Personal Responsibility Has Gone To The Dogs
By Scott Davis
There was a brief window in history when man believed himself to be the captain of his fate and thus took personal responsibility for his life and actions.
In 1661 Louis XIV began his personal rule of France while advancing the idea of the Divine Right of Kings. It only took two more generations of family rule to see his nation devolve into the genocidal madness of the French Revolution. Were the benign forces of modernity dispelling an ancient myth of the superiority of royal blood?
At around the same time in the New World, the idea that all men are created equal was starting to gain traction. The European notion of a privileged class passing hereditary titles from one generation to the next was further ushered into decline with the formation of the United States of America in 1776.
Designed to be a nation of laws, without need of a king, the United States implemented a dynamic new political system that encouraged ordinary men to do extraordinary things. For the next 200 years, advancements in science and technology, medicine and agriculture propelled America to the forefront of world power.
How did this happen? Americans, unlike their equivalents in other parts of the world, were not constrained by the obstacle of bloodlines and hereditary titles. They believed in environment over heredity, individual achievement over collective mediocrity, and free will over predestination - at least until lately.
Dipping our collective toe in retrograde waters, some doctors have now declared that there is an addiction gene, a gay gene and even a fat gene. Never mind the lack of science behind these claims; the point is that we are sliding backward.
In the 21st century, its once again predestination rather than free will that dictates our behavior and our fate. Because if there are a gay gene and a fat gene today, then maybe Louis XIV was right in the 17th century and there really is a royalty gene as well.
A regrettable aspect of our millennial schizophrenia is that we now involve innocent pets in our societal confusion over nature versus nurture. A recent ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals declares that pit bulls as a dog breed are "inherently dangerous."
Instead of holding irresponsible dog owners solely to account, a breed of dog that has successfully served human beings for decades is now being maligned unnecessarily. Pit bulls have long played vital roles as seeing-eye dogs and search and rescue dogs in American society. The first pet in Teddy Roosevelts White House was a pit bull. Like German Shepherds, Rottweilers and other breeds, they can be trained for good or ill. If the government marginalizes pit bulls, irresponsible dog owners will find the path of least resistance and soon identify another breed to defile. Perhaps, an addictive dog fighting gene is to blame?
As Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, a stage play about royalty and succession, our fate lies not in the stars, but in ourselves. The fact that we are witnessing our elected representatives wasting time discriminating against breeds of animals tells me that many people still have an unconscious desire for a king, an all-knowing figure whose rule is absolute, who removes the burden of thinking and judgment, and in its place desires an all-encompassing, decision-making power whose authority is unquestioned.
For those so inclined, call it the I dont want to take responsibility gene. In terms of a free society, its a pathology that leads to a terminal condition.