Sunday, November 6, 2011
The Human Union
The burning issue of the day, and I'm finding myself to be pretty liberal on the subject, is whether animals should be allowed to join the Human Union.
Those who take the conservative position say, "It is called the Human Union," which is a great point. And they are 100 percent correct that since the inception, all these years, only humans have had admittance. But whether that's the way it should remain, of course that's key to the issue.
I don't think I'm too far off the mark to say, Just because something's been that way for a hundred years (or whatever it is) doesn't mean it needs to stay that way. On this issue, how do we know our forefathers were correct in their judgment? It's not like we were there to give our opinion or the opportunity to hold sway with decent arguments in favor of animals. So, say they made a mistake in excluding them, should we and the animals of today have to to maintain it? I don't think so.
And another thing, not just looking at the past but at the future, if we kept the argument that the forefathers' system should stand, those of the future will look back to our ratification of it for further justification that it should remain that way. And if we're simply ourselves ratifying the past because it is the past, then I can't see how we're passing on a valid basis for future generations to make their own determination. In that case, they would be as foolish (or more so) than we are now -- I know the word foolish is harsh -- and there will never be progress.
It seems that common sense cries out that the forefathers' opinions and choices are not of necessity more valid than our own. What leads us to think they would be? That they happened to live before us? So what? There's no infallibility because you live before someone else. In that case, we also have infallibility in relation to future generations. I don't see it!
Let's say we allowed animals in the Human Union, but future generations, as opinions shifted, thought animals should be excluded, would they then be prevented from making that determination simply because some conservative voice of the future reverences our present generation as past and thereby infallible? It's lunacy, and ironic, that conservatives now would say one thing, yet conservatives of the future would take the exact opposite side, simply out of a reverence for past opinion or precedent.
I say, let's debate it rationally, then decide the issue, not centering on precedent. Let's look at the actual implications of what it would mean for animals and humans both. It could very well usher in a new age of animal-human relations, where we're not always simply at one another's throats. Yes, it might make the separate Animal Union somewhat obsolete, somewhat, because animals of course could maintain their own union if that were their choice. They've already said as much, with some of their conservative members already saying, That's the way it's always been, and that their own forefathers knew what they were doing when they set it up that way.
The truth, of course, is far murkier. As I recall the history, the Animal Union started as an animal version of the Human Union. It looks like the animals never would've thought of it on their own, previously being content just to eat each other, yet complain that no one was doing a damned thing about it.