Op-Eds

Op-Ed: Why all Civil Rights should be considered Under One Banner

I was browsing across YouTube a couple days back, (as any teenager with spare time does,) when I came across a video about Ann Coulter criticizing activists for comparing LGBT members to black Americans. As with nearly all Ann Coulter videos, I expected this one to be massively disliked followed by two witty top comments insulting her. You can feel my surprise when I found the opposite to be true. The video (which I’m sure you can find on your own) had mediocre dislikes and the top comments were two black users complimenting her, saying they too were sick of their history being compared to that of the LGBT community.

I’ll come back to this story, but it serves as a good jumping point for the rest of the article. The idea of groups needing permission to have rights within a community has its roots traced back to the rules of the rich white elite as justification for imposing unfair boundaries upon the lower classes. Since then, those barriers have been constantly stretched, but it’s really quite sad that they’re still not broken completely in the 100,000+ years Homo Sapiens Sapiens has existed.

Here’s a fact that everyone needs to know; in a civilized society, no one is born with any prejudices. It’s true, it’s very true. No child goes around thinking they’re above someone of another race, a dog, or a woman. Every prejudice and hate you see in someone is through conditioning, either by said subject’s caretaker and/or environment.

I’m really getting tired of going through this cycle of constant fighting with the conservatives (note, we have to use this term as the Republicans used to be the liberal party back in the day). This won’t stop, not till the end of time. I get that. What I don’t get is why these fights go on for so long.

Actually I do understand why. Here is the problem liberals; we are taking too long to act on these issues. Our late offence gives the conservatives plenty of time to establish a large base of supporters filled with all the nation’s bigots and jerks. We should have ended women’s rights back in the Prohibition Era, we should have tied LGBT rights to Dr. King’s Civil Rights movement, and right now we should be interchangeably using animal rights with the LGBT campaign.

Some of you may be thinking that tackling more than one issue at a time only causes lag within a civil rights crusade. This could be both true and false, but even with the former’s worst predictions, it’s still better than the current plan we have in place. Yes, more than likely you’ll see several years tacked onto the progression. As I said though, our existing course of action consists of these long, drawn-out periods followed by longer breaks. The solution is very simple; take out the middle man by combining several movements together.

Let’s go back to the story I was talking about earlier. I’m not trying to degrade slavery and the slave trade. I’ve read the history books and seen the movies; it was a holocaust and the majority of historians would definitely consider it the worst violation of human rights. But there’s something to note here; every group has had a horrible past. It doesn’t matter if yours was worse; these movements wouldn’t spring up unless there was a large-degree of civil rights violations. In just the mid-20th century we had homosexuals chemically-castrated for starters, and to this day animals are being horrifically exploited. Creating barriers to replace your empathy is foolish.

Racism, species-ism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc…it’s all the same nonsense created by bigots for bigots. As a liberal, I’ve made the resolution that I would support all civil rights, whether they be past (minorities, women), present (LGBT, animal), or future (A.I., plant, E.T.) issues. My friends, I’ll definitely go into more detail in later specific articles, but remember that what we do today impacts our future children. The previous generations almost forgot this, and their laziness has resulted in all these conflicts we face today. Let’s not make the same mistakes.

About Red Stewart

Big liberal and gamer.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Why all Civil Rights should be considered Under One Banner

  1. If you include human and animal rights in the same category, you’re not a real liberal. No other species knows what it means to be deprived of the right to participate in a moral contract. No other species knows what it means to vote or to debate policies. The civil rights struggles didn’t come from fashion or providence; they came from truth. People really are basically the same. No other species can make that claim, because no other species is capable of claiming anything at all.

    And trying to make us feel sorry for animals for not having anyone to vouch for them only furthers my case, because people have always vouched for themselves.

    Posted by collin237 | January 1, 2014, 3:47 am
    • Quite the opposite actually- if you’re separating the two you’re more right leaning than left. Liberals have been the champions of the animal rights movement, with figures such as Peter Singer, Gary Yourofsky, and Joaquin Phoenix all being leftists. That’s not to say right-wingers don’t support animal welfare, as the Animal Welfare Act and all its subsequent amendments have been passed under a Republican president, but it almost always ties into business of some kind.

      You’re absolutely right that no other species knows what it means to be deprived of the right to participate in the social contract (which is what I’m assuming you’re referring to by “moral contract”), because the social contract was conceived by humans for humans. It would be akin to me stating that Europeans don’t know what it means to be deprived of the right to participate in the United States presidential election because the U.S. Presidential election was conceived by Americans for Americans.

      Assuming that no other species practices their own form of democracy speaks to a sufficient lack of research on your part. Bringing up suffrage as another factor is a poor decision on your part as suffrage falls under civil liberties, not civil rights; liberties being specific depending on the individual in question (i.e. including corporations).

      Animal rights comes from the truth as well. The truth is millions of animals are being intentionally killed/tortured/raped to serve the purposes of various horrifying industries created by mankind. To deny that as a truth is akin to denying the Holocaust ever existed.

      No other species is capable of claiming anything at all? You’re bringing up the language barrier as the reason to deprive a whole diversity of species rights? By that logic, if I were to bring in a man who spoke an archaic language, I would have the right to deprive him of our natural rights. Aside from that, a language barrier doesn’t exist as humans have an emotion called empathy that allows us to feel the pain and suffering of another being, whether they be human or non-human. The scream of a dog, cat, calf, horse, etc….instantly breaks apart any language barrier that may be present.

      Your last sentence makes no sense. You’re saying that human selfishness is a reason for furthering your case? Maybe against communism, but civil rights operate on a plane of existence above human desires. It is this plane to which many members of our species strive to fight for the rights of many groups over the years.

      In conclusion, I’d suggest you take the time to better articulate your points or, at the very least, do some basic research that supports your clearly ignorant assumptions about what civil rights are and who they entail.

      Posted by Red Stewart | January 1, 2014, 12:47 pm
  2. “Liberals have been the champions of the animal rights movement”. Liberals have also been champions of innovation, and rebels against dogma. I approve of the principle of abolishing all forms of cruelty, including cruelty to animals. My objection is to using a human rights template toward that goal. Many other liberal causes have met with at least a modicum of success despite massive resistance, but not in the case of how animals are treated. That’s a very big indicator that the strategy is flawed.

    “but it almost always ties into business of some kind.” All successful policies “tie into business” (to the extent that that phrase is something other than vapid).

    “It would be akin to me stating that Europeans don’t know what it means to be deprived of the right to participate in the United States presidential election because the U.S. Presidential election was conceived by Americans for Americans.” Nonsense! Of course they know, and they don’t want it. Just like we know about the Court of the Exchequeur and don’t want it.

    “Assuming that no other species practices their own form of democracy speaks to a sufficient lack of research on your part.” I thought liberals are against the spread of pseudoscience? This claim is bizarre, and I have no reason to research it without a credible reference to suggest it’s even remotely valid.

    “liberties being specific depending on the individual in question”. So you’d start out by asking whether other species can vote, and then determine they can’t on a case-by-case basis? If you did that, you’d be able to continue by denying the vote to groups of people. That’s why liberals are against voting group identification.

    “Animal rights comes from the truth as well. The truth is millions of animals are being intentionally killed/tortured/raped to serve the purposes of various horrifying industries created by mankind. To deny that as a truth is akin to denying the Holocaust ever existed.” Wow! A Straw Man and a Godwin, in the same paragraph! I never even remotely suggested that I’m excusing or denying any kind of cruelty.

    “By that logic, if I were to bring in a man who spoke an archaic language, I would have the right to deprive him of our natural rights.” No! You’d have the duty to treat him with respect. And inevitably, you’d find yourself learning his language, and he’d learn yours.

    “The scream of a dog, cat, calf, horse, etc….instantly breaks apart any language barrier that may be present.” By telling us not to do something we already know is wrong. But society can’t be built around only negatives. It’s still up to people to decide what to do instead. Our obligation to animals is only to live and let live. But our obligation to each other is also to negotiate and reach mutual understandings.

    “civil rights operate on a plane of existence above human desires.” No they don’t! They operate on the principle of recognizing that other people have the same desires as ours, and securing their right to fulfill their desires as passionately as we do our own. It’s not a higher plane; it’s just common sense. In fact, looking up to a higher plane is one of the biggest excuses for denying people their civil rights.

    Posted by collin237 | January 2, 2014, 6:11 am
    • “Many other liberal causes have met with at least a modicum of success despite massive resistance, but not in the case of how animals are treated.” I once again cite the Animal Welfare Act, as well as plenty of institutions such as the ASPCA, AHA, PETA, etc…. Granted, the majority of those have become shells of their former selves, but to say that there hasn’t been “at least a modicum of success” is completely false.

      [All successful policies “tie into business” (to the extent that that phrase is something other than vapid)] The point I was trying to make was that the primary motivation behind conservatives who passed the bill/amendments was to help with business. That doesn’t apply to all the Right-wing supporters, of course.

      [Nonsense! Of course they know, and they don’t want it. Just like we know about the Court of the Exchequeur and don’t want it.] Very poor response that completely misses the point of the analogy (and you failed to respond to the statement I made on the social contract, implying that you are unable to).

      [I thought liberals are against the spread of pseudoscience? This claim is bizarre, and I have no reason to research it without a credible reference to suggest it’s even remotely valid.] If you are too lazy to hop onto Google Scholar, then I’m afraid I’m can’t help you there.

      [So you’d start out by asking whether other species can vote, and then determine they can’t on a case-by-case basis? If you did that, you’d be able to continue by denying the vote to groups of people. That’s why liberals are against voting group identification.] Once again you missed the point of my statement. Similar to how corporations weren’t given suffrage when they became persons, animal groups wouldn’t be given suffrage either because it would make no sense for them to have. Civil rights entails the three natural rights every being is granted from birth; right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (yes I know that last one is technically property, but happiness makes more sense there and that’s what the U.S. interprets it as instead due to the Declaration of Independence stating so.).

      [Wow! A Straw Man and a Godwin, in the same paragraph! I never even remotely suggested that I’m excusing or denying any kind of cruelty.] Haha, I can’t believe I put a Godwin in there. But it’s not a strawman b/c you have placed a barrier between human rights and animal rights movements, and stated that the civil rights movement of the 1960s (which was a human rights movement) involved the truth. Using that as support for your article automatically makes the claim that the animal rights movement is not based on truth.

      [No! You’d have the duty to treat him with respect. And inevitably, you’d find yourself learning his language, and he’d learn yours.] Please, tell me why I’d have to treat him with respect if, by your logic, since I’m unable to learn his language/get a translator I can deny him rights. And living among animals would lead to an inevitable understanding of their language, so your support goes both ways.

      [By telling us not to do something we already know is wrong. But society can’t be built around only negatives. It’s still up to people to decide what to do instead. Our obligation to animals is only to live and let live. But our obligation to each other is also to negotiate and reach mutual understandings.] No one said that society has to be built around only negatives, but negatives should be implemented when it entails the suffering of another being. And such a rule is ALREADY in place via the 8th amendment.

      [No they don’t! They operate on the principle of recognizing that other people have the same desires as ours, and securing their right to fulfill their desires as passionately as we do our own. It’s not a higher plane; it’s just common sense. In fact, looking up to a higher plane is one of the biggest excuses for denying people their civil rights.] It is common sense and common sense is on a higher plane that human desires. When you’re making enough money to either increase the minimum wage of your employees or increase your own high level of wealth, it should be common sense to do the former, yet many don’t. Looking up to a higher plane puts it beyond the selfishness of mankind, and I honestly don’t approve of this humanist outlook you’ve adopted, but what I can do but whine?

      Posted by Red Stewart | January 3, 2014, 6:01 pm

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