J. Howard Moore
|Born||4 December 1862|
Linden, Atchison County, Missouri, United States
|Died||17 June 1916 (aged 53)|
|Alma mater||Oskaloosa College|
University of Chicago
|Known for||Animal rights and welfare advocacy|
|The Universal Kinship|
|Spouse(s)||Louise Jessie "Jennie" Darrow Moore|
John Howard Moore (4 December 1862 – 17 June 1916) was an American zoologist, philosopher, educator and socialist. He advocated for the welfare and rights of animals and authored several articles, books, essays and pamphlets on ethics, vegetarianism, humanitarianism and education. He is best known for his work The Universal Kinship (1906), which advocated for the ethical consideration and treatment of all sentient beings, based on Darwinian principles of shared evolutionary kinship and a universal application of the Golden Rule; a direct challenge to anthropocentric hierarchies and ethics. The book was endorsed by Henry S. Salt, Mark Twain and Jack London, Eugene V. Debs and Mona Caird.
Moore was born in Linden, Atchison County, Missouri, the son of farmer William A. Moore and Mary Moore (née Barger). During the first 30 years of his life, he and his family moved between Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. Moore attended Oskaloosa College (now William Penn University) in Iowa during the 1880s. In 1886, he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. It was around this time, that he became a vegetarian for ethical reasons.
In 1889, he was employed by the National Lecture Bureau, delivering lectures that led to him being described as "the matchless silver tongue of Kansas". From 1890 to 1893 he worked as a lecturer. In 1894, he started at the University of Chicago with advanced academic standing. He soon formed and became president of the vegetarian club at the university, He was also a member of the university's prohibition club, taking part in a number of prohibition local and statewide oratorical contests. In 1895, he won first honors at the national contest in Cleveland, for his oration "The Scourge of the Republic". At this time, he was known to be an ardent women's suffragist.
Moore was a member of the Humanitarian League and under his influence, modelled the Chicago Vegetarian Society as an American version of the organization. The society published his work Why I Am a Vegetarian in 1895, in which he laid out the ethical reasons for his vegetarianism. In the summer of 1896, he was accepted the chair of sociology at the University of Wisconsin and lectured on the topic, "Social Progress".
Moore earned an A.B. degree in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1898. After graduation, he taught ethics in Calumet High School and briefly in Wisconsin. He married Louise Jessie "Jennie" Darrow (1866–1955) whom he had met in Chicago, in Racine, Wisconsin in 1899. She was an elementary school teacher and fellow advocate for vegetarianism and animal rights, and the sister of renowned trial lawyer Clarence Darrow. The couple soon returned to Chicago and Moore joined Crane Technical High School as an instructor in biology and ethics.
In the same year, Moore published Better World Philosophy, where he laid out what he considered fundamental problems with the world, stemming from an evolved preponderance towards egoism in humans and other sentient beings, which lead them to exploit their fellows; treating them as a means to an end to satisfy their desires. In response, he argued for a "Confederation of the Consciousness", as an ideal arrangement of the living universe, where sentient individuals bring together their individual talents and collaborate for the benefit of all. The book was endorsed by Lester F. Ward and David S. Jordan.
Moore expanded on these ideas in The Universal Kinship (1906) and The New Ethics (1907), arguing for the inevitability of socialism, as the path of least resistance to "a civilisation based on the shining and imperishable foundations of Brotherhood and Mutual Love", and against the claimed divinity and exceptionalism of humankind, stating "[m]an is not a fallen god, but a promoted reptile". He asserted that the ethical implications of the shared evolutionary kinship of sentient beings—combined with the Golden Rule—should form the basis for a secular philosophy which he termed "Universal Kinship". He argued that the doctrine was not new and was in fact almost as old as philosophy itself, citing the Buddha, Pythagoras, Plutarch, Shelley and Tolstoy as adherents. Following this doctrine, he asserted—in a utilitarian fashion—that there is an obligation for humans to work together to reduce the suffering and increase the happiness of their fellow humans and other sentient kin:
Yes, do as you would be done by—and not to the dark man and the white woman alone, but to the sorrel horse and the gray squirrel as well; not to creatures of your own anatomy only, but to all creatures. You cannot go high enough nor low enough nor far enough to find those whose bowed and broken beings will not rise up at the coming of the kindly heart, or whose souls will not shrink and darken at the touch of inhumanity. Live and let live. Do more. Live and help live. Do to beings below you as you would be done by beings above you. Pity the tortoise, the katydid, the wild-bird, and the ox. Poor, undeveloped, untaught creatures! Into their dim and lowly lives strays of sunshine little enough, though the fell hand of man be never against them. They are our fellow-mortals. They came out of the same mysterious womb of the past, are passing through the same dream, and are destined to the same melancholy end, as we ourselves. Let us be kind and merciful to them.
Moore was a close correspondent and friend of fellow Humanitarian League member Henry S. Salt, who later described The Universal Kinship as the "the best ever written in the humanitarian cause" and they worked together to popularize Moore's universal kinship doctrine within the humane movement; this was largely unsuccessful.
In addition to his work as a high school teacher and author, Moore gave frequent lectures on vegetarianism, the humane treatment of animals, anti-vivisectionism, evolution and ethics. He also worked independently on articles and pamphlets for humane organizations and journals, including: "the Humanitarian League, the Millennium Guild, the Massachusetts SPCA, the American-Anti-Vivisection Society, the American Humane Association, and the Chicago Vegetarian Society". Additionally, he published educational manuals for the teaching of ethics and evolution. Moore also wrote in support of the temperance movement and educational reform in favour of the teaching of ethics and humaneness. He was a fierce critic of Theodore Roosevelt and his hunting expedition to Africa, describing him as having "done more in the last six months to dehumanise mankind than all the humane societies can do to counteract it in years". In an article titled "The Source of Religion", he criticised religion, describing it as "an anachronism today, with our science and understanding".
Following the passing of a law in Illinois prescribing that teaching of morals in public schools in 1912, Moore published three books on ethics to be used as educational material: High-School Ethics, Ethics and Education and The Ethics of School Life (a specimen lesson). High-School Ethics and Education was intended to form the first part of a four-year course, including topics such as evolution, the ethics of school life and business, the ethical treatment of animals, social justice, women's rights and utilitarianism. In 1914, he gave a speech at Hull House in favor of the teaching of sex education.
Moore published The Law of Biogenesis in 1914. In the first part of the book, he explained the physical laws which govern the way an embryo grows into an animal before and after birth, and how this can be traced back to the species' history. In the second part, he demonstrated how the same laws applies to the developing mind of children, which passes through similar stages. His last work, Savage Survivals was published in 1916, in which he traced the origin of human instincts through evolutionary history to the present.
Moore died by a self-inflicted gun wound in Jackson Park, Chicago in June 1916, at the age of 53. He had struggled for many years with an unspecified illness and long-term pain from an abdominal operation in 1911. He had also expressed continuing despondency at human indifference towards the suffering of their fellow animals. Clarence Darrow delivered a eulogy at the funeral, describing Moore as a having been "suffering under a temporary fit of sanity" and a "dead dreamer"; the eulogy was later published. Moore was buried in Excelsior Cemetery in Mitchell County, Kansas.
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