April 28, 2008

Goldfish Rights: Switzerland Joins the Marching Morons of PETA

fishdie2.jpgYet another reminder from the EU European penal colonies that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that a government will not regulate and criminalize.

Under a new Swiss law enshrining rights for animals, dog owners will require a qualification, anglers will take lessons in compassion and horses will go only in twos.

From guinea-pigs to budgerigars, any animal classified as a "social species" will be a victim of abuse if it does not cohabit, or at least have contact, with others of its own kind.

The new regulation stipulates that aquariums for pet fish should not be transparent on all sides and that owners must make sure that the natural cycle of day and night is maintained in terms of light. Goldfish are considered social animals, or Gruppentiere in German. - New Swiss law protects rights of 'social' animals - Times Online

Government control over the citizens does not come about just through the legislation of the large issues a la the Canadian Hate Speech Tribunals. It also happens -- and much more frequently -- by the assumption of the government by fiat of the right to control all manner of little things. The recent best seller, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff," has it exactly backwards. The small stuff is what has to be sweated. All the time.

If you are of a certain age you'll remember the arguments against seat belt laws and motorcycle helmets mandates. In general it ran, "If they can do this to these things, they can do it to bigger things and everything."

Nonsense, was the rejoinder, this is simply "for your own good." An extension of this rationale was, "It is for the good of the children." Fast forward a few decades and take a searching and fearless inventory of all the things you simply cannot do that are just things that involve you own personal behavior. You'll find that they are numerous and growing. The new argument for laws and regulations that diminish your freedoms and liberty centers around "saving the planet." This one is perfect since, simply by being alive, there are many things you do -- such as exhaling carbon dioxide -- that threaten the planet.

The new improved "Thou shalt" seems to run like this:

Change your light bulbs because you must save the planet for your own good and the good of the children. And while you are at it, quit breathing.

Smoking is the ground zero of this kind of creeping control of the individual. In a way, it is the perfect issue to regulate since it combines forcing you to do something for "Your own good" and forcing you to behave differently "for the children." When it began, some said that the government would be coming around to tell you what you could or could not smoke in your car and in your home. Nonsense, the proponents said. It will never come to that. And yet, of course it has. And it will continue.

The compulsion to control that drives this new Puritanism is rooted in the convicton that somebody, somewhere, might be doing something the regulators think is evil or just bad. And those people must be stopped. First seat belts, then helmets, then tobacco, then drinking while pregnant, soon drinking while not pregnant, next they are coming for your goldfish. "Do it for your own good and for the children" is the code of the new creeping behavior police. It stands for, "Do it because we say so. Or else." And they are legion.

We can see it today at its most absurd and yet most pernicious in this regulation of the very small, very granulated behavior out of the most regulated of the European countries, but it is alive and well here in the US as well.

In a way, it is a symptom of a civilization that has just ground to a halt. The Swiss have simply run out of rational things to regulate and so they move on to the world of compassionate bullshit. How boring it must be to be Swiss. How utterly lacking their world must be in challenge and vision. How much do I love the smell of burning civilizations in the morning? A lot since, sooner or later, it all goes over the edge and from small fires large conflagrations are born.


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Posted by Vanderleun at April 28, 2008 11:50 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

For once, this inanity can't be blamed on the EU. Switzerland is not a member state.

Posted by: David Gillies at April 28, 2008 1:57 PM

Hear! Hear! Well said. I was thinking along a similar line about parliament if they have nothing better to do than pass laws like this. But if you peruse the commenrts at the bottom of the article there are people applauding this. It's enough to lead one to despair.

Posted by: feeblemind at April 28, 2008 2:01 PM

I don't even like the whole "anger management" issue. A whole industry devoted to breaking the spirit of people, many of whom may have had an excellent reason to be exasperated at a subway attendant, a flight attendant, a panhandler, someone who turned tham into the cops for having photos of their toddlers in the bathtub, you name it.

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at April 28, 2008 2:18 PM

Liberal Fascism, playing at a ballot box near you.

Posted by: Fat Man at April 28, 2008 6:52 PM

A more likely explanation is that the Swiss became tired of participating in their extensive "direct democracy," and left the field to the nuts. Swiss participation in elections and local governance has been declining for years, as the citizens became increasingly cynical. Voter participation is actually lower in Switzerland than in the US. Meanwhile, the "participatory bureaucracy" spread like a cancer. Being left alone is a luxury that can be undermined in more than one way.

Posted by: Demosophist at April 28, 2008 7:20 PM

These new regulations are an example of what happens when you let pathological fussbudgets have their way.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at April 28, 2008 9:38 PM

Over-regulation is a symptom of what happened when we allowed them to air-condition the Capitol building and stay in session for months at a time. Congress should be made to legislate in 100-degree heat, and bureaucrats to decree in straitjackets.

Posted by: Cynyr at April 29, 2008 3:26 AM

Remember Den Beste's Law: "The job of a bureaucrat is to regulate, and left to themselves, they will regulate everything they can."

Government is, by nature, a regulatory Terminator. "That's what it does! That's all it does!"

Posted by: Donald Sensing at April 29, 2008 9:14 AM

But wait! There's more! And it's even stupider!

William Briggs reports,

For it has finally been announced—from Europe, naturally, from the Swiss government-appointed Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology—that plants have feelings too.

They have authoritatively stated that “interfering with plants without a valid reason as ‘morally inadmissible.’” This means the next time you carve you and your sweetheart’s name into a tree can lead to a nice, long jail sentence. (If the famed Swiss police ever catch you, that is.)

The ethics committee did grudgingly admit—for now—that “all action involving plants for the preservation of the human race was morally justified.” Meaning, I suppose, that it’s still OK to eat them. I probably don’t need to explain to you the fix we’d be in if we could not. But there is only direction for the Enlightened to go, so stay tuned for an announcement banning the use of “higher” plants, such as maybe corn and tomatoes, for use in the “preservation of the human race.”

The august Swiss body has also found that “genetic modification of a plant did not contradict the idea of its ‘dignity’.” Yes, I can see how a kumquat would not find it an affront to be genetically probed. Until, that is, the kumquat learns how easily this sort of thing can sully one’s reputation. It’s only matter of time before a lawyer figures this out and brings a case to Brussels.

Cripes, it must really be boring to be Swiss and have nothing better to do.

Posted by: Donald Sensing at April 29, 2008 9:24 AM

I came upon your site while looking for more detail on the Swiss liberation of goldfish. Two comments: 1) This is a very well written post and I plan to be back to read more! Entertaining too. 2) A group of U.S. business people, government veterans and others have launched a new website called The Tecumseh Project. We, like the Ohio valley Shawnee Chief it is named for, are urging a united front: Christians and other freedom lovers must work together to battle the anti-religious oppression now sweeping through the West.

Folks who are interested may persue our site at: http://www.tecumsehproject.com. Thank you very much for your consideration, and God bless us, every one.

Posted by: Marvin Pryce at May 10, 2008 2:54 PM
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