Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Questionable Oomans

Tim wise starts off his article ‘PETA and the Politics of Putting Things in Perspective’ (http://www.counterpunch.org/wise08132005.html August 13 / 14, 2005) with a clear cut statement of support for the Animal rights movement, "I have long supported the vast majority of the goals set forth by the animal rights movement." This seems to imply he supports rights for Animal but at the end of his article he seems to suggest his support for Animals is merely, "a struggle for greater compassion for all." If Animals have got to rely on ooman compassion for their survival then they’re dead – and, as we shall see, so are oomans.

In his first sentence wise tells his readers that personally he doesn’t like Animal rights activists. This is a bit like saying that he supports jews or blacks but personally he can’t stand them. So, Animal rightists are all the same are they? Well yes, because according to wise they’re all white and rich. In other words, Animal rights is not a moral issue which need to be confronted by everyone, rich and poor, black and white, young and old, but basically a hobby taken up by rich white folk who haven’t got anything else to do with their lives. Instead of keeping his personal dislikes to himself he turns them into a political issue. In his article he builds on these personal prejudices to point out that all Animal rightists, being rich white folk, also indulge in smug moral certitude. He somehow manages to convey the impression that such smugness is the unique possession of all Animal rightists. It shouldn’t be difficult to imagine the rest of the blarney in his article from what he’s spewed out so far.

His second paragraph disparages an Animal rights campaigner for stating that an american college should not merely divest from companies investing in apartheid south africa but should also stop propping up the Animal exploitation industry. Well fancy that – an Animal rightist complaining about Animal exploitation.

In his third paragraph wise complains about a female Animal rightist wanting to work for Animals. What appalling depths of moral degradation to which Animal rightists have sunk! Of course, wise’s main point about this particular Animal rightist is that she’d stated she preferred working for Animals than for oomans. To wise this is misanthropy. Wise has extended the definition of misanthropy from a hatred of ooman evil to a preference not to work for oomans. Given ooman history, particularly events over the last century or so such as the first world war, the emergence of totalitarianism, the vietnam war, the emergence of the jews-only state in palestine imitating its nazi progenitors, the iraq war, etc, it might be thought that any normal ooman would constantly find themselves wondering whether they belonged to the most barbaric species on Earth. If a normal person doesn’t have such doubts about their own species then really they are either out and out species’ bigots, victims of oomano-imperialist propaganda, or oomans’ bereft of any intellectual substance. It is inconceivable for any decent human being not to have doubts about ‘homo sap’ given the appalling ooman bloodbath of the last century or so, the hundreds of billions of Animals currently being slaughtered around the world each year, and the vast scale of anthropocentric ecological devastation.

Wise asks, "what is more important to the animal rights movement: actually ending animal experimentation, and other blatant cruelties, or being able to preen about as moral superiors" as if all (rich white) Animal rightists just want to sit on the moral high ground – the implication being that they want Animal exploitation to continue in order for them to maintain their moral purity – which is itself a form of Animal exploitation. All political movements attract a range of attitudes so why should the Animal rights movement be any different?

The political point wise makes is how can Animal rightists win support if they castigate those whose support they need. Perhaps wise lives in do-lally land where everyone involved in politics tries to win support by promoting positive messages and eschewing all negative comments. If not perhaps he’d like to list those political movements in ooman history which have used only positive messages? Obviously wise’s condemnation of the Animal rights movement for being disparaging doesn’t apply to his own political outlook.

Wise then moves away from his generalized disparagement of the Animal rights movement with some specific criticisms, "Oh, and while we're not caring about how many people we offend" by sarcastically remarking "let’s really go off the deep end and launch a photo exhibit entitled "Are Animals the New Slaves?" which compares factory farming to the lynching of black people. This, quick on the heels of PETA's prior publicity effort: the notorious "Holocaust on your plate" campaign, which just a few months ago compared cruelty to farm animals with the extermination of millions of Jews, Romany and others at the hands of the Nazis."

According to wise, comparing what oomans are doing to Animals with what was done to blacks or jews is morally wrong. In his view, oomans are so superior to Animals that such comparisons are a slur on oomanity. It is true that saying that oomans are Animals is wrong but saying that what oomans are doing to some types of oomans is similar to what oomans are doing to Animals is a perfectly valid point. The extermination camps used to slaughter people during the second world war are really not that different from those used to slaughter Animals. What wise is really moving towards in his argument is that no matter how similar oomans’ treatment of Animals may be to oomans’ treatment of other oomans (whether blacks, jews, working classes, third world poor, etc) their suffering should not be comparable because oomans are morally superior to Animals. Their suffering is morally superior to that suffered by Animals. The possession of moral powers or reason or conscience or language elevates oomans above Animals to such an extent that the suffering of Animals should never be included in any comparison with the suffering of oomans. Wise backs up his argument by stating: "But of course, whether they admit it or not, most all believers in animal rights do recognize a moral and practical difference between people and animals: after all, virtually none would suggest that if you run over a squirrel when driving drunk, that you should be prosecuted for vehicular homicide, the way you would be if you ran over a small child."

It is exactly this sort of anthropocentric bigotry that is currently leading oomans into extinction. The belief that oomans are superior to Animals (although there is some confusion over what exactly this superiority might consist of) entitles oomans to do whatever they wish to Animals whether this might be ruining Wildlife habitats or expropriating Wildlife habitats or treating Wildlife as sport or as a supply of raw materials. As in the case of Animals hit by cars, where motorists just drive off without a second thought for the creature they have just killed and have no duty to report the accident, or remove the body from the road, or deal with any injuries the Animal might be suffering, oomans can kill Animals at will with no moral consideration. In other words, and quite contradictorily, oomans’ belief in their moral superiority over Animals entitles them to ignore any moral consideration when dealing with Animals. How’s that for ooman bigotry? Now wise might protest that he wants all oomans to treat Animals with compassion but in seeking to emphasize oomans’ supremacism over Animals he can only end up allowing oomans to treat Animals in whatever way they want.

The problem with wise, like the problem with some Animal rightists, is that he really doesn’t understand the planet he lives on. He’s a universalistic thinker who understands nothing about his own particular planet Earth. He seems totally unaware of planetary realities. Firstly, Animals helped to create the Earth’s habitability that eventually enabled the planet to support the species ‘homo sap’. Secondly, Animals gave birth to the ooman species in the same way that a woman gives birth to a child. For both of these reasons, oomans owe Animals ecological, and existential, debts which they ought to translate into some sort of moral code towards Animals. The fact that oomans do not recognize either of these debts is another indication of the fact that oomans are not as moral as they believe themselves to be and that their so –called moral supremacism over Animals is just a bit of species’ propaganda which enables them to promote their own interests against those of all other species on Earth.

Thirdly, and much more pertinently, the Animal exploitation industry is primarily responsible for triggering off a global burning disaster which could lead to the extermination of the ooman species and even ecocide i.e. the destruction of a living planet. In the value system of any reasonable being, ecocide trumps genocide. The reason that the holocaust that oomans are waging against Animals is far worse morally than the so-called holocaust against jews (and we all know what a lot of self-serving propaganda this has become) is that whilst the extermination of jews (or any other race) might be morally bad it is no threat to the survival of oomanity or to the survival of life on Earth. However, the Animal exploitation industry is not only a threat to the survival of the ooman race but the survival of all life on Earth. There is only one holocaust on Earth and that is the holocaust oomans are inflicting on Animals.

All that wise is doing with his Squirrel analogy is reinforcing the slogan promoted by all oomano-imperialists: ‘It’s either the Rat or the life of your child’. Put into the position of being forced to choose between one or the other, the Animal exploiter is able to inflict a political drubbing on any Animal rightist. The oomano-imperialist seeks to solve all conflicts over Animal rights in favour of oomans with the presentation of this simplistic choice. In every dispute over Animal rights this choice is wheeled out and the public invariably opts to deny Animals any rights. This choice leads directly to the belief in ooman supremacism and thus oomans’ right to maim, mutilate or murder any Animal. Incidentally, as regards the Squirrel analogy, it has to be wondered what punishment a Squirrel might face if it accidentally killed a small child? And, secondly, the analogy takes for granted the right of oomans to drive around the planet accidentally killing tens of millions of Animals every year although one wonders what the health of the planet would be if everyone on Earth, rather than rich white supremacists, owned at least one car.

In order to understand the inadequacies of wise’s Squirrel analogy we need to take a planetary perspective. Oomans’ slaughter of Animals is leading to the destabilization of the climate and ecocide. To emphasize this point it could be argued that if, somehow, all oomans were suddenly to die off (or piss off to another planet) then the climate would begin to stabilize itself again and life would flourish once more on Earth. Whilst virtually all oomans around the Earth are contributing, to one degree or another, to the destruction of the Earth’s life support system, virtually all Animals are helping to protect those life-sustaining processes. In other words, whilst oomans are planet wreckers, Animals are planet creators. Whilst Animals have a proven track record of creating a habitable planet, oomans’ record so far indicates they are only ever going to destroy living planets.

Thus, in the comparison of the Squirrel to the small child, there is not only a moral consideration i.e. that oomans have reasoning/moral/linguistic powers that Animals do not have (although the vast majority use their reasoning powers to bring about death and destruction) but ecological considerations. The Squirrel contributes to the Earth’s habitability whereas the ooman, if we go on all the evidence to date, is likely to destroy the Earth’s habitability.

So which then do we choose? The Squirrel, which has no moral powers but helps to maintain the habitability of what was once a wondrously beautiful planet, or the ooman, whose moral powers are used only to promote its material interests which are destroying the planet? Those who dismiss any consideration for the Squirrel are planetless individuals who hate environmental issues.

Wise, basking in the delusions of his oomano-imperialist bigotry, his geophysiological ignorance, and his vacuous moral reasoning, concludes his article with yet another disparaging remark about the movement to which he pretends to have some allegiance – he’s a bit like one of those zionist jews who keeps saying they support palestinians but never does anything to help them, "Perhaps if PETA activists had ever demonstrated a commitment to fighting racism and the ongoing cruelty that humans face every day, they would find more sympathy from those who, for reasons that are understandable given their own lives, view animal rights activism as the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns, rather than as a struggle for greater compassion for all." It is utterly odious of wise to pretend that majority of Animal rightists do not fight for both Animal and ooman causes. But it is really apt that he should believe that Animal rightists are fiddling whilst rome burns. If he knew anything about the relationship between the Animal exploitation industry and the destabilization of the climate then he would realize that it is precisely Animal rightists who are not only trying to protect Animals but are doing their best to prevent the Earth from catching fire. He would also realize that, conversely, it is ecological ignoramuses like him who by concentrating on boosting oomano-imperialism, are fiddling whilst the Earth starts to burn up.