Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and guns in New York City This is an article describing the new New York City Housing Authority ruling that prohibits the Doberman pinscher, pit bulls, Rottweilers and mixed breeds based on these three breeds as well as any dog over 25 pounds. The “Dog Federation of New York” opposes this new ruling and provides a petition by which any New Yorker may protest.

I oppose increased government control of almost anything; however Public Housing is already Government Control. It is a “State” Organization, with a Welfare-state goal: to provide and manage housing for people who can’t afford it.

So if the real goal behind the Village article was to cause the people living in Public Housing to live within their means and was part of a broader set of controls, e.g. “No TVs larger than 32 inches, no cars with engines larger than 2.8 liters, no Blackberries, no more than 7 pairs of shoes for women and 4 pairs for men and no dogs larger than 25 pounds” I would take the dog restriction as part of the Welfare-State paraphernalia and not single the dog part out for special grousing. The State would be saying in effect, “we are providing this public housing to you at tax-payer expense because you can’t afford housing on your own. However, the Tax Payer is not willing to provide amenities he would consider to be luxuries.”

But notice that the Village article says “New York City Housing Authority has gnawed its list of prohibited breeds down to just three: Doberman pinschers, pit bulls and rottweillers — all of these either full breed or mixed breed.” This tells us that the authority isn’t worried about the those living in Public Housing having luxuries. It tells us that “they” (at least the part of the Authority that didn’t want their list gnawed down, have an ongoing agenda to ban protective dogs -- in the same way some other people (or perhaps the same ones) want to ban guns. In a centralized society that wants control of its citizens, it has always been thought risky (to authorities) for ordinary citizens to have the means of self-defense. New York City has been in the forefront of restricting the means of self-defense. Which City, after all, inspired the Charles Bronson “Death Wish” movie?

This is not a new thing. We have a record of this sort of thing occurring in primitive European nations. Read the history of some breeds and you will learn that some of them were denied the ordinary citizen just as weapons were denied him.

But this restriction of the peasant, serf or ordinary citizen didn’t occur just in Europe. Restrictive laws of the sort favored in New York City occured in autocracies, autarchies, monocracies and their like throughout the primitive world. For example, I am currently reading A History of Japan from Stone Age to Superpower. On page 15, Kenneth G. Henshall writes, “. . . in 645 [the Soga clan] was overthrown in a coup led by Fujiwara no Kamatari (614-99). The Fujiwara were to dominate court life in Japan for some centuries to come. . . Kamatari put in place a number of ambitious reforms based on the Chinese model of central government. These reforms are known collectively as the Taika (Great Change) Reform(s) of 645.

“One major reform was the nationalization of land. . . Other reforms included taxation in the form of produce and not simply labour . . . Unauthorized weapons were confiscated.

“Chinese-style law codes were drawn up in connection with these reforms. They emphasized the authority of the emperor and thus the centralization of power, and they also addressed the rationalization of bureaucracy. . . Though not always carried out as intended, ritsuryo law during the eighth century permitted a small group of around 400 officials to control a country of about 5 million people.”


I have emphasized the control of weapons and protective dogs in the “primitive world” only to stress that the seeking of this sort of control has a very long and pervasive tradition. We know that the “Founding Fathers” of the United States opposed this sort of control They wanted control to reside with the people and not with “400 officials.” They attempted to create “Rights” and an “emphasis” that would prevent insofar as possible a return to more primitive forms of government. The implication was that our Republic comprised a more advanced form of government than those previously mentioned. But is this true? Can any nation tolerate such individual freedom? Rulers “naturally” want to protect their rule and themselves. And one of the best ways of doing that is to limit the ability of the ordinary citizen to resist them. Are we, perhaps being led by New York City, into returning to a more primitive form of government?

It is not easy to answer this question. Our modern world has been complicated by the efforts of Lenin and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was the grand Marxist experiment to among other things show that man was heading toward a perfect communal existence where man (being by nature good) would take what he needed and provide to the common society what his gifts enabled him to provide. Everyone would live in peace and harmony, and man’s basic goodness would be evidenced once the evils of Capitalism were removed. Instead of that very-attractive peace and harmony, we saw the purges and executions of Stalinism. The “Communist” experiment conducted in the Soviet Union was an utter failure.

Surely that would be enough to kill the Marxist Dream, but we know it didn’t. It exists in the Welfare State of European nations and in the Welfare-State thinking of “Authorities” in such places as New York City and San Francisco. Perhaps Stalin didn’t get it quite right, they argue, but that doesn’t mean that Marx was wrong, and it doesn’t mean we can’t do better. Surely, they tell each other, we shall get it right next time.

The “Authorities” of the Soviet Union became cynical over time. They gave up the Communist Dream but kept the Stalinistic controls. But, Europeans tell themselves, perhaps we weren’t ready for the Big Marxist dream, but we can dream Little Welfare Dreams where we all have Medical Insurance, job protection, “decent housing” etc. Surely everyone wants that.

We have enough information, if we are paying attention, to know that Governmental Controls will by definition restrict the rights (to an extent defined by the Authorities) of the controlled. Yes, we still live in a Republic here in America, most of us. We can still to a very large extent vote in the sort of “Authorities” we want.

But if you in NYC vote for Authorities to take care of you, then it is only fair, they will tell you that you allow them certain sorts of protection. Turn in your guns if you haven’t already done so, and turn in your protective dogs. All you need is a little 25-pound dog to sit in your lap and give you comfort. We, the authorities, will take care of the rest.

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