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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why does it matter if humans are not just the "third chimpanzee"?

"Human exceptionalism" means thinking that humans are not simply big-brained animals. Here bioethicist Wesley J. Smith explains why that is important for human rights:

There is a war being waged against unique human worth on many fronts, from personhood theory and the animal liberation movement to radical environmentalism and philosophical materialism. Very powerful forces have dedicated themselves to convincing us that we really aren't all that important. Smith explains these attacks and shows why human exceptionalism must be defended for the sake of human rights everywhere.
Shades of Eric "ebola" Pianka, perhaps?

On a more serious note, many people don't realize that the late hotel queen Leona "only poor people pay taxes" Helmsley left her fortune to animal rights:

In fact, the clear motivation underlying Leona Helmsley’s will—her desire to pass her wealth on to dogs—is more common than might be expected. Pet-lovers (many of whom now prefer the term “animal companion”) have engineered a quiet revolution in the law to allow, in effect, nonhumans to inherit and spend money. It is becoming routine for dogs to receive cash and real estate in the form of trusts, and there is already at least one major foundation devoted to helping dogs. A network of lawyers and animal activists has orchestrated these changes, largely without opposition, in order to whittle down the legal distinctions between human beings and animals. They are already making plans for the Helmsleys’ billions.

- Jeffrey Tobin, "Rich Bitch: The legal battle over trust funds for pets" (New Yorker, September 29, 2008)

In my view, "animal rights" will not benefit animals but will denigrate humans. Animals cannot use civil rights, for example, but humans cannot have a rational relationship with government without them. And I don't consider it an accident that "animal rights" is advanced at the same time that we are locked in a struggle against the destroyers of civil liberties in Canada (the "human rights" commissions).

Even if human intellectual endowments were an accident, which I do not believe, they would be an accident with unavoidable consequences - including the struggle for the restoration of civil rights.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


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