RIGHTS-BASED LIBERALISM RUN...

RIGHTS-BASED LIBERALISM RUN AMOK. Some serious and trenchant criticisms of Mike's "common good" essay are starting to stream in, and are worth a look. Somewhat less seriously, but in the spirit of pushing back against the Bossman's critique of identity politics and group-rights liberalism -- and maybe even of pushing the envelope of rights-based liberalism a bit -- I wanted to tout thespian and PETA activist Pam Anderson's Wall Street Journal op-ed today about ape abuse and exploitation in the entertainment industry. This, of course, dovetails with the news that the Spanish Socialist Party is signing up for the Great Ape Project and extending human rights to simians. As Matt said, all joking aside, the case for a full set of ape (particularly chimpanzee) rights is actually strong. As for another rights-based front where the affirmative case is easily sneered at but is, in fact, shockingly compelling, take voting rights for children. As is the case with ape rights, forward-thinking Europeans have already been pushing to extend the franchise to children, and as far as I'm concerned the case for doing so is close to air-tight. Since a five-year-old human has cognitive abilities that exceed those of a fully mature chimpanzee, the case for chimp citizenship and voting rights is considerably weaker, but I'm willing to contemplate it. There's your common good, Mike!

--Sam Rosenfeld

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