by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Here is wisdom:
Have a kid? Get a dog. Want a kid? Get a dog.
Don’t want a dog? Get a cat, which is like training wheels for dog ownership.
Have a cat already? It’s probably time to get a dog. Don’t like dogs? You’re wrong.
Those of you already encumbered with a very small human in your home — and I don’t mean Robert Reich — might be asking, “Why?” After all, the humanoid is already making demands on my tolerance for poop disposal and unremunerated feedings. Why would I saddle myself with more and similar obligations — particularly when the four-legged dependent will make demands on me forever and will never carry on the family name or provide me with any kind of tax benefit, or expand the borders of my empire into the barbarian lands of the Gauls?
I can make the practical case. Dogs make good guards, particularly of young children (though this varies by breed; Dachshunds, for instance, are tubular snapping turtles). They are fun to look at and can be entertaining companions. Children raised in households with dogs are less likely to get various immune system–related ailments, such as eczema or asthma. And I suppose if you were starving to death you could consider a canine an emergency reserve supply of protein.
But such arguments fall under the category of rank utilitarianism or instrumentalism. And I want to make a broader case for the beasts. …