is logically indefensible ). Animals operate in an amoral plane of existence in which the human-derived concept of rights is irrelevant. Rights have no use, and no meaning to, non-human animals, because it doesn't fit into the nature of their existence and not even the most intelligent of them can grasp the concept.



"In this aspect, they are like the marginal human cases."

Animals are nothing like marginal human cases. A marginal human case is a case in which a human is either permanently or temporarily incapacitated from being a moral agent. There is a huge difference though, between a marginal human and an animal. If the human were not incapacitated or disabled, they would be a moral agent, because moral agency is a general characteristic of humans. That is not true for animals. Even the most intelligent, fully functioning animal does not possess even the potential to be a moral agent. Moral agency is a characteristic of humanity. Just because that characteristic is "broken" in some individuals, that doesn't mean it ceases to be a general characteristic of humans. Suppose we have a car that doesn't run because it's engine doesn't start. Just because our car is incapacitated and doesn't work properly , it doesn't mean that it no longer possesses all the basic characteristics of a car. It would run if we were able to fix it. It isn't a kitchen sink, a TV set, or a chair. It is still a car because it still has all the basic characteristics of a car. Likewise, marginal humans retain all the basic attributes of humans, including basic rights, because they are still humans that are simply in a disabled state, in which their moral agency isn't functioning, that may be either permanent or temporary.


"(because since they are sentient they are right-bearers)"


A statement of opinion and not of fact. I have yet to see a convincing, rock-solid argument from Claudio, or any other ARA, including their beloved Gary Francione, as to why "sentience" is a valid criterion that should trump all other criteria for determining what is, and what is not, a rights holder.

10 comments:

padraig said...

Just to add to one of your points:

I have a family member who is in the "marginal" category owing to Down's Syndrome. She is not able to work full-time, but she can:
* Read and write
* Operate a computer well enough to send and receive e-mail
* Help with her own health care, which can be complex
* Ride a bicycle

I could go on, but the point is, show me an animal of ANY species who can do ANY of those things in a true, that is, non-imitative way. And this is a human that is considered "disabled!"

On a personal note, those AR's who label people like her with condescending labels like "marginal" are welcome to kiss my pale hairless primate ass.

Anonymous said...

Like so many AR arguments, the whole notion of "moral agency", "marginal cases" and the like are red herrings. The reason we don't have rights to kill even the most incapacitated humans is that those humans are related to other humans, who, if we killed their relation, would want to kill us. Once again, the whole notion of morality gets ignored and made into something that exists independent of pragmatic human concerns.

If I kill someone's child in a coma, they will want to kill me. If they kill me, my relations will want to kill them. And so on.

If someone kills an animal who is not someone's pet, there are no ramifications in human society. It moves on - no cycle of vengeance is started.

These people can piss and moan about how "speciesist" that is or whatever, but it's irrelevant. If one is going to assert that morals are absolute, then one would have to demonstrate where this supposed "moral" exists in any coherent human society that says it's wrong to kill a random animal for food. On the contrary, most societies celebrate such a thing.

When one washes away guilt and sentimentality, there's really nothing there.

Since the shrillest of the vegan nutters (like Martin) already act along those lines (killing fish and pigs to keep her relations, her pets, alive), then it's pretty clear that the true logic of human morality holds and this conceptual "morality" of theirs doesn't even get followed by them.

Meat is "icky" so they just find some really complicated way to try (futilely) to get other people to stop being "icky." You see the same thing with anti-abortion nutters -- if they actually cared about reducing abortions as much as possible, they'd be at the forefront of birth control measures. But instead, it's the opposite, since the main point is that sex, and mostly non-procreative and non-marital sex, is "icky" to them.

Anonymous said...

"I will get back to the discussion about "loaded AR terminology" in the next post (hopefully!). A pro-AR reader, Claudio, recently left some comments about the incidental deaths of wild animals that occur in crop agriculture, which I think is a dilemma of hypocrisy for ideological vegans who like to claim they live a "cruelty-free lifestyle" and like to use that as some kind of unjustified moral bludgeon against other people. Recently, he also smugly challenged me to "feel free to debunk it". As I have done before, I like to move pro-AR comments that I think are of some value to the forefront so readers can read them, and my response, without having to dive into old, dated posts. Claudio's remarks, and the original post he was responding to, can be found here. I'm not going to reproduce Claudio's comments in full here, simply for the reason they are lengthy, so please read them in the original thread.”

As I stated in my comment, there’s absolutely no "cruelty-free lifestyle". Incidental wild animal deaths not only occur in crop agriculture but in a wide range of human activities. The sole fact that we need a place to live means that many wild animals were at least displaced from their territories and just this displacement causes many indirect deaths. But the impossibility to avoid these deaths doesn’t imply that is OK to use nonhuman animals as our resources, since we can completely avoid their use.

My insistence in my “smug” challenge was due to your repeated choose to ignore it when we were having a discussion in another threat at http://thespeciesistscorner.blogspot.com/2007/10/absence-of-hypocrisy.html. And please don’t forget to publish my last comment to this threat, which was posted last Friday.

One more thing. We don’t defend the full abolition of human use of nonhuman animals just to have a moral bludgeon against other people. If felling morally superior were our sole purpose, the perennial presence of people who treat nonhuman animals as resources would be an imperative, falling in contradiction with our own original purpose to abolish their use. We want the abolition of all animal use exclusively for the sake of its victims.


"The analogy Claudio is using here is not a good one. In fact, it utterly fails. The fact of the matter is, polluters can be, and in fact are, punished under the law. Government regulations require pollution controls on everything from cars to power plants. If industries fail to implement controls or exceed the amount of pollution specified by law, they can face criminal charges and large fines. In some instances, even city governments can be fined, or face loss of federal subsidies for various things, if they exceed a certain number of "smog days". Drivers of cars that don't pass emissions tests are required to repair them so that they do, or face fines. Polluters are compelled by law to rectify the problem and they can continue to face ongoing consequences until they do. The reason we have these laws is because, as Claudio stated, pollution has a negative impact on the health of people, who are rights-holding beings. The laws are intended to minimize, as much as possible, the impact pollution has on people. This is not the case with incidental animal deaths in crop agriculture. Outside of perhaps endangered species laws, which are designed to protect only certain species, there are no laws that exist that even so much as attempt to protect animals from being harmed in crop agriculture. And of course, you will hear no ARA clamoring for there to be so, even though these supposedly "rights-holding beings" such as birds, insects, and rodents are killed by the thousands, if not millions, in industrialized crop agriculture. You see, for the majority of ARAs, their own complicity in animal suffering and death is a matter of "hear no evil, see no evil". Why? Because no one like to face their own hypocrisy. At the most, some will make rather transparent attempts to justify or rationalize their complicity with weak arguments, as Claudio has done here. If animals are "rights holding beings", do we not owe it to them to implement laws that at least try to save as many of them as possible from a cruel death at the hands of industrialized crop agriculture? It would seem so if we are going to claim animals have rights and we are going to be morally and intellectually consistent with what we say we believe. If it was millions of human children, rather than millions of sparrows and field mice, that were being killed by crop agriculture, would Claudio and his fellow ARAs demand that something be done right now to stop it, like most rational people would, or would they simply blow it off as "collateral damage" or "a necessary evil" as they do with animals that are killed? If animals hold the basic rights, such as the right to life, as do human children, then how can they possibly blow off the deaths of the animals if they would not blow off the deaths of the children? This is why animal rights is such an intellectually bankrupt and ethically vacuous position: it has a flawed foundation of self-serving, selective moral outrage that results in blatant hypocrisy.”

It is a good one. Even if all pollution control regulations were observed, air pollution would still have a great impact in human health, because there are simply too many cars and too many industries which rely on fossil combustive. Unless the government abolished the use of cars and imposed the exclusive use of bicycles and obliged all the industries and home heaters to use hydroelectric energy, deaths and health problems caused by human made air pollution wouldn’t cease to exist. In the same way you state that we should minimize, as much as possible, the impact pollution has on people, we should minimize, as much as possible, the impact our activities have on the other animals. And you forgot to address the other example mentioned in my comment. Perhaps you omitted it because you may think that all climate change is 100% natural and has absolutely nothing to do with human action.

As for the absence of laws to protect animals from being harmed in crop agriculture (as if this harm were totally avoidable), how do you expect their own existence if our society still allows the totally avoidable instrumental use of individual sentient beings which necessarily involves their killing, torturing and/or enslavement? And endangered species laws exist only to protect animals as species and not because these animals are considered as individual sentient beings who deserve basic rights, since there are viewed as resources which have to be managed in order to make possible our future use of them. For that matter, see answer number 15 of Francione’s FQA at http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/?page_id=73 (yes, we love this guy).

Of course that ARAs are aware of the incidental deaths for which we are also responsible. That’s why we strongly favor organic cultivated vegetables, less consuming as a general matter, rational land use (through the extinction of animal agriculture) and human population control (for our own sake too) in order to reduce them.

Finally, you have to explain exactly how these hypothetical millions of human children happened to appear in the middle of the agricultural fields. Perhaps millions of Chinese parents decided to abandon their second children in the fields due to a mass non observance of the single child law in order to avoid punition. But just for the sake of your argument, let’s suppose that tomorrow all agricultural land in the world were fully covered by trillions of human babies and that there was no time to rescue all of them before we starve. If I based my morals on a teleological ethical system and my purpose were just to cause the less harm as possible, I would suggest we should forget about agriculture and eat the babies situated on the borders of the fields directly, provided we killed them in a painless way. But since I follow a deontological ethical system which refuses the instrumental use of all sentient beings, perhaps more babies would have to be incidentally smashed by tractors because we would need to harvest our crops in order to survive (of course I would save as much babies as possible). Unfortunately, in practical terms, the overwhelming majority of these babies wouldn’t have to wait our decision for a single day because they would have already been died by dehydration, hunger and predation (the ants would love to eat this succulent manah from the sky).

And we are the ones who are intellectually bankrupted.


“Which is precisely the reason animals do not have rights. The concept of rights is nothing more than a kind of social and legal contract that has been devised by humans to help maintain order and protection for people in human society. It helps protect us from chaotic, destructive behavior that would have negative impacts on the survival and well-being of our species. It is really nothing more (unless, of course, one subscribes to some kind of "natural rights theory", which I reject because it is logically indefensible). Animals operate in an amoral plane of existence in which the human-derived concept of rights is irrelevant. Rights have no use, and no meaning to, non-human animals, because it doesn't fit into the nature of their existence and not even the most intelligent of them can grasp the concept.”

That doesn’t follow simply because to have at least basic rights all that’s required is moral patience, since basic rights are nothing more than a way to protect the interests of all sentient individuals against their instrumental use by moral agents. So they should be left alone, to live their “primitive” lives according to their preferences as long as their actions don’t threat our interests or their presence represent an obstacle to our own survival. And please tell me exactly how nonhuman animals could live in human societies in a non exploitative context. Perhaps just as vermin? Would it be feasible for you to share your home with a true grizzly–bear? The fact they can’t be members of human societies doesn’t mean that we should be allowed to do whatever we want to them out of the context of self-defense.

It seems that you think that killing another human being is wrong only when affects social cohesion and it’s not objectionable per se. Moral absolutists like me would object to a homicide out of the context of self defense because it violates the interest which the killed person had in her own life, even if nobody else cared about that in a certain society. This person cared about her life, and that’s enough for us. Please reread the above mentioned thread where I used several times the Nazi society analogy.

The idea of universal human rights is a direct descendent of the natural rights theory. Perhaps you object to this theory because the abstract concept of rights was exclusively and artificially created by humans. Of course the abstract concept of rights can only be devised by humans, in the same way we are the only ones who can apply this concept. The abstract concept of rights is entirely meaningless for nonhuman animals, but some of them do live in societies and in order to reach some degree of social cohesion they need to follow some rules among the members of their group, which could be considered as an embryonic form of rights. And the ability to empathize at least with the ones of their own kin must necessarily precede this need of social cohesion. Therefore, some animals don’t operate in a completely amoral plane of existence, even if the human-derived concept of rights is irrelevant for them. Sometimes you seem to forget that we just happened to be social animals who developed larger brains which allowed us to elaborate abstract concepts derived from preexistent situations.


“Animals are nothing like marginal human cases. A marginal human case is a case in which a human is either permanently or temporarily incapacitated from being a moral agent. There is a huge difference though, between a marginal human and an animal. If the human were not incapacitated or disabled, they would be a moral agent, because moral agency is a general characteristic of humans. That is not true for animals. Even the most intelligent, fully functioning animal does not possess even the potential to be a moral agent. Moral agency is a characteristic of humanity. Just because that characteristic is "broken" in some individuals, that doesn't mean it ceases to be a general characteristic of humans. Suppose we have a car that doesn't run because it's engine doesn't start. Just because our car is incapacitated and doesn't work properly , it doesn't mean that it no longer possesses all the basic characteristics of a car. It would run if we were able to fix it. It isn't a kitchen sink, a TV set, or a chair. It is still a car because it still has all the basic characteristics of a car. Likewise, marginal humans retain all the basic attributes of humans, including basic rights, because they are still humans that are simply in a disabled state, in which their moral agency isn't functioning, that may be either permanent or temporary.”

I’m not disagreeing that moral agency is an exclusive human trait. But when we talk about lack of moral agency, nonhuman animals are like marginal human cases and human infants. Of course there is a difference on why each one of them lacks moral agency, but that’s irrelevant for the matter of having basic rights, since the sole base of having basic rights is sentience. When you affirm that the ability of reciprocation is the base of having rights, you necessarily imply that humans who are permanently unable to reciprocate rights are not rights holders. According to your contractualistic view of basic rights, the ability to reciprocate rights is the base of having rights, so if a human being lacks this ability, he no longer possess the sole requirement to have basic rights, no matter if he is a broken car, I mean, no matter if he still belongs to the species Homo sapiens and continues to share almost all physiological characteristics with normal humans.

Your automobilistic analogy is nothing more than the frequent appeal to the flawed Argument from Species Normality, which is a pompous name for discrimination, where individuals are judged by the group where they belong instead of their real individual characteristics. Are you against facilities for handicapped people? According to the Argument from Species Normality, these facilities should be abolished, because normal human beings can walk without help. Are you for the penal accountability of people who cannot be responsible for their actions? According to the Argument from Species Normality, these people should be punished exactly in the same way that people who can be responsible for their acts, because normal human beings are moral agents.


“A statement of opinion and not of fact. I have yet to see a convincing, rock-solid argument from Cláudio, or any other ARA, including their beloved Gary Francione, as to why "sentience" is a valid criterion that should trump all other criteria for determining what is, and what is not, a rights holder.”

As I repeated several times in that above mentioned threat , if you are a sentient being, you must necessarily have an interest in not be killed, hurt and held in captivity, even if you are not able to conceive these interests in an abstract way. And a right is a mean to protect those interests. Think about why you give so much importance to your life, physical integrity and liberty. Is it because you can write symphonies, build skyscrapers and play chess? Is it because you belong to the species Homo sapiens? Or is it because you have moral agency? I don’t think so. You have rights because what happens to you matters to you, even if nobody cares about that. That’s as simple as it is.


Attentively,

Cláudio Godoy

Grizzly Bear said...

"My insistence in my “smug” challenge was due to your repeated choose to ignore it when we were having a discussion in another threat at http://thespeciesistscorner.blogspot.com/2007/10/absence-of-hypocrisy.html. And please don’t forget to publish my last comment to this threat, which was posted last Friday."


Sorry, Claudio, but that duck don't hunt. I think your ever increasing arrogance and smugness can be seen by other readers, not just me. You seem to have this kind of self-serving, shrill insistence now that you be heard, and it's testing my patience. I am a busy man. I often work 50-60 hours a week. I am married and have other hobbies and interests. Blogging, and arguing with you, is not my life, sir. I have been more than fair with you and have been very generous with my time addressing you, even moving your comments to the forefront so others could see them and judge them for themselves. There are other readers I would like to interact with and other ideas I would like to begin to formulate posts on, and my time is limited. This is my blog and I set the agenda. If you want your points to be heard and responded to at every drop of the hat, feel free to start your own. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get to work.

Anonymous said...

But the impossibility to avoid these deaths doesn’t imply that is OK to use nonhuman animals as our resources, since we can completely avoid their use.

Driving automobiles wreaks havoc on the environment, including killing millions of animals - through habitat destruction, hitting them, or from oil extraction and processing. Wars are fought over oil, which has huge detrimental effects on humans and other animals - and the rest of the environment. We can completely avoid the use of automobiles, too.

TVs run on electricity, which are powered by things like coal. We can completely avoid the use of TVs.

Indoor plumbing requires toxic chemicals for processing etc, which is harmful to all kinds of life. We can completely avoid the use of indoor plumbing.

We can completely avoid the use of many things, and pretty much anything one does can or does cause harm.

Here in reality, we don't live a subsistence life, so please stop indulging your fantasies along that line.

Anonymous said...

"I think your ever increasing arrogance and smugness can be seen by other readers, not just me."

Correct.

I have a family member Claudio would call "marginal". It shows his contempt for humans more than a regard for animals that he compares someone with Down's syndrome to an animal.

Anonymous said...

Dear Grizzly Bear,

I just like to say I was happy to discuss with you, and I'd like to sorry in advance if I sounded arrogant and smug. I have to admit that sometimes I was somehow provocative, but I didn’t mean to offend anybody. Actually, since the own title of your blog is very provocative toward us, I thought you wouldn’t mind about that.

Thank you for your time and especially to have published my posts. I reread my request for you to publish one of my responses and I have to admit it was a little bit rude. I promise I’ll leave you alone for a while.

Finally, I like to reassure that the animal rights theory is a solid one and I’m optimistic its observation will prevail in the future.


Attentively and goodbye,

Cláudio Godoy

Anonymous said...

I have a family member Claudio would call "marginal". It shows his contempt for humans more than a regard for animals that he compares someone with Down's syndrome to an animal.

Well, seeing as the people equate the slavery of Africans and the Holocaust with what free range chickens have to deal with, it's pretty clear they self-select themselves into a white Anglo echo chamber. God help them if they start getting in the face of blacks and Jews with those kinds of comparisons.

Anonymous said...

Finally, I like to reassure that the animal rights theory is a solid one and I’m optimistic its observation will prevail in the future.

I hear Communists say the same thing about Communism.

Grizzly Bear said...

"It is a good one. Even if all pollution control regulations were observed, air pollution would still have a great impact in human health, because there are simply too many cars and too many industries which rely on fossil combustive. Unless the government abolished the use of cars and imposed the exclusive use of bicycles and obliged all the industries and home heaters to use hydroelectric energy, deaths and health problems caused by human made air pollution wouldn’t cease to exist. In the same way you state that we should minimize, as much as possible, the impact pollution has on people, we should minimize, as much as possible, the impact our activities have on the other animals."

Claudio is dodging the point here. The point that I was driving home is that we at least attempt to minimize the effects of pollution on people. In regards to the incidental deaths of animals in industrial crop agriculture, we don't even make so much as an effort! And you will here few ARAs clamoring for protection of wild animals against industrialized crop agriculture, because as I stated, for most of them their own complicity is a matter of "hear no evil, see no evil". This is why Claudio's analogy is utterly a failure: one thing, injury and death from air pollution, we attempt to minimize; the other, incidental animal deaths in crop agriculture, we do not.

"And you forgot to address the other example mentioned in my comment. Perhaps you omitted it because you may think that all climate change is 100% natural and has absolutely nothing to do with human action."


The scientific debate over the causes and extent of climate change is far from over, unless of course one is a Kool-Aid drinker of political hacks like Al Gore, not to mention the mainstream press. Let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that climate change is 100% man caused. The argument is still the same as it is for the air pollution scenario. We are working on new technologies such as carbon sequestration, hydrogen and other alternative fuels, greater fuel efficiency, coal gasification, etc. in order to try to reduce the amount and the effects of "greenhouse gases". The same is not true of incidental animal deaths. No one, to my knowledge, is making any real effort to reduce these deaths. And as I said before, there is no outcry from those that supposedly believe animals have rights for their to be so. I did not mention this scenario simply because the logic that discredits it is the same as the air pollution argument. Furthermore, I highly doubt that Claudio can prove beyond all reasonable doubts that one single person has been killed or injured by human-induced climate change.



"(yes, we love this guy)."

As is nauseatingly obvious. Some ARAs seem to love him up to the point of unquestioning cult-like status. Frightening.




"Finally, you have to explain exactly how these hypothetical millions of human children happened to appear in the middle of the agricultural fields. Perhaps millions of Chinese parents decided to abandon their second children in the fields due to a mass non observance of the single child law in order to avoid punition. But just for the sake of your argument, let’s suppose that tomorrow all agricultural land in the world were fully covered by trillions of human babies and that there was no time to rescue all of them before we starve. If I based my morals on a teleological ethical system and my purpose were just to cause the less harm as possible, I would suggest we should forget about agriculture and eat the babies situated on the borders of the fields directly, provided we killed them in a painless way. But since I follow a deontological ethical system which refuses the instrumental use of all sentient beings, perhaps more babies would have to be incidentally smashed by tractors because we would need to harvest our crops in order to survive (of course I would save as much babies as possible). Unfortunately, in practical terms, the overwhelming majority of these babies wouldn’t have to wait our decision for a single day because they would have already been died by dehydration, hunger and predation (the ants would love to eat this succulent manah from the sky)."


Here, Claudio is playing artful dodger again. Instead of just answering the hypothetical that I raised in a direct manner, Claudio launches into this bizarre, rambling, pseudo-intellectual little diatribe. Why won't Claudio answer the hypothetical in a direct manner? Because if he were to do so, he has, in reality, about two answers he can give, and neither are favorable to his position. If he says , that like the deaths of animals in crop agriculture, the deaths of the children are something that is unavoidable and can't be helped ( "a necessary evil" ), he of course will come across as looking patently irrational. That's not an option. For an ARA, the second answer is also problematic. If Claudio were to say that we SHOULD do something immediately about so many children ( rights-holding beings ) being killed, even though we do nothing about animals ( also rights-holding beings in Claudio's mind ) being killed, he has then admitted by default that human children, in fact, are of higher moral standing than animals, and an admission that humans are of higher moral standing than animals is a big non-no in AR circles. Furthermore, he would also by default be admitting to his own "speciesism" by giving preference to human children, yet another big no-no for ARAs. This hypothetical backs Claudio into a corner and forces him to make a choice that he doesn't want to make, and that's why he sidesteps it and doesn't answer it in a direct manner.


"And please tell me exactly how nonhuman animals could live in human societies in a non exploitative context."

They can't! Claudio is making one of my biggest, most basic points for me. The fact that animals can't be in a non-exploitative relationship with human society, or with each other, for that matter, is exactly why the notion of animal rights is so completely vacuous and infested with hypocrisy.



"It seems that you think that killing another human being is wrong only when affects social cohesion and it’s not objectionable per se."

The reason homicide is objectionable is because it does affect social cohesion. Think about it. If we were all allowed to kill each other at any whim, we would be in a state of utter chaos, and our species would not likely survive it. As I have stated many times before, in the big picture, the reason that all moralities and laws exist, including the concept of rights, is to protect the survival and well-being of our species.


"The idea of universal human rights is a direct descendent of the natural rights theory."

So what? That doesn't make natural rights theory logically defensible . Natural rights theory fails from a logical perspective because there is no way to prove that the source of rights is anything but the mind of mankind.


"Perhaps you object to this theory because the abstract concept of rights was exclusively and artificially created by humans."

Yes. See above.



"Are you for the penal accountability of people who cannot be responsible for their actions? According to the Argument from Species Normality, these people should be punished exactly in the same way that people who can be responsible for their acts, because normal human beings are moral agents."

Those that cannot take responsibility for their actions can still lose some of their rights for failure to reciprocate. For example, those that are legally insane must be confined to mental hospitals for their own safety and the safety of society. They lose their right to not be confined against their will because they are not capable of reciprocating or behaving as moral agents. This is not "punishment" in the sense that a prison sentence is, but it is still loss of rights for failing to reciprocate, nevertheless.