A Question to Consider

>> Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What right does a leech have to the life blood of another creature?


BenT - the unbeliever,  November 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM  

If we're talking animals, it has the right because that's its biological imperative. It feeds to live and produce. And leeches have benefits in their ecosystems and in both primitive and modern medicine. Leeches eat dead flesh, promote blood flow and prevent blood clots. They're great for cleaning and debriding wounds.

In society what you call leeches are actually people and have the right to live as all other people do. They are those that require more social resources than they return to society. But the fact is we can't cut them off 1)because we don't just kill people 2)because we don't just stand aside and let the unfortunate die.

What sort of moral question is this? I hope if you are seriously considering this question today then you came to some sort of similar conclusion.

Animals have a right to live as nature made them. Man has the moral obligation to care for other men.

ELAshley November 2, 2011 at 4:19 PM  


Okay, then, let's explore the concept of "Moral Obligation."

Is any animal morally obligated to allow leeches to draw blood from it because leeches have a "right to live"?

What if the animal in question is covered with hundreds of leeches? At what point are the leeches beyond their "rights"? What of the rights of the animal in question? Doesn't the animal have a right to live it's life unmolested, without the interference of another creature imposing itself, and its needs, upon it?

But then Animals aren't the best examples of moral anything-- Morality deals with issues of right and wrong, concepts of which animals have no understanding; they are driven by instinct, which is something altogether different from morality.

Who then, really, has a "right" to live? Technically, everyone... including the unborn. The better question, I believe, is "what moral obligations are inseparably attached to one's right to live?"

No one lives without doing something to sustain it:

In order to live, one must (basically)...

Drink water
Eat food
Avoid adverse exposure to the elements

In order to have these things, right-imbued individual must do something to achieve them. Stop eating and he dies. Stop drinking, same thing. If, therefore, an individual can, by inaction, cease to live, his life is not, therefore, a right... but rather, a choice.

The Declaration of Independence says that man is endowed by his creator "with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Life is a right. Liberty is a right. But contend that both of these are incumbent upon third-- Pursuit. If you would live, you must pursue (basically) food, water, and shelter. If you don't, then you forfeit any right you had to former two, Life and Liberty.

In other words, if you would live and be free, you must pursue those things that facilitate the perpetuation of Life and Liberty-- a leech lives because it pursues life. If a deer, for example, also chooses Life and Liberty, it should avoid jumping into deep waters. But the deer is not morally obligated to give the leech Life or Liberty. The leech must find it for itself. The deer is not obligated to stand in a pond and give leeches their sustenance.

The same is true for people. We may have the God-given right to Life and Liberty, but no one is morally obligated to ensure our life and liberty perpetually. We must each pursue our lives and liberty.

But having said all this, obviously, there are those to whom we ARE morally obligated to help... and those to whom we are NOT obligated to help.

And no government is morally obligated to insist upon and craft policy toward 'social equity,' which is a complete fantasy. It is, in fact, immoral for government to confiscate from one man in order to give it to another.

A leech has a right to live, but it does not have a right to the life-blood of any other creature. It must pursue those things it needs, if it insists upon living.

ELAshley November 2, 2011 at 4:38 PM  

To more directly address your comment, specifically this: "[the leech] has the right because that's its biological imperative,"

Biological reproduction is my life's imperative, but that doesn't give me the right to take that imperative out upon a woman without her consent. Without that consent it's called "rape".

The leech has a right to life, but not because of its biological imperative. But, rather, because it pursues its biological imperative by, i.e.; raping the life's blood from other creatures. As the leech has absolutely no conception of Morality, it is forgiven its rape. That same is not true of men.

BenT - the unbeliever,  November 2, 2011 at 5:38 PM  

Go back and re-read my post. Pay special attention to where I separated out animals from humans. You are attempting to conflate my arguments that animal leeches have rights and human leeches have instincts.

Animals have rights different from humans. Humans have reason and morality beyond their animal instincts. I feel silly having to state these basic concepts, but if we're going to have this debate thinly veiled by allegory and metaphor, then I feel compelled to present the basic assumptions I'm reasoning from.

"We must each pursue our lives and liberty."
Here you are wrong as least as far as the perspective of the American Founding Fathers and the thinkers of the Enlightenment Era. They believed that life in the political sense was a right of all thinking men. This doesn't mean life as in water and bread it means life as in not killing people without representation, not exiling communities without reason. It is the right of a people to live in their community. Life as a right unlike serfdom. You can equate life and liberty and pursuit of happiness as synonyms in that phrase.

"It is, in fact, immoral for government to confiscate from one man in order to give it to another.'
Can you expand on this sentiment in relation to the Zionist movement after World War II? essentially what the western governments did was confiscate one people's land (Palestinians) and give it to another (Jews). Do you see this as immoral? Should the government never be able to seize a family's land to build a highway to benefit the whole community?

I feel like you are trying to build up to a greater point, but I don't get it. Are you trying to say that the wealthy on Wall St. have a right to their democracy distorting power and wealth because they pursued it, and now the rest of us are metaphorical leeches for wanting them to stop and return some of that wealth and power to us?

Further on in the Declaration it states "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

The American public has let themselves become governed by Oligarchs and Plutocrats. Now there is a movement among the people to abolish this rule and institute a new government more responsive to the needs of the majority of the populace (i.e. Populism). This idea is perfectly in line with our Declaration of Independence and I support it.

ELAshley November 3, 2011 at 9:27 AM  

I'm not conflating anything, BenT, and I understood you perfectly. I was simply laying a foundation. You gave leeches a 'right' based solely on their biological imperative, and I shot it down, to whit, no one has a right, period, because of biological imperative.

Secondly, you're equating 'life' with social standing: the two are not the synonymous, and your supposition is not supported by the Declaration of Independence. 'Life,' is simply life; your idea of 'social standing' (my phrase, not yours) is embodied in the Declaration's second right, Liberty. But nowhere in the Declaration of Independence is it suggested that any man so endowed by his creator with these 'unalienable rights' is entitled to them at the expense of another man's labor-- or life blood. Even the Bible has somewhat to say on that score... 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12, [specifically verse 10]. Anyone who is able, but chooses not to work, should get no pity-- nor any of my tax dollars.

"Are you trying to say that the wealthy on Wall St. have a right to their democracy distorting power and wealth because they pursued it."

They have a right to their wealth, yes. As to their 'democracy distorting power' I'm not even sure what you mean by that. These men used a system already in place to build their wealth. Some undoubtedly bent the spirit of the law, if not the letter; some corrupted both, while others followed the letter implicitly. But if they possess a 'democracy distorting power' then that's on Washington, not Wall Street. But then, just what you mean by 'democracy' is very important too. It could be your view of 'democracy' is distorted.

The danger with your argument, however, is its arbitrariness-- there is no set level or degree to which the 'rich' can pay in taxes that will satisfy the liberal ideal of paying a 'fair share.'

You expect those who have done well to support those who have not. There are, obviously, people who cannot fend for themselves, let alone manage the kinds of successes others do, but their lack of ability to succeed is not a license to force those who do to subsidize their lack. Those who are incapable of physical labor must, if they wish to live beyond the basics, learn to use their minds for the production of some 'labor' that will be deemed worthwhile to an employer, or to the public at large; this is the foundation of any economy. There is no place for those who choose to opt out. Neither should there be.


ELAshley November 3, 2011 at 9:28 AM  


"Now there is a movement among the people to abolish this rule and institute a new government more responsive to the needs of the majority of the populace"

If you're referring to the 'occupy...' movement, it's not a big enough movement to be considered populist. It's chaotic, anti-social, and anarchist at its core (not necessarily a bad thing, but not, by definition, 'populist'), and their numbers, in any given city, are typically less than one or two thousand... hardly the definition of a populist movement.

Furthermore, their ire is misdirected. They should be occupying Washington-- the White House and Congress. It is government's fault we're in the predicament we're in, not wealthy Wall Street capitalists.

And this is where we differ ideologically. Your camp viewed and vilified the Tea Party movement in terms as grossly unfair and disparaging as possible. The Tea Party-- more politely civil as you could ask hundreds of thousands-strong gatherings to be. The Occupy movement on the other hand, mere thousands strong, and destructive, disruptive, and belligerent of the law, the object of whose ire is misdirected and misplaced.

You support socialists and anarchists. I support a man's right to pursue his dreams without oppressive government interference and taxation; without the government deciding because I have done well following my dream, that I am somehow responsible for those who couldn't be bothered to follow their own. I have no problem helping those who need help. What I DO have a problem with are people who think I should support them when they're perfectly capable of supporting themselves... leeches.

Leeches do have some benefits to health, if not the general order of things. But we're talking about the creature now, not the human individual.

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