This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I believe libertarianism has much to offer the current political debate on numerous issues. A problem is that few people have much understanding of libertarianism. To ameliorate that problem I could craft a few paragraphs citing libertarian positions on issues and hope that 50 percent of those reading this essay will continue to the end and retain a few highlights of my discussion.
However, a more efficacious pedagogical method is close to us all the politics of cats and dogs.
A close examination of their behavior reveals that by nature cats are libertarians and dogs are liberals. Because we all have at least a working knowledge of liberalism, I propose to juxtapose things of which we have knowledge cats, dogs, and liberalism with something most have only partial knowledge of, libertarianism. The goal is to fill those lacunae in knowledge of libertarianism.
It is common knowledge that cats are independent creatures valuing freedom of choice, both core libertarian values. Dogs crave acceptance and approbation, liberal values.
Who has not heard the saying "curiosity killed the cat." Quite true cats, like libertarians, are curious and open to new experiences. Dogs, like liberals, love routine. Liberalism has been a major political tendency for at least a century, with few new ideas for decades. It is old, and we all know that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Cats are fastidiously clean animals that take great pains to bury their poop. They take personal responsibility and consider the rights of others in consigning their waste in-ground where it will decompose quickly and not be stepped on.
The foundation of libertarianism is personal responsibility and consideration of the rights of others a direct correlation with cats.
On the other hand, canines leave their "presents" anywhere they feel the need. No consideration for others, no personal responsibility. Liberalism, along with its handmaiden political correctness, has for decades been the driving force in negating personal responsibility in our culture.Libertarians, like cats, are concerned about the environment.
We have all heard uberliberal Al Gore and his disciples preach about reducing carbon footprints. One obvious method to this end is limiting auto trips.
Have you ever seen a cat that enjoys auto trips? That iconic picture of a cat riding in a car with its head out the window, tongue lapping the wind not. It is intrinsic to their nature to reduce their carbon footprint.
Compared to the feline, dogs and liberals have huge carbon footprints. Dogs love riding in cars and Al Gore's 20-room, eight-bathroom mansion in Nashville consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year.
Yet, dogs still ride in cars and Gore frequently jets around the world, when not at his monster-carbon-footprint mansion, preaching the gospel of carbon-footprint reduction. A slight hypocrisy on Al's part.
Finally, consider the huge problem of entitlements. While they accept the entitlement of food, felines are perfectly able, and often do, fend for themselves.
Also, they willingly share the fruits of their labor. What cat owner has not been presented a small bird or lizard by their animal companion? Cats, as libertarians, do not expect the nanny state to fulfill their every need or want.
Now consider the noble dog/liberal. The welfare state was created and supported by liberals. Canine behavior is a series of entitlement demands give me attention, take me for a walk, give me food, take me for a car ride. The nanny state is the highest "achievement" of dogs and liberals.
So, are you a cat person or a dog person?
Tom Garrison of St. George has owned cat and dog animal companions throughout his life. He loves them both.