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June 06, 2008

Tribeless, lawless, hearthless one

Jon Schaff asks whether vampires have rights.*

Let's consider the ontological status of the vampire. The vampire is certainly non-human, but is it sub-human? The vampire has certain characteristics in common with humans, suchDracula as the ability to reason, self-awareness, the capacity to experience pain (especially in the day time). By the standard advocated by many ethicists (especially defenders of abortion and euthanasia), it is not humans that have rights, but persons. It is self-consciousness and ability to reason that, they say, defines a personality. Vampires are not human, but they are persons. By this measure, vampires have rights and it should be wrong to kill them without due process. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, far from being a heroine, is in fact a genocidal maniac.

Quick, paging Faiza Hirji to the human person's rights phone!

* This via Jonah Goldberg, who argues:

I don't have time to dwell on this ... But it seems to me that the founding fathers would unequivocally say that vampires do not have rights because 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.

Carl Pham points out, I believe correctly, Goldberg is advancing a Manichaean and therefore heretical position.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 6, 2008 06:47 AM

Comments

I would point out the 2nd Treatise by Locke, and his comments about our ability to kill those who are in a state of war with our society.

If, in Walla Walla, Washington, during the Second World War, I had come across a helmeted, uniformed German soldier that was raising his rifle toward me, I believe my killing that soldier would clearly be legal, and in no way would that action be a limitation of this German soldier's human or Constitutional rights.

Clearly any vampire would fit the above description. Therefore Buffy is as much a heroine in her own way as Captain America and Bucky were in their fight against the Nazis in WWII.

Posted by: OregonGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2008 03:33 PM

Vampires are German soldiers? More importantly, the BC HRT might discover it has jurisdiction.

Cheers

Posted by: J.M. Heinrichs [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2008 10:51 PM