Letter: A Pet Peeve: Esoteric Academics

To the Editor:

The Calendar announcement in the Feb. 4 Valley News that Will Kymlicka would be leading a discussion at Dartmouth on the implications of granting citizenship to animals would have been funny if it hadn’t been for real. When people are looking to joke about how academia often delves into the irrelevant, this is the kind of stuff that gives them fodder. Couldn’t this professor of philosophy find something better to talk about at one of our leading colleges? Have we so exhausted the search for answers about the existence of a creator, the soul of man and the nature of a human being that we’ve moved on to cats and dogs?

I see this as another step in the decline of social relationships among people. Soon you’ll be able to hide yourself away at home with technology that provides all your work, communication and entertainment needs (including a totally online “romantic” relationship). It’ll be just you and your dog, who gives unconditional love and never criticizes you.

As the holder of several advanced degrees, I know the importance of higher education. And I know that pets, who should never be mistreated, add warmth and love to young and old alike. But animals are not people and should never be a substitute for a human connection. And I’m not in favor of giving pets the right to vote.

Toby Kurtz