That nature is ours to modify for our benefit.
That nature is capricious and something we must pacify for our safety.
That the purpose of man’s life is to leave the world better for having lived in it.
This is an heroic view of man that is as ancient as the indo-european peoples.
(a) animals do not have ‘rights’ – this is an absurdity – they are not human. In conservatism (which means “european aristocratic egalitarianism”). Even humans must ‘earn’ rights – which is why we take them away if they misbehave. Animals can’t earn rights. (perhaps dogs to some minor degree.)
(b) that we should care for animals because we desire to, because our world is better to live in if we have them. True. This is the logical reasoning, not ‘rights’.
(c) that disregard for animals that we have normatively chosen to care for, and which are under our control,
(d) that laziness in caring for animals is likely laziness in caring for people. True.
(e) that cruelty to animals is likely cruelty to humans – and therefore you are unfit to live among humans. True.
Unfortunately, this is an argument to NORMS: demonstrating the human character necessary to possess ‘rights’. Conservatives place extremely high value on norms. Progressives do not. The progressive movement is largely an attack on conservative (aristocratic egalitarian) norms. And the progressive movement has managed to, at least in education and other major areas of life, discredit norms. And therefore the progressive movement has lost the ability to market policy that requires adherence to norms. And therefore has, out of necessity, used the specious argument of ‘rights’, because it is the only means of justifying legal action that they have available to them.
Of course, what may not be obvious is that:
(a) it is not possible for animals to possess rights – a right is something that can be reciprocally granted and animals cannot conceive of this (except perhaps for domesticated dogs..)
(b) that the word “right” is an attempt to load, or frame, animals anthropomorphically. in order to misrepresent the normative utility of protecting animals as a resource, as one open to legal rather than normative control. In other words, it’s common marketing fraud.
(c) that caretaking, even anthropomorpized caretaking, provides women with oxcytocin reactions, and that many females are addicted to this reaction. It is not rational. It is drug addiction. It’s just relatively harmless drug addiction. So our political policy is being driven by logically confused drug addicts using a deceptive marketing campaign, not reason. In which case we would simply sell off the management of wild animals to private firms who would specialize in it and figure out how to make it profitable (the way we have with deer hunting in america).
(d) that the female psyche evolved, and cooperation evolved, as a means of controlling alphas by gossip, complaint and excitement, to motivate the non-alpha males to organize against, and punish or kill the alphas, so that the females could control their own breeding rather than be the mere victims of alphas. And that there is a significant correlation between the female members of the animal rights movement and their reproductive status.
(e) That the anti-fur movement is absurd, and counter to the benefit of animals and man. It is a renewable resource. It encourages the protection of the species. It is inexpensive. It is excellent protection against the cold, and it’s beautiful. This same argument applies to hunting. And to wild animals. Because if wild animals were ‘owned’ rather than a ‘commons’ owners would protect them far better than governments do – just like we do with domesticated animals.
This is a fairly damning critique of REASONING USED by the animal rights movement. It is not however a critique of the conservative normative proscription.
The conservative (aristocratic egalitarian) proscription is that if you do not care for animals as if they are the commons that they are, and a commons that we have assumed responsibilty for from nature, that you have not EARNED the right from other humans to administer that commons on their behalf, and therefore they will withdraw your rights, which they reciprocally grant you, because you are unfit to live with rights, among others, who have them.
Conservatives are rational but their moral code is ancient and they speak of it in metaphorical terms not suitable for an era where scientific language has all but replaced metaphor. And this is why I write philosophy – to repair conservatism (aristocratic egalitarianism) by articulating it rationally.