Posted by PintofStout on December 15, 2006
Like so many of my blog posts, this one starts with an NPR story. In the past I’ve read where regulations concerning wetlands or endangered species have cursed landowners by limiting what can be done on their property in the name of protecting some entity. This often times leads to the shoot, shovel, and shut up strategy in order to keep the government hounds from sniffing it out and plummeting property values by limiting any potential development. Well, in this case, the roles are reversed.
The reason property owners shoot, shovel and shut up when an endangered or threatened species is on their property is because the government has passed regulations and laws prohibiting activity that would further threaten extinction of said species. In the case of prairie dogs in Kansas (check the “case” link) government is the exception. They are the ones who will allow – even encourage and carry out – the extermination of a species. What makes owls or woodpeckers any more special than a prairie dog? Why is it bad to let one species go the way of the dinosaur, while actively campaigning to send another that way?
The government exempts itself all the time from the dictates it spews to save us helpless sinners and nincompoops. Gambling is bad and evil until the government has its hand in the cookie jar and can profit from it. The lottery isn’t gambling, it’s just like a big bake sale for kids or old people, right? Alcohol is bad, so most places I’ve been to that sell it are called state stores because only the government is responsible enough to sell it, right? The most glaring exemption the state grants itself is the use of force. Only state-sanctioned thugs can harass, detain, shoot, beat, and degrade folks for no good reason. Can an “ordinary” citizen go downtown and buy a submachine gun? No. But law enforcement can get all the submachine guns they can afford.
For a moral code to have any kind of credibility with those outside of it, namely not the holder of the code, it must be consistent. By protecting one animal while actively trying to exterminate another, what kind of message is that sending? It is saying it has no moral code but that of the highest bidder or an opportunity for positive political appeal. How long can the contradictions and inconsistencies be overlooked? It has been 240 years and counting…