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A dog is more rational than a baby

Not too surprising that the newest addition to the White House team is another radical denier of human exceptionalism:

President Obama’s newly confirmed administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has several times quoted approvingly from an author who likened animals to slaves and argued an adult dog or a horse is more rational than a human infant and should therefore be granted similar rights.

A brief video on YouTube captures Cass Sunstein at a 2002 event using the writings of Jeremy Bentham, a 19th Century social reformer and animal rights pioneer.

“You’ve heard a reference to Bentham, so let’s listen to him, shall we,” he begins in the video.

He then quotes from Bentham’s 1789 primer, “Introduction to Principals of Morals and Legislation,” written just after slaves had been freed by the French but were still held captive in the British dominions:

“The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor,” Sunstein states, quoting Bentham.

Sunstein continues quoting the author: “A full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise.”

On that basis, Sunstein suggests that human use of animals constitutes slavery, and that animals could be granted the right to sue humans in court.

We’re not taking any chances. Sam gets all the snacks he wants from now on.

Seriously, this is the same whacked philosophy that will drive decisions on access to health care under a government-run plan: “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”

Coincidentally (or not), Jeremy Bentham was the inventor of the panopticon, a prison Bentham designed that allowed a single jailer to keep a multitude of prisoners under constant surveillance.

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