operation rescue: why it's important
By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jul 02, 2005
Imagine a new religion, whose devotees call themselves Sciuridans. The most distinctive characteristic of Sciuridans is their belief that the creatures the rest of us call "squirrels" are, in reality, abandoned human children. Sciuridans are convinced that there is a witch who casts a spell on abandoned children that turns them into squirrels for a period of nine months, after which the spell loses its potency and the squirrels turn back into human children (who have no awareness of the experience).
Not surprisingly, Sciuridans are resolutely opposed to squirrel hunting, since they believe it is a human life, not a rodent's, that is at stake. They are energetic campaigners for a change in hunting laws.
Yet the laws aren't changed, and every season untold thousands of squirrels are killed by hunters.
Now here's my question. Most of us would find the Sciuridans' religious beliefs preposterous -- but even so, wouldn't we expect them, in virtue of their own principles, to go beyond merely legal and educational maneuvering and to take active measures against squirrel hunting -- e.g., shooing away the quarry, sabotaging the firearms, perhaps in extreme cases even tackling the hunters at the point of firing? If fact, if the Sciuridans took no interdictive action and simply deplored the activities of the regrettably deluded hunters, wouldn't we be inclined to doubt that they really believed squirrels were human beings in the ordinary sense of the term?
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