Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In the 'Hierarchy' of Rights, Vegans Have 'Em, Nerds Don't

The rights stuff is growing wackier and wackier by the day. Case in point: some rights types in the U.K. want to explicity recognize the "rights" of several new categories of people, including vegans. From the timesonline (H/T SDA):
...The code, drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, singles out vegans, who do not eat any animal products or wear leather, as meriting protection from religious discrimination. It says: “A person who is a vegan chooses not to use or consume animal products of any kind. That person eschews the exploitation of animals for food, clothing, accessories or any other purpose and does so out of an ethical commitment to animal welfare.”

A spokesman from the commission explained: “This is about someone for whom being vegan or vegetarian is central to who they are. This is not something ‘thought up by the commission’. Parliament makes the law, the courts interpret it and the commission offers factual and proportionate guidance to organisations where necessary. We are providing guidance on the implications of the equality bill.”

The legislation also covers “any religious belief or philosophical belief” and even “a lack of belief”.

Philosophical beliefs to be protected could include humanism and pacifism, but a spokesman for Harman said scientific or political beliefs such as Marxism and fascism would not be covered. The commission added that the recently founded International Church of Jediism, with 500,000 followers worldwide who base their philosophy on the Star Wars films, would not qualify. Beliefs had to be heartfelt...
Well, that's pretty bigoted. Who's to say the beliefs of a Jediist (or, for that matter, a Trekker) are any less "heartfelt" than those of a vegan? And, hey, why stop with vegans and Hubbardists? What about the "rights" of, say, Esperanto-speakers, nudists, the excessively flatulent, members of the Prince Charles Fan Club and folks who raise chinchillas in their basement for fun and profit? Shouldn't they be explicitly mentioned, too (their being members of small, vulnerable minorities apt to elicit demeaning mockery and all).

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