Situational Ethics

by Don Boudreaux on June 25, 2008

in Standard of Living, The Economy

Reading this morning these opening words in a report at Yahoo Sports — “Wimbledon came under fire from animal activists on Tuesday for using  marksmen to shoot down dive-bombing pigeons” — reminds me yet again that our society is extraordinarily wealthy.  That ordinary people are sufficiently and securely fed, clothed, shod, and sheltered to enable some of them to devote substantial stores of their emotional energies to the care of pigeons is a sure sign of deep and widespread prosperity.

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{ 34 comments }

Gil June 25, 2008 at 6:11 am

What could a poor pigeon do to upset a tennis match? Perhaps it's a sign of a well fed, etc., society when people can shoot animals without intending to eat them.

lowcountyjoe June 25, 2008 at 7:47 am

Why don't you just pigeonhole the shooters as being insensitive, Gil?

Ben June 25, 2008 at 8:13 am

Perhaps it's a sign of a well fed, etc., society when people can shoot animals without intending to eat them.

Or it's a sign that the animal in question is either really scary or really irritating, which is not far from the criteria by which we shoot people.

Gil June 25, 2008 at 8:15 am

Maybe it'd be good if we returned to a Medieval type of poverty where people are too hungry to care for much then?

Martin Brock June 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

Let's just stop the busybody statesmen interfering with our liberty to shoot one another. Then we can shoot John McEnroe when he's annoying too.

save_the_rustbelt June 25, 2008 at 8:47 am

I'm trying to imagine gunning pigeons in such a confined area.

Sniper rifles? 12 gauge on the fly? Shooting at night to avoid winging spectators?

Maybe some tougher American hawks?

Perhaps poison would be a better choice. Pigeons are essentially rats with wings, so mourn not for the critters. Nothing worse than pigeon droppings in the strawberries and cream lads.

Michael June 25, 2008 at 8:53 am

The Cincinnati Bengals sought permission last season to shoot meddlesome pigeons with air rifles.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/bengals/2007-09-28-pigeons_N.htm

macquechoux June 25, 2008 at 9:23 am

As I grew up in South Louisiana on a plantation surrounded by poverty I, too, realized that only a wealthy, well fed, clothed, and sheltered individual with lots of spare time (You forgot about time.) could worry about such things. For further proof I invite you, Don, to check out Megan's post today about "vegan shoes."

LowcountryJoe June 25, 2008 at 9:52 am

Maybe it'd be good if we returned to a Medieval type of poverty where people are too hungry to care for much then?

I know you think this would be good…it shows in the policy preferences [economic nanny-statism] that you seemingly always advocate for, Gil.

Gil June 25, 2008 at 10:00 am

M.B. suggests a good point. :P

LowcountryJoe June 25, 2008 at 11:11 am

Social nanny-statism, too, Gil?!

Trumpit June 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm

"Pigeons are essentially rats with wings…"

Most rats that I know are of the two-legged variety. "Rata de dos patas" rhymes in Spanish – I heard it in a Paquita del Barrio song.

Trumpit June 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm

"Pigeons are essentially rats with wings…"

Most rats that I know are of the two-legged variety. "Rata de dos patas" rhymes in Spanish – I heard it in a Paquita del Barrio song.

Trumpit June 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Btw, it's not even close to say that a pigeon is just a rat with wings. A rat is quite intelligent and can learn all sort of things. It's smarter than a mouse…smaller than a house, bigger than a louse. A pigeon is more like a grouse…

lowcountyjoe June 25, 2008 at 2:20 pm

It's smarter than a mouse…smaller than a house, bigger than a louse. A pigeon is more like a grouse…

Gadzooks! Am I reading Seuss?

Michael June 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm

"Emotional energy" is free.

You can only care about so many things at a time to varying degrees, so I would dispute the notion that it's free.

Gil June 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Hunting for strawmen LCJ?

jpm June 25, 2008 at 7:44 pm

"As I grew up in South Louisiana on a plantation surrounded by poverty I, too,"

As some one who lives in Louisiana, I am just flat out insulted by the arrogance of the Scallaywags and left wing Carpetbaggers that think they are so much better than the hard working productive population of Louisiana. The facts are there is far more acreage in Louisiana under timberland and more acreage under marshes then there is of river valley "plantation" land. The only poverty that does exist in Louisiana is directly caused by the liberal policies and mindsets of the arrogant elite who make such an effort to brainwash the that population into relying on their historically proven failed policies. Everybody else manages to lift themselves beyond that.

gil arno June 25, 2008 at 8:13 pm
lowcountyjoe June 25, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Hunting for strawmen LCJ?

No; just one. I'll leave you alone once you, Dorothy, and the rest of the gang reach The Wizard and you finally get your brain.

Gil June 25, 2008 at 8:50 pm

What a coinkidink LCJ! I feel the same way in reverse. Still it's a reminder that there's no such thing as 'natural law'. The only 'laws' nature provides is one of harsh Darwinian survival. >:)

lowcountyjoe June 25, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Coinkidink that while you're going in reverse you feel the same way as I do while I'm moving forward? That's quite an admission!

I feel ya, Gil, Darwinian survival is using a pack-like mentality to do as Marx advocated: overthrow the bourgeoisie in a violent manner…for civility and social stability, of course.

With that attitude, it's no wonder that you deny natural law. Just sort-of repeat after Dorothy as she clicks her heels only making a small alteration, "There's no place like yourhome! There's no place like yourhome!"

brotio June 25, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Let me see if I can anger the militant vegetarian/animal rights moonbats even more:

I shoot pigeons every chance I get. I run them over in the street at every opportunity. I'll poison all of them in my neighborhood if I ever find a pigeon-specific poison. If they became extinct tomorrow, I'd drink a toast in celebration.

Yes, pigeons are the Sixteenth Amendment of the animal kingdom. The sooner we're rid of both, the better. :p

brotio June 25, 2008 at 11:54 pm

BTW, Gil

I kill pigeons without entertaining the notion of even feeding them to my cat, much less eating the filthy, shit-eating squab myself.

And LMAO @ pigeonholing the shooters as insensitive! :D

Gil June 26, 2008 at 1:13 am

Could you seriously compare Marxism and Darwinism LCJ!?!?!?! 8( Darwinism is what the free market is all about – making sure the best succeed and the worst fall off the end. Perhaps Libertarians should heed a Darwinistic creed – 'no justice but what you take(/make?)'. Not heeding is probably why many-a-Libertarian complain when they feel their rights trampled all over and can't(won't?) do anything about it.

Gil June 26, 2008 at 1:17 am

Furthermore proof from brotio of the Hobbesian Social Contract and Coasian Property Rights? The weak being defenseless against the strong (in a fully open society) have to make themselves the property of a particular strong man or a group thereof thereby gaining their protection from other strong men/groups?

brotio June 26, 2008 at 3:57 am

"Furthermore proof from brotio of the Hobbesian Social Contract and Coasian Property Rights? The weak being defenseless against the strong (in a fully open society) have to make themselves the property of a particular strong man or a group thereof thereby gaining their protection from other strong men/groups?"

You mean the pigeon mafia is after me? Oh shit! I think the Good Feathas are pecking at my door!

Gil June 26, 2008 at 6:53 am

If that is your real name brotio or should I say i-robot?

lowcountyjoe June 26, 2008 at 12:23 pm

You mean the pigeon mafia is after me? Oh shit! I think the Good Feathas are pecking at my door!

You've got some gull, sticking your beak into the business of organized government er…crime.

lowcountyjoe June 26, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Could you seriously compare Marxism and Darwinism LCJ!?!?!?! 8( Darwinism is what the free market is all about – making sure the best succeed and the worst fall off the end.

No, seriously I didn't. It was meant as a parody. And oh yes, the free market is all about getting what you can by crapping all over those people around you who can exploited. That's why none of what takes place within the markets is cooperative and volunatry…it's just shrewd people taking advantage of one another at the expense of everyone involved. This is why there's no satisfaction — ever! — and NO ONE keeps cooperative partnerships and comes to agreements. I think we're best served if governmet takes over the role of mediator — in EVERY transaction — so that we can finally negotiate with each other and progress (COLLECTIVELY).

And if the worst are falling off the end, I propose that we flip the scenario on its head and reward the worst and punish the best because it sounds like such a good idea. Oh, wait…we're already kind of doing this. Should we just AVIS this then…"yes we can!"

Gil June 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Actually my original question is what could poor pigeons do to a tennis match that they to be shot? It's not quite a 'it's not hurting anyone' scenario here.

lowcountryjoe June 26, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Yes, Gil, we got that when we read you crying fowl the first time. It's entirely likely that your pressing question will be ducked again.

Have you been to see The Wonderful Wizard yet?

Gil June 26, 2008 at 11:32 pm

*YAWN!* X0

lowcountryjoe June 27, 2008 at 7:04 am

Yep, yawn. That's pretty much how I feel every time you seek to inject your religious views of all things evnvironmental, with most of mankind being sinners. I'm tired of the homilies, Gil; you're bringing your church to us and it's causing my sleepiness.

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