Progressivism's human dog parks

I caught a snippet of a report on the radio the other day.  I don't even know if I heard it correctly, but the statement I think I heard was that one of the most requested items for municipalities is now a "dog park."  They said dog parks are replacing bike paths as the most often stated target in government block grant spending activities.

For those who don't know what a "dog park" is, Wikipedia defines it this way: "a park for dogs to exercise and play off-leash in a controlled environment under the supervision of their owners.  These parks have varying features, although they typically offer a 4' to 6' fence, separate double-gated entry and exit points, adequate drainage, benches for humans, shade for hot days, parking close to the site, water, tools to pick up and dispose of animal waste in covered trash cans, and regular maintenance and cleaning of the grounds.  Dog parks may also offer wheel-chair access, a pond for swimming and a separate enclosure for small dogs."  I would ad that these parks are typically between a quarter-acre and 50 acres in size, depending upon the demand and the availability of land.


Floral Dog Park, Opelika, Ala.
Photo credit: Spellck.

For some reason, I thought of the concept of dog parks combined with something I recently read about "free speech zones" at colleges.  These two things caused me to consider the state of our Constitution and the increasingly brazen attacks on it.

I've always had a dog to love.  I grew up on a farm, and we always had dogs around.  As I have progressed through life, there are very few spans of time when we haven't had them around (once after my beautiful and loyal friend Alex died at 14 and when we had to leave our current pups behind to live in the U.K. for a bit).  We currently live with Sam and Ruby, two rescued eleven-and-a-half-year-old Lab mixes that we have had since they were pups.

I thought about my lifelong relationship with my dogs (all of which were the best dogs ever) and how it has changed.

On the farm, our dogs were free to roam independently of human intervention — the only barriers were those imposed by fences or natural barriers they weren't able to cross — but there were still rules — we trained them not to drag dead animals to the house, and they followed voice commands when around other animals or people.  That was pretty much it.

Eventually, due to career opportunities, we moved to more urban settings, and our dogs had to be kept in the house and confined to a fenced in yard, and when we walked them, they were required to be on a leash.  Their range was severely limited and their behaviors more tightly controlled.

Then dog parks were introduced.  I think the first one we experienced was when we lived in The Woodlands, down in the Great State of Texas.  We thought it was great.  It was an off-leash area where the doggies could run to their hearts' content and were welcomed to play with the other dogs there if they were well behaved.  They were under constant human supervision, of course — but were generally free to romp as they pleased.  We now live next to a 2,100-acre nature preserve with no fences where the doggies can run off leash — but they must be wearing e-collars (radio-controlled collars with sound, vibration, and shock warnings) and be under human supervision.

If you look at those three situations and analogize them to human existence, there are strong parallels to the initial, raw state of our constitutional republic (our dogs running free) and the statist approach that has evolved since the late 1800s (city living and the restrictions on the dogs).  The third aspect is a compromise between the two.

But it really isn't a compromise, is it?  It's not true freedom.  Dogs are free to run inside a defined space but also must behave in a manner expected by those who control the space — and we think it is great because it is such an improvement over being shut up in the house all day or having to be controlled at the end of a tether.

But that is dangerous relativism.

It's not what America is meant to be.  We're not a nation of human dog parks constructed by government.  Yet that is what people are buying when they buy into progressivism.

Progressives tell America, "Just let us control you and lock you in a confined space — but we will build you some very nice parks where you can run off your leash!  Just remember, you must behave the way we want you to behave, and you must stay inside the fences or be wearing your shock collars.  Those are the rules."

Such is the vision of the modern Democratic Party.  They think America is ready to trade its freedom and liberties for some really, really nice human dog parks.

I pray they are wrong.

I caught a snippet of a report on the radio the other day.  I don't even know if I heard it correctly, but the statement I think I heard was that one of the most requested items for municipalities is now a "dog park."  They said dog parks are replacing bike paths as the most often stated target in government block grant spending activities.

For those who don't know what a "dog park" is, Wikipedia defines it this way: "a park for dogs to exercise and play off-leash in a controlled environment under the supervision of their owners.  These parks have varying features, although they typically offer a 4' to 6' fence, separate double-gated entry and exit points, adequate drainage, benches for humans, shade for hot days, parking close to the site, water, tools to pick up and dispose of animal waste in covered trash cans, and regular maintenance and cleaning of the grounds.  Dog parks may also offer wheel-chair access, a pond for swimming and a separate enclosure for small dogs."  I would ad that these parks are typically between a quarter-acre and 50 acres in size, depending upon the demand and the availability of land.


Floral Dog Park, Opelika, Ala.
Photo credit: Spellck.

For some reason, I thought of the concept of dog parks combined with something I recently read about "free speech zones" at colleges.  These two things caused me to consider the state of our Constitution and the increasingly brazen attacks on it.

I've always had a dog to love.  I grew up on a farm, and we always had dogs around.  As I have progressed through life, there are very few spans of time when we haven't had them around (once after my beautiful and loyal friend Alex died at 14 and when we had to leave our current pups behind to live in the U.K. for a bit).  We currently live with Sam and Ruby, two rescued eleven-and-a-half-year-old Lab mixes that we have had since they were pups.

I thought about my lifelong relationship with my dogs (all of which were the best dogs ever) and how it has changed.

On the farm, our dogs were free to roam independently of human intervention — the only barriers were those imposed by fences or natural barriers they weren't able to cross — but there were still rules — we trained them not to drag dead animals to the house, and they followed voice commands when around other animals or people.  That was pretty much it.

Eventually, due to career opportunities, we moved to more urban settings, and our dogs had to be kept in the house and confined to a fenced in yard, and when we walked them, they were required to be on a leash.  Their range was severely limited and their behaviors more tightly controlled.

Then dog parks were introduced.  I think the first one we experienced was when we lived in The Woodlands, down in the Great State of Texas.  We thought it was great.  It was an off-leash area where the doggies could run to their hearts' content and were welcomed to play with the other dogs there if they were well behaved.  They were under constant human supervision, of course — but were generally free to romp as they pleased.  We now live next to a 2,100-acre nature preserve with no fences where the doggies can run off leash — but they must be wearing e-collars (radio-controlled collars with sound, vibration, and shock warnings) and be under human supervision.

If you look at those three situations and analogize them to human existence, there are strong parallels to the initial, raw state of our constitutional republic (our dogs running free) and the statist approach that has evolved since the late 1800s (city living and the restrictions on the dogs).  The third aspect is a compromise between the two.

But it really isn't a compromise, is it?  It's not true freedom.  Dogs are free to run inside a defined space but also must behave in a manner expected by those who control the space — and we think it is great because it is such an improvement over being shut up in the house all day or having to be controlled at the end of a tether.

But that is dangerous relativism.

It's not what America is meant to be.  We're not a nation of human dog parks constructed by government.  Yet that is what people are buying when they buy into progressivism.

Progressives tell America, "Just let us control you and lock you in a confined space — but we will build you some very nice parks where you can run off your leash!  Just remember, you must behave the way we want you to behave, and you must stay inside the fences or be wearing your shock collars.  Those are the rules."

Such is the vision of the modern Democratic Party.  They think America is ready to trade its freedom and liberties for some really, really nice human dog parks.

I pray they are wrong.