Friday, March 29, 2013

Speciesism


By Tom Kando

Madeleine is to be commended for her eloquent plea for animal rights. I am also for animal rights. I appreciate vegetarianism, I love my cats, I would never dream of hurting animals, I oppose unnecessary animal research (e.g. for beauty products), I feel that poachers and others who kill animals for their pelts, ivory or other parts should be punished severely, I find hunting and fishing cruel.

I do not disagree per se with anything Madeleine says, and I wouldn't want to set up this conversation as a polemic between us, or see my earlier post on abortion being used as a straw man (see http://european-americanblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/abortion-animal-rights-and-levels-of.html) For example, I didn’t write that the mentally disabled are less sentient and are therefore more expendable. I didn’t write that rationality should be the criterion for expendability. SENTIENCE, yes. And this puts Madeleine and me in agreement, since sentience and her criterion - the capacity to suffer - are synonymous.
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Animal Rights **

by Madeleine Kando

As an argument in his discussion on: Abortion, Animal Rights, and Levels of Consciousness, Tom says that: ‘The criterion for destroying life should be: The higher the level of consciousness and sentience of an organism is, the more evil it is to kill it.’

Does that mean that it is less evil to kill the mentally disabled? Don’t they have a lower level of sentience than someone without a mental handicap?

The fundamental question is, should moral equality be based on characteristics such as ‘sentience’ and ‘rationality’? When more weight is given to mental capacity over other abilities in deciding who to give equal rights to, we are entering a slippery slope. Read more...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Equality for Dummies **

by Madeleine Kando

For the past two weeks I have been caught in a mahlstrom, you know, one of those giant funnels that drag ships down to the depths of the ocean, never to be seen again.

My daughter asked me: 'Mom, what does equality mean?' I was naïve enough to think that I could give a simple answer, albeit with a little googling in secret, so that she wouldn't think I was a total nincompoop.

But the more I googled, the more I realized that the meaning of equality is so slippery and complex that it completely boggled my mind. I took solace in realizing that it had also boggled, or at least occupied the minds of numerous philosophers for the past several millennia. So I have resigned myself to the fact that it would take more time than I have left on this earth to truly wrap my head around the concept. Read more...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Post-Script to my Recent Post on Fascism and Socialism


By Tom Kando

As I re-read my post “Are Fascism and Socialism the same?”I realize an important omission, which I now wish to remedy.

I almost entirely forgot to mention what may be the single most important difference between Fascism and Socialism:

Fascism wants to return to the past, which it glorifies, whereas Socialism is geared to the future, sometimes a utopian future. Mussolini wanted to build a second Roman Empire. Hitler, a great admirer of Wagner, glorified Teutonic mythology. Fascism is in some ways a perversion of German Romanticism - a longing for a return to nature, to tribalism and to the noble savage. Fascism is anti-modern and anti-science. It appeals to emotion. Its aim is to destroy modern society and to return to a glorious (and mythical) past, when men were real men (warriors, and the like) and women were true damsels (or at least breeders). Fascism is, literally, reactionary: It is a reaction against modernity.
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