Re: Extropians and animal rights

Michael S. Lorrey (
Wed, 13 Jan 1999 09:57:57 -0500

Ian Goddard wrote:

> At 05:47 PM 1/12/99 -0500, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> >
> >> If the study you refer to pertains to modern
> >> times, I'd note that most raised as hunters
> >> live in rural areas with lower crime rates,
> >> so your implication that killing some animals
> >> engenders compassion for others could be false.
> >
> >So you admit that raising a human child (typically male) in a vegetarian
> >and/or urban environment without hunting deprives the child from expressing
> >his evolved instincts to hunt, and may wind up subliming this repression into
> >cruelty to humans and other animals?
> IAN: No, I don't admit that at all! What I
> said was there's lower crime in rural areas
> per se. I doubt that the reason is because
> rural people kill more animals. I'd suspect
> that it has to do with rural people being
> self-sufficient by nature with solid family
> support and folks aren't so crowded together.
> The close proximity of people in the cities
> maximizes opportunities for thugs to attack
> and makes a life of crime more economical.

I look at criminals as a natural phenomemon of the urban economic ecosystem. Individuals that are denied skills or opportunity to practice productive skills in the society will resort naturally to predatory economics, being economically carnivorous upon the assets of the members of the herd. It does not matter if the predator is an Ivan Boesky or John Dillinger, it is the same behavior. Just as with natural predators, criminals will develop a 'drug of choice' or preferred form of prey, which is why most criminals only practice one or two forms of crime.

Violent crime is similarly a form of repressed predation. Since in an urban environment, there is no other species besides humans, dogs, cats, and rats, you will get sociopathic individuals who will express their natural hunting urges first upon 'acceptable' species to prey upon, then marginally acceptable/unacceptable species (dogs and cats), then as the individual becomes more dislocated from society, they may prey upon the unacceptable prey species, humans. This progression is a visible indication of the progression of their mental illness, but the hunting urge is not the illness, merely how the illness expresses itself in an environment of a limited ecosystem.

This is one reason why I view the general urban/vegetarian fear of guns and gun owners as also an instinctual fear that the herbivore has for the carnivore. We as humans also have this instinct, which comes to the fore as we practice a vegetarian lifestyle, since we did evolve from vegetarian/scavengers who were preyed upon by many predators, including homo erectus, and the great cats. This fear, when it becomes the core of mental illness, is manifested in haplophobia, which is recognized in the literature as an irrational fear of guns. It is an illness of transference, as we have a natural fear of seeing the natural weapons of predators exhibited.

When attacked, a herbivore will tend to flee, while an omnivore will tend to stand and fight, which explains the whole debate over right-to-carry vs. no-right-to-carry concealed weapons, as it is merely a manifestation of the different viewpoints of the herbivorous (sublimated as an economic herbivore or as an actual vegetarian) humans who prefer to avoid and flee and that of the omnivorous humans who would prefer to stand and fight a predator, and would prefer to be equally matched to that predator in weaponry. Herbivorous humans, as herd creatures, will depend upon the 'tamed' few deviants they think they have control of (i.e. police/government) to protect them from the predators, but will also seek to disarm the omnivores due to misplaced association with the predators.

> Also, most primates aren't carnivores, and
> as I recall, if they eat any flesh it's less
> than 10% of their diet (the great apes are
> strict vegetarians), and so the idea of a
> human "hunting instinct" seems debatable.

Uh, not quite. While the gorilla and orangutan are vegetarians, chimps and baboons are omnivorous carnivores, eating everything from roots to leaves and nuts and fruit, grubs to lizards, birds and injured ungulates, etc. including, sometimes, each other.

Now, as for humans, considering that we have evidence of tool use in the harvesting of ungulates (proto-horses, proto-bison, mammoths, proto-deer, etc) as well as other species like the great sloth, cave bear, etc, for several hundred thousand years, and we have fossilized spears etc which are also several hundred thousand years old, we know that hunting has been a constant practice of human beings throughout their history. We also know that the late homo erectus preyed upon the early homo sapiens, as well as many other species, so the evolved practices go much farther back than just human history.

We also know from the few cases of 'feral children' that hunting is a practice which develops naturally if the opportunity is there (i.e. there is ample game available to develop skills with).

Mike Lorrey