First they came for the "nuts"....

Coco is quite the socializer these days, and she has a new friend, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named "Grendel." Grendel is so big that he makes Coco look like a little dog. Which is good for Coco, as she likes to have an opportunity for unlimited, no-holds-barred, canine roughhousing. Not fighting, just rough play. Coco will get along with almost any dog, but she always has to hold back with dogs her size or smaller, lest she hurt them.

Anyway, as Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred to hunt lions, Grendel is the perfect playmate for Coco in her unleashed, uninhibited state.

I tried to take pictures, but because the dogs were never still and it was late in the day, they're blurry like this.


I tried to shoot some video, but I had trouble following them with the camera:

I really ought to be writing about politics, though. All over the country, there are elections coming up, which are being called the Deathly Midterms.

Like many libertarians, I worry about some of the candidates who claim the mantle of the Tea Party. My worries are twofold; on the one hand, I worry that they're not libertarians but social conservatives who might want to use the government in extra-constitutional manners, and I also worry that they might be too kooky to win.

I am not alone. More properly, I am not a lone nut.

Tunku Varadarajan has one of the most thoughtful analyses I have seen on this issue:

It's easy for a libertarian to wish for all-around Republican victories in the midterms. What's more delicate is supporting political aberrations like Angle, Paladino, and O'Donnell.

He reminded me that if you're a libertarian, you can end up feeling schizophrenic:

Do we back candidates like Carl Paladino and Christine O'Donnell--people we wouldn't ask home to dinner, except in a Dinner for Schmucks sense? Put another way: Is our thirst for a resounding defeat for the statist Democrats so great that some of us would be prepared to swallow a mouthful of "Paladonnell" rotgut along with the premier cru of a GOP victory in the House, the Senate, and elsewhere?

Personally, I would love to see Paladino and O'Donnell lose, since they've distracted attention from the small-government message by adding in their own social conservatism and cultural weirdness. Republican primary voters need to be reminded to be more grownup, and practical. But there are, of course, many libertarians who would tend to think that anything is better--yes, even Paladino and O'Donnell--than Democrats endorsed by public-employee unions.

And his conclusion:
My other libertarian wish this election is to see the mainstream media thoroughly miserable with the results. I've never been so appalled at the MSM as in reading their hysterically biased coverage of the Tea Party, and of libertarians like the Koch brothers. The MSM is so threatened by any challenge to its closed, statist mind-set that it is ever ready to demonize dissenters.

This time, with any luck, we'll all get to demonize the demonizers.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who framed the issue thusly:
What should libertarians want from the 2010 elections?
What I want is a little breathing room. Maybe by creating as much gridlock as possible. And I'd like to see things become as tough as possible for the relentless demonizers.

Back to Coco. One of the reasons she is so normally inhibited is because I constantly worry about that awful pit bull stereotype. Sure, there have been horrifying incidents involving pit bulls (even though they're very few in proportion to the number of pit bulls), and for decades there has been a relentless campaign of MSM demonization of the breed. This causes people to freak out at the sight of a "pit bull" -- causing adrenaline levels to go up all around. So if I'm walking Coco and someone is walking a dog or a child and they start freaking out, then I start freaking out and Coco picks up on my freaking out and their freaking out, and it's a testament to her good nature that she doesn't freak out. All that demonization takes its toll on my nerves, and I would love to be able to strike back. But how? I can't unleash myself and go charging a dog that was bred to hunt lions. Fortunately, Coco can. And fortunately, her friend is as nutty as she is, so there's no problem. It takes a nut to charge a lion. And it takes a nut to charge a lion hunter. However, had a lion appeared on the scene yesterday (extremely unlikely, although possible), I suspect that Coco and Grendel would have quickly united around a new common goal.

There are plenty of nuts on the right who libertarians think are nuts, and plenty of libertarians who think those who think libertarians are nuts are nuts. And there are plenty more people on the left who think that not only are the former and the latter both nuts, but they are nuts who should be demonized.

Demonized nuts need to stick together. It's the old hang-together-or-hang-separately principle.

And while I don't know how much of a coincidence it is, there is actually a growing campaign to demonize Rhodesian Ridgebacks and target them for restrictions or bans.

Yes, Rhodesian Ridgebacks! I have to say it was a shock to learn about this, but I suppose that any dog which offers protection against invaders (which is also what Ridgebacks were bred for) will be targeted for elimination by those whose bureaucratic powers include the power to invade people's homes. (Large and powerful dogs are akin to weaponry, and we know how the ruling class feels about guns, weapons, and other forms of citizen self defense.)

For years I have complained about breed specific legislation, and I have warned people till I'm blue in the face that once the principle of banning dogs becomes a done deal with one breed, bans on other breed can quickly follow, as the demonizers need only to update their lists. Internationally, various laws have been enacted against the Rhodesian Ridgeback -- in the Bahamas, in Ireland, and in Bermuda. And in Canada, at least one group has already formed to fight proposed laws there:

You NEED to know that various jurisdictions in Canada have either enacted breed specific legislation (BSL) or are proposing enacting legislation that SPECIFICALLY names Rhodesian Ridgebacks as a restricted breed. More information about a recent case of BSL legislation in Newell County, Alberta will be posted in the future.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Canada has formed a committee whose sole purpose is to fight BSL across Canada.

Think it can't happen here or that it will only happen to the pit bull? Think again. The demonizers don't care if your pitbull or your Rhodesian Ridgeback is a loveable nut, nor do they care whether it wears lipstick.

Once they have a list of nuts, more nuts will be added.

A Pitbull is a Ridgeback is a libertarian is a bible-clinging gun nut....

posted by Eric on 10.19.10 at 12:46 PM


First they came for the dogs.....

M. Simon   ·  October 19, 2010 3:43 PM

I am a gun-loving conservative nut job with strong libertarian leanings. I doubt we will ever truly run things again unless there is a complete collapse first.

My goal is to resist assimilation until we can all re-settle in Freehold.

Bram   ·  October 19, 2010 3:45 PM

Oh yeah - my mastiff puppy will soon dwarf Grendel - so they are probably on somebody's ban list.

Bram   ·  October 19, 2010 3:54 PM

a) thank you for listening to the voice of the people (me) and posting more doggie pictures. :) Coco and Grendel are great.

b) you forget the libertarians who think other libertarians are nuts, which I'd guess is most of us. :) I.e. "They're all crazy except you and me and I'm not sure about you." In this case I'm not sure about me, either, being stuck in the novel that refuses to die.

However, the point is serious. I'd guess among libertarians there's more variation of... style and emphasis than among any other political group. Each of us seems to have a particular and burning obsession which is often what first set us against he idea of paternalistic authority of any kind. And we often look at each other and go "uh... THAT's what fires you up?" BUT we also ahve more built in tolerance for nuts than any other group, since we're fairly sure we're nuts too. So, that's okay. As long as the nuts leave us alone.

Sarah   ·  October 19, 2010 9:20 PM

Simon, which did they come for first? The dogs or the dogs' nuts?

Bram, they are coming after Mastiffs. (They are on a number of ban lists, as are all Molosser breeds.)

Sarah, we are all crazy, but some craziness will do more damage than others.


Eric Scheie   ·  October 19, 2010 10:27 PM

I am radically in favor of letting people live their lives in peace. I want the law out of most things, including marriage and murder. This makes me COMPLETELY innoffensive because a)I'll never have any power and b)if I did I'd just give it back. (I don't even like being an editor I can do it. I just don't like it.)

Have considered running a mock presidential campaign, though for 12. Not even vaguely real, since I'm not elligible. "If elected, I promise to leave you alone, except for the common defense thing. Shoo. Off you go. Vote for me."

Sarah   ·  October 20, 2010 12:55 AM

Damn! Are you sure that other dog isn't part Great Dane?? I myself have a wee lil' American Bulldog that is gradually getting to be more sociable with other dogs. She's adopted, and thankfully is naturally protective of children and women...bigger guys are almost always on her shit list...she was abused by them. Used to be, people saw her and thought "omigod it's a pit for the hills!!" now that she's settled and much, much happier, I don't get that reaction. She's my first pet, and although she requires considerable time and money (paid $600 to get some rotten, broken teeth extracted), I don't regret taking her in for a second.

model_1066   ·  October 20, 2010 5:47 PM

@1066: Take it from me, Grendel is 100% Ridgeback. Born of champions....but yeah, he's tall. When he fills out, he's going to be one huge dog. He's still not half the tough guy his pack mate, the alpha bitch RR is, though -- even at 11. She's the protector, he's the hunter.

DJ   ·  October 21, 2010 9:49 AM

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