: : Actually, I'm right on subject and you didn't read carefully. Many of the same people who deny the existence of God (any god), also speak moral absolutes against capitalism, meat eating, and animal testing. I need to hear the basis of one's morality if he is to engage in such resolute proclaimations. I find it very interesting when people suggest that humanity is a natural occurance and then make moral judgments.
As I've said before, whether morality comes from a god, or man, is a question which cannot be answered, though history shows us that man makes his own morality as suits his needs (e.g. the nazis). Whether man's moral choices -- and it's all relative whether the choices made are good or evil -- are guided by a god is a question no one can answer; it's a matter of faith.
[Let it be snipped]
: : If there is no ecclesiastical basis for morality, then operative morality is only the current consensus of any given culture. That consensus is usually expressed by law. When morality is subject to the dictates of popular opinion, right and wrong are vagueries that change with the ages causing the law to change with it. I have no problem with this until I start hearing a small minority (Marxists, greens, vegans, ...) begin to use morality as a tool (a hammer) to beat the majority into submission. It is an effective tool because it purely manipulates emotion but applies no reason.
I take exception to this. You say you have no problem with morality changing over time as a result of popular (read, majority) opinion, but when a minority challenges the prevailing morality, suddenly it's a problem. This is saying that might makes right, and that what's popular must then be correct. Therefore, in the deep South of the 1800's, pro-slavery was the morally correct position to take because only a vocal minority opposed it. Is this what you believe?
Next you say that animal rights activists such as myself use morality as a hammer. That's a sly way of putting it. I'd rather think of appeals to morality as appeals to people's better nature, not as a weapon to bludgeon them into submission. Furthermore, why do you bother linking morality to emotion? Are appeals to emotion somehow less valid than appeals to reason? If an argument stirs compassion in the listener, is their compassion somehow inconsequential? Whether that sense of compassion is a God-given quality or an innate quality, should it not be heeded? There's a word for people without compassion: sociopaths. They are not very nice people.
On the other hand, appeals to emotion may simulataneously be appeals to reason, if by reason you mean enlightened self-interest. Why, for example, should a well-fed American concern himself with a starving child in Africa? That child can die without any effect at all on the American. The answer, or at least one answer, it that fostering concern for the starving ensures that should roles ever reverse, and you find yourself starving, the ethic of the wealthy feeding the starving will save you, and so, it is enlightened self-interest.
Leaving aside the environmental and health concerns of veganism and animal rights in general, and arguing solely on enlightened self-interest, it is my contention that a society which demonstrates compassion and mercy to animals will also be a society which demonstrates compassion and mercy to people. After all, if you can't show mercy to an animal like a chicken, which holds no political or religious views in opposition to your own, how can you show mercy to a human being who's politics and religion are abhorrent to you? As history shows, the latter is often the cause of war and suffering. However, if we as human beings resolve to show kindness to ALL living creatures, perhaps we'll learn to show kindness to one another.
That said, I myself abide by the Golden Rule -- do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That means, don't inflict pain and death on others - including animals - because you yourself know that you would not want pain and death inflicted upon you. Whether that rule is inspired by God or man, I really don't care. It's a good rule. Isn't that enough?
: They, the greens etc., learned that from the Conservatives...
Lark, it could be the other way around for all you know. Maybe the conservatives learned appeals to morality and emotion from the abolitionists and other "radicals." Or maybe it's neither a left or right thing, but a human thing. I know that I've loved animals and hated to see them hurt ever since I was a little child, long before I had any idea what "politics" was.
[Be thou snipped]