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More Vampire Rights

Jon Schaff, who started the subject, has what he hopes is the last word. I have to confess being a little lost in the conversation, not having been a Buffy fan.

And if it's the end of the vampire discussion, perhaps it's time we moved on. To zombies.

[Update mid-Friday afternoon]

Well, I should have Googled the subject; we could have saved ourselves a lot of discussion. Here's a Rothbardian treatise on the subject from three years ago:

In The Ethics of Liberty, his great reconciliation of Austrian economics and natural law ethics, Murray Rothbard commented that a new species of beings having "the characteristics, the nature of the legendary vampire, and [that] could only exist by feeding on human blood"(1) would not be entitled to individual rights, regardless of their intelligence, because of their status as deadly enemies of humanity. I wish to discuss this issue in more detail and argue that Rothbard, who was kind of a night owl himself, was unfair to those mysterious creatures. The libertarian theory of justice would in fact easily allow for a peaceful coexistence with vampires.

But of course. Just no non-consensual neck biting.


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First we need a solid definition of "zombie." Historically, zombies were understood to be corpses reanimated by Voodoo practitioners. Popular culture has conjured other causes. I've managed to find at least five:

1. Microorganisms (Dawn of the Dead, I Am Legend, Resident Evil)
2. Radiation (C.H.U.D.)
3. Possession ("B-17" sequence in Heavy Metal, the possessor being a sentient alien green sphere)
4. Scientific creation (Re-Animator, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Serenity - if the Reavers count as zombies)
5. Occult creation (voodoo folklore, Pet Sematary - animal zombies)

These can be broken down into two groups: accidental (1-2) and created (3-5) zombies.

Since Types 1 and 2 are essentially the products of illness, addressing their rights must include discussion on the state's power to enact mandatory quarantines.

Type 3 zombies are directly under somebody else's control. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits involuntary servitude, making no exceptions for the enslaved dead, thus the government is obligated to liberate the zombie from its master.

Types 4 and 5 raise another issues: should it be legal to create a zombie? Considering innate zombie behavior, the answer should be no, with no First Amendment religious exemptions for the Type 5s.

We'll have to get PETA to weigh in on animal zombies.

Trimegistus wrote:

I'm sure glad that in the real world we don't have to worry about a large group which can blend in with everyone else, expands by recruitment (sometimes involuntary), and is fundamentally hostile to the rest of the human race. That would be pretty scary.

Speaking of which, would "zombie suicide bomber" be an oxymoron?

Has anybody mentioned Vampire Domestication on this topic yet?

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on June 6, 2008 11:00 AM.

Why I Like Reading Blogs was the previous entry in this blog.

In Defense Of A Small Town is the next entry in this blog.

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