You write a book. Some reviews are good, some bad, and some middling.  It’s not always fun, but that’s the life of an author.

A middling review came out today in the New Republic’s website.  All in all, given the source, I am not displeased.  But I do have to correct a very wrong impression left by the reviewer, David Michael.  From the review:

Though we have an obligation as the only moral creatures that care for the welfare of animals, Smith might also have discussed the inverse. Does mistreating animals diminish our humanity?

I beg your pardon?  Not only did I go out of my way to repeatedly and emphatically assert the crucial human duty to treat animals humanely, but I made the specific point Michael said I missed, and moreover, I used the very words he did. And it’s on page 3 (emphasis added):
I am very well aware that these positions—once nearly universally accepted—have, in recent years, become intensely controversial.  Indeed, few issues generate such intense emotionalism or fervent support by its adherents as does “animal rights.”  Thus, I want to make it very clear at the outset—as I will throughout the book—that I love animals and like most people, I wince when I see them in pain.  Moreover, I believe strongly that as enlightened people, we have a profound moral and ethical obligation to treat animals humanely and with proper respect—a core obligation of human exceptionalism—and by all means, to never cause them to suffer for frivolous reasons.  I also strongly support laws against cruelty to animals and support strengthening them when appropriate. Indeed, I believe that animal abuse is a terrible wrong, not only because it causes the victimized animal to suffer, but also because cruelty to animals diminishes our own humanity.

Just to correct the record.  Onward. 

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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