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Libertarians and animal rights
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, August 23, 2007

James Joyner is watching a debate among libertarians about whether animals have rights.

He asks two essential questions:
Can libertarians justify using the coercive power of the state to take away the liberty of a few on the basis that the thing prohibited creates severe emotional distress among a great many people? Or is that a slippery slope towards justifying any law based solely on societal norms?
The answers are, per libertarian ideology, pretty easy. They are vested in the principle of property rights. And one absolute right of property ownership is to dispose of your property in any manner you see fit. So the answer is "no" and "yes".

As noted, those are the ideological answers. And, frankly, given the ideology is based in a moral system which claims that property ownership is an essential right of life, it is hard to argue otherwise.

That doesn't make what could happen pretty. So Megan McArdle, who notes she doesn't mind eating animals who are not "industrially farmed" makes an exception:
Okay, I'll bite the bullet. As a first principle, you shouldn't be able to burn a sheep alive because it's fun.
But the libertarian principle of ownership would disagree.

She also asks:
Should animals have that right? Obviously, both Julian (who is a vegetarian) and I, who will only eat animals that are not industrially farmed, have both decided that the suffering of animals matters, morally. But should it matter, legally? Creating new rights is a big deal.
Agreed.

Julian Sanchez notes:
And if animals are supposed to have some moral claims, but not rising to the level of rights, the libertarian presumption, at least, would seem to be against embedding those claims in law.
What "moral claim" can an animal have? To it's existence? How does that "claim" manifest itself in a creature which cannot act outside of its instinctive hard-wiring and has no concept of morality (try convincing a lion that it's wrong to kill a gazelle)?

Are animals property? Are they creatures with a moral claim on rights? The answers to those questions are what should determine how we should treat them morally.

That, of course, doesn't at all address the societal question of how "burning sheep for fun" should be addressed. Since we routinely kill sheep for consumption, the question isn't whether we have the right to kill sheep, obviously we do (or at least think we do), but how we kill them. The right to kill them seems to already exist.

The argument then boils down to method. And it is here where people get hung up. The moral and legal right to kill them has been established for ages. But we get a little hinkey when methods which seem cruel are used on creatures which essentially can't protect themselves from such treatment.

Society, obviously, has indeed decided that such unwarranted and unnecessary cruelty isn't going to be allowed and has legally decided to punish "burning sheep for fun", while allowing killing for food to continue as an acceptable practice. [As an aside, my guess is a sheep, if it could, would argue any form a death isn't anymore acceptable than another.]

Ideologically I can't support that since those sheep are considered property and libertarians are clear about what that means in terms of property disposal. But as Julian Sanchez says, it is a real "border issue" for many libertarians. But it is more of an emotional "border issue" than a moral one. As stated, we established long ago that the right to kill sheep, because they are property, exists. If the ideology is rigidly applied, you can burn your sheep for fun if you care too. They're your sheep. But no one that I know of would claim the gratuitous cruelty such an act would produce is a good thing.

Are there ways to keep someone from burning sheep alive other than through the coercive use of state? Sure. Refuse to sell to someone who does that to sheep. Nothing says you have to support such a terrible habit. But for most that's a very unsatisfactory solution. Chances are anyone who'd enjoy burning sheep alive would and could find some other creature he could burn.

So what's the answer to this emotional dilemma for libertarians? Well I know the ideological answer and so do the rest of those debating this question. They just don't like the answer.
 
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and I, who will only eat animals that are not industrially farmed,
Please. You can hunt a cow with a freaking sledge hammer. It has no concept of where the hell it is, or what’s going on...

Like the cow cares if it’s industrially farmed or not.

It still ends up dead, and on my plate (medium rare if you please, light salt and pepper).
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Speaking of sheep, there are a couple lamb steaks in my fridge at home... seems to me that setting it on fire while it’s alive would leave you unable to control the cooking process very well. I prefer it be killed some other way, and let me do the setting of fires.
 
Written By: kevin r
URL: http://
C’mon Scott. She’s just saying she prefers beefs who weren’t raised in boxes and free-range chickens. Nothing at all odd about that. And the only way we’re going to get more options for those of us who prefer our food to be raised humanely is if we get the option to select them at our supermarket. And that’ll mean cheaper tasty veal, for instance, for those of you who prefer their baby cows unspoiled by the feel of real grass under their tiny hooves.

As to the question, doctrine says you don’t do business with the guy who sold Mr. Muttontorcher his fuzzy, doe-eyed victims and also that you don’t traffic with Mr M. on the buy-side either. Even if he’s selling perfectly cooked lamb-chops for next to nothing (walk up and carve off a hunk!) Difficult as it may be, we’re morally obligated to pass.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
those of us who prefer our food to be raised humanely
For eventual slaughter and butchering...

Seriously, don’t you see the disconnect there?

They are food. My species didn’t claw it’s way to the top of the food chain so I can concern myself with how happy the chicken is before I turn it into BBQ.
the option to select them at our supermarket. And that’ll mean cheaper tasty veal,
No, because "free range" will always cost more because it is less cost-effective. The only thing that will likely happen is the price of MY steak will go up because it’s direct compitition is more expensive. If your free-range moo-cow is 2 bucks more a pound, why not raise the price of my factory-formed moo-cow 50 cents? It’s still cheaper, and therefore I’ll still but it...

And I’d also like to point out "humanely" is being used to refer to how you think we should be treating non-humans. You know... The basis for the "humane" thing.

Treat people humanely. Treat pets humanely. Treat food like food.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
First off, I’m very glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee when I read "Mr. Muttontorcher".

Second, a pure libertarian would see it as the property issue and not require state force be used to stop the process, but pure libertarianism is like pure communism. Really pretty in Power Point, but useless in real life. Like it or not, we live as a society, and there’s always enough people willing to use the state that you have to just deal with it.

In this case, I think you’ll find that people who are inhumane to animals have issues which make them detrimental to society. And inhumane, of course, is a matter of intent, much like what Scott is trying to say. I don’t consider keeping a very, very, unintelligent animal caged up as inhumane. It doesn’t know it’s caged any more than a fish in a fishbowl doesn’t know it’s not in the ocean.

But those who torture animals for ’fun’ tend to also be the ones who are part of the criminal society. So it’s a good indicator of who you should keep an eye on.

And I’m still scratching my head on the phrase about a baby having the right to be supported by the state. I’d say we have a moral obligation to support the child, but not that the child has a right.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
Animals can have no "rights". We, as humans with emotions, accord certain of them, humane treatment where possible.

When emotional attachment ends, so does the humane concept. Hence we can keep one breed of animal as a "pet" while still killing and consuming others of the breed for food.

Libertarianism may logically say that property is property and the owner is allowed to do with it as he pleases. But until we become Vulcan like and can divorce emotion from logic, there will always be laws based on human emotional responses. Even if they are someone else’s emotions.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Jay, don’t mention Vulcans... It might cause flashbacks for some of us... :)
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott, there’s no disconnect. I prefer my chicken to have run around a barnyard eating bugs and worms than living its entire life in a square-foot cage. (Chickens are a bad example—they are mobile houseplants. Make it cows eating bugs and worms.) When its demise is inevitable, i.e. I am hungry, then make it quick and painless for the strange bug-eating cow. Where’s this disconnect of which you speak?

An animal isn’t really food until it’s sizzling carcass is set before you (I prefer charred rare.) It’s still an animal. I know it’s fashionable among us free-marketers and RW’ers to take a callous view toward what’s eventually going to be food, but until then the animal resembles a pet more than a steak and should be treated with some goddamn respect. If that cow tastes anything like the one I ate at The Hungry Heifer, that cow deserves some goddamn respect.

And I’m not sure your economics are sound, either. As more consumers opt for free-range, demand for your pain-raised chops will fall.

And stop playing word games with me, Scott. "Humane" has an application regarding animals and you know it. The last guy who played word games with me ended up between the floor joists, screaming through his ball gag. So don’t lecture me about "humane". I could write a book about "humane".

(The above is an attempt at humor.)





 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
We, as humans with emotions, accord certain of them, humane treatment where possible.
The moral proposition that one ought not torture animals for sport doesn’t have to be rooted in emotion; it’s like any other moral proposition.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
The last guy who played word games with me ended up between the floor joists, screaming through his ball gag
Watch ’Casino Royale’...

Bond’s torture was eligant in it’s simplicity...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I don’t get it. The act of depriving any creature of it’s life seems inhumane to me. What we seem to be doing with this discussion is haggling over the price (HT Bernard Shaw). Most people contract the actual killing out to others for practical reasons, but have so far removed themselves from the process that they have no relationship to the dead animal or how it died. It wasn’t once an animal when you pick it out from the store. It is just hamburger. Do people regularly go to slaughterhouses to watch the process by which they eat. Not so much. People want meat but they don’t want to have to deal with difficult emotional issues. Wal-mart superstores solve that problem for you. I find it impossible to couch this discussion in the mantle of morality. I hunt. I kill animals (mostly with a bow). I take no pleasure in that. The animals that I kill, die a horrible death (not in their sleep). I know because I see it. I am responsible for it. Their death would be no more horrible if I used a flamethrower. It seems to me that this discussion seems more about hypocrisy than morality.

As for how domesticated animals are raised. Your concern over this is more about you than the animals. You don’t wish to be responsible for animals not being happy. Get a clue, they aren’t happy. They are food. If how animals are raised is a concern for you, become a vegetarian. Then you are only responsible for the horrible deaths of plants, and the crowded living conditions some plants endure, not to mention the mean practices used to harvest. You are a part of the world. For you to live, something else has to die. Nothing you say or do will change that. Each of us has to come to some accord with this. Your personal rules are a matter of personal taste. Using the force of the state to require that others use rules that make you feel better about the death and destruction your life cause, is immoral. Take responsibility. You are a killer.
 
Written By: Paden Cash
URL: http://
what about the 70 yr old cat lady, she loves all 50 of her malnourished feces wallowing kitties.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Keep in mind that the cows are not "at the bottom of the food chain" actually since their genetic bargain with mankind means they are a huge species that is provided more and more habitats, and encourage to breed.

The spotted owl should be so lucky.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
The act of depriving any creature of it’s life seems inhumane to me.
So you only eat bean-sprout and tofu?
I hunt. I kill animals (mostly with a bow). I take no pleasure in that.
So..... Why do you do it if you derive no pleasure? You like getting up at 3am and freezing your marbels off?
People want meat but they don’t want to have to deal with difficult emotional issues.
People should know how to butcher a cow or other food source as a matter of personal knowledge.

I have dressed rabbit, bovine, chicken and fish.

Never done duck or other game birds simply because I’m not had the chance. I don’t get the chance to hunt often at ALL, and when I go I have horrid luck (it’s been over 4 years since my last hunting trip).

As for your "it’s food" argument, you have a certain point... Though I don’t think "dog" or "cat" would be food... I understand for co-workers who have been to China for business that those two taste freaking horrible...

I’m not entirely sure they were joking. It was China, after all...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Paden, if your bow-hunting’s no better than flamethrowing your targets to death, you might consider sharpening those arrows first.

And back when people were much more closely associated with their food, like they butchered a cow they raised from a wobbly little calf, they still ate the same stuff we do today. So I don’t buy that argument that we’re ducking a moral issue by purchasing our food at the Wal-Mart. (I do accept that some folks are ducking it, but even if they confronted it, they’d eat the same stuff.)

And I can’t see how anybody who’s spent any time around animals can say that an animal isn’t happier frolicking around a pasture than living in a huge barn pressed against dozens of other animals. That just goes against everything I’ve seen in considerable time around livestock. See, they don’t know they are food. (The pigs figure it out.) You can’t say they aren’t happy because food can’t be happy. They aren’t food yet. They have no idea what awaits.

We all know something has to die for me to get the Feeding Frenzy at the Hungry Heifer (Tonight: Tribute to Swine!). Some of us just don’t accept that every minute up to its demise must be near-torture for the poor beasts.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
See, they don’t know they are food. (The pigs figure it out.)
Only because the other god damn animals tell them...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott: Exactly. This why I will always step on a spider. And slowly too. I want that spider to know this is what happens when you come between me and a rack of tasty ribs.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Scott: Exactly. This why I will always step on a spider. And slowly too. I want that spider to know this is what happens when you come between me and a rack of tasty ribs
That sure doesn’t sound very humane... ;)
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
A one shot kill with a rifle is damn humane, too. I doubt if that tootsie has ever seen an animal taken down by predators.

FACT: "Mother Nature" is more like "Mommy Dearest".

As for the "protection" issue, there’s a lot of ways to deal with animal abusers that do not require government - animal rights folks have been using them for years.

Now, excuse me, I have to defrost some Elk venison.

 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
Well Scott, I tend to think that it’s humane to the rest of the spiders, the ones who take a goddamn lesson from it and stop trying to save those pigs!
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Well Scott, I tend to think that it’s humane to the rest of the spiders, the ones who take a goddamn lesson from it and stop trying to save those pigs!
Oh sure... We can use that logic for spiders, but not illegal immigrants...

I see... ;)
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Everyone has their own hierarchy of animals, Scott, and mine works like this: Can a spider bring me the Porkfest Platter and a beer? Can Milagros over to the Hungry Heifer?

Therefore, Milagros outranks that spider.

Fault my logic if you dare!
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
"some animals are more equal than others".

And debates like this one are definitely going to keep the libs out on the fringe for the voting public. This sort of debate just isn’t going to wash in fly-over country, it’s the sort of thing I’d expect to hear at a tofu & wine party in Cambridge Mass.

On the flip side, purposely setting fire to your sheep for the entertainment value (eh?) ain’t going to wash much either. That’s not dinner and thankfully few of us would find it entertaining. Clearly MuttonTorcher isn’t short on cash if he’s playing these kind of games with his livestock.

All I can say is have a little respect for your dinner will ya?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
To say something is rooted in emotionalism is obviously mislabeled at the outset. Emotion is a response to something. Thereby, to say that concern for animals is east in emotionalism, is at best inaccurate.

Clearly, there are emotions attached to such issues, but they are not the cause of them.

I submit that there are values underneath those emotions, and driving them. As an example of someone whose values are clouded, I point to Susan Estrich, as noted by my co-writer DavidL:

Five members of the Supreme Court have decided that Congress knows more about obstetrics and gynecology than the doctors in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology do. If Congress doesn’t think a procedure is ever medically necessary, and doctors do, isn’t it obvious that Congress must be right?

While Susan could care less about human beings, she does seem to care about dogs:

The NFL says it will continue to investigate Vick’s conduct in relation to its own code of conduct. The Atlanta Falcons, the team paying him all that money, is withholding judgment, waiting to see if the plea, in the words of Falcons owner Arthur Blank, will allow Vick "to get this behind him as quickly as he can."


As far as many of us who are pet owners and animal lovers are concerned, he will never get this behind him. Nor should he.

Maybe we should bring back chattel slavery? Estrich only seems to care about what she can own.

What is it, do you suppose, that’s driving her comments in each case?


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Are there ways to keep someone from burning sheep alive other than through the coercive use of state? Sure. Refuse to sell someone who does that any more sheep.
Well, yeah. But then Mr. Muttontorcher is going to get his sheep from someone else.

Of course, if you make sheep burning illegal, aren’t you’re just creating a black sheep market? [/rimshot]
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
What is it, do you suppose, that’s driving her comments in each case?
Stupidity?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Curious - I assumed there would be some segue from this to the Mike Vick case. If those dogs are his property, then (pure) libertarians think it OK to fight them, electrocute them and generally abuse them? I guess this is where Robb’s point about being part of society kicks in.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Nope, meagain, no one’s saying it’s "OK". We’re saying the disincentives might be better administered by someone besides the government. Like a neighbor calling him out and horsewhipping him.

Or even better, his animals turn on him one day out of the blue and rip him to shreds, then play their doggie games with the pieces while splashing around in the blood puddles and then playfully shaking themselves off, as dogs will do when they roll in the mud or in human blood.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Paden, you make a decent argument, however,
I find it impossible to couch this discussion in the mantle of morality. I hunt. I kill animals (mostly with a bow). I take no pleasure in that. The animals that I kill, die a horrible death (not in their sleep). I know because I see it. I am responsible for it. Their death would be no more horrible if I used a flamethrower. It seems to me that this discussion seems more about hypocrisy than morality.
Your comment about this discussion being more about hypocrisy than morality has some meat on the bone, but I couldn’t get away from this,
I hunt. I kill animals (mostly with a bow). I take no pleasure in that.
Really? No pleasure!?
Well then my first reaction is then why do you hunt with a bow? If you truly took no pleasure in the act, you would use the most effective and painless way possible to kill an animal, which is of course with a firearm. Not a bow. And unless you’re freakin’ Robin Hood, aiming with a firearm is easier and you’re more likely to get a clean kill, thereby decreasing the chances that the animal would suffer.
Besides, it’s no more cost effective to hunt with a bow, as most quality hunting bows cost the same if not more than a quality hunting rifle. If you are using a re-curve or longbow, or if you are crafting your bow out of yew and sinew, then my apologies and you should read no more, ‘cause you ‘da man…
But if you are using a precision machine like a quality compound bow, it makes little sense to me unless you are using one for your own self-gratification. Which of course, would mean that you are taking pleasure in the act of hunting.
Maybe not in the act of killing itself, but in the act of how you choose to kill.

That being said, I HATE hunting. And I don’t think too much of hunters themselves. Oh we could get into the details of any particular hunter, like … oh, I don’t know … Dick Cheney, who obviously takes great pleasure in being driven up to the raised in captivity for hunting birds so he can blast them into oblivion between cocktails, but that’s for another discussion. I prefer to discuss why people spend a great deal of time and money to hunt for pleasure.

I remember as a child, my uncle would go hunting all of the time. He took me out on a few occasions. He hunted, not for the pleasure of killing an animal, but to put meat on the table for his family. And I realize now that he hunted for the meat, rather than the pleasure, because he hunted – and ate – just about everything. From your typical game like deer and boar, to the less conventional rabbit and … yes, this is true … frogs.
For the love of God, he hunted frogs. You don’t get much more hillbilly than that, do you? And I gotta’ admit, frog legs are kinda’ tasty.

But for the most part – save a few rural areas where hunting solely for the meat might still take place – people hunt as a leisure activity. Which is really weird if you think about it. They spend a great deal of time and money for an activity that involves an uncomfortable surrounding only to kill an animal, then they spend a great deal of time and money so that they can have a taxidermist mount and stuff the head of the creature so they can hang it on a wall as a trophy.

Yeah, that’s weird.

Whenever I see this, I feel compelled to say, “congratulations, you’ve proven that you have outsmarted and defeated a dumb woodland creature. What an achievement.”

For the most part, people these days hunt for the pleasure of the kill, not for the meat. And I cannot figure out why. It’s so much easier, and tastier I might add, to buy a ribeye from the butcher, than to spend many hours crouching in a deer blind waiting for a baited prey to wander up so that you could kill it. It doesn’t make much sense to me.

But back to the point of the post.
I’ve been in the agriculture business for almost twenty years. And I have seen many people take great pleasure in the disposal of the livestock, but it’s typically the workers on the farm, not the owner of the farm. Nevertheless, livestock is property. And property can be disposed of however the owner chooses. And if the owner chooses to employ workers who take pleasure in the disposal of the livestock, then so be it.

It’s property.

Cheers.

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
But then the state will destroy the doggies anyway. They don’t see it the way the dogs do.
Talk about no-win for the dogs.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
doesn’t have to be rooted in emotion; it’s like any other moral proposition.
I would hypothesize that without emotions, there would be no morality.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Like a neighbor calling him out and horsewhipping him.
But sponge, at that point aren’t you infringing on his liberty? What is the saying ’your right to do anything you want ends at the tip of my nose’ or something like that?

Don’t get me wrong - I want as little government as possible. Stuff like this just makes my head spin trying to figure it out.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I’m not serious about horsewhipping him as a libertarian solution. I think in the post and in the comments it was suggested that isolating such people economically would be about the best we could do in this situation without opening a can of worms that infringes on everybody’s freedom.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Is there really any question that cruelty is cruelty? The question is if the State ought to get involved or not when the cruelty is to animals. The fact that I have no real problem with cock-fights and rather large problems with dog-fights isn’t really relevant.

I suppose we *could* decide that certain intelligent animals, such as dogs, should get legal protection but since I feel that abortion is really *really* wrong but still consider that it might not be best for the State to outlaw it entirely... how can I get more upset about a flaming sheep than a pre-born human?

And non-government pressures do work. A person can get "humane" animal products (and organic meat and vegetables) because a portion of the market demands it. This might not stop the mutton burning but the coercive result of laws protecting livestock is like any other regulation. People take less personal responsibility, not more, and the law *will* be applied in unintended ways by those with an agenda.

As for the moral question of animals for food. I have no patience whatsoever for anyone so morally witless as to feel the need to be cruel to an animal while it is alive in order to justify its death. Death is not the worst of all bad things. Never has been. If you can’t kill and eat a cow that was raised from cuddly calf-hood without treating it badly in between I despise you. It’s not at all hard to treat food animals well, even as pets, and then eat them.

I’d also say that "factory farming" isn’t nearly as cruel as people would like to have us believe. It’s not that animals don’t have feelings or catch on that they aren’t treated well, but that they aren’t human. Chickens *like* being around other chickens, even crowded together. Cattle *like* standing all together in a group chewing their cud. Confined veal is horrible... calves *play*. Feedlots are not so horrible. It’s like the difference between leaving a cat alone in a house... cats like being alone... and a dog alone in the house... the dog will get psychotic. Anthropomorphizing everything is wrong. Baby chickens do not "miss a mother’s love" no matter what a animal activist’s pamphlet claims.

And hunting is *fun* because we are predators and hunting tickles those skills that lead to survival. Predator animals hunt because it is *fun*. Anyone who tries to claim that only humans kill for fun is delusional. But hunters that I know take great pride in a good clean kill. Both as a mark of skill and as respect for the animals they hunt. (It really *wasn’t* that my Dad didn’t want to get fed deer heart, as my Mom always claimed, when he dropped them where they stood.)
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Libertarians will be glad to know that the market is playing a positive role in this matter. Modern slaughterhouse design derives from the work of Temple Grandin. Her motivation for the system she developed is that she believes that "Killing animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect." The reason it has caught on is because meat purchasers have found that low-stress slaughterhouses produce a higher yield of quality meat. McDonalds is one of her major clients, and will not buy from a packinghouse which flunks her audit.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
My late father in law used to say "sometimes you have to abandon your principles and do what’s right." This appears to be one of those instances. If your principles dictate that animals either be afforded human-like rights or treated no differently than inanimate objects, then all this proves is that your principles suck.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
This is why ideology is not a way to understand life. Organized ideology is like organized religion — it creates complex dogmas that aren’t sensitive to the difference context makes. "Reality defies ideology."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
what is a slave? is a chair a slave? is a hammer a slave? do we use and produce and abuse these tools against their will? do we cause them psychological and physical pain? do they fell the need for autonomy or not?

how did a Southern slave owner justify his definition of property only a few decades ago? i mean - they were convinced that they had all the RIGHTS in the world to use and abuse... BLACK RIGHTS - how ludicrous... we feed our slaves and protect them from wild animals and such... they went to war with their fellow humans over it. Why the North went to war is clear - they valued the economy (ecology) advantages and considered blacks to have the right to freedom.. but the South considered blacks as beasts - they went to war with fellow humans in order to defend property and their way of life.

why has the US constitution suddenly changed in the 1960s - taking out "blacks are 2/3s of a human"?

do we believe in the benefits of free will and free economies or do we believe in oppression, tyranny and plan-economics... and if this holds true for the economy why should it be different for ecology and all other emotional, intelligent beings besides ourselves.. yes even women?! why should a white male benefit from the "liberation" of black women? because he is a "liber..."

the question is NOT - can one be a "liber.." AND for the liberty of animals... the question that needs so desperately to be answered is... "Can one be a libertarian and NOT support a free and self-governing animal people and ecology?" Free markets, free agents, free...

The south was simply too afraid and stuck in the a dangerous world-view regarding what makes people happy, what makes them rich and what makes them civilized. They were, despite some nice houses and fancy dresses of few, barbarians in many respects.
but they were in the majority among themselves and cheered each other up... "i have grown up with slaves.. I do not like to treat them badly. i even played with them when i was a boy. my grandpa played with them as a kid.. you reality-lost northerners in your cities have just lost it! who does the dishes for you? i mean ... come on! what would these slaves do if we would not care for them.. get a life child"...

luckily - the Southerners were so used to slave work that they didn’t know how to fight! Decades later we even recognized women as "equal in some respects" for the first time since.. well millions of years? i know that many among you long for the good old times... but it is will get only worse! It was only 7 billion animals in 1960 that we enslaved for life... in 2000 it was more than 45 billion... forests gone, life enabling animal species about to disappear, most of the soil has erosion.. why - animal feed... the forests are empty - no carnivores there anymore as they live in cities (dogs and cats who NEVER kill but eat factory farmed nothing). most animal mass on the planet cannot move or turn around and never sees daylight. The seas and oceans face up to 90% depletion...

I say the game is on again. This time it is not the French farmers, not the bloody North who is attacking us. This time it is not the bloody US, Russia, UK, France who are coming after our pathetic asses... this time it is all of nature and our 1000jähriges Reich will not have lasted long... of course we will not give up our ways. we will prevail again! we are human.. the super-über-race!

Prost!
 
Written By: Hugo Pottisch
URL: http://
This is why ideology is not a way to understand life. Organized ideology is like organized religion — it creates complex dogmas that aren’t sensitive to the difference context makes.
Shorter Erb:

There are no absolutes.
Except of course, for those times when liberals pronounce something to be absolute.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

Shorter Erb:
There are no absolutes.
Except of course, for those times when liberals pronounce something to be absolute.
There are, I believe, absolutes. I think humans often claim things to be absolute that really aren’t — human fallability and error. Also, people sometimes aren’t sensitive to how context changes the nature of an act. A lie, for instance, might be a moral necessity in some cases, and an unethical act of the highest magnitude in another case. So I’ll act on what I believe are absolute principles, but I’ll be humble in trying to cproclaim that everyone should think like I do (and I’ll resist those who try to tell me that I should think like they do about what they claim as absolutes.)

As for liberal...I really lean more libertarian than liberal. I distrust governmental power too much. Power corrupts, and centralized governmental power can corrupt people of all ideologies and beliefs. I am not so naive as to think government isn’t necessary or can never do any good, but I’m far too skeptical of it to be considered really a "liberal" or a "leftist."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Hugo, are you for real or was that the most brilliant parody I have read to date of what passes for education in America?
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
My late father in law used to say "sometimes you have to abandon your principles and do what’s right." — Xrlq
Now that’s the kind of guy you want at your back — and the sort of family you want to tie up with — everytime! I bet the man didn’t need a compass and a protractor and a sundial and a yardstick to figure out what right is, either.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://

As for liberal...I really lean more libertarian than liberal
Try this on someone who doesn’t know you, Erb.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
It might behoove of everyone to differentiate between a political ideology and a personal one. Just because the power of the state is not brought to bear on your every action, does not make your every action right.

Refusing to afford animals rights does not necessarily mean that you refuse to act in a humane way towards animals. There is a difference.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
It might behoove of everyone to differentiate between a political ideology and a personal one
Not really. After all, what is one’s politics but an expression of one’s personal ideology? Without that personal ideology at the core, it is mere power grabbing.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Everything bad must be prohibited and everything good must be compelled, Bithead?

I’m not sure I’d use the terms political ideology and personal ideology but personal principles do not require governmental expression. Oh, sure, I agree that it’s sort of silly when someone asks a Christian, for example, what they think of something not-as-a-Christian. A lot of things are that way. I have a single opinion about how animals should be treated and not two opinions, one personal and one political. But my opinion about how animals should be treated doesn’t say much of anything about my opinion about what government should reasonably do about it.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Everything bad must be prohibited and everything good must be compelled, Bithead?
Not at all... any more than the result of politics in the collective sense is always just.

I’m not sure I’d use the terms political ideology and personal ideology but personal principles do not require governmental expression.
And since when is politics limited to government?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
why has the US constitution suddenly changed in the 1960s - taking out "blacks are 2/3s of a human"?
Because that passage you misquoted had originally been inserted by the Northern states in order to reduce representation in Congress for the South. Regardless of what it implied, it’s meaning was simply that those who are disenfranchised don’t count as highly when census data is applied to the electoral formula.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
Not really. After all, what is one’s politics but an expression of one’s personal ideology? Without that personal ideology at the core, it is mere power grabbing.
What you are missing is that just because I may find a certain behavior desirable, and in fact practice that behavior myself, does not mean that I should be able to force everyone else to practice that behavior under penalty of law. Similarly, just because I don’t think laws should be implemented to prohibit certain behavior that does not infringe upon my rights, doesn’t meant that I don’t have any moral qualms about that behavior itself. In short, my personal ideology restrains me whereas my political ideology restrains the government.

In this case, my personal ideology restrains me from treating animals cruelly. However, my political ideology convinces me that others doing so is not something for the law to address.

Too often people confuse "libertarian" with "libertine." The two are not at all the same.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
What you are missing is that just because I may find a certain behavior desirable, and in fact practice that behavior myself, does not mean that I should be able to force everyone else to practice that behavior under penalty of law.
No, I’m not missing it at all.

Look; Politics does not necessarily indicate the involvement of government. There are all levels of politics, including family politics, politics at work and so on. None of these necessarily involve the imposition of government, per se’.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
First of all I would like to say that my post was not meant to be a flame. If you got that from what I said then I apologize. The reason I hunt at all is for meat. To me trophy hunting is unacceptable (but I don’t want to restrict any activity based on motive for engagement). I live in one of those rural areas which you mentioned, and around here hunting for food is a way of life. I also pick all sorts of wild veggies and mushrooms for food. I may be a nut but I am prepared for the end of civilization. I have no idea if that will happen or not, but I am prepared. I want to be able to fend for myself, without the need for all of the accouterments of civilization. That is why I hunt with a bow and black power. I do take great pleasure in hunting, or just spending time in the wild. I take no pleasure in killing anything but I do see my role as a hunter in a positive light. All unspoiled meat is edible, some taste better than others
(dog is good, cat is nasty). Wild game is better than farm raised meat, both from a health standpoint as well as flavor. I just don’t see this as a moral issue. From a personal standpoint, mistreating animals is repugnant, but as a policy issue ceding rights to animals seems like a slippery slope and as a moral issue it is a no starter.






Looker said "All I can say is have a little respect for your dinner will ya"? How can you do that when you never met the animal you are eating.
 
Written By: Paden Cash
URL: http://
Look; Politics does not necessarily indicate the involvement of government. There are all levels of politics, including family politics, politics at work and so on. None of these necessarily involve the imposition of government, per se’.
Well, what kind of politics did you think we were discussing, Bithead? Inside little league baseball? Libertarianism is a political ideology, not a personal one. Ergo, I can be a good devout choir boy ... member of the Catholic Church, oppose the killing of animals, abhor pR0n, and STILL believe that government should stay the heck out of the way when it comes to any of those issues.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I believe you and your Pope have some disagreement on that score.

This is going to sound like it’s off topic, but it is not. I’m going to ask you a question, and I’d like you to seriously consider it: What, precisely, was the original purpose of government, when it was invented? Mind you, I am not speaking of one type of government over another, I’m asking you about the concept of government as originally conceived.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, what on earth do you mean by "government as originally conceived"? Are you going back to tribal societies and forms of government that were usually based on some kind of chief or leader who would act to promote the common good, but in consultation with the elders of the clan? Do you mean the rise of the state, which existed usually to extract wealth and protect the interests of a small privileged elite (the state emerged as a kind of protection racket in Europe). Do you mean the development of empires in ancient times? Do you mean the rise of city states in Greece? When was government "originally conceived"?

Governance was always in existence, but usually through voluntary adherence to norms or customs early on. Once agriculture became part of the human experience, the idea of property came into existence — if you grow crops, you need a claim on the land, and need to protect it. Moreover, once you had agriculture you had increasing populations, with a need to settle disputes (farming probably made possible what we now call war). Governments here were probably invented to simply aid in the common good (protect crops, settle disputes, perhaps enforce and communicate rules of public duty — though custom and tradition still usually did that). Then, of course, some ambitious souls realized government was a path to more power and wealth, and you had the rise of empires.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bithead (and anyone else who’s interested), I understand where you are going, and I think a fruitful discussion will come of it, but it might be easier to conduct this on another thread. I’ll draft a post responding to your question at ASHC and we can carry on from there if everyone is amenable. This post is old enough that we probably aren’t highjacking it, but I’d feel more comfortable with having a separate thread for this topic. Plus, anyone who comments will get email notifications of new comments if they desire. Agreed?

And, because I’m mindful that what I’m suggesting is probably running afoul of blog edicate, if any QandO members have a problem with me doing this, I’ll gladly refrain.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Suits me, either way.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

 
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