June 11, 2009
The unpopular popular majority
While shopping for aquarium stuff the other day at a PETCO store, I happened to see ferrets for sale. They're very cute, friendly, and inquisitive animals, and for people who want a pet but who are allergic to cats and not allowed to have dogs, they might be just the ticket.
It cheered me to see that such alternative pets were for sale, along with some cool-looking reptiles, and of course, lots of tropical fish. But my thoughts soon turned gloomy, as I realized that someone had to breed those ferrets, and that there is a relentless corps of activist thugs who think the breeders are profoundly evil, and want them stopped by any means necessary. And, the fact that PETCO does not sell dogs (like the much demonized PETLAND) or that the activists stopped PETCO from selling large birds did not satisfy them; it only emboldened them for the next battle in their declared war on pet ownership, pet stores and all things related. The goal is total abolition of the ownership of animals by humans.
For now, they want no animals to be sold or owned except by them or their activist allies. It's about power over people, of course....
But animal rights activists are an old and tired issue at this blog. I can't help notice that they're more determined than I am. They devote 24/7 to what they do, and while I'll write an occasional post, it pretty quickly fades away from public view, and I've noticed that no matter how many posts I or anyone else might write criticizing them, facts matter not at all to them, because they are activists. They're always there and they get stronger, bigger, and better organized, while all I can do is express my wistful feelings as I anticipate the loss of the simple freedom to buy a small animal at a pet store.
Not being able to buy a ferret is a little thing. A minor annoyance so trivial that I really ought to be ashamed for writing a blog post about it when there are major things going on in the world. Besides, ferrets are not even "my" issue, and I don't think I've ever discussed them in this blog. I didn't even say anything about Rudy Giuliani's rather bizarre hatred of them, because I thought there were bigger issues. Which there are.
However, the fact that many people don't like ferrets (or weasels) makes them a convenient target. Like landlords, especially landlords in Berkeley. Where it comes to taking away freedom, the unpopularity of the target always supplies a weak link in the chain.
No one likes "polluters," for example. So busy was I at PETCO getting all hot and bothered on behalf of ferret owners that I didn't stop to consider that the animal rights activists are now teaming up with environmentalists with a whole new wrinkle aimed at criminalizing a large swath of pet owning community, including the tropical fish owners like me. Sure, PETA and groups like that oppose keeping tropical fish, but it's a harder sell than opposing ferrets, and I wasn't worried about it except over the long term. The new wrinkle is to ban so-called "non-native species.":
HR 669 bans import, export, transport, breeding, sale or barter of ALL nonnative species unless they are placed on an Approved List established by the USFWS after extensive study. This law would affect most pet owners of non native species.It's being called "the most restrictive animal bill ever concocted." Watch the video:
There's a web site devoted to stopping HR 669 here.
Why should you care about HR 669?There's another video at the link.
It appears to be the most horrendous attack on pet ownership I have yet witnessed, and it is all being misleadingly packaged as "protecting the environment."
I'm embarrassed to say that I had not even heard of HR669 until today, and I wouldn't have even thought to write an admittedly frivolous post about ferrets had an old blog friend Connie du Toit (whose blog I dearly miss) not emailed me about yet another horror.
I'm sending this to you because, well, I don't blog anymore, and I thought you might be interested in this subject. To get around the staggering cost of cigarettes (because of Obama and Congress increases taxes on them), I started ordering "Native American" cigarettes. The carton price differences make it worth the effort (my 20 year loyalty to B&H went out the window when the price of a carton went to $85! From about $55). The price of a carton of "Native American" cigs is about $20. They aren't as good and the quality isn't as great, but we're talking a $55 difference here!Damn right I agree. The cigarette issue might not sound like keeping ferrets or snakes, but it's that same busybody activist mentality. These people want to run our lives, down to the last detail. And if we figure a way around them, ever more draconian laws will be passed. By activists, who always claim to be fighting against the evil, polluting, unhealthy minority and in the name of the good, sane majority!
What they're trying to do in the case of cigarettes is to make it a crime to put them in the mail, and I'm delighted to have an opportunity to try to stop this bill, which is called the "Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009":
THE SITUATION: Right now there is legislation pending in the United States Senate - the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 ("PACT Act") (S.1147) which contains, among other bad ideas, a provision to make ALL cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products non-mailable.To an activist, there is no better way to spend our tax dollars than harassing small merchants (mostly Indians, in this case), and driving the price of cigarettes ever higher.
This will also harass (and aggravate the plight of) the millions of Americans who suffer from schizophrenia and who rely on cigarettes as self medication. Doubtless schizophrenics are another minority few care about.
Looking back over this post, I'm realizing that even though it's a similar theme, there are so many topics that it's unwieldy. And while it might seem a bit counterintuitive to lump together ferrets, snakes, pet stores, aquarium fish and cigarettes (if for no other reason that agreement on one issue might not translate into agreement on others) the reason I'm doing it is to illustrate how the activists succeed by demonizing unpopular minorities one at a time, while pretending to act for the common good of us all.
So I've nearly run out of steam, but before I do, there's one last thing. In San Francisco, it will soon be illegal to throw coffee grounds and eggshells in your trash:
Throwing orange peels, coffee grounds and grease-stained pizza boxes in the trash will be against the law in San Francisco, and could even lead to a fine.Too late to stop it in San Francisco, but I'm sure the idea will spread, and pretty soon the activists will be sticking their noses into every last trash can in America. (How do we fight them? Should we should start mailing "compost" to Al Gore in protest?)
I'm no statistician, but I think it's clear that if you total up all the people the activists are going after, well, it becomes a bit like Dirksen's rule.
An unpopular minority here and an unpopular minority there and pretty soon you're talking about an unpopular majority.
To a true activist, there's nothing popular about the majority.
AFTERTHOUGHT: Yeah, I know, I should have titled this post "First they came for the ferrets."
But to be accurate, I'd really need to say "First they came for the cigarettes."
(The point is, they always go after an unpopular minority first, so you can just fill in the blank with the unpopular minority of the moment.)
posted by Eric on 06.11.09 at 12:58 PM
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