Sceptical libertarianism and opera

Location: France

June 28, 2004


Okay, so I have sympathy with many of the values of the British left (there, I've admitted it). I like niceness, caring and fluffiness in public policy.

But what is it with the left and fox hunting? Try as I might, I can't get my head around what makes this an issue to excite such passions.

The anti-hunters tend to have two line of arguments. First, hunting is cruel to animals. Y-e-e-e-s. And? If we want to legislate to avoid cruelty to animals, then banning hunting is surely priority number 24,567, somewhere behind prohibiting having cats as pets, beekeeping and those little tablet things that get rid of mosquitoes. The foxes are going to be killed anyway, and hunting seems as good a way as any of doing it.

The second line of argument drags up the 19th century decisions to ban bear-bating and cockfighting. The relevance being? To use an analogy (something I hate, but hey), this is like using slavery as an argument to ban work. Or domestic violence as a reason to outlaw sex.

Of course, what the anti-hunting lobby really object to is not the death of the fox, but the fact that people experience pleasure in achieving it. And legislating to control thoughts rather than actions makes me feel even queasier than contemplating the remains of a half-digested vixen....


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25 December 2012 at 08:49  

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