Moral Compasses   by Roger Hild

People are passionate creatures – we were created that way.  Harness that passion and you have created a powerful force.  Focus that energy through the lens of moral outrage and you have created a very potent tool.  In this state of mind, reason and logic are all but irrelevant as those involved are concerned only with the “rightness or wrongness” of the cause they face and as long as passions remain inflamed, there can be no meaningful dialogue or resolution.  None are more determined (sometimes even dangerous) than those whose passions are driven by misguided religious or moral zeal.  Throughout history, this dynamic has been known and often exploited (by those who understood it’s power).  

A dog-training group to which I belong has a convention called “MCS” which stands for Moral Considerations Suspended.  The idea is to encourage participation in discussion without the harsh judgments and condemnations that usually flow from moral outrage.  This convention has been only partially successful; some are able to abide by the request for MCS while others cannot or will not.  There is no doubt that the animals we keep are the subjects of intense feelings and sometimes-heated debate.

How we view our relationship with the animals in our care, and what we consider as our moral obligation to them, will be reflected in our beliefs about life in general.  Whether or not one is a member of any particular religious group, it seems to me that central to ones philosophy on life is the question of whether or not one believes in an intelligent, creative power greater than them self.  If you believe all life is here because of some giant explosion followed by just the right combinations of random acts, you might have radically different views than if you believe there was some intelligent design and creative force at work.

In the first instance you might view all life as equal, all actions as motivated strictly by self-gain and the concept of “rights” as something to which all ‘combinations of DNA’ are equally entitled.  Since that philosophy does not hold to any higher power, it would state that there is no moral authority and moral considerations like all other motivations would stem from the self.  On the other hand, if all life flows from a higher power, if life is somehow connected to and subject to that creative force, then that higher power also has the right to assign rights, responsibilities, roles and values.  Just to be clear, my personal beliefs put me within this second camp.

It seems to me that anyone or any group that can gain access to one’s moral compass can become a moral authority and in so doing gains tremendous power and control.  Not everyone needs to be convinced, simply get enough people onside with your aims and you have the means to impose the control on everyone else.  The best defence against this process is the truth found in open honest discussion.  Allowing all relevant facts and actual experiences (i.e., the truth) to be discussed is threatening to those who desire to replace ‘freedom of choice’ with ‘freedom from choice.’

Believe it or not, this does have something to do with dog training!  Dog training practices and discussions have been subjected to the same passionate focus as anything else having to do with the care and keeping of animals.  This fact alone has made dog training vulnerable to the manipulations and subversive activities of the Animal Rights movement.  If you think the Animal Rights agenda has confined itself to helping cute little fur seals on the ice flows off Newfoundland, you are mistaken.  Several years ago I was quite surprised to observe Jean Donaldson quoting leaders of the Animal Rights movement.  In her book, “The Culture Clash,” she lists Peter Singer in her “Recommended Reading section.  Indeed, there are many well known figures, from the dog training field, that have joined the ranks of the Animal Rights movement.  

The Animal Rights movement opposes all who value human life (above all other forms of life) as well as anyone whose religious beliefs place man above the animals.  These groups (in contrast to Animal Rights groups than see human kind as blight upon the planet) see us as having a rightful place on this earth.  These groups are, in fact, seen as the greatest threat to the successful conclusion of the AR agenda.  It is interesting to note that a great many of the world’s major religions hold both the concepts of ‘dominion over’ and ‘stewardship for’ all that was created.  It is also worth noting that most within the Animal Rights movement reject the concept of “intelligent design” and opt for “random chance.”  They add their voice to all who attempt to deny, discredit, denounce and abandon the concept of a higher power.  Acceptance of such a higher creative power makes their designs illegitimate for it removes from them the moral authority that they covet. 

It is my belief that man was created as a free moral agent – free to choose and responsible for his choices.  I don’t want governments making moral choices for me and I certainly don’t want any Animal Rights group dictating laws and moral policy.