Re: [asa] On animals and the environment (was Event or process)

From: Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net>
Date: Sun May 13 2007 - 17:49:25 EDT

At 06:42 PM 5/11/2007, Christine Smith wrote:

>Janice writes on 5/9: "Humans have "rights" because they also have
>"responsibilities". (One of those responsibilities is to care for
>God's dumb beasts with extreme kindness and respect, unlike the way
>they treat each other.) The confused pantheists/ panentheists/
>gaias in the "animal rights" (PETA) movement, etc., aren't
>willing --- or able --- to admit this."
>
>"I agree with the sentiment that humans have "rights" and
>"responsibilities" that animals don't have, ...."

@ It's not a "feeling" - it's a fact.

>"....and that *some* animal rights movements have gone too far in
>trying to equate animals with humans. .."

@ Could you be specific and tell me which animal rights
"movements" you're thinking about which haven't gone "too far?" I'm
unaware of the names of such "movements."

Would any of those "movements" agree with this statement?: "..the
ontological gulf between humans and animals is so wide, that no
materialistic or deterministic philosophy could ever bridge that
chasm. .." http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/search?q=dumb+animals

>"..That being said, as an animal lover, .."

@ I have an idea! We could have a contest as to which of us is the
greater "animal lover"!! Do you "brake for butterflies", like (my
passengers will attest) I do? Do you have commendations from Sea
World and the Audubon Society for rescuing hurt creatures? We could
both start listing or "animal-lover stories" if you like!

>"..I would not classify animals as "dumb beasts", except in the
>spirit that if they are "dumb beasts" to us, then we are no less
>"dumb beasts" from God's point of view. ... "

@ Argue with God. Here is his point of view:

Traditional Catholic Apologetics Net Q&A (No, I'm not RCC):

[snip]

51. Does not the Catholic Church defend the rights of dumb beasts?

When you speak of dumb beasts you admit that they are on a lower
plane than human beings. Not being persons, they have not personal rights.

Still, the Church teaches that cruelty to animals is sinful. Now sin
means the violation of rights. But whose rights are being violated by
wanton cruelty to animals? Certainly not the rights of animals
themselves. Wanton cruelty is a sin because no man has a right to
brutalize his own humanity. Man has an obligation to develop what is
best in his own nature, and not to indulge in vicious tendencies. And
by wanton cruelty he sins against this obligation ["responsibility"].

Again, God has the right that His creatures should be used in
accordance with His will, and that means reasonably and kindly.
Cruelty, therefore, is a sin against God's rights. But that cruelty
is a sin does not imply that there are any moral rights vested in
animals themselves. It is a violation of rights belonging to God
Himself, and of the responsibility vested in the dignity of our own
rational nature.

52. If animals are not immortal, God's treatment of them is unjust.

That is not true. All justice is in the moral order, and supposes the
violation of rights possessed by morally responsible subjects.
Animals do not possess reason, and cannot refer their actions to
moral standards which they know to be imposed upon them by their
Creator. And if animals have no personal rights to be violated, there
can be no question of injustice towards them.

53. Think of noble animal traits often exceeding those of men.

The good instincts of animals, for which they are not morally
responsible, may be preferable to the vices of men as such. But the
very moral degradation of a man who chooses vice rather than virtue
indicates a nobler type of being than any mere animal which is
incapable of truly moral conduct.

54. If we deserve to survive, don't animals by their virtues deserve the same?

Strictly speaking, we cannot attribute virtues to animals. They may
have good habits, but virtue and merit suppose moral freedom, and the
deliberate choice of things which are not a matter of physical necessity.

55. Are there no compensations for animal sufferings?

Only rights imply compensation and animals as such have no rights.

56. Many people abandon religion because the interests of animals are
not made a special part of its teaching.

The interests of animals can never be a special part of reasonable
religion. It is a religious duty to God and to man's own dignity to
practice restraint and kindness in the use of animals. But that will
result from the really important duty of worshipping and loving God,
and attending to the salvation and sanctification of our own souls by
the practice of Christian virtue. There is a great danger of excess
in this matter. As Christian ideals fade, human beings forget their
own dignity, reduce themselves to the animal level, and grow hard
towards one another. And by a strange kind of distortion, the human
sympathies which they cannot suppress entirely tend to go out to the
animal world. Many women marry, refuse to have children, and lavish
their starved instincts upon pet animals as a substitute. So we have
beauty parlors for pet dogs, where ladies can take their little
Pomeranians to have them "bathed, shampooed, groomed and manicured"
at a price which would provide a week's food for a starving child. I
do not suggest that you would approve of such extremes, but you echo
ideas which have led to them. Meantime, if people will not practice
religion to attend to the interests of their own souls, it will be
quite useless for them to do so in order to attend to the interests
of animals. You may think me hard, but I cannot win sympathy for
religion by sympathizing with ideas utterly opposed to it by their
extravagance. We must love God, and let our love for God extend to
all His creatures reasonably and proportionately. It is a distortion
to love animals, and then be prepared to love God provided we can let
our love of animals extend to Him also! It is essential that we have
a correct knowledge of the order of things established by God, that
we obtain a genuine notion of religion and of its duties, and that we
fulfill those duties. Sentiment cannot be exalted to the dominant
element in religion." Source: Traditional Catholic Apologetics Net:
http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:KdOKeUu5IPEJ:www.catholicapologetics.net/rr3q48-56+dumb+animal+apologetic&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us

I would add this observation to the above commentary: "As happens
with soul-corrosive socialism, too many ...... have been reduced to
comfort-seeking animals in ..."
Source: 2/13/06 Alternate Realities: One is Too Many, a Thousand is
Not Enough: http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/search?q=dumb+animals

>"...I would also note with some interest that of all the blessings
>given in the Bible, the very FIRST, explicitly mentioned reference
>to a blessing in the Bible is given not to humans, but to animals:
>"And God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill
>the waters in the sea, and let birds multiply on the earth." (Gen.
>1:22) Surely this is some indication of the importance of animals to God?

@ See above.

>Janice continues: "...Now that I think about it, the radical
>environmental movement probably represents what you might call a
>godless effort to preserve this aspect of God's reality -- a sort of
>hollow memory of the fullness of God's self-revelation. The
>environmentalist loves this divine truth -- or one part of it -- but
>not the source of this truth, which is to say, reality. Thus, he
>often slides into the barbarism of pantheism, or at least becomes
>the functional equivalent thereof. (Of course, I am speaking in
>generalities, as there are obviously countless people who love
>nature but are not radical environmentalists.)"
>
>"..I wonder how you would define "radical environmentalism"? .."

@ I define it as the activities of Marxist/socialists and Gaias who
are intent on controlling and subordinating people's private property
rights to the rights of their constitutents; animals, trees,
etc. (Notice that unlike human constituents, these conveniently
cannot speak or disagree and therefore can't refuse the "help" and
"assistance" of these omnipotent busibodies.

>"...It is clear from you previous posts that you are a climate
>change skeptic-- ..."

@ That's interesting, since I've made just the opposite quite clear
in my posts:

"Since global warming has been going on since God created the sun -
and long before he created man - "global warming" (as well as
"global cooling") [climate change] is ordained by God.
..." ~ Janice --- Tue, 14 Feb 2006 10:59:34
-0500 http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200602/0198.html

>"..I personally believe that climate change represents a very
>serious threat and I do consider myself an "environmentalist"--does
>this make me "radical" by your definition?

@ I don't care what individuals personally believe, nor do I consider
anyone a threat to liberty /peace unless they're Marxist/socialists
or Gaias intent on gaining enough political power to usurp my
unalienable rights and impose their religious beliefs on me. That's
when I consider them to be nihilistic radicals. The Eighth
Commandment of Nihilism: What's Yours is Mine April 26,
2007
http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/search?q=The+Eighth+Commandment+of+Nihilism%3A+What%27s+Yours+is+Mine+

>Or would your definition be restricted to those environmentalists
>who would ignore the needs of the poor in favor of preserving nature
>(an attitude and strategy which I would condemn)?

@ Ah, yes -- "the needs of the poor". To be more precise: "The
needs of non-land owners" or "those not owning private property."

So ...do you favor the poor over others? God doesn't. He is on the
side of justice. As I said in a previous post, it is a sin to pervert
justice by favoring the poor. (Lev.19:15)

"..There are many "social justice" or "liberation theology"
Christians who maintain that Jesus was a sort of proto-communist,
what with his counsel to give to the poor. But there is a big
difference between voluntary renunciation of one's wealth and
government seizure and redistribution of one's wealth. Just as one
must first be a man before becoming a gentleman, one must first have
sovereignty over one's property before giving it away. ....

Pipes notes that "while property in some form is possible without
liberty, the contrary is inconceivable." And this is one thing that
frightens us about the illiberal left, for as we have said many
times, if you scratch a leftist, he will probably sue you. But
underneath the scratch, you will discover a conviction that your
property doesn't really belong to you, but to the collective. It is
simply a variation of the bald-faced assertion that "private property
is public theft." itself the absolute inversion of the seventh commandment.

"Primitive people are prone mindlessly to exterminate animals and
destroy forests, to the extent that they are physically able, without
any thought of the future" (Pipes). There is an obvious reason why
the most affluent countries with the strongest property rights also
have the best environmental records.

"...There is a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about
stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual
property, for they now want the benefits of private property without
the sacred duty to protect it. For a Marxist, private property is
public theft, so when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer
programs, they're just doing what comes naturally to them. Clearly,
this is a perversion of private property that perhaps even Marx
didn't envision: "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine as
well." See: The Eighth Commandment of Nihilism: What's Yours is
Mine (see above)

~ Janice

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Received on Sun May 13 17:50:00 2007

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