Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rugged Individualism and the Banning of the Rhodesian Ridgeback

Mike conjured for himself, I suppose, a rugged individualist from pioneer days and then looked at me and decided I fell short of that ideal. Times change, but we don’t need to change our principles with them. The day of the Samurai has ended but the Japanese, many of them, transmuted that idea into entrepreneurship. And the Samurai lives on.

What does Rugged Individualism mean? Ask yourself, if you are seeking some big brother, or big state, to take care of all your needs? Or would you rather do things yourself? It shouldn’t be difficult for a person to decide whether he leans toward the Rugged Individualist ideal or the idealistic myth of a paternalistic paradise – whether or not he’d be able to spend a year trapping with Daniel Boone.

Mike seems to suggest that if all these people who fancied themselves individuals were doing individualistic things they couldn’t all agree that individualism was preferable to a paternalistic centralized state government. He would say that we are deceiving ourselves. But Mike doesn’t really have “individualism” in mind. He is thinking of “uniqueness.” Some of us might be unique in certain ways, but not in all our thoughts. If we agree with others that individualism is preferable to Welfare-statism, we are not unique in that belief, but we do nevertheless prefer individualism to Socialistic Big Government.

I have argued against Gun Control and in favor of the Second Amendment. Those arguments are consistent with individualism. They favor the idea of self-protection over relying on Big Brother for it. I would be worried if we were in danger of losing our Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. But by the same token I worry about my Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They are considered “Natural Guards.” That is, they determine what is dangerous on their own and guard against it. For example, if there is a man lurking in the bushes while a lady walks by with her Rhodesian Ridgeback. None of us Rugged Individualistic Rhodesian Ridgeback owners, is going to fault her dog for growling at this man and even lunging toward him if the makes a move toward his mistress.

This is self-defense of a different sort, but effective nonetheless, and there are groups seeking to ban it. The philosophy behind banning protective dogs is the same philosophy behind banning guns. You don’t need to do it yourself. You don’t need to protect yourself; so you need neither a gun or a protective dog. Quit worrying. Bit Brother will take care of you.

This banning of protective dogs is more prevalent in Europe, but it is occurring in some of the typical cities in the U.S. as well. The anti-protective-dog people need the same sort of “cause célèbre” that the anti-gun need. One “massacre” by a deranged fellow in Point Arthur can get guns banned in Australia. The Cause Célèbre doesn’t always work, but that is when the Paternalistic Big Brother people think they have a chance to move a nation in their direction. It worked in Australia. It hasn’t worked here yet, but they haven’t given up. In regard to dogs, plenty of bans exist for the most notorious of the protective-dog. And Ridgeback owners are starting to worry:

“Are Ridgebacks being banned” they ask?

No, just

the Pit Bull Terrier
the Japanese tosa
the Dogo Argentino
the Fila Brasileiro

Meanwhile in Europe, the Irish do have the Rhodesian Ridgeback on their list of banned dogs:

- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- English Pit Bull Terrier
- Bull Mastiff
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd Dog (Alsatian)
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Rottweiler
- Japanese Akita
- Japanese Tosa

Just because the Supreme Court supported the Second Amendment recently doesn’t mean Big Brother has gone away. He is alive and well in Europe and we have a severe case, especially on the East Coast, of Creeping Europeanism.

Lawrence Helm

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