Posted on July 23, 2006
Chimps And Salsa
Spain joins the anti-human movement
In most European countries, you'd probably be brought up on "hate speech" charges for claiming that Spaniards were the equivalent of chimpanzees, but the Spanish parliament is preparing to do just that.
Green Party parliamentarian Francisco Garrido has proposed a resolution that would affirm the "Declaration on Great Apes," which claims rights to life and liberty on behalf of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The bill is expected to pass easily, which must be a little surprising to anyone who takes it literally. Just imagine all the apes being freed from the Barcelona Zoo for a night on the town, bar-hopping to find out who serves the best banana daiquiris. Being a taxi driver in that city would be a thankless job, to say the least. It's bad enough to have passengers blow chunks, without their proceeding to throw them at you.
In reality, such fears are unfounded, because Garrido's bill is an example of that classic expression of symbolism over substance, the non-binding resolution. Its passage would not codify the declaration into Spain's constitution; it would only state the parliament's solidarity with the Great Ape Project, the organization that wrote the declaration and is campaigning for its worldwide acceptance.
This is not to say, however, that the passage of this bill would be meaningless. When a government pronounces its sympathy with "the extension of the community of equals to include all great apes," it is stating an anti-human philosophy that is bound to manifest itself in other forms. If that's not already apparent, then consider that a co-founder of the Great Ape Project is Peter Singer, the bestiality and infanticide advocate whom Princeton University hired as chairman of its bioethics department.
In his infamous 1985 essay, "Should the Baby Live?" Singer answers that question by concluding that parents of handicapped newborns should be allowed a window of 28 days in which to kill them. To justify this opinion, he recategorizes the animal kingdom to include "non-human persons" and "human non-persons." This former category includes those animals he thinks possess a self-consciousness, like apes, dogs and pigs. The latter group is made up of those human beings he assumes are not self-conscious, and are therefore disposable. These include newborns, people with severe mental handicaps, and old people suffering from dementia. In other words, Singer's reformulation levels the playing field by knocking down humans, at least as much as by elevating apes.
In an article posted on the Great Ape Project website, Singer tempers his claim that apes have a right to life, by maintaining that this right does not preclude euthanasia "if that is in the interest of individual apes whose suffering cannot be relieved." Since humans and apes are to belong to "a community of equals," this implies that Singer has expanded his view of which humans qualify to be involuntarily euthanized. Surely, one must be self-conscious in order to suffer. Therefore, even some "human persons" are eligible to be killed.
Likewise, he explains that while those in the "community of equals" have a right to liberty, that doesn't necessarily mean that they should be freed from captivity. "Recognizing the rights of great apes does not mean that they all must be set free, even those born and bred in zoos, who would be unable to survive in the wild," he writes. It's not hard to see how this reasoning could apply to humans as well. Just think of those congressional opponents of welfare reform, who complained that it was unfair to expect people to "fend for themselves."
Understood in this context, it's no coincidence that the first country to embrace the declaration is Spain, which elected the Socialist Party to power in 2004. That's because the animal rights movement provides convenient cover for encroachments on the individual rights of humans.
Rather than alarming citizens by telling them that they're no better than animals, the collectivists can say instead that animals are as good as people. Then they can explain that just because animals have rights to life and liberty, it doesn't mean the government can't kill or confine them, for their own good. Thus, they are able to redefine "rights" to mean privileges that the government may rescind at its own discretion.
By adopting Singer's declaration, the "Center-Left" coalition that governs Spain is setting the groundwork for doing what socialists always want to do, which is to create their own version of Orwell's Animal Farm. The only difference is that, in this case, it seems that some animals are more equal than people.-- Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
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