Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Free Michael Vick

Let me see if I can make you angry.

Michael Vick is an innocent man who is being persecuted by an unjust government.

...the NFL star agreed Monday to "accept full responsibility" for his role in a dogfighting ring and plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges.

...

The maximum term is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although federal sentencing guidelines likely would call for less. Defense attorneys would not divulge details of the plea agreement or how much time Vick can expect to serve.

However, a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the terms are not final, told The Associated Press that prosecutors will recommend a sentence of a year to 18 months.

The sport of dogfighting is disgusting, sick, immoral and even evil. To want to watch dogs rip each other to shreds is sadistic; it might be a sign of psychological problems. Certainly it is a sign of inferior imagination and sympathy to the suffering of man's best friend.

It reminds me of the spectacle of bearbaiting, which was popular in Shakespeare's day: dogs were loosed to attack a chained bear. In Merry Wives of Windsor Shakespeare has a moron speak with fascination about bearbaiting. Although both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I loved the sport, it is clear that Shakespeare was not a fan.

Michael Vick is like pornographers, drug dealers, flag burners, prostitutes, Leona Helmsly and Michael Milken: he is among the least defensible, most loathed people in America, whom the government feels confident to persecute even though they have done nothing that would be against the law in a truly free country.

The NFL has every right to ban Vick from the game for life for his participation in dogfighting. However, dogfighting should not be a crime. Animals have no rights, only humans have rights. To give animals rights means to violate human rights. If animals have rights, then one could argue that eating a hamburger and wearing leather shoes are crimes.

Let's take it to the absurd extreme. If animals have rights, then one could argue that any assertion of human will over an animal is a crime. No one asked my cats if they wanted to live with me. I asserted my will over them, bought them and took them home in a little cage as if they were, well, animals.

Animals do not have rights because they do not have the faculty of reason. They deal with one another using force, and humans have a right to initiate force against animals.

It comes down to property rights. If a person owns an animal, then he should have the right to dispose of his property as he wishes. Property rights are absolute; a free and just state should go out of its way not to violate them in any way. It should go so far to protect property rights that it errs on the side of going too far, if such is possible.

Men do not have property rights if they do not have the right to be immoral, stupid, unfair, whimsical and disgusting with their property. A proper government exists only to protect and defend individual rights, not to make sure people are fair, moral and intelligent. This is hard for many to accept in our age when the government routinely violates property rights in countless ways. This absolute, laissez-faire conception of rights is currently theoretical and unconnected to the reality of our mixed economy. It is, as Ayn Rand called capitalism, the unknown ideal.

(Incidentally, isn't it odd that people want to throw the book at Vick but they yawn when Mary Winkler, who murdered her sleeping husband -- a human being -- with a shotgun blast, is let out after 67 days?)

The proper punishment for one who abuses animals is social ostracism. People can voluntarily refuse to sanction irrational, destructive behavior against animals. If we had a free government, then our traditions and customs of volunteer, social punishment would be stronger and more effective, just as private charities flourished before the New Deal brought the state into the charity business.

I don't want to come across as a flower child but I personally think the sport of game hunting is a barbaric holdover from the middle ages. I think it is sick to spend one's leisure time killing animals. People can get much of the thrill of the hunt pursuing animals with a camera instead of a rifle and I believe this is psychologically better than some atavistic lust to butcher a beast in cold blood. But I recognize that hunters have a right to their kills. I hope that as reason spreads through our culture -- if that ever happens -- that the popularity of hunting will wane.

The better our culture becomes, the better our norms of treating animals will be, but our advancement is stifled and indeed retarded when the state assumes the role of our conscience and tells people what they should and should not do. As always, when the state intervenes where is ought not, then people forget their responsibilities and become like children who depend on adults to think and judge for them.

UPDATE: Took out one word, tyrannical; it seems an overstatement of the US government.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"The proper punishment for one who abuses animals is social ostracism."

On the money again. Vick acted morally reprehensable but he should not lose his freedom for he did not break a legitimate law. He did not initiate force against a human in any way. The NFL is entirely justified if it wants to ban him for life but he should not be spending one minute in jail.

Its sad when you think about the state of our culture that no one will defend Michael Vick for the right reasons. No one today in the mainstream (right or left) could ever make the kind of argument you did. If I sit down and think about it for any length of time, it almost breaks my heart that full freedom is for us only a theory (a correct one but a theory nonetheless). We will never live under such a system. I'm jealous of the future.

John Kim

Inspector said...

"I don't want to come across as a flower child but I personally think the sport of game hunting is a barbaric holdover from the middle ages."

I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you on this one, Myrhaf.

In fact, it's a bit of the opposite: the idea that hunting is "barbaric" is a foppish and decadent notion that represents a failure to integrate one's consciousness.

Since my response has grown rather large, I'll be putting up a blog post, soon.

Myrhaf said...

I look forward to reading your explanation of how I am foppish and decadent.

Inspector said...

Well, your notion is, anyway.

Somehow, now I'm picturing you as hedonism-bot.

Dorian said...

I totally agree.

I think dog fighting is sick, but I think Michael Vick has the right to dog-fight. Animals don't have rights.

I strongly disagree with Governments right to prosecute this as a crime. Dogs are property, they do not have rights. I own dogs and love them but this doesn't change the fact that they're unable to reason as humans do.

It's absurd. There's no reason this should even be a court case.

Anonymous said...

THEY ARE JUST A BUNCH OF PITBULLS THAT ARE INBRED'S AND BRED FOR THAT ANYWAYS. THEY WILL EVENTUALLY ALL BE PUT DOWN BY LAW SOON. WHY NOT LET THEM GO BY FIGHTING TO DEATH BY WHICH IS THE ONLY THING THEY KNOW TO DO WHEN THEY ARE BORN!!!!

LET MICK VICK GO

Aquinas Dad said...

If all citizens agree that something is morally reprehensible, shouldn't it be illegal?

More importantly, if locals agree that A) having large dogs trained to fight to the death is a potential public danger and that B) experience shows that gambling leads to crime so C) they want to outlaw dog fighting, isn't this the same result without an appeal to animal "rights"? After all, that is how most laws against dog fighting in the US began, at least where I grew up.

And if property rights are so absolute, I hope you don't mind if I buy the neighbor's house and build a 30 story dynamite factory right next to your place!

Anonymous said...

Aquinas Dad

I am sure you have neither the means nor the knowledge to build a dynamite factory next to my house. I would also guess that people with the means and the knowledge would have no commercial purpose to build a dynamite factroy next to my house. If they did and I valued my house I need to make them an offer for the property that exceeds the value of locating next to my house or have the foresight to locate in an area that disallows this through private contracts. I understand you find it easy to resort to force to solve your problems but I would suggest you consider other options.

Aquinas Dad said...

Sunshine, that is a failure to address the issue. You didn't mention my first question, you don't mention dog fights at all, then you use a pair of assumptions, and a lame ad hominem rather than answer with, say, an actual defense of your bald assertion that property rights should be absolute.

"A proper government exists only to protect and defend individual rights, not to make sure people are fair, moral and intelligent." is an unsupported (here, by you) assertion, no more. There are a fair number of philosphers with a bit more prestige than thee who disagree with this claim and back it up with reason.

Convince me. And use reason, not pathetic attempts to claim I advocated the use of force.

Anonymous said...

You clearly advocate the use of force. The government is the only instrument that has a legal right to use force. You want to use the government to MAKE people do what you want, in this case its not dog fight.

Michael Vick will be forced to go to jail. He will be forced by the government and with your blessing. How can you say your not using/advocating force? Or were you to busy thinking about how to build that dynamite factory to really consider how your wishes play out in reality.

I ask one favor in parting...stop thinking of ways how to control people and focus on your own life.

Anonymous said...

I ask one favor in parting...stop thinking of ways to control people and focus on your own life.

Corrected above sentence, apologies(Most likely not the only one)

Aquinas Dad said...

Wow. AGAIN, you totally fail to address my points. 7Your whining that the government uses force to enforce laws is some sort of desire to control others is infantile. Laws exist for one reason only - to enforce morality. No, really. If you follow the typical Randroid mindset, you believe that the only proper use of the government's laws is to prevent private citizens from initiating force against you - but that is your moral outlook speaking.

You state quite baldly that "The sport of dogfighting is disgusting, sick, immoral and even evil." You are making a strong moral judgment in that statement, a statement of absolutes. You go on to say that in a "...truly free country" anyone who wanted to could dog fight.

Here is my conundrum for you. What is the difference between the "immoral, even evil" act of dogfighting and the immoral, even evil act of the initiation of force against another?Things are either immoral/evil or they are not. There may be shades of immorality, but where do you draw the line in a *cough* "truly free country"?

"So - dog fighting is immoral?"
"Yup - evil, even"
"So we should prevent it?"
"What are you, a monster?!"

Fails the sniff check. You need to actually *explain* how you get there, not call me an evil force advocate for asking a question or two, pal.

Its the same issue with the 'absolute property rights' you want to claim. Your attempts to ignore the issue do not make it go away! If your neighbor were to, for example, start manufacturing cyanide in his basement, at what point would his 'absolute property rights' begin to become the initiation of force against you, his neighbor? If I own a gun and enjoy celebrating my birthday by firing it into the air, when do my 'absolute property rights' impact your life?

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2007/09/06/bloom.pit.bull.attack.kron

seriously, Mike Vick should be freed. Its bullshit that people give a shit about a dumb fucking dog, then they do people. First off, when have you ever heard this kind out outcry when a grandmother is shot...NEVER. also, if you are so against this then be against bull fighting and putting two fighting fish in the same bowl. I seriously had these whining dog lovers and think its a load of crap when people cry about this. Pitbulls ruin peoples lives and if I had it my way every single pit bull would be dragged along the highway and shot.

Aquinas Dad said...

as for my questions, all I hear is crickets

Anonymous said...

You are all fuckin idiots. Leave Mike Vick alone and go hug a tree.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you are compaing apples to oranges-
To extend certain "rights" to animals does not minimize any rights extended to humans and animals are protected from cruel and barbaric treatment. One may slaughter an animal in a manner that does not cause needless suffering, one can even euthanize their own animal if the means is not causing needless suffering or pain, however dogfighting is inflicting needless suffering and pain on these animals over the course of hours.
Worse still, the "losers" are rarely, if ever given veterinary treatment and many are left to die from their injuries-death could come in a few more minutes or a few hours. In other extreams, these dogfighters actually steal dogs and cats from pet owners in order to use them as "bait" for their fighting dogs. Think about that the next time you look at your own pet. Michael Vick caused many animals to suffer needlessly and did so for his own sick amusment-nothing more. As humans, we have a responsibility to the animals to protect them from people like Vick and to assure that the message is delivered clearly-this will not be tolerated. Why don't you come and see the results of what you claim Vick and his ilk have a "right" to do at your local animal shelter-and then why don't you tell the staff there that Vick had the right to subject his dogs to the ring.I bet you won't.

Vick get's his just rewards Monday, DEcember 10th and I think he should get AT LEAST three years and would be happy if he got more-he deserves it.

Anonymous said...

What would Jesus do?
Never heard of him saying dog fighting is good.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you....

Women and Blacks used to be property too! So, your argument must mean it was okay to kill them too just because the goverment defined them as "property."

Finally, he did BREAK a FEDERAL and STATE law. You may not like it, but it is the LAW. Hence if you BREAK the LAW, as, clearly, Vick did, then he should be pay the price. Don't whine like a little boy. You don't think the law of the the U.S.A. is worth upholding????

Anonymous said...

Why even argue about this piece of garbage? If Vick wasn't caught up in dog fighting, he'd probably be committing some other illegal or immoral act. He's just another dumb criminal who just so happened to be blessed with superior athletic ability. I love the part about him testing positive for marijuana while awaiting sentencing. Part of his agreement was to refrain from drugs and alcohol before sentencing. I sure hope it was worth it. Face it, this guy is just one dumb act from a Darwin Award.

Anonymous said...

Aquinas Dad > you all. I'd post an argument, but he already did and was way more articulate than I could have been. I will say this, to all of you pit-bull haters leaving comments, a dog is only as good as the master who trains him. I own two pit-bulls, and they're the biggest, goofiest lapdogs and slobber monsters you've ever seen. They wouldn't hurt a fly. My tabby cat has wounded me much worse than either of my pit-bulls ever have.

Anonymous said...

The issue here isn't the legality of dog-fighting. Michael Vick was convicted of concpiracy to gamble across state lines. I agree completely that dog-fighting should not be illegal, but the issue here is gambling on dog-fights, which is illegal. Now, if someone wants to make the argument that gambling should be legal, I am willing to listen, and perhaps agree.

Anonymous said...

free michael vick b/c when u have child molesters and other need to be in jail criminals living in regular neighborhoods it makes no sense to lock this guy up yeah im a dog owner he should have paid a hefty fine and did tons of hours of community service but locking him up for more than a year come on AMERICA

Anonymous said...

I seriously just believe that fighting in any way is wrong. I don't really care if it's a human or an animal. In fact, I'm two steps away from believing we're animals ourselves.

Fighting solves nothing, and gambling on fights doesn't do much more than gain some money in your pocket, and that's stubborn.

Forcing an animal to fight and then trying to earn money off which one dies is awful and disgusting. I can't believe anyone in this world actually thinks something like that is right.

I think Vick deserves a fair sentence. Flat out fair and square. He doesn't deserve anything special because he's a football player. He's a human being and he's just like you and me. He just doesn't mind gambling on dogs killing each other.

Anonymous said...

Fuck Vick, he is nothing but a THUG who deserves to be bludgeoned, shot, hung, electrocuted, raped and then dismembered and feed to sharks.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is a THUG just like him.

Anonymous said...

Someone said: "I'm two steps away from believing we're animals ourselves."

We're not robots. If we're not animals, what are we?

Other people say that since other people get away with worse crimes with light punishment, Vick should have to suffer only very light punishment. In other words, two wrongs make a right.

Why do you assume that animals have no right? Is that based on their not being mentioned in the Constitution, or is there a philosophical basis for your primitive belief? Another poster mentioned that blacks were once considered property. In fact, the Supreme Court cited that idea in the Dred Scott decision. Slaves had no rights under the law. Did that mean that slaves actually had no rights? Would you be satisfied if the Constitution were amended to give (some) animals (some) rights? We're not talking about voting; we're talking about things like not being tortured to death over the course of a month.

You do realize that you claim that it's permissible (if not nice) to torture 1000 apes to death every week in the cruelest imaginable way; since they have no rights, in your mind, no law can be passed to protect them from such treatment.

The Grand Canyon has no rights. We might as well turn it into the greatest landfill ever.

African American named Ronald Smith said...

I think cloning, killing, and eating cows and other animals is wwwwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy worser than what Vick did. So what do you have to say about that America???

But we are talking about Gambling and Dogfighting??? Come on people. We live in a society that makes leather, eats steaks and hamburgers all year round that is provided by the government. THE ONLY REASON MICHAEL VICK IS LOCKED UP IS BECAUSE HE FOUND A WAY TO MAKE MONEY WITHOUT BEING FUCKED BY THE GOVERNMENT. WE LIVE IN A CAPITALISTIC COUNTRY AND IF YOUR MAKING MONEY THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOESNT KNOW ABOUT THEN ITS A CRIME.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: MARIJUANA

MARIJUANA IS AS NATURAL AS THE VEGETABLES WE EAT, BUT SINCE IT IS ACTUALLY A CASH CROP THAT ANYBODY COULD GROW, IT IS ILLEGAL.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, who claims all pit bulls should be dragged across the highway and killed.
You must have been or know of someone that was attacked by one of these animals.
If so,fault is owner, not animal.
I completely agree with Aquinas Dad.
He was merely giving his opinion backed by knowledge, and love of the animals! He obviously does not hate the breed! He has two of his own!
I have Rottweilers. These too have been miss-labeled! They are very intelligent, loving, loyal, quite funny, and love their family! If the person who wants one of these animals, that has been labeled as viscious, I believe they should be carefully screened. It is the owners responsibility that these animals be treated with respect, shown love,and given lots of time.
God created these animals as mans best friend.
IDC which one, or all of you that do not want to hear that! It is a fact that no one can deny, honestly!
If an individual wants an animal especially, Rotty, Doberman, Mastiff, Chow, Pit for any other reason other than to have a loyal family lover that will yes, defend you if another tries to cause their family harm- DO NOT GET ONE!
The only idiots are the ones that(1) sleep after taking part in watching these creatures tear each other to shreads (2) Has no knowledge of the breed only go by hear-say!It is very unfortunate that there have been attacks on humans, (and other animals.) If society became more educated instead of just getting one of these breeds to say they have one, without fullfilling their obligation to the animal & society they would not have such an evil label!
I have been up for more than half the night working on a research paper, yes, I know there are many grammer errors posted on this comment.
Thank you!