Old 10-27-2011, 05:09 PM   #61
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Especially #5.
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Nationalization of Animal Cruelty Laws. Currently animal cruelty is covered by state laws, and some states are lacking in their laws (or have no laws regarding animal cruelty altogether, such as WY).
OK, I ask you also. What do you have against animal cruelty? On what basis do you think laws against it are rationally supported? Is it just a personal empathy on your part or is there a good reason to jail or fine a kid for monogramming a frog using a magnifying glass and a sunny say?

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:13 PM   #62
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If you don't mind, I'd like to defend the animal cruelty prevention idea. We generally try to prevent cruelty to humans, which are animals, so why not extend this protection to other animals?
Good point, but you have not rationally justified prevention of cruelty to humans which would have been my next question after the original one about non-human animals was completed.

So, on your response, why extend this yet to be supported protection of humans to other animals?

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:19 PM   #63
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Laws usually only apply to humans, and in fact, humans that meet a defacto standard of mental competence. Someone in a vegetative state has, for instance, fewer rights to self-determination than a typical person. Likewise animals, deviating even further from the standards for mental competence, aren't awarded protection under the law - they aren't nominally part of 'society', in so far as such a thing actually exists.

I think what Stern is asking is why animals should be counted as members of 'society' and likewise protected under the law.
Very close, Victus. I am exercising critical thinking by questioning the very basis of any objection to cruelty. The question arose with respect to animal cruelty which made a fair starting point and I intended to broaden it to include people once we reached consensus on the non-human animal level.

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:30 PM   #64
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Many people have pets, so animals are already a large part of society. Animal Cruelty laws don't ban hunting or anything, they're the type of laws that keep puppy mills from operating or from crazy old ladies keeping 96 cats in a trailer home (that happened a couple years ago in Fargo, the smell was so awful they had to wear chemical gear to go inside. They ended up torching the trailer it was so contaminated with feces and urine). Most states already have such laws, all I'm (actually this was my GF's suggestion) is to nationalize them.
You readily class those old ladies as crazy but you don't substantiate that judgment. You do not, I presume, know how cat urine smells to a cat so those conditions might not be at all as bad as some humans would think.

Suppose the ladies kept those cats in sanitary and spacious conditions but, on a rotating bases, regularly baked them in an oven, extinguishing them shortly before they died. What would give you a right to stop them as long as the ladies were no danger to themselves, their neighbors or their neighbor's pets?

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:36 PM   #65
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If most states already have them, then what would be the benefit of nationalizing them, beyond concern-signaling?
What is the rational basis for those state laws that do exist against animal cruelty?

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:40 PM   #66
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Houses feel pain? I never knew! Where can I find the central nervous system in my house?
You weren't making arguments that feeling pain was necessary, but that animals are a large part of society (as per the money we spend on them) and are very important kinds of property. Both of these are true, but irrelevant, since other important types of property that members of society spend a lot of money on are presumably not eligible for the types of laws you favor.

As such, your rebuttal to my statement that animals are not members of society and are therefore not eligible for protection under the law is moot.

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Rhino wrote
One could make the same argument for pedophilia.
One could, but it would fall apart pretty quickly given the number of rational arguments against legalizing pedophilia.

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I could start talking about how this could fall under federal jurisdiction from the possibility of inter-state commerce, but I don't really care.
How would a woman having 100 cats in her trailer fall under the commerce clause, exactly?

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I put down the anti-cruelty law as a suggestion from my girlfriend. That you are pro puppy torture doesn't really surprise me.
And it doesn't surprise me that you support laws without giving them much rational thought.

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:51 PM   #67
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Very close, Victus. I am exercising critical thinking by questioning the very basis of any objection to cruelty. The question arose with respect to animal cruelty which made a fair starting point and I intended to broaden it to include people once we reached consensus on the non-human animal level.
Going in the opposite direction, I'm not entirely sure a case could made that existing laws rule out cruelty towards humans. While some cruel behaviours towards other humans might be illegal, it's entirely possible to be mindbogglingly cruel towards other people without running afoul of the law. This means either that 1) the laws of basically every country I've ever skimmed over have huge, gaping holes in them that will never be filled, or 2) the law isn't "about" preventing cruelty per se, although some overlap with that outcome occurs.

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What is the rational basis for those state laws that do exist against animal cruelty?
I'm not sure they have one beyond satisfying voters' preferences*. I was simply illustrating that even if they did, it wouldn't obviously scale up to the national level.

*Even though, yes, animal cruelty deeply offends my own personal morality and preferences.

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Old 10-27-2011, 05:52 PM   #68
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I don't think it is a very complex argument, not that it needs to be. Causing extreme suffering to animals is considered by and large to be bad (in this society). Puppy mills cause extreme suffering to animals. Therefor there should be laws prohibiting puppy mills. (for example)
I do not agree that "considered by many to be bad" is a valid basis for a rule of thumb, much less an enforceable law. Your point boils down to "There should be laws against puppy mills because some people think they cause extreme suffering and that is bad in some undefined way."
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How about you provide an argument that would allow some states to allow animal torture?
It is not my burden; it is the burden of the advocate of such laws or morals to justify having them.
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(and I'm not talking about medical testing on animals, I don't believe that is torture, I'm talking about the horrid conditions in puppy mills or the conditions created by crazy cat ladies)
Much medical testing, while necessary to some particular ends, is prolonged and agonizing torment, so what; why be concerned?

Why shouldn't cat ladies keep as many cats as they want in awful conditions as long as they are not a health or fire danger to those around them?

As someone who does not own any of those cats, were do you get a right or responsibility to dictate how they are treated or even to be concerned about their health and comfort?

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:03 PM   #69
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Both of those facts can apply (more so!) to houses, so either you think we need house-protection laws or these points are red herrings - immaterial to why you support said laws.
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And we're (I'm trying not to speak for Stern here, but I think I know what he's getting at) saying that "I don't like it!" constitutes neither a rational argument nor a particularly compelling reason to interfere in peoples; lives against their will.
You are doing swell, saving me some significant skull sweat.
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1) Specific to the US, the Constitution probably wouldn't allow the government to infringe upon states' rights by enacting nationalized animal welfare laws. It would end up in the Supreme Court, and there's a decent chance it would lose, although its not guaranteed.

2) More broadly, the concept of federalism should apply. There's no obvious reason why this decision needs to be made at the national level - it isn't something that inherently affects people across state lines (e.g., Texas not having animal protection laws doesn't have any obvious impact on Illinois, for instance) or which states are incapable of legislating on their own (because most of them already have).

3) The absence of any kind of supporting, rational argument is sufficient in and of itself to reject legislation that forcibly interferes in peoples' lives against their will, especially at the federal level, where it's basically inescapable without leaving the country.
I think that any rule concerning how people behave toward each other should not be state specific but should be applicable planet-wide. So, puppy chunking (lookup punkin chunkin'), if it is rationally known to be immoral should be as prohibited and punished in Moscow as in Altoona.

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:15 PM   #70
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Houses feel pain? I never knew! Where can I find the central nervous system in my house?
So, we begin to get an answer from you. It seems that you think consciousness, pain and a central nervous system are components that enable an experience to be suffering or not. That and a few other items like certain filters in the brain that control and modify the perception of pain pretty well describe the physical environment of suffering. Please continue, what is wrong with suffering?
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One could make the same argument for pedophilia.
Except that this current question has not grown to encompass human victims yet, yes it is the same question for pedophilia.
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I could start talking about how this could fall under federal jurisdiction from the possibility of inter-state commerce, but I don't really care. I put down the anti-cruelty law as a suggestion from my girlfriend. That you are pro puppy torture doesn't really surprise me.
You begin to seem like a Christian when you complain that a simple question is the same as advocacy.

What is your girlfriend's reason for opposing puppy torture? Does she have one or is it just a vague "ewwwww" feeling?

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:27 PM   #71
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Going in the opposite direction, I'm not entirely sure a case could made that existing laws rule out cruelty towards humans. While some cruel behaviours towards other humans might be illegal, it's entirely possible to be mindbogglingly cruel towards other people without running afoul of the law. This means either that 1) the laws of basically every country I've ever skimmed over have huge, gaping holes in them that will never be filled, or 2) the law isn't "about" preventing cruelty per se, although some overlap with that outcome occurs.

I'm not sure they have one beyond satisfying voters' preferences*. I was simply illustrating that even if they did, it wouldn't obviously scale up to the national level.

*Even though, yes, animal cruelty deeply offends my own personal morality and preferences.
Cruelty is against my preferences through normal empathy but I am not at all sure it has any moral relevance hence my current question.

Wondering why it is a bad idea to put my fist through the TV screen is not the same as wanting to put my fist through the TV screen (which I easily might, but I don't).

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Old 10-27-2011, 07:04 PM   #72
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Wow, who would have thought something like "I think being cruel to animals is bad" would cause such contention. Or that it would result in both myself and my girlfriend being insulted in such a condescending manner. I'm remembering why I stopped coming to this forum for two years.

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:07 PM   #73
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What really gets me is the seemingly rejection of the position against animal cruelty because it is "irrational" and based on empathy (the condescending "ewwww" factor). Isn't empathy the basis of morality? Humans are far from rational animals. We are empathetic creatures, who use reason to justify positions we hold. So yes, opposition to cruelty has it's basis in empathy, but I take offense that this is deemed to be irrational. As humans are animals all I'm suggesting is some of the treatment we guarantee human animals (limitations of suffering) be extended to non-human animals. While this is empathetic of me, I don't really see it as me being irrational.

Wait just a minute-You expect me to believe-That all this misbehaving-Grew from one enchanted tree? And helpless to fight it-We should all be satisfied-With this magical explanation-For why the living die-And why it's hard to be a decent human being - David Bazan
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:14 PM   #74
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I think that any rule concerning how people behave toward each other should not be state specific but should be applicable planet-wide. So, puppy chunking (lookup punkin chunkin'), if it is rationally known to be immoral should be as prohibited and punished in Moscow as in Altoona.
"Applicable", yes. But I'm not sure we can 'know' things about morality. I suspect that maybe the best we can do is agree on things and then argue out the relative plausibility of competing views using logic and evidence some form of ethical intuititionism. But I think there's just going to be a lot of variance in views, even among people starting from not totally dissimilar priors, and as such, having a system that allows for variance is probably going to reduce conflict.

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Old 10-27-2011, 08:52 PM   #75
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lostsheep,
No, that's not how it works.

Even a billionaire pays the same amount of taxes on the first $50,000 of his income as someone who makes $50K. No matter how much you make, the taxes on the lower amounts don't increase.

For example, let's use some arbitrary numbers:
Let's say the tax rate is 10% for the first $20K, and 20% for the next $20K.

A person who makes exactly $20K, will pay $2K in taxes. If he makes $100 more ($20,100), he pays $2,020 ($2000 for the first $20K, which is 10%, and $20 for the next $100, which is 20%).

By the same token, someone who makes $40K will pay $6K in taxes ($2000 for the first $20K at 10%, and $4000 on the next $20K at 20%).

The trick is to not make the tax so high on the higher end of income that a person would lose incentive to increase their earnings. If you tax at a rate of 90%, where another million in income only generates $100K in actual take home pay, there is a much higher chance of that person not bothering, and being content with what they already make.
Ah, thanks, I see what you mean, and thanks for the education.
But you could cap it at a lower amount then, say 50% or some arbitrary number, so that incentive is still there.

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