Excessive hopefulness and excitementPorter submits we're a Kakistocracy, rule by the worst. I'd add to that rule by the manic. Here, for example, Steve Sailer notes the next great kulturkampf: the rights of chimpanzees.
Tendency to make grand and unattainable plans
Tendency to show poor judgment
Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity -- unrealistic beliefs in one's ability, intelligence, and powers
Increased reckless behaviors (such as lavish spending sprees)
Of course, as opponents of this latest, greatest expansion of the rights universe point out, all we really need to talk about is animal protection. This could be done through the democratic process--we could just ban chimpanzee ownership, who would vote against that?--all without enormously complicated legal schemes and transfer payments devoted to enforcing "animal rights."
Cute, cuddly chimpanzees--the latest victim group after women, racial minorities, homosexuals and transsexuals--become large, incredibly strong and complex animals in their adult phase. They will attack and maim humans and require lots of range and external stimuli. Under those conditions, it's obvious that only zoos with lots of acreage and multi-million dollar endowments should be allowed to keep chimpanzees. So, to solve our problem of large, dangerous chimpanzees languishing in cages after their cute-and-cuddly days are over, all we need is a law that says so. But if you're a manic in the grip of an exponential thought pattern, that's not nearly enough.
It has been only in the last 30 years or so that a distinct field of animal law — that is laws and legal theory expressly for and about nonhuman animals — has emerged. When [law professor Steven] Wise taught his first animal-law class in 1990 at Vermont Law School, he knew of only two others of its kind in the country. Today there are well over a hundred. Yet while animal-welfare laws and endangered-species statutes now abound, the primary thrust of such legislation remains the regulation of our various uses and abuses of animals, including food production, medical research, entertainment and private ownership. The fundamental legal status of nonhumans, however, as things, as property, with no rights of their own, has remained unchanged....Of course you wouldn't. And being manic means never having to ask, What Then? We grant rights to chimpanzees -- what then? Do we have the will or the means to enforce these rights? Is there any limiting principle? Is Professor Wise going to start scouring the globe for chimpanzee rights violations to be vindicated with adequate food, shelter and habitat in taxpayer-funded sanctuaries? Notice how the debate goes away, the money doesn't have to be spent, Steven Wise doesn't get published from his hippy-dippy law school, if we just ... ban the importation and ownership of chimpanzees. In other words, if you don't have several million dollars in cash to fund suitable habitat and security to keep the chimpanzees from escaping and killing or maiming the naïve, well-meaning people who accommodate their presence, no chimpanzees for you.
Much like other civil rights movements, the [Non-human Rights Project's] efforts are designed to be a systematic assault; a continued and repeated airing of the evidence now at hand so that other lawyers and eventually judges and society as a whole can move past what Wise considers the increasingly arbitrary distinction of species as the determinant of who should hold a right.
Wise said he doesn’t expect to win in the first round of suits, and neither does he in the fifth or the 20th. “For me this has been a 25-year plan. All my books and my courses were designed to help me think through this problem. Now I want to spend the rest of my life litigating. If we lose, we keep doing it again and again, until we find a judge who doesn’t feel that the way is closed off. Then our job is to produce the facts that will allow that judge to make that leap of faith. And when it happens, it will be huge. I wouldn’t be spending my life on this otherwise.” NYT via iSteve.
Money, of course, is really what all this comes down to. We're not vindicating the rights of chimpanzees so much as we're re-writing the rules of society to fund the lifestyle preferences of megalomaniac, chimpanzee-rights advocates. Visit Koko.org to see how far a crazy old spinster and her geriatric pet gorilla can take this sort of thing. (There's a tragically hilarious transcript from 1998 floating around somewhere in wayback of Koko's linguistic abilities. These people are loons.)
This is a generic concept by the way. Feminism is one long, impassioned plea to restructure society so smart women with repellent personalities can find comfortable sinecures that don't require attracting a husband. Legal protections for homosexuals and HIV/AIDS research enable homosexual men to pursue their ultimate dream: to have as much sex with as many other men as possible. The whole college financing edifice funds the lifestyles of academics with arcane knowledge and no marketable skills. The neo-conservative/neo-liberal consensus: we must invite the world so we must invade the world so we can invite the world.