There will be no classical liberal (free) society, until such time as individuals understand the need to lead reasoned, responsible lives. I’ll call it a reasoned, civilising humanity, which includes thinking and caring about the welfare - used in its innocent, correct sense, as in ‘humane’ - of all sentient beings, animals included. There lies in this the further notion of how someone treats an animal, may well indicate how they treat their fellow humans. And thus if they do not behave responsibly in the humane treatment of animals in their care, then there will be a high likelihood of irresponsibility in other spheres. I’m thinking further of the studied cases of those that have gone on to commit heinous crimes against humans, who started out doing acts of animal cruelty when young. Though I am quick to point out there is another school of people who are not knowingly abusive, though that is the result: they are simply ignorant: people – let’s call them stupid - who somehow have an inability to rationalise the world they live in, to the extent of compartmentalising empathy in a manner that’s almost schizophrenic, and cruel. Via that I could turn this whole post into railing against the insidious manner a welfare state works on the psychology of the participants, but I won’t; there’s something more important I’m trying to figure out in this.
If communitarians are right to say Western society has been atomized, then surely one of the causes has been the state’s penchant for making itself (rather than the community) the primary focus of public life….What explains market society’s unparalleled success in helping people to prosper? The key, I have argued, lies in background institutions, especially property institutions, that lead people to take responsibility for their own welfare….The welfare state would have made people better off if it had led neighbors to rely on each other and on themselves, but it seems to have done the opposite.
Although something else, also, when considering issues of animal cruelty: New Zealand’s hunting culture. I grew up on a farm, albeit one where my father wouldn’t allow guns - though I suspect that was to do with my family, then, being Exclusive Brethren (and regards that I was sickly fortunate to have an intellectually handicapped sister who the whiskey alcoholics running the Brethren took to be ‘evil’, and thus my direct family were thrown out - mindlessness again, but yay) - plus a father whose most hated farm job, and one which he never stopped hating, was killing sheep for our own table. It was good he never stopped hating that: it defined him as a thinking, compassionate, empathetic human. But this meant I’ve always been around the hunting culture of our rural communities, and though it was never something I thought about overly when growing up, for whatever reason, now, perhaps because I’m spending more and more time living in the Marlborough Sounds, it’s something I seem to be pondering.
If you are currently sitting at home and your dog is by itself outside in a kennel: you are a shit, you shouldn’t own a dog.
If your dog has to live outside all its life, never allowed inside as one of your family, you don’t really like dogs, so don’t own one. A dog is a sociable animal.
If you are buying a dog as an accessory for your five year old child, stop, read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and bugger off. The dog doesn’t need you.
… See. Easy, when you just think about things for a little bit.
Finally, in an actual case of harm, which my wife and I are now tackling the owner’s over - this is, finally, one very uncomfortable D-Day - the family is mum and a grown up son and daughter. The Labrador concerned belongs to the son, a hunter: his attitude toward the poor dog is succinctly summed up in his phrase, quote: ‘its just a hunting dog’. Although there’s the problem, for the dog is not that; it lives in a suburban kennel/dog concentration camp, and gets taken hunting, if its lucky, five or six times a year, I imagine, I can’t remember last seeing it go: it has no other dogs for company, and gets no stimulation or affection from any human, at least not that we can see. They don’t appear to have an understanding a dog is a pack/social animal, and to deprive it of all companionship is in itself a real form of cruelty, despite no law saying so, quite apart from everything else they’re doing wrong – the dog sitting in its own faeces rule above comes from this case. Indeed, both the children treat the dog as offhandedly bad, if not worse, than the mother, so it would seem to be learned ignorance. When those children have children, guess what’s going to happen if something doesn’t break the vicious cycle of ignorance here of how animals should be treated … starting to sound like the argument against the welfare state, isn’t it – note these are all hard workers. I would say a welfare state and Antonio Gramsci in our schools, over time, by stopping people thinking (self-reliance), leads to this. The Left who take a cynical view of man would say we need the welfare state precisely because of this, man’s fallen nature; people must be coerced to do the right thing.
Who is right?
Dog 'Rescue' - Final Update:
On so many levels I don't understand this, but am very glad about the nature of this update, and it's vindication, at least anecdotally - at D-Day plus two and a half weeks - the above community based, leave the authorities out of it, approach, has merit.
The little dog concerned now spends its night in a clean kennel, all faeces have been removed and the kennel is kept clean with fresh water. It also has bedding, now, in the hutch for comfort. Better, it only spends its nights in the kennel anymore (it used to sometimes spend three days in there), its out all day, and thus far is walked once a day. The family is even mowing my front verge! While I'm glad we tackled it - though there was no choice, a dog must not be left like that - I'm even feeling 'slightly' guilty because I 'pulled no punches' telling them what I thought, and what dog welfare was. So, while I don't believe in miracles, and it will never be what I think as adequate dog care - read my rules above, all dogs should be inside and part of the family - it's been two and a half weeks, the family have been 'big' about it, because they had the choice to really go dog, so I'll take over a peace offering in the form of a couple of nice bottles of wine soon. If I can get things back on track, I can offer to walk the pooch with our own Daisy dog when we're in Geraldine, on the days they can't.
Anyway, would seem to be a good result.