Thoughts on Freedom: Imagine Domesticating the Dog Today
Man’s best friend. Many people seem to love dogs more than other people. There are understandable reasons why. Dogs are loyal, they don’t backstab you like people, they’re always happy to see you, they love your attention, and many of them are obedient. They’ve been a part of the human family for 20,000 to 40,000 years, assisting the earliest hunter-gatherers in their quest to find food. You may already know dogs are direct descendants of wolves. In fact, the animals are so genetically similar they’re not known as different species and when they breed together the taxonomy merely changes from Canis Familiaris to Canis Lupus Familiaris.
Obviously, they weren’t always domesticated animals. Dogs are descended from gray wolves, and the two animals diverged during the Last Glacial Maximum when much of Asia was a cold tundra and ice froze much of the planet. Fossil evidence takes us back at least 36,000 years to the Goyet dog found in Belgium, a Paleolithic dog which would resemble a wolf more than a dog. Without dogs, and the men who took risks domesticating them from wolves, Greger Laron of the Oxford School of Anthropology say we would have never seen the success we enjoy today.
The dog was the first domesticant. Without dogs you don’t have any other domestication. You don’t have civilization. Remove domestication from the human species, and there’s probably a couple of million of us on the planet, max. Instead, what do we have? Seven billion people, climate change, travel, innovation and everything. Domestication has influenced the entire earth. And dogs were the first. For most of human history, we’re not dissimilar to any other wild primate. We’re manipulating our environments, but not on a scale bigger than, say, a herd of African elephants. And then, we go into partnership with this group of wolves. They altered our relationship with the natural world.
But, imagine in this day of timidity, groupthink and squelching of originality, what if one did something as “crazy” as bringing a wolf into their home to keep as a pet. Underwear would be soiled, the vultures in the news media would swoop in and do their usual curiosity seeking nonsensical stories criticizing the “dangers” of having this animal around, and bureaucrats would be be falling over themselves to pass a law or send in a SWAT team to solve this insidious problem!
As we continue with this thought experiment, dog domestication will be a proxy to help us illustrate the high cost of groupthink, centralized power, and committee decision making, which are not always best for our species. Governments are the most insidious groupthinkers on the planet, who use force to crush behavior that deviates from the corporate propagandized hivemind, especially in Anglo America.
The domestication that was easy for our ancestors to realize would difficult if not impossible today. Sure, living conditions have changed, but what if someone wanted to disconnect from the corporate lifestyle of mindless consumption and return to a closer relationship with nature? Keeping a wolf as a hunting companion or for defense would either be illegal or it would be politically incorrect.
Quite simply, there are just too many laws on the books. Estimates of the numbers of regulations micromanaging lives in the “free” country of America range from 10,000 to over 300,000. In fact, some efforts to count all the laws have failed. Ronald Gainer, a retired Justice Department official undertook an effort to count all the rules that boss people around under threat of fines and imprisonment “for the express purpose of exposing the idiocy” of the system. He couldn’t count them all. John Baker, a retired Louisiana State University law professor said:
There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime.
That is chilling when one considers the gravity of the statement. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. With that many rules anyone knows there will be laws on the books keeping people from owning wolves as pets, even a rural area. In fact, One Green Planet researched the issue and found:
There are many legal issues involved with keeping a wolf in the U.S. It is felt that wolfdogs are not only the most misunderstood animals in the U.S., but also the most mismanaged. Though some feel they are wonderful pets, many opponents argue that they are unpredictable, impossible to train and inherently dangerous. Because of this, having a wolf or wolfdog as a pet is illegal in many places and is often associated with many rules in others – and with good reason.
Not just one, but many generations of wolves would have to be kept, bred, and domesticated to accumulate the slow change in behavior needed to turn dangerous wolves into lovable dogs. Out of the question in modern day America. Where does personal responsibility and decision making factor into an equation like this? Does it even count anymore? Or are we all part of a socialist collective now? Why is the omnipotent state bossing everyone around? Why do people try to use the government to control other people while whining when they get controlled by it? If nobody else is getting hurt, why does the government need to come in like thugs and tell people what to do, as in the case of busting in like storm troopers to stop the sale of raw milk.
By stifling originality, screaming, flopping on the floor, and foaming at the mouth each time someone thinks, acts, or behaves differently in society we are ultimately hurting our species. As with domestication (which only serves as an example) discoveries and original thoughts cannot made when people act like drones whose activities have been preplanned and prearranged for them on a daily basis. The point of this discussion is not to suggest that everyone rush out and get a wolf and try to domesticate it, it’s to illustrate that originality, independent thought, and personal freedom led to success in our species, but are now stifled.
Domesticating dogs, easy to do in our history, would be virtually impossible to realize today without careful planning when in the past it came about organically. H.L. Mencken wrote this fabulous piece about how many freedoms had already been lost three-quarters of a century ago; he’d probably have a heart attack if he woke up in today’s police state.
The American of today, in fact, probably enjoys less personal liberty than any other man of Christendom, and even his political liberty is fast succumbing to the new dogma that certain theories of government are virtuous and lawful, and others abhorrent and felonious. Laws limiting the radius of his free activity multiply year by year: It is now practically impossible for him to exhibit anything describable as genuine individuality, either in action or in thought, without running afoul of some harsh and unintelligible penalty. It would surprise no impartial observer if the motto “In God we trust” were one day expunged from the coins of the republic by the Junkers at Washington, and the far more appropriate word, “verboten,” substituted. Nor would it astound any save the most romantic if, at the same time, the goddess of liberty were taken off the silver dollars to make room for a bas-relief of a policeman in a spiked helmet. Moreover, this gradual (and, of late, rapidly progressive) decay of freedom goes almost without challenge; the American has grown so accustomed to the denial of his constitutional rights and to the minute regulation of his conduct by swarms of spies, letter-openers, informers and agents provocateurs that he no longer makes any serious protest.
This is the problem with authoritarianism and trying to use the government to protect everyone from themselves. This thinking turns the government into everyone’s mommy and daddy instead of expecting people to become adults. And as this simplistic illustration shows, the domestication of the dog would be impossible today without reams of paperwork, media snooping, sheeple criticism, flailing of the arms, and possible fines and arrests.
Self-ownership, minimum government and maximum freedom are what we should be moving towards rather than the specter of Big Brother style authoritarianism in the 21st century. Who knows what other great advancements we are missing out on by turning people into servants of innumerable laws rather than free people who act of their own volition? It worked in the past. It can work again.
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