Words of Wisdom
Animal Rights activists
" The central idea in my approach is the observation that humans are much more social than rational creatures. In everyday life on average, people try to merge into society, behave correspondingly, and afterwards rationalize their behaviour, i.e. find "rational" reasons why they act as they act. This observation is so obvious that it does not seem to merit quoting empirical support. "
~Dr. Martin Balluch
" Let's be honest. The animal rights movement as we now know it will never become a revolutionary struggle because the representatives of the oppressed enjoy enough privilege from the system they oppose to prevent them from supporting, let alone engaging in actual revolutionary activity that would risk those comforts. "
~Rod Coronado, Hypocrisy Is Our Greatest Luxury
"In vitro meat - perhaps our best hope of getting rid of factory farming everywhere by the middle of the century... I'd much rather everyone listened the moral argument and became vegan today. But we both know how hard it is to argue against moral apathy."
" Animal liberation is the most difficult liberation struggle of all because speciesism is primordial and universal. Speciesism is arguably the first of any form of domination or hierarchy and it has spread like a deadly virus throughout the entire planet and all of human history. The problem is not limited to Western culture or to the modern world, such that there is some significant utopian past or radical alternative to recover. The problem is the human species itself, which but for rare exceptions is violent, destructive, and imperialistic. Universally, humans have vested interests in exploiting animals and think they have a God-given right to do so. To change these attitudes is to change the very nerve center of human consciousness. That is our task - no more and no less. "
~Dr. Steve Best
" Animal exploitation and murder are no more the result of a particular belief system, political system, or economic system than are human exploitation and murder. To think that they are is to mistake the symptom for the disease. The disease is selfishness, greed, arrogance, and a lack of compassion. As Lord Acton told us, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Human history demonstrates that whenever a system (economic, political, religious, whatever) is installed that is designed to end, or at least ameliorate, human oppression, it is fairly quickly corrupted into a new mechanism for the same old oppression. Communism, is one example, institutional Christianity another. Political and economic democracy slow the process by distributing power widely enough to prevent its concentration while placing a significant share of it in the hands of those most vulnerable to oppression. As Winston Churchill reminded us, "Democracy is the worst system of governance ever devised except for all of the other systems that have been tried from time to time." Radical social revolutions simply put a new class of oppressors in charge. I wish it were not so, but it is. "
" To put it bluntly, we enslave and murder animals because it is in our self-interest to do so and we have the power to get away with it, not because of capitalism, liberal democracy, the Judeo-Christian dominionist tradition, or any of the other reasons so commonly given. These are merely after-the-fact justifications. We enslave and murder animals because we can and we enjoy the results. Change the political or economic system, and that fundamental fact will still be operative, and the enslavement and murder of animals will continue unaffected except that it will now be justified by a different set of theories, one that is compatible with the new system. "
" I actually agree with your assessment of human nature, although I am very torn - I'm not the first! - between thinking we have strong biological drives that lead us to violence and selfishness, and hoping we can become different animals than we are or have been through new social and cultural conditions. To the extent we write and educate about animal rights, we do believe that to some degree, right? I recall cutting my philosophical teeth on Marx, and then discovering Nietzsche, who confirmed my deeper biases toward pessimistic views on humanity. I've done a hell of a lot of work on AR and veganism here in El Paso and have been constantly in the media, doing interviews, and organizing groups and actions. But it cuts against my grain and I do it only out of duty. In my early 20s I worked as a bartender which gives you unique insights into the human animal, not pretty, and it was that time I was reading Nietzsche, along with Baudelaire (truly amazing poet!) who as you may know also did not favor society or the human animal. "
" All this is by way of confirming your pessimism about humans which I share more than you may know. This comes out a lot in the book I'm trying to finish, which traces human evolution from australopithecines to Homo sapiens. It appears our first significant act as a species was to wipe out Neanderthals, then slaughter every large mammal that we encountered as we moved from Europe to other continents, and then to go to war against ourselves incessantly. There is a lot of controversy over whether or not we butchered Neanderthals (or interbred or they died out) and caused the extinction of so many large animals early in our planetary journey (or natural events annihilated them), but the evidence as far as I have read is rather damning against us. I found the book Demonic Males to be interesting, and I do not think we can ignore the fact that chimpanzees can be incredibly aggressive and violent and that they, not the more peaceful bonobos, are our closest biological relatives. It has become political incorrect to talk about biology, but we have too, and Singer is right to remind of this in his book, The Darwinian Left. I've also found very convincing the counter-PC trend, such as Lawrence Keeley's War Before Civilization, which provides convincing evidence humans have always been violent and warlike, and shows how strained the attempts are to deny the archaeological evidence. "
~Dr. Steve Best, Until there are no beings whom we still define as "other"
" Yes, I have grave doubts about the Left. My political activism and education began with the Left, and I am still far Left in my beliefs, but I have had more than enough experience to confirm how backwards, ignorant, biased, prejudiced, fallacious, and pre-scientific their views on animals are. "
~Dr. Steve Best, Until there are no beings whom we still define as "other"
Non Animal Rights activists
" The more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear. Sooner or later one comes to that dreadful universal thing called human nature. "
" Tactics based solely on morality can only succeed when you are dealing with people who are moral or a system that is moral. "
" People involved in a revolution don't become part of the system; they destroy the system. "
" Non-violence is not a moral principle but a strategy. And there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon. "
" Good theory, wrong species. " (in response to the Marxist utopia of the end of hierarchical society)
~E. O. Wilson, American biologist
" Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. "
" The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity. "
" The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population - the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it's the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it's the fools that form the overwhelming majority. "
~Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
" Of all the creatures ever made [man] is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one - the solitary one - that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. "
~Mark Twain , American novelist