Rights Activism

Rights Activism

Rights Acvtivism, or Rights Activist Philosophy, was envisioned and founded in 1987 by William Donnelly, and enhanced and developed through the intervening years *.

He has been developing and expanding upon the concept over the years and is still working on a book on the subject. The working title is It's Time For The Human Race To Grow Up. ("parts of the book" are used here) He is proud to claim the official, (self-) recognized designation as the world's first Rights Activist. But he knows he is not alone, even if most people who are Rights Activists do not know that they fall into this categorical description.

*He admits not solely on his own, in the sense that we all stand on the shoulders of giants, large and small, who come before us, in the many forms they take.

Rights Activism comprises Human Animal Rights, Non-Human Animal Rights, and Environmental Rights. The general concept is that no area of Rights is above, more important than, or should be excluded from, the other. They are all of equal importance, and must be considered together as one overriding, inseparable concept, Rights Activism, and as a personal life choice, socio-economic reality, and (geo-) political structure for any and all true humane beings.

Humans Beings Are Animals

Before we continue, it must be noted that the term "human animal" is purposely used here as both a more accurate term and also to ingrain in people's minds the fact that humans are animals, too.

Depending on the level of awareness and understanding a person has, the reaction to this concept usually results in one of two responses: "Of course we are", or "No we're not." There is an underlying, pervasive, widespread belief, and/or misunderstanding, by too many people, that there are people, and there are animals, as two distinct and separate groups.

It is an easy 'argument' to win, of course, by simply pointing out that humans are scientifically and biologically part of the Animal Kingdom, and part of the Class Mammalia, and the Order Primates, etc. This will often result in an answer something like, "Well, yes, but..." However, there are no "buts" about it. It is a simple statement of absolute fact.

Sometimes people will go into denial and defensive mode and bring up "facts" like "humans are at the top of the food chain", etc. But these are not scientific facts, or biological facts, or really even factual facts, except in very narrow definitions and situational logic.

Humans are at the top of the food chain because that is where we have placed ourselves, in our typical egocentric (self-centered) and anthropocentric (human-centered) manner. Human animals are actually prey, for the most part. With 'non-natural', advanced technology, you can make an argument for human animals as apex predators, but only in the non-natural environment sense. Without our advanced tools, we are more prey than predator where larger animals are concerned. (this is a short 'response' to this issue — it would take a full chapter of a book to go into more detial and better and fully explain the concepts – so this will have to suffice for now, and is most likely good enough of an explanation for the greater majority of people to understand and accept the overall concept)

Despite the word games, psychological games, and grammatical games, the primary problem is that human beings have disassociated ourselves from nature, and from our true nature, to such a degree, that we have sayings like, "Get back to Nature," and referring to violent people as "animals", etc. I suggest it is of utmost importance, for all involved, to come back to a basic understanding and acceptance that human beings are animals, just like all other animals. And we are all "created equal".

A quick aside here, but eventually discussed at some later point. The reason why the working title for my book is It's Time For The Human Race To Grow Up is that an additional part of Rights Activist Philosophy is a form of reductionist philosophy, where I suggest that the vast majority of the problems and issues that face human beings, humanity, society, civilization, and the world at large, can be reduced down to what I call Adult Onset Immaturity.

That is, a continued, often too-extreme, emotional immaturity after the onset of adulthood. This insufficient and problematic lack of maturity, which is "fine" for children, because that is who and what they are, and are supposed to be, causes severe problems for adults on every level.

Additionally, the things that stem from this "unnatural immaturity" are selfishness, self-centeredness, self-absorption, and related immaturity-based issues. And then additional negative traits and characteristics stem from these, such as incompassion, lack of empathy, uncaring attitudes and behaviors, anthropocentrism, speciesism, uncontrolled greed and lust, and other extreme solipsismal thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.

(note that I understand that it should be "species" and not "race", because 'race' is an old-world artifact and technically incorrect in usage, however, it is still popular in the common usage of "human race" — I may or may not change its usage)

Human Animal Rights comprises all of the categorized human rights, such as Human Rights, Civil Rights, Equal Rights, Gender Rights, Age Rights, and other natural rights that cannot (should not) be abridged or denied. (except in rare, extreme circumstances, like the loss of liberty due to extreme anti-social personal actions (such as imprisonment due to illegal activities))

Non-Human Animal Rights comprises Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, Animal Defense, Animal Protection, and related areas of interest, such as Cruelty-Free and Vegan Products, Veganism, and Vegetarianism. The primary and fundamental concept upon which NHAR is founded is that all animals are created equal in the sense generally used for human animals, and that speciesism is just as bad as racism, sexism, genderism, and other contraindicated beliefs and behaviors.

Environmental Rights can be viewed two ways.
One is the right our environment has to exist in its own right as an entity unto itself.
And two, as our right to our mutual environment, as human and non-human animals.
This naturally suggests that every animal, human and non-human alike, has a right to use our environment in the most natural of senses, but none of us has the right to abuse it, misuse it, over-use it, or destroy it. (and it can easily be argued that only human animals negatively affect our mutual environment as noted, especially in the 'unnatural' sense)

Rights are Incontrovertible, Inalienable, Self-Evident Truths

One of the best ways to understand Rights Activism, is to see it through an appropriately corrected and updated version of the Preamble to the United States of America's Declaration of Independence. This section of the document is arguably one of the finest examples of a description of what a "right" is and how they relate to humans. As we know, the Founding Fathers were not perfect, so most of the examples they left us rarely refer to, include, or are applicable to (in their minds of the time), women, or non-whites. So there is usually room for improvement in those respects, among others. To wit: (from 'just (white) men', to 'all people', to 'all animals, and our mutual environment')

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men people animals, and our mutual environment, are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with inherently possess certain un inalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, each in their own way.

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all animals, and our mutual environment, are created equal,
that they inherently possess certain inalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, each in their own way.

Beyond the above, there are additional concepts that must naturally be included in Rights Activist Philosophy, such as the wrongness of Unnecessary Violence, The Three Forms of Violence, The Degrees and Levels of Violence, Political Correctness versus Emotional Correctness, other related issues, and last but certainly not least, Activism.

Unnecessary Violence can best be described as follows:

In regard to any act of violence, if there is a reasonable, non-violent alternative, then the act of violence in question is unnecessary, and therefore wrong.

This is a near-absolute concept. (in the ideal, which should always be attempted) There is even an allowed qualifier of "reasonable". For example, if it cost one million dollars a year to be a vegetarian, then that can, could, and should be considered "unreasonable". "Luckily", in a rational and objective sense, almost all violent acts that are counter to the concept of Rights Activism have very reasonable, non-violent alternatives. The only way a person can justify the unreasonable acts of violence is through irrationality, ignorance, stubbornness, skewed thinking, and/or uncaring acts that are lacking in compassion, empathy, decency, and humanity. (all of which stem from immaturity and things that stem from immaturity)


The Degrees and Levels of Violence


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The Three Forms of Violence are mental, emotional, and physical. Most people understand and accept the concept of physical violence. This one is a no-brainer, if you will. And we have recently made great strides in being anti-emotional violence (mostly as applied to children, and to women), and to a lesser extent, anti-mental violence. (often emotional violence and mental violence are difficult, or near-impossible, to separate, as they almost always exist together)

A fundamental concept to keep in mind here is:

We only hurt others to first and foremost hurt ourselves, as an act of self-destructive behavior.


The Next Step In Humane Evolution

Those who choose a violence-based life and lifestyle, in the many ways that people do, are not "bad people." (non-veg'ans, etc.) There is no such thing as a "bad", or "evil", person.

We are all good people, who sometimes choose to do "bad things."

(via unnecessary violence, due to ignorance, weakness, etc. — accidents are a separate issue)

The goal for us all is to reduce the violence in our lives, to the lowest levels and degrees possible, in as many ways as possible, thereby helping to make ourselves better people, and helping to make the world a better place.

This is accomplished by increasing the levels, degrees, and manners, of caring, kindness, "goodness", decency, humaneness and humanity, compassion, empathy, non-violence, and pacifism, in our lives.

They are all like muscles, in a sense, and need to be exercised on a daily basis, to make them stronger, to make ourselves stronger people. (in this case, mentally and emotionally, along with physically — "spiritually" is also important, but should be regarded as a separate case, especially when applied to, or in association with, dogmatic religious beliefs)


Political Correctness versus Emotional Correctness

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Activism for Activists

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Links To Other Information

The Nonhuman Rights Project
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals



Copyright © 1987-2014 by William Donnelly.