I was leafing through a magazine the other day and I spotted an ad with a picture of a fox. The caption under the picture read,” He needs his fur more than you do”. The ad was sponsored by the Humane Society. I thought, “How presumptuous.” How would anyone know if an animal would need anything more than a human being and what relevance would such a presumption have on the interests of the human being? For instance: A fur farmer or a trapper might need the fur for his survival. A person might need a fur coat to keep warm or even to be in fashion. These are legitimate human needs and/or desires. Human desires and needs trump perceived animal desires or needs; otherwise priority on perceived animal needs and desires would take away human choices. Taking away human choices for the perceived needs and desires of animals then requires an answer to the question, "Why are the choices of some humans sympathetic to animal life given priority over the choices of people who want to utilize animals for the benefit of human activity?"
Only a moral argument could be used to substantiate such a claim, but it must be a moral argument that has validity. The argument from need has no such validity. The argument that the neediest must be honored is based on the premise that the downtrodden, the underprivileged, the helpless, the proletariat, are somehow more worthy of whatever is produced or desired than those who are producing and enjoying. This was the classic Marxist argument: To each according to his need, from each according to his ability. The ethics of the Soviet Union showed us what that meant in practice and how it was doomed to failure. The Humane Society has not examined its premises, and utilizing the same moral premises as the Soviet Union, wants to impose its wishes (either by guilt or by law) in the name of animals instead of the working class as the Soviets claimed.
The Humane Society is not the only organization utilizing the ethics of altruism to further their agenda. There is PETA, there is Green-Peace, there is the environmental movement in general and the sacrificial policy of Foreign Aid to name only a few. Altruism is rampant in today’s culture and is used to justify so many inane propositions it is a wonder there is any civility left at all. The cry of greed has been surpassed by the cry of need. The politician speaks daily of the needs he must redistribute for, the preacher cries out for those in need (to receive from those who do not), the beggar calls out on the corner for honoring his need and the downward cycle of who is the neediest becomes the badge of honor that will capture the most spoils. Since animals are unable to compete with the mind of man they must fall to the level of the lowest and therefore the neediest. This is the logic of the altruists beginning with the premise of the supremacy of need as a criteria for moral stature. When the consequences of this premise become evident you have the failure of derivative political systems and the spectacle of animals walking into the backyards of civilized unarmed humans. People with brains to see consequences see the ravaging of their gardens and even their children, all because some other people felt their need to protect animals was more important than other people to protect their offspring and property.
Attacks on research labs designed to protect human lives are conducted by two legged animals worried more about the critters and the varmints than the health and well-being of their fellow species. Only the equation of sacrifice with morality could bring about such motivation for such irrational action. This is the requirement of the morality of altruism. Pay no attention to what methods you use or what harm you may inflict if it is all in the name of doing it for that which is low, and the lower the better. Thus the declaration of the superiority of the freedom of the rat over the health of mankind.
These crimes, as with all crimes, must have a motive, and the motive for the sacrifice of human welfare is the false assumption that the good must come from the liberation and championing of the helpless and the conquest of the capable. This irrationality can have no other consequence. Those who hold something higher as a purpose in life than the life of the individual human being necessarily sacrifices the rational interests of humans for the projected desires of the nonconceptual lower animals. This is what altruism is capable of and yet it rides the wave of a moral sanction it has proven itself unworthy of. Animals need their fur unless man needs it for his purposes. If we cannot utilize what we hunt, trap or cultivate, in the name of another person’s desire to harness human activity, then by what right does this person’s desire for our regulation become the rule, and why? There is no rational answer to this question because there is no right of the altruist to dictate. There is only the unearned guilt that allows these misguided human predators to prey on the unsuspecting and unlearned. This is the “having or showing of compassion or benevolence”, ( the definition of humane) that is lacking in the society that goes by the name. It is a twisted view of benevolence that mistreats man and elevates the sub-human to an unearned stature. It is the inhumane element permeating the Humane Society.
Dale Netherton was born in Cedar Rapids Iowa. After serving in the Marine Corps and obtaining his bachelors degree he worked in the field of forestry. He obtained an M.B. A. from Nova University and wrote an outlooks column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette for 7 years. He moved to Southeast Iowa after retirement and built a campground on the Des Moines River catering to hunters, fishermen and families. He has written two novellas, countless editorials, over 240 essays, produced two poetry videos, has been published in Lyrical Iowa several times, had letters published in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine and contributed online to canoestories .com. He is now more fully retired in his house on the river with his wife Donna putting together writings, cutting firewood, hunting mushrooms, fishing , camping and golfing.
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