Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Open Borders Meet Open Marriage

Not in the way you think. 

From the bowels of left-libertarianism: Animals Aren’t Property: Circus Edition

Usually, it’s upsetting to see a person’s livelihood attacked and destroyed by government bureaucrats. In the case of Thomas Chipperfield, it’s not so bad.

What livelihood destroying action is being lauded by the communist faction of libertarians (yeah, I know)?

Thomas Chipperfield’s own specialty within his family’s business is the taming of big cats. That may all be coming to an end soon, as circuses are more and more seen for precisely what they are — the subjugation and exploitation of animals.

…the important underlying assumptions in animal issues: Captivity, confinement and ownership. It’s not that the conditions of animal confinement need improvement; it’s that animal confinement must come to an end. When the boundaries of animal debate stay within the cozy confines of whether captive animals are being treated and fed well, the barbaric institution of human domination over animals is allowed to thrive.

Open borders for animals.  Captivity and confinement of animals must come to an end.

That’s why the animal welfarist’s position, while sometimes accomplishing good and important ends, will never be sufficient. It fails to address the underlying evil — that of animals’ status as nothing more than human property.

Animals must not be confined to the status of property.  Perhaps a cow could run for president (actually not a bad idea).

Contrary to the animal welfarist position, the more radical, abolitionist approach seeks to smash the allowable window of debate and free animals from their confines.

This will go over well in much of Africa, Asia, North America and South America.  Open borders for lions and tigers and bears…oh my!

Next, animal-human marriage:

They require recognition as sentient beings with their own complex lives, relationships, wants and needs.

The less I say the better.


  1. This sort of thing is why I'm an anthropocentrist. Human beings are qualitatively separate from animals. It's OK to kill and eat, keep captive, etc. animals. But if you press me as to what, exactly, makes humans qualitatively different I would be hard pressed to define it. What do humans have, that animals don't? Without going into mysticism. Can you give a good answer to that, BM? I can't.

    Igor Karbinovskiy

    1. Igor

      Man without God? Way above my pay grade. But if I were to begin exploring the answer I would start with an examination of the philosophical underpinnings of air conditioning.

      Alternatively, you might consider the following:

    2. BM, you finally lost me. I don't follow. What is this about the philosophical underpinnings of air conditioning? I suppose this has something to do with man having the ability to alter his environment to his liking? If it is something profound (or funny), please elaborate.

      As regards to man being the only rational animal, I own a cat (I know, I know) and I admit that this is the smartest cat I have ever owned (I know), but the cat does indeed exhibit evidence of rational thought. I could go on, but don't wish to bore anyone with the details. The cat uses means to achieve ends. Feline action on display.

    3. Let me add: The cat's ends and means are not nearly as sophisticated as a man's, but that appears to me only a matter of degree. The cat's name is Molly, but we call her Peanut when we wish to talk about her without her knowing it.

    4. gpond

      Man has the capacity and ability to act in ways far beyond the physical constraints of his body, his instinct, his environment. Man can run at perhaps 20 – 30 KPH, yet can drive at 200 KPH or more in a production car available to anyone with moderate means. Man cannot fly, yet he can fly.

      Man can manipulate his environment to meet his needs and desires.

      Can some non-human animals also display such abilities? I am not knowledgeable enough to unequivocally say no; I am knowledgeable enough to say that the difference in man’s ability to so manipulate his environment and that of the second-place animal – let’s just say the second-place animal (like your cat) is overwhelmingly closer to a rock than it is to the human on this scale.

      What makes this so? I say God, but it need not be anyone else’s answer. One need not even have an answer – it is obviously so; the evidence is overwhelming.

      From the Ayn Rand link: “Man’s unique reward, however, is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself.”

      Rand is a far more capable objectivist than am I – and the question posed by Igor (“…what, exactly, makes humans qualitatively different…) is suitable for an objectivist to answer. Rand said it much more eloquently than could I – therefore, I condensed the answer to “air-conditioning.”

    5. Thank-you kindly for your reply! Finally something upon which we can disagree! Hurrah!

      I suppose I'm no objectivist, at least not in the Randian sense. Please carry on, good sir!

  2. I wonder how many leftist libertarians are Christians.

    "Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."(NIV)

  3. There are many, many Protestant strains that reject this statement.

    The low Episcopalians come to mind.

    1. I forgot to include Jews as well.

      I never would have guessed that there would have been controversy over Genesis 1:26-

      Maybe Leviticus just puts it all in the background so to speak.

  4. The writer actually seems to be lamenting what he sees as a lack of State action in this concern of his.
    I wonder if he realizes the State claims ownership of all wild animals? Try killing a moose without a hunting license. Of course in this ownership the State denies all responsibility if a wild animal injure private property.
    I suppose the writer is also a vegetarian? In what way would he end up forcing folks who eat meat to not eat meat?
    What about animals who cannot survive without being "owned" by a human?
    And if I command my dog to "fetch"?
    I wonder if he has ever seen a wild animal in the wild?
    Would I be put up for murder charges for killing game animals to eat?
    Quite the contrast to what Dr. Block writes about animals.

  5. Domesticated animals –I’m not sure trained lions qualify- have become dependent on humans. Many would not/could not exist sans the symbiotic relationship with humans. Their instincts and habitats have been altered beyond recovery.
    A better issue is the habitats of the existing wild and free animals.


  6. Is it a crime for a wolf to kill a sheep?
    Is it a crime for a sheep to eat a flower?
    Is it a crime for a flower to kill fungi and bacteria?
    Is it a crime for bacteria or fungi to kill a human?
    Why should it be a crime for a human to kill wolves, sheeps, flowers, fungi and bacteria?

    Should we have courts and jails for other living beings? Weren't they saying that putting an animal behind bars is a crime?

    I'm willing to never kill an animal again and go full vegan if all ecologists renounce all taxes and start defending the basic human right of not being robbed. Why is it immoral for humans to destroy the habitat of a bear or an elephant, but it is not immoral that governments' agents steal money from human beings?

  7. I think that many libertarians are conflicted in their minds over animal rights just as many are over abortion. Having close emotional ties to pets, I would think that most if not all libertarians are in favor of some sort of legal protection from cruelty for animals. Yet most of us have no qualms over eating animals. In agreeing to legal protection from cruelty for animals we are also, at least tacitly, agreeing that animals have some sort of rights. If so then where do we draw the line? I'm not sure. Neither are the libertarian, Walter Block and the Objectivist, Nathaniel Branden. As things now stand, animal rights are a libertarian gray area.

    With regard to Ayn Rand's thoughts on rights, she argued that, assuming life to be the supreme value, rights arise from man's nature as a reasoning being. They are certain conditions that humans require in order to not just survive but to thrive to their maximum potential and by their own efforts. Thus, as reasoning beings, humans must acquire property in order to employ reason to produce food, shelter and clothing and whatever else they need and desire. Of course this implies that humans must go about exercising their rights in a peaceful manner and to not infringe on the rights of other humans to do likewise.

    From this philosophy of rights one can argue that since rights originate from the need to maintain the supreme value - life - every living thing also has certain rights suited to its nature. Humans are a part of nature as are all other life forms. We observe that in order to survive in the best of health, many species of animals must kill and eat other species of animals. That is a law of nature and is their right. Therefore, in accord with this law of nature, humans must also kill and eat other species of animals in order to survive in the best of health. That is our right too. Vegetarians will argue otherwise, but I think there is considerable evidence that not many humans can thrive solely as vegetarians. Animal protein and fat is a must for most of us.

    If it can be established that being a part of the animal world gives us humans a right to kill other animal species in order to survive and to secure our habitats, what does it say for our right to use animals, presumably against their will, for anything other than food to survive? Is it moral to force animals to entertain us or to lift and carry our physical burdens? Is it moral of us to kill them for sport?

    Do we need a horse's permission to hitch it to our plows and wagons? Are we being immoral for torturously raising livestock for our food in appallingly crowded and unsanitary conditions - conditions which disrespect these animals' natures?

    Humans love their pets. I certainly do. They seem to enjoy our company and to lovingly interact with us. Yet, if I opened my door, my cats would probably run away. Does it mean that they are unhappy in confinement and yearn to be free in the great outdoors? I would hope not, but I really don't know what goes on in their minds.

    I once saw a video on youtube of a rook dropping stones in a beaker in order to raise the water level so that it could reach a worm floating in the water. The rook could clearly reason well enough to employ a tool for an objective. How many young children could figure this out? Most humans will argue that either scriptures allow us to lord it over the animal world or we are entitled to do so because we are vastly smarter than any other animal. Yet, as the example of the rook demonstrates as well as examples of the behavior of dogs, pigs, horses and elephants, many animals can also display some level of smarts. How much respect for this from us, if any, are they entitled to?

    1. Thank you for your extensive thoughts.

      "As things now stand, animal rights are a libertarian gray area."

      Perhaps, like certain other topics, it must always remain so - and therefore be answered culturally.

      Does the NAP extend to non-human animals? The answer must be yes or no, as there isn't an in-between position.

      If it is to be answered solely on the basis of libertarian theory, this seems to me something that will remain unanswerable.

    2. I am currently reading a book by Butler Schaffer called Boundaries of Order that explores many of these themes. It points out that many different species (actually ALL different species) have to devour other species, both plant and animal, to survive. This is completely unavoidable, and completely natural. It is the nature of things. There is no other way. The book, smartly, examines some of the implications of this situation.

      Switching topics completely, our home was recently burglarized leaving a sliding glass door unguardedly open for several hours. Wisely, our cats decided to remain indoors. They were completely calm and resting indoors when I got home. They made their choice.

      To be clear, I do support man's choice to shepherd the other animals. I have no dispute with man's policy of being the species in charge.

      It is, however, on my list of man's greatest fallacies that he think himself categorically different from the other animals. In the first instance I revert to the understanding that my cat and I both have belly-buttons for the exact same reason. We are mammals both. Each.

      If one is to say that we are different from the other animals, using whatever yardstick one may choose, that is the same as saying that the other animals are different from us. We are both on different sides of a line called "different". Does that, in and of itself, designate which of the "different" species is superior, inferior, equal, unequal, subjugated, ascendent?

      The animals might as well claim "we are different from the humans." And perhaps they do. [To say we are different from them, is no different from them to say they are different from us. Two sides, one coin. That we "say" it might make the difference? But do they have language that we don't yet understand? Dunno... ]

      There is a possible tautology that says, hey, we are the most man-like species, compared to the other animals, we have reason, opposable thumbs, imagination, etc. So therefore we are different from them. Maybe superior to them, even. They could well make the same claim. Oh wait, we don't understand their language in which they could say that. It is either their deficiency.. Or ours.. Not sure which. Presumably it is theirs.

      Argh. I ramble. I recommend the book by Butler Schaffer called Boundaries of Order. We could all improve by considering what he puts out in the book.

    3. I will second the reading of Schaffer's "Boundaries" if for no other reason than to have one's thinking challenged on the subject material contained therein.

    4. gpond, I have downloaded the book. It goes on the list.

      As to humans v. non-human animals, I am already in too deep. For me, God is sufficient an answer.

      Or air-conditioning. Works in every language - human or not.

  8. There is a great line of thought from the Scholastics (Thomas Aquinas in particular) on the relationship of Man to the animals.

    Greatly paraphrasing, the treatment of an animal should conform to its apparent purpose and nature, and respect its apparent purpose and nature. Creation is beautiful, so the idea is to use it for its "purposes" which seems to be a derivation of little more than what BM already said -- just observe what they do in nature and their overall role / place.

    For example, cows breed easily and could be domesticated, so it's ok to farm and slaughter them and try to minimize discomfort.

    But Lions being culturally majestic and much harder to domesticate and breed, are probably not naturally cut out for farming. However, a hunter-gatherer society could morally hunt them as a matter of subsistence without threatening the species.

    And annoying things like wasps which are everywhere, can be repelled from our homes and yards with whatever sensible means.

    Which makes me think of the biggest issue with all the animal rights silliness. It ignores the most numerous species -- insects and microorganisms. You can't kill an ant? Do ants have claims against anteaters? Ad infinitum silliness.