Thursday, June 05, 2008

Vampiric Rights

There's a rather peculiar post over at The Corner where Jonah Goldberg muses, twice, about whether vampires have rights.

Jonah argues that the founding fathers wouldn't have recognized vampiric rights, since
rights come from God (or our creator). Vampires are undead and exist solely thanks to satanic or other demonic forces. They shy from God and God's love and therefore do not deserve the protections all of God's creatures are entitled to.
I have a few problems with this:

1) Lots of beings, not just vampires, shy from God and God's love. Does that mean that unrepetant murderers do not deserve to be treated equally and humanely by the law?

2) Also note the implicit assumption that vampires are, by definition, pure evil. I don't dispute that this is by far the majority opinion, but society's been wrong before. What if vampires aren't devilspawn, and are instead some unlucky (or lucky, depending on how you view it) beings that just happened to spring into this world with a thirst for blood? Dare we call them people? After all, they look like us, probably think like us, and probably love and hate like us too. Anything that does that qualifies as a "person" in my book, even if they aren't strictly human, and is thus deserving of respect.

Deserving of respect, however, does not mean carte blanche to go around killing people by draining them of every last drop of blood. One of the foundations of our entire social system is that if your action would explicitly harm another person, you don't do it. So if a vampire was ever caught and found to have survived by killing humans, I would support the necessary action, but with the understanding that we are punishing an individual who harmed others, not performing some holy act of God by destroying evil.

But now we come to an interesting thought experiment: what if vampires were real, and survived for some time on the blood of humans, but figured out how to survive on the blood of livestock. So now we have a group of beings that committed crimes a few hundred years ago out of necessity, but who are currently doing nothing worse than what millions of people across the globe do each day without a second thought. Goodness, can you imagine the teams of lawyers lined up?

And one final question: what about vampire preserves or sanctuaries? There are regions in the globe where dangerous species roam. Normally they don't bother humans, but if you're stupid enough to enter their domain and provoke them and be killed, it's really nobody's fault but your own. Heck, in some states, it's legal to shoot someone for ignoring a no trespassing sign. Hmm...

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