Animal Rights: Remedy to Trumpism
By David Cantor
The Trump presidency is proving as destructive, troubling, and demoralizing as anticipated by anyone respectful of the Constitution, of human beings and other animals, and of the living world. Increasing animal abuse is the overarching trend: intensifying injustice and assaults on human beings, reversing constraints on our species’ destruction of the living world (the Biocaust), and reinvigorating the animal-abuse and disease-spreading industries driving climate breakdown, toxic pollution, and other sources of misery.
So the needed response is not just protesting and resisting Trump, voting for candidates who oppose Trumpism, and urging people to act “humanely” at the personal level. Our opposition must advance the total paradigm shift needed to reduce animal abuse by undermining the full range of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice. One easy thing to do: Read and share with your officials and potential candidates Responsible Policies for Animals’ two-page political background paper “Governing for Life: How Officials Can End Animal-Abuse Policy, Annihilation of Nature, and Resulting Human Misery by Upholding the Constitution and Its Stated Values.”
Animal abuse has never been reduced in more than 50,000 years. The Animal-Abuse Revolution generated, thousands of years ago, tyrannical governance such as the American Revolution has only begun to eradicate. That ongoing Enlightenment-, justice-, and equality-based Revolution is widely faltering due to infiltration and cooptation by consumer-capitalism, its global mind-management endeavor (public relations), and the ascendance of the weapons industry. Ubiquitous access to powerful weapons enables dangerous human enemies to appear the most pressing problem. But the Animal-Abuse Revolution is the root of weapons manufacturing as well as most human misery.
Regulation of capitalism irks the most aggressively dominant, the greediest, and the most conscience-challenged tycoons even while many of their peers accept or even praise it. Deregulation, the centerpiece so-called 2017 “accomplishments” the Trump administration boasts of, sounds abstract and legalistic. But it means removing the already-mild restraints on what nonfeeling, amoral, nonliving corporations and industries and their dependents can do to human beings and other animals.
The primary endeavor of the radical right is to permanently free capitalism from democracy – as Nancy MacLean puts it in Democracy in Chains. So the people won’t be able to decide what corporations and industries can do to the living world, including “us” and Earth’s other beings. As Joel Kovel shows in The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World, capitalism is primarily a war on the living world. Trump brazenly bullies the human world toward tyranny to overcome human self-interest, our innate affinity for nonhuman animals and the living world (biophilia), and the values stated in the Constitution: liberty, justice equality, defense, tranquility, and the general welfare.
A problem with treating even the best Democratic candidates and their platforms as the solution to the Trumpian project is that the Democratic Party, too, is an engine of capitalism and the Biocaust. It’s not just that Democratic candidates and officeholders, too, receive donations from big money; it’s that they accept the basic humanist-extremist premises that only human beings are innately entitled to a chance at a fulfilling life; our pursuit of fulfillment needn’t take other beings’ experience or ecological value into account; our species’ population explosion, its rampage over Earth, and its impacts on other animals and the living world are self-justified; and dividing “the pie” among humans is their only responsibility. Democrats need coaching such as RPA’s above-mentioned background paper provides.
The first Earth Day, in 1970, taught us that our species must reduce its “footprint.” Since then, both major parties have failed to lead humanity toward the needed change, succumbing with little resistance to capitalism’s war on the environmental movement and animal advocacy – as Sharon Beder shows in Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism.
Many Democrats rail against the gross inequality among humans that steadily grows, undermines democracy, increases human misery, and generates protest and rebellion. But none publicly acknowledges that animal abuse in its full scope, dating back more than 50,000 years – all that humans do to each other, and to and with other animals and their natural homes – is the root of the pre-Constitutional tyranny Trump labors to restore and the misery from war, disease, poverty, and demagoguery which the Constitution enables us to overcome if we exercise vigilance and perpetually and fully exercise our rights as policymaking citizens.
Creating needed lasting change entails thinking independently, not following politicians’ framing of the agenda, their public-relations campaigns, or the news industry’s reflexive rehashing of them. We must assess policy through experience and books, educating our representatives and candidates. Most politicians, though well-meaning, are not particularly well educated or informed beyond conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is generated by an industry-government-university-media complex in service to humanist extremism that omits other animals’ interests and thus the living world we all depend on, which unfortunately rapidly collapsing.
With three plant or animal species going extinct per hour, human health and wellbeing steadily worsening, violence and transportation and infrastructure disasters frighteningly constant and ubiquitous, sea levels rising, hurricanes and wildfires intensifying, ocean life nearly gone, and human industry abusing all animals on Earth, including humans – obviously a new paradigm is needed. Tweaking the old one won’t work. In his 2017 manual On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder urges us to avoid screen-based media versions of reality, informing ourselves through books in order to assess the validity of what special interests and opinion-mongers foist on us electronically.
As long as only human beings are deemed persons – beings worthy of respect, equal treatment, and a chance at fulfillment – they will continue to suffer needlessly along with all of Earth’s other animals. Because the abuse humans rationalize inflicting on nonhuman animals by denying their personhood and their worthiness of consideration generates nearly all human misery. That counterintuitive reality is explained in many items at this website. But how do we get the public and its officials to act based on reality? I’ve spent my three decades as a full-time animal advocate – when I wasn’t investigating and protesting atrocities and being arrested for civil disobedience – learning the origins, causes, and nature of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice and implementing campaigns to strike at their roots. Results and recommendations for action pervade this website.
Passionate, dedicated, and skillful pursuit of solutions to superficial problems without addressing roots of the problems describes most animal, environmental, public-health, and vegetarian advocacy of recent decades. Good work that doesn’t address root causes explains why misery and threats to life itself continue increasing and intensifying: The roots continue generating the problems we wish to solve; they keep reappearing the way grass grows tall after mowing. Responsible Policies for Animals’ website, literature, and lectures focus the roots of the big problems Trump intensifies but by no means causes. RPA’s campaigns ask us to act with long-term persistence rather than briefly express ourselves and lament the lack of results.
In 2018, make the vision of equal rights of all animals the basis of your mainstream political activities. I’m glad to assist you. By educating authorities, we not only can undermine Trump’s effort to intensify the Biocaust; we can put our species on the new trajectory all living beings desperately need us to embrace.