LLR Pages

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Leviathan's Case Against Michael Vick

The U.S. federal government's criminal case against Atlanta Falcons quarterback star Michael Vick for his purported involvement in the most recent dog fighting scandal is heating up as ever. At the same time, the Leviathan, which has confiscated 54 pit bulls that were allegedly used in the dog fighting, is holding them as evidence to be used against Vick and the other three men suspected of ties to the operation.

According to the New York Times, Vick and the other three men -- Tony Taylor, Purnell A. Peace, and Quanis L. Phillips -- plead not guilty last week "to charges related to a dogfighting operation that the authorities said was called Bad Newz Kennels."

Here's an excerpt of the Times today:

On Monday, Taylor pleaded guilty and agreed to help prosecutors make their case. He signed a 13-page statement confirming much of what the government stated when it indicted the four men July 17. The 18-page indictment uses graphic detail in describing the animal cruelty the men are accused of. It states that during a search of Vick’s property in Surry County in April, 54 pit bulls were recovered, along with a so-called rape stand used to hold dogs for mating, and a treadmill modified for dogs.

More charges are expected in the case, and a trial has been scheduled for November. Vick, the star quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, has been suspended indefinitely by the National Football League.

Now I'm the last person in the world to endorse or give any moral, financial, and emotional support to any underground operation that employs dogs to attack and kill other dogs as a sport and for entertainment. I think it is a disgusting and terrible practice to begin with. But do these men really deserve jail time for a "crime" that did not involve violence against "victims" in any way, especially when those "victims" were dogs and not humans?

The collectivists are using laws against animal cruelty to prosecute a group of individuals who used animals in a sport that society on the whole has otherwise condemned and utterly rejected. The laws, while written with the best of intentions in mind, are being used to protect "victims" where there are none. Victims only apply to humans, not animals.

And how is this any different from cockfighting? Cockfighting is a sport that has been made illegal in many states, although it was a strong, common practice in the United States from the late 1700s to most of the 20th century. Even the Founders like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were avid fans of cockfighting. However, over time, the sport has been, on a one-by-one basis, illegalized at the state level, with Louisiana being the last state to ban the event.

It is interesting to note that dog fighting had once been a legal practice from the 15th century to the early part of the 20 century, although in recent decades, it has been outlawed in many states due to society's increasing contempt for and opposition to animal cruelty. However, the biggest reason for the bans is the rise of radical leftist-socialist organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The cardinal legal argument against dog fighting (and even cockfighting) by PETA, the Humane Society, and other organizations like them is that it is wrong to harm animals for the purpose of providing a blood sport for people who desire that form of entertainment. But the real legal argument I get from these groups is that animals who are "harmed" and "tortured" by those involved in the practice are "victims" of violent crimes aggressed against them.

The reason for this mentality is that animals are viewed by PETA, HSUS, and other shrill "animal rights" organizations is that animals have "rights" comparable to humans, which is false. Animals do not have rights. They are neither capable of possessing rights nor have the need for them to begin with. What is the rationale for this argument, you ask? It is simple for three distinct reasons:

  • Animals do not have and are not capable of having a system of morality. Animals have no need for morality. They neither have the competence nor the will to possess nor even the understanding of the concept of morality. Morality means nothing to them. That is what distinguishes humans from animals. We humans are capable of having a system of morality, whereas animals do not. Animals, from a utilitarian and ethical standpoint, are amoral. Humans can be either moral or immoral ("immoral" meaning having a set of bad moral principles), but at least they have a system of morality that strings together their ideas of right and wrong. Animals, on the other hand, simply lack that ability.

    It goes further than that. Animals have no love for morality. They will kill other forms of species to insure their own survival, even at the expense of those species. A shark, for example, kills a school of fish for food because it is in their nature to kill and is necessary for their survival. Have sharks committed the "crime of murder" against these fish? Of course not. If one were to suggest such a thing, one would receive looks and disgust from animal lovers and other groups of people who would find such a statement ridiculous and laughable on its face. It is all simply part and parcel of the entire food chain. Because they kill other forms of species for that reason, they have no respect for individual rights - a component which is necessary for a species to control their environment that would enable them to control their own lives without doing harm to other species. Ascribing the same rights to animals who lack a moral center and are, by nature's design, functioning to preserve their order within the animal kingdom is nothing more than a mistake, not to mention a joke. To place animals above humans as if animals are higher and better than humans is not only vulgar and offensive, but also illogical and ridiculous. The fact that there is no proof that animals possess such a system goes without saying.

  • Because animals have no ability to possess morality, they also neither possess nor believe in the ability of individual rights and free will, unlike their human counterparts. Humans are capable of these things, but animals do not. They have no need for free will and individual rights, since they are governed by the laws of nature and the need to procreate and survive. Human beings are capable of exercising those rights, whereas animals do not. And because they have no desire for free will and indvidualism, they see themselves as an inherent collective for the greater good of their species.

  • Because animals have no ability to recognize and respect individual rights and free will, that, in turn, is what makes animals the property of humans. Since animals have no morals and the ability to exercise individual rights and free will, they are, in the eyes of natural law, man's property to do with what he pleases. Since the marketplace allows me to purchase an animal and possess it to do with what I will to it, I can keep it as a pet, sell it in a free market as either a pet or food, or kill it to eat it for my own survival. Since private property rights means that I have the moral and natural right to use the animal any way I see fit, it is my property; therefore, it is my right to do what I want to do to it. To remove a man's ability to protect and preserve his private property and ascribe rights to that property based on some flimsy assumption that an animal is the equivalent of a man is to destroy a man's right to acquire and earn the fruits of his labor and to destroy his ability to engage in freedom of exchange. Animals have no ability to object to them being property, since they neither possess the faculties of a man nor the ability to reason like a human to begin with.

That is not to say that we should condone abuse of an animal or harm to them for no reason at all. It is society's interests to boycott businesses that support such practices and ostracize those who favor them.

When all is said and done, the Michael Vick case will show that it is not an issue of "victimization" that is the problem. It is the violation of private property rights and the inaccurate relegation of morality, individual rights, and free will to a set of species that are not capable of fathoming these concepts at all.