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Re: [Libertarians_For_Animal_Rights] Initiation of Force and Animal Rights

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  • James Dawson
    Josh: It seems you, Michelle, Bb4sha and I had discussed this issue a few years ago. I’m not quite sure what you mean by “neo-libertarian”. I’ve read
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 9, 2007
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      It seems you, Michelle, Bb4sha and I had discussed this issue a few years ago.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by “neo-libertarian”. I’ve read the Wikipedia article and from my memory of it, the distinctive “deviation” from the general libertarian consensus was that they favor interventionist war to bring democracy and liberty to other countries. I’m not sure how loosely or idiosycrantically you’re using the term, but I’m sure that many other schools of libertarians besides “neo-libertarians” would oppose laws forbidding killing animals. Your position and mine that killing animals is aggression is probably an extremely minority one. I think we should confront that reality.

      Your focus on “neo-libertarians”, paleo-libertarians, etc. isn’t so much wrong as unbalanced. Even among decidedly non-libertarian eco-leftists there’s the “respectful killing” ethic that condones hunting by “indigenous peoples” and left-populists that condones hunting by Europeans and Euro-Americans as long as it’s regulated according to “earth-friendly” standards. Earth First!, founded by Aldo Leopold had members who bow-hunted and slaughtered range cattle and ate them on their “protests”. They loved Nature in a mystical way, “the diversity of the biotic community” but hated “invasive species” and didn’t care if they were cruelly murdered by crossbows.

      There’s a diversity of groups and pro-killing ethical systems, not just neo-libertarians. Face the music, Josh.

      I think it’s disrespectful of animals to lump them in with “natural resources”. Morally, animals are more than rocks, streams, trees, etc. They’re sentient. The latter aren’t. Yes, the issue of habitat and an animals' right to it is a valid one, but I don’t feel I have to accept the Green agenda in response to that. I’ve already made my own proposal in Message 272, and even though it may be problematical, I don’t see it as any worse than the alternatives I’ve heard.

      I agree with you very much in principle that we have no right to kill animals---except in self-defense, but I’ve come to realize I’m a theoretician and a dreamer, definitely not a fighter, and I’d be very squeamish about the enforcement of all the laws that protected animals from aggression. (I don’t know concretely and specifically what you mean by “exploitation” and as I’ve written before, I’m very leery of that concept as conceived by leftists, and yes, “far left” libertarians.)

      You make an excellent point about morality. I think many or most libertarians, via some sort of clever argumentation and semantic wordplay, believe libertarianism is amoral. Pragmatists and utilitarians seem to favor this view. But actually, the question is one of the proper line between two levels of morality---political and personal. The big question as I see it is, at what point do you draw a line between political and personal morality? Anthropocentrics believe killing animals is merely a personal matter. You and I would differ. Numbers and hundreds of thousands of years of human culture are on their side. What’re we gonna do about it?

      Frankly, I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it. I’m mulling over how much I’m going to incorporate my own self-liberation and a financial support of organized radical “liberal” libertarianism in order to nurture the social, economic and political conditions where we can move the culture as much as possible toward a pro-animal frame of mind. (I’m not strictly against legislation, but I don’t think it’s a viable means of securing animal rights at this point, except in very limited circumstances. And I will not work with---a.k.a. be used by---Greens (etc.) to support they’re larger legislative agenda. (Nor will I be used by paleo-libertarians and paleo-conservatives, which is why I quite the LP).

      I read the Wikipedia article on the Greens. (Did you write, or collaborate in writing it?) Certainly I could agree with some of it, find some common ground. But on the whole, for me, it’s much too vague, open-ended and potentially, much too unlibertarian---and I am not a “neo-libertarian”---I’m a radical “liberal” libertarian for animal rights---with a lot of soul searching and questions I must ask myself about what strategies I should support or pursue.

      I believe radical libertarianism is the best possible step, albeit imperfect, toward achieving animal rights and world vegetarianism, if theses goals are in reality achievable and not a mere utopian fantasy. With the basic tools of life, liberty and property, honored to the maximum, we will be empowered in a million ways to change the culture. Green libertarianism, pragmatic left-libertarianism, etc., will hopeless interfere with, impede and fatally doom this strategy, the only viable one open to us at this stage of human culture and consciousness.


      Josh <jjc132@...> wrote: As a libertarian, I subscribe to the belief that the initiation of
      force is always wrong. But the question remains: The initiation of
      force against whom? Most neo-libertarians would argue that this
      would be an individual human being. These people do not
      acknowledge that animals have the right to be free from the
      initiation of force as well. In this human-centric vision of the
      world, all natural resources are up for grabs to the highest
      bidder. Animals will continue to be subjected to inhumane,
      despicable conditions and bred for the purpose of harvesting and
      selling parts of their bodies. Concern for the animal is never as
      important as maximizing profits.

      My vision of the world is much different. Not only do I never
      support any activity that mistreats, exploits or murders animals, but
      I'm willing to support the use of the government to prevent others
      from engaging in such activities. Neo-libertarians would say that
      I'm sanctioning the initiation of force against other humans, but I
      would argue that the force is legitimate because it's responding an
      initiation of force against innocent animals. Am I for legislating
      morality? Yes, but so is the person who thinks murder should
      remain illegal. The world "morality" has been subverted by the
      religious right. Their version of morality is based upon the
      fictitious holy bible, while mine is based on reason, truth and

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