"Error is harmless, while reason is left free to combat it." These are words written and spoken by Charles Sumner in his Crime Against Kansas speech back in 1856. In his speech, Sumner vehemently attacked the defenders and sympathizers of slavery. Yet, just 12 years earlier, the United States Congress had enacted a 'Gag Rule' against reading or discussing any petition regarding the issue of slavery. Reason had been stripped of its power to combat injustice. Fortunately for Sumner, a grumpy old former President, John Quincy Adams, fought tirelessly to restore the right of petition and freedom of speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. But, even still, Sumner was attacked shortly after his speech and hit over the head with a cane until he was unconscious and nearly dead by a pro-slavery member of Congress.
Make no mistake, the issue may have changed from human slavery to animal slavery, but the defenders of injustice are using the same playbook in trying to silence us. In his day, Charles Sumner was called a radical for standing up against slavery and refusing to be patient or bite his tongue in regards to the injustice he saw. Today, the same thing is done to those of us standing against animal abuse. We are called extreme and constantly told that we are too vocal and preachy. And with laws like the AgGag efforts sweeping the nation to silence people from reporting what is really happening to animals, it isn't hard to see that yet again the government is trying to restrict our rights to protect injustice against those who would stand against it. And in 1856, the united voice of the South cried out, 'What will happen to the plantation owners if the slaves were to go free? They would be reduced to poverty.' Hard to believe that anyone would justify slavery by claiming that it might harm another person's financial wellbeing. Yet, this is the exact argument used today. 'What will happen to the workers in the animal agriculture industry? You are costing people jobs by fighting for animal rights.' Different issue, same argument in defense of injustice. Our own government refers to people that stand up against the injustice done to animals as 'eco-terrorists' because it might hurt the U.S. economy. And while we might not be beaten over the head with canes, I know that many of us have been threatened with violence. And when people to prominent to be threatened with violence speak out, they are threatened with lawsuits for speaking the truth.
And yet, even when pointing out the obvious, we are told that we can't compare the issue of human slavery with animal slavery. Why? Is not the point of history that we might learn from the study of it. The comparisons are glaring to even the blindest of eyes. We need only but catch the slimmest glance out of the corner of our eye to be overcome by the similarities in how the defenders of injustice operate over the course of history.