Monday, July 25, 2016

Animal "Rights" vs Human Rights

In a religious worldview, either Jewish or Christian, there are very few rights for humans, let alone for animals.  God’s system is one of obligation and responsibilities rather than rights.  I am sure that like my wife and I, you too have discovered that raising your family in a culture of many rights and few obligations elicits a whiny kind of selfishness from your children.  On the other hand, teaching all members of a family of their respective obligations means that everyone both gives and receives in an atmosphere more conducive to nobility and joy.  The same is true for society.  Not surprisingly, secularism promotes a culture of many rights and few obligations, extending the notion even to animals.  By arguing that ultimately we must resist any use of animals whatsoever, secularism approaches its philosophical goal of animal-human equivalence.  Obviously the deeper purpose for this equivalence is not to grant animals the self-discipline of humans but to seize for humans the freedoms of animals.

Now there is a seductiveness to regarding ourselves as animals.  It allows us the indulgence of never evaluating our behavior.  After all, animals do not agonize over life.  They eat what they fell like eating.  They mate when they feel like mating.  Being a human means constantly analyzing whether every proposed action is something we really ought to do.  If I could be persuaded that I am merely an animal, my life would change dramatically.   There are many things I have never done that I would instantly start doing.  There are other things I regularly do which I would cease.  Oh, yes, becoming an animal has its appeals.  It means the abandonment of all notions of conventional morality.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, "America's Real War," pg.143-144

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