Below are my opening and closing statements from an Oxford-style debate hosted by the NYC Political Forum. My friend Roberto Guzman and I argued against the proposition and won. (Reading time 8 minutes.)Continue reading “Debate: “Economic inequality is unjust and harmful.””
“Are they worth it?” Who can rationally answer that question, other than those who voluntarily pay the executives for their services?
And what moral right does anyone else have to stop them?
It is neither “bizarre” nor “ironic” that Jesse Jackson and George McGovern, who once argued for the use of economic sanctions to topple the government in South Africa, oppose the use of economic sanctions to topple the government of Cuba. For what troubles such advocates of statism is not political oppression (which is necessitated by statism), but group inequality.
As a result, such collectivist mentalities did not object to apartheid on the basis of its vicious political oppression of individuals (as would an advocate of individual rights), but because of the fact that apartheid divided South Africa into collective groups of “haves” and “have-nots.” Thus, while these mentalities might consider Castro’s dictatorship impractical in terms of production, since a Marxist slave-state leads to poverty, by their premises they must hold that it is moral in terms of distribution, since Marxism eliminates the “haves,” and thus inequality, by means of forcibly redistributing wealth “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
The alternative to Marxist egalitarianism is the justice that results from the constitutional protection of individual rights, which allows individuals of any race to rise as high as possible according to their effort and ability. In other words, the alternative to the philosophy of the Left is the philosophy of the Founding Fathers and its ideological result: laissez-faire capitalism.
In judging the objectivity of any specific claim made by spokesmen for the animal rights movement (such as that animal research will not lead to a cure for AIDS), one must always keep in mind the fundamental premise which the movement is fighting to have legally institutionalized, which is that animals possess the same rights (and value) as humans. Accordingly, animal rightists believe that no more value should be placed on the life of a man dying from AIDS than on the life of a laboratory rat being experimented on to find a cure for AIDS; according to them, both entities are morally interchangeable. The national director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Ingrid Newkirk, expressed this idea when she said, “I don’t believe human beings have the ‘right to life.’ That’s a supremacist perversion. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” Not surprisingly, she has also said that “Even if animal tests produced a cure [for AIDS], ‘we’d be against it.'” As such statements suggest, the animal rights movement represents the egalitarianism of the Left taken to its horrible, yet logical, conclusion.
In contrast to such vicious ideas, the original American concept of rights derives from human nature and the social requirements of human survival: because man is the rational animal, and because each man’s life is an end in itself, each man has the right to think and to act on his conclusions, and therefore the right be left free from the initiation of physical force by other men. That the animal rightists would advocate the passage of government laws (backed by force) against medical researchers struggling to save human lives shows their true attitudes towards reason, rights, and mankind. In fact, animal rightists are not moved by