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Libertarians and Animal Rights

Ever since that post about my understanding that being a Libertarian is at odds with Animal Rights, I’ve been obsessed with getting to the bottom of it. After all, if someone is "Known as a libertarian, environmentalist, animal-rights activist and vegetarian," I must be missing something.

I did some research and found John Mackey’s blog. Like Mackey (the founder of Whole Foods and a vegan), I was a way-leftist in my younger, more naive days. I even registered as a Socialist as soon as I was old enough to vote. Ah, the heady days of graduate school at the City University of New York in 1988.

But then I woke up, and I’ve been Independent for years. And Mr. Mackey woke up much earlier, and has been voting Libertarian since 1980.

Maybe there really is something to the Libertarian-Animal thing? They don’t make ’em more compassionate and reasonable (and savvy) than John Mackey. If it’s good enough for him, maybe it’s fine for little ole’ me, too.

I went to Politopia: The Land of Custom-Made Government to take a short quiz that gives you a broad idea of where you fit on the political spectrum, where types like you live in the US, and what you might call yourself in the event you like labels.

To my utter amazement, I’d be most at home in the Northwest (I live in the Southeast), and I’m practically a pure Libertarian (in theory).

Because I refused to believe it, I researched Libertarians and Animal Rights and found that this is the one area where Libertarians disagree because their focus is on human freedom and individual rights.

Let’s deconstruct this:

  • There is no Libertarian stance on Animal Rights, so individuals must decide what is right for themselves.
  • Because nonhuman animals are not humans, they inherently have no rights, however.
  • Because Libertarianism does not concern itself with judgments about the morality of behavior, whether or not causing nonhuman animals to suffer is moral, is irrelevant.

End of discussion, oui?

Finally, I’m concerned with the tone and verbiage of many Libertarians around this issue. They are full of hatred, they name call, and I was shocked to read about how much they despise not only Animal Rights people, but animals themselves. This degrades the national debate about this important issue (the treatment of animals, not necessarily whether they have "rights"), and infuses negative, destructive energy into it that I want no part of (so I won’t link to any of their sites, but they are very easy to find–have at it).

First, we had to decide where Native Americans fit into our lives (and boy was that a debacle!), then it was people of color, then it was women, and now it is the Earth and its nonhuman inhabitants. These issues aren’t going anywhere, and it’s time to give them the consideration they deserve.   

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