Tuesday, May 15, 2012


What Is Man?

J. Howard Moore (1862-1916), The Universal Kinship (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1916), pp. 239-240:
Instead of the highest, man is in some respects the lowest, of the animal kingdom. Man is the most unchaste, the most drunken, the most selfish and conceited, the most miserly, the most hypocritical, and the most bloodthirsty of terrestrial creatures. Almost no animals, except man, kill for the mere sake of killing. For one being to take the life of another for purposes of selfish utility is bad enough. But the indiscriminate massacre of defenceless innocents by armed and organised packs, just for pastime, is beyond characterisation. The human species is the only species of animals that plunges to such depths of atrocity. Even vipers and hyenas do not exterminate for recreation. No animal, except man, habitually seeks wealth purely out of an insane impulse to accumulate. And no animal, except man, gloats over accumulations that are of no possible use to him, that are an injury and an abomination, and in whose acquisition he may have committed irreparable crimes upon others. There are no millionaires—no professional, legalised, lifelong kleptomaniacs—among the birds and quadrupeds. No animal, except man, spends so large a part of his energies striving for superiority—not superiority in usefulness, but that superiority which consists in simply getting on the heads of one's fellows. And no animal practises common, ordinary morality to the other beings of the world in which he lives so little, compared with the amount he preaches it, as man.

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