[Marxism] A socialist analysis of the value of the animalliberation movement

Haines Brown brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Wed Jun 11 04:29:16 MDT 2008


> > But I hope others can offer their own (and better) suggestions why
> > we should not be cruel to animals.
> 
> The first of the reasons you list is sufficient by itself to provide
> a reason for opposing cruelty to animals. Such cruelty is indeed
> brutalizing and as such destructive of human soliarity.

Carrol, I may have presented my two arguments as equal in weight, but
I don't really think they are. For good reason you prefer the first
because its argument is transparent, while the second is more
contentious.

However, I think we should prefer the second as a matter of principle
(I'm not here discussing its content, which indeed is problematic, but
its form).

My reason for saying this is that an argument that (potentially)
engages all other dimensions of the world (and particularly for
Marxists our productive relation with our environment) is to be
preferred to a psychological argument.

An argument that focuses on the human psyche tends to be reductionist
(or, more charitably, one-sided), while one that ties the issue of
animal cruelty to our productive relation with nature not only engages
economic production and the environment, but even class.

The point I just made in the previous paragraph is not quite as
straightforward as it might appear and should not be too quickly
accepted. I believe the difference is that a psychological analysis
tends to see the psyche as a coherent system that has an only
functional relation with other systems and a logic of its own. The
latter argument, however, sees one big system in which the the
economy, the environment, and class are merely aspects.

One often mentioned test of the relative truth value of a theory is
the degree to which it is or potentially is responsive to everything
else--its universality. While not everyone agrees with this in the
philosophy of science, I suspect it is one that Marxists should find
congenial.

Haines Brown




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