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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 769)...

    Do you support the idea of extending human rights to primates?

    ...and the response:

    I'm afraid I can't support the idea of extending "human" rights to primates. Why not to raccoons? Why not to sharks and mosquitoes and liver flukes? Why not to cancer cells? Rights is a shaky starting point in any case. The only "person" who can say FOR SURE that you have a right is the state. To take a simple example, if the state SAYS you have the right to abort an unwanted fetus, then you have that right, but if it says you don't have that right, then of course you don't (though you may ARGUE that you do). In this country (to take another example), we have a "right" to be tried by a jury of our peers. Since trial by jury was unknown throughout human history until recent centuries, it can hardly be considered a "God-given" right or an inborn right. So where did it come from? Ultimately it had to come from the state---but where did the state get the right to decide who has rights? Ultimately, the state took this right upon itself---and invented it.


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