[Marxism] Animal Liberation and Socialism
borhyaenid at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 28 13:17:40 MDT 2009
Let's be clear: the overwhelming bulk of cases of animal cruelty have precisely *nothing* to do with alleviating human suffering. Most acts detrimental to animal welfare (again, I speak of welfare, not rights) have nothing to do with experimentation vital to curing particular diseases. If we were to codify an end to all acts of animal cruelty *save those deemed necessary or practical to reducing human suffering* it would nevertheless constitute a legal and socio-political "revolution". Of course, old fashioned "gas and water" socialists can choose to stand on the other side of the barricades, braying for the needless blood sacrifice of animals, because of some abstract philosophical commitments they have made.
Incidentally, using orangutans and shrimp to illustrate your point, as if to elide the distinction between the two, is disingenuous. Orangutans have been shown experimentally to pass the so-called "mirror test", and are capable of self-recognition (and thus, a knowledge of self and an internal narrative). I agree humans are different from other animals and thus deserve priority. However, by the same token, orangutans are worthy of higher regard than shrimp. This seems self-evident, and again, this derives from a *materialist* understanding of their respective *nervous systems*. The alternative, again, is an appeal to a nonmaterial entity, which you can call a soul or can perhaps dignify with a more abstract, seemingly secular title. Before issuing the call to send an opponent to a metaphorical hell, presumably.
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