Sunday, December 16, 2007

The good news: Rodney Coronado is going back to jail. The bad news: it isn't for long enough

AR arsonist Rodney Coronado is headed back to jail yet AGAIN. Coronado plead guilty Friday to demonstrating how to create an incendiary device with the intent of having someone else go out and commit a criminal act. Under the plea deal, the judge will be asked to impose a sentence of one year and one day in prison. The maximum sentence would have been twenty years. This is what, the third time now that Coronado has been convicted of a crime? And he only gets a year? How many times will this waste of oxygen be allowed to commit crimes until someone finally throws the book at him? I would think that eventually some kind of habitual criminal law should kick in. Lock this loser up for good. He is obviously incapable of being a productive, responsible citizen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Deconstructing Gary Francione's FAQ's #2

I'm going to move on to question #2 of Gary Francione's animal rights FAQs in this series that I introduced a couple of weeks ago. That post and my analysis of question #1 can be found here. Francione's FAQ's can be read here.

"Question #2: Rights were devised by humans. How can they be applicable to animals?"

The critical question we need to ask ourselves here is "what is the ultimate purpose of rights?". In other words, why do we even have this concept that we call rights? The idea of rights, and I'm speaking specifically of basic rights here, such as the right to life, as opposed to non-basic or political rights, such as the right to vote, is a human created legal construction that protects the individual person's most basic interests. The purpose of rights, however, goes far beyond simply protecting the interest of the individual person. It ultimately extends to protecting the interests of the whole of human society. We grant rights to individual persons because it is ultimately in the best interest of the well being of our species to do so. If we did not do this, chaos within the human community would run rampant. For example, if the right to life, the most basic right of all, did not exist and was not enforceable by the power of law, we could kill each other at any whim with impunity. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to figure out that if this was allowed to happen, complete chaos and disorder would run rampant, human civilization would grind to a halt, and the survival of our species would be very much in doubt. From a completely logical, realistic, and rational standpoint, the ultimate purpose of rights seems clear: to protect the well being of our species from our own actions.

How does all this apply to animals? Well, the answer is, it really doesn't. Animals operate in an amoral plane of existence where the only law is the law of natural selection. There are no rights to anything in the existence of the non-human animal. Animals do not have rights that protect them from being used as resources or exploited by other animals. Since that is the case, by what purely rational grounds should they have rights that protect them from being used or exploited by humans, which are animals as well and are just as much a part of the natural biosphere as are non-humans? There really is no logical or rational grounds, and to single out Homo sapiens as the only species that shouldn't be allowed to "exploit" other species is arbitrary and irrational. If a rabbit does not have an inherent right to not be killed and eaten by a hawk, then by what rational grounds should that very same rabbit have a right to not be killed and eaten by a human? The answer is none in reality. A right is a human-created moral or legal claim against another person or persons. Since animals operate in a state of existence where such moral or legal claims do not even exist, let alone are enforceable, it is nonsensical and illogical to suggest that the human created construction of rights is, or should be, applicable to them.

I think it should also be noted here, that in his answer, Francione makes a statement that is really a half-truth in a disingenuous, cynical attempt to defend his weak position. Francione makes the following statement in his answer: "Rights concepts as we currently understand them were actually devised as a way of protecting the interests of wealthy white male land owners; indeed, most moral concepts were historically devised by privileged males to benefit other privileged males.". This is a half-truth that's very misleading and it's highly insulting to the intelligence of his readers. While this statement is certainly true in regards to many political or non-basic rights, it is not true in regards to basic rights, which are, of course the rights we are talking about when we are discussing animal rights. The idea of basic rights can be traced to ancient civilizations. Though none of these codes specifically contain the term "rights", which is a fairly modern term, they certainly contain the concept of it. One of the most famous of these is the Code of Hammurabi from ancient Mesopotamia, circa 1780 b.c.e.. Hammurabi's code laid out laws, and punishments for breaking those laws. Among the issues addressed in Hammurabi's Code were the rights of woman, children, and slaves. The Cyrus Cylinder, considered by some to be the world's oldest true human rights document, was written by the Persian king Cyrus. Among the decrees in this document were the abolishment of slavery and allowing religious freedom in the empire. Another example is ancient Hebrew law, which is the first five books of the Old Testament. One need only read through these books to see that there certainly is a conceptual form of rights, though the term is not explicitly used. And of course, the Greeks and Romans also had rights concepts in their laws as well. An excellent timeline on the history of what we call human rights can be found here. Francione is a law professor. He ought to know exactly what the history of rights is. He is either incredibly ignorant and uneducated on this subject, or he is intentionally trying to mislead the reader; I don't see much other judgment one could make. Neither one is acceptable for someone in his position. Furthermore, in my opinion, his gratuitous use of racial, class, and gender demagoguery is seriously embarrassing to his credibility and only detracts from his argument. I think it speaks volumes about him and the nature of his agenda, but once again, you can make your own call.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"The Onion" video lampoons animal rights

I love The Onion. It is consistently one of the funniest bits of satirical genius around. They've put together a little skit mocking AR that is absolutely hysterical. I thought I was going to split a gut when I watched this. I love the "I'm not going to lose another job because of a goddam water buffalo" line. Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pro-AR blog wants ordinance to require a "vegan option" at every restaurant. No, I'm not kidding.

This gem may very well qualify as the "animal rights idiocy of the year". Here is a post on the pro-AR AnimalBlawg that must be read to be believed. This blogger has come up with a daft idea that could only come out of the bowels of animal rights idiocy: an ordinance that would require restaurants to have at least one vegan option on their menu. Yep, that's right. This blogger wants to use the power of big government to tell restaurants what food options that they have to offer on their menus. I guess it isn't enough for these control freaks to have regulations that tell restaurants what they CAN'T serve, such as the Chicago foie gras ban, but now, in her mind, we must also have regulations that tell restaurants what they MUST serve. I can't help but wonder if such an ordinance would also apply to restaurants that really specialize in serving primarily meat, such as steak houses or barbecue joints, for example. What is the likelihood that vegans would patronize such establishments anyway? I have long made the claim that animal rights isn't about animals so much as it is about control, coercion, and social engineering. This is yet further evidence. I have a better idea. How about we let the power of good, old-fashioned free markets decide what restaurants serve? If vegan food becomes popular in a certain locale, then wouldn't restaurants that serve such fare begin to appear just because market forces would dictate it? Seems so to me, and no big government is required! This is just another example of how some ARAs seek to use the power of the state to control, dictate, and regulate. Why is it that some people think the solution to every "problem" ( in this case a "problem" that is only a product of her own mind! ) is more government, more laws, and more regulations? Sad. Very sad.

ALF plants fake bomb at medical school

The Animal Liberation Front ( ALF ) has claimed responsibility for a bomb threat at the medical school at the University of California San Diego ( UCSD ). A fake bomb was planted at the campus of the UCSD medical school Wednesday, causing the buildings to be evacuated. According to one report the device was "covered with bullets". The FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating. Let's see. Here we have ALF planting a phony bomb on a college campus, causing research buildings to be evacuated. Sounds like it certainly qualifies as an act of terrorism to me. I would challenge any ALF apologist to make a coherent, convincing argument that this doesn't qualify as an act of terrorism. I'm not holding my breath. I'm also not holding my breath that you will here any of this condemned on any pro-AR blog or website.

Comments from "Warwak"

Yesterday, a commenter who is posting anonymously, but calling himself "Warwak" left some comments in response to comments from someone else. The whole thread can be read here. I'm assuming that this "Warwak" is in fact fired vega-vangelist teacher Dave Warwak whom I have blogged about multiple times. This same person has left these kind of "pot-shot" comments here before. Some of them I have published, others I have rejected simply to save "Warwak" the embarrassment of their inaneness, such as "you're killing my friends", for example. Mr. Warwak, if this person is you, and I have every reason to believe it is, since the style and content of these comments matches your rhetoric, would you care to actually debate the issue of animal rights with me? I am more than happy to engage you in rational debate based on reason and critical thinking, either here on this blog, or in another forum. Instead of taking pot-shots in old, buried posts at me or other readers, have some intellectual courage and let's debate the subject.
Just for fun, let's dissect some of the statements made by "Warwak":

"Yes, this is a monstrous Holocaust and is responsible for MOST of our problems. "

The first thing the reader should notice is Warwak's misuse of the term "Holocaust". The word "Holocaust", when used with a capitol "H" refers to one thing, and one thing only: the Nazi Holocaust. Warwak's apparent inability to use words properly puts his credibility in doubt, as far as I'm concerned, especially considering this is someone who is supposed to be teaching our young people. Beyond that though, it shows just what the basic mindset of ARAs is. To the animal rights mind, the life of an animal and the life of a human are of equal moral worth. That is why they incorrectly use terms like "Holocaust" in reference to slaughtering animals for food. In their world view, if murdering millions of Jews and others is morally wrong, then it must also be equally morally wrong to kill billions of animals for food. This, of course, is patently absurd and irrational because they are failing to make the distinction between the vicious murder of people for no other reasons than hatred and racism, and the simple utilitarian use of animals for food, and such inane reasoning shouldn't fly with the thinking person.
In the second part of this goofy statement, Warwak makes the comment that the use of animals for food, etc. is "responsible for MOST of our problems". Where is the support for such a statement? He offers none at all. Furthermore, what problems is he talking about? He doesn't say. How do you even define "MOST of our problems"? Not a very objective or specific term is it? To blame "MOST" of the problems that plague the human race on one specific thing is exceptionally poor reasoning. It is grossly simplistic, as most people recognize that most problems are complex and have multiple roots and factors that often vary from problem to problem. But alas, simplistic people love simplistic reasoning don't they?

"It really is about peace, love, and compassion for all."

Except, of course, for the animals that are killed and harmed so that vegans and ARAs can continue to live the lifestyle they enjoy, while arrogantly claiming faux moral high ground. The lives and the "rights" of these animals are swept under the rug, so that the ARAs hope you don't notice their hypocrisy. Out of sight and out of mind. I wonder if Warwak has ever stopped to consider how his use of an electrically powered computer to get on blogs and pontificate to others about the supposed evils of their lifestyles effects the suffering and death of animals. Don't count on it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

On hunting and an honest relationship with the world

Recently, on a pro-AR blog, the blogger commented, and I'm paraphrasing here, that, in his opinion, that by going vegan, one enters into a more honest relationship with the world. This is a comment that piqued my thoughts. I began to consider that, in fact, it is not the vegan who has the most honest relationship with the world around them, but rather it is the hunter. Few understand the circle of life and sustenance, which always includes death, better than the hunter. In this natural world in which we live, life must feed upon life in order for life to continue. That is the natural way of things. It has been this way since before the evolution of humankind, and it will be this way long after we have gone extinct. This cycle of life consuming life is not evil or immoral, it simply is reality. When one hunts, one becomes an active part of this cycle in the most intimate and connected of ways. By doing the stalking, the killing, the preparation, and then the eating, the hunter comes to develop a true relationship with the natural world that is far more honest and fulfilling than the vast majority of humanity will ever experience. Few, save for those that raise and slaughter their own domesticated animals (and to some extent, those who grow and harvest their own fruits/vegetables) , understand where their food comes from, or the nature of the cycle of life, quite like the hunter does. The masses that purchase meat at the super market don't experience this honest relationship because the realities of the cycle of life are largely hidden from them; they simply are purchasing a convenient finished product. They miss out on the honest relationship with the world mostly through ignorance ( sometimes willful ), or laziness. The ARA/"ethical vegan" also misses out on a truly honest relationship with the world, and indeed has a DISHONEST relationship with it, but for a different reason. It comes in the form of denial about, or disdain for, the natural ways of this world. This denial or disdain can be either conscious or subconscious. In my experience, The ARA/"ethical vegan" frequently yearns for a world in which there is no "exploitation" ( they sometimes call such a vision a "peaceable kingdom" in AR-speak ), and they often seem to believe that they can make this world vision a reality through their lifestyle choices. This, of course, is not realistic, and is a form of Utopianism. And as is often proven time and time again, there are few relationships, whether they be between people and other people, or people and the world around them, that are more dishonest, and often more destructive and dangerous, than those based upon Utopian visions.