Lately I’ve been taking a lot of lectures and podcasts on animal rights. For anyone “in the know” regarding our latest technological developments with synthetic DNA and cells coupled with out attempts to merge those with technologies seemingly more distant than from being what we know as human (homo sapien sapien), the regulatory and philosophical issues surrounding animal rights are urgent.
Consider how humans today are enthusiastic about enhancements of sorts to their physical and virtual being. Implants, prosthesis, medicines, computing powers, travel, ….our agility and fountain of youth…
Consider a near future where run-of-the-mill humans are simply inferior to those of us who decide (and can afford to) upgrade. Now consider how legal structure that’ll need to be built to manage the human species….ensuring that they don’t run-a-muck by over populating, over violating, overly interfering, and over representing themselves as valuable. Or will humans be valuable, and if so, in what capacity?
In an age of potential abundance and institutional scarcity (the current age) we are faced with the dilemma, to or not to identify less cognitively astute species as having rights. From a legal and point and attorney would tell you that rights are a privilege of a participating entity in a community, organization, nation/state of sort. It has been that way for centuries now, and is difficult to amend.
It’s always been necessary in (the attempt at) civil society to allocate rights to entities regardless of their societal status in order to avoid the (what some would call, natural) animal-istic virtue of respect. Anyone ever watched the animal channel where the Alpha in a pack or outside of a pack takes what it wants? Its due to a lack of formidable opposition by the others. The laws of society and cultural norms are not representative of the laws of the courts.
Humans are in the process of building species that will be more than capable of dominating in the aforementioned way. Defining rights and protecting them under laws is what keeps us from taking the Amish people’s land and doing what we please. We’ll require something similar for the bohemian naturalists of us out there, that no matter how sexy a trip to venus could be, they’ll never allow themselves the hedonistic good of downloading themselves into a body that travels at unthinkable speeds and distances, to see the rings.
So what do we do? Start protecting house pets and our food alike with the rights that we will soon have to allocate to our neighbors, or write them all off as less-than-valuable for a scientific study.
Most of the questions asked here are relevant in the topical debates on rights and animals today, but I’m of the group (if there exists such a group) that thinks, these questions aren’t addressing the root cause of this important issue affecting your parents and children. The argument that needs to be had is one of, how we value human abilities and what type of support (resources) we want to allocate to that potential. Its a conversation for elites and egalitarians, liberals and conservatives alike. And we’ve yet to address it will in civil society…lol @ civil,