THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 767, April 20, 2014
Anarchists are persons who believe with
all their hearts that governments are
enemies of their own people.
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Recently I read an editorial page article decrying the release of doves at weddings and other similar events. The author's complaint was that the birds in question were totally domesticated and unsuited to survive in the wild. My first thought was that hawks, feral cats, and my dogs (who will kill and eat pigeons in my yard when the mood hits them) gotta eat and dove is tasty. My second thought was that this is a cautionary tale about why we need to resist Big government's efforts, whether benign or diabolical, to make us dependent on the state for survival (remember over half of Americans are collecting one benefit or another from Big G). Believe it or not, that's not my point.
The author of the article in question correctly pointed out that raising doves to depend on humans and then throwing them to the wild to starve or be lunch is cruel. Then said author pointed out that back in the Eighties the word got passed around to stop throwing rice at weddings because birds ate it and then died when the rice expanded in their crops. People believed this, and now it is somewhat less customary to throw rice at weddings. The author hoped that passing the word on how doves suffered would similarly help end the practice of releasing them at special events.
Little problem, I know that the birds and rice story is a lie. I will come back to that later (it is the point of this after all.). This inspired a little research and one of the first articles I hit was a statement by professional dove wranglers that in fact the doves they use are properly trained white homing pigeons. So all I will say is check the credentials of the people who release doves at your events. Make sure they are raising birds that will find their way home. Let's say the starving doves story is a half truth (predator chow is another story.).
However the rice story is a total lie. Basically birds guts are full of gizzard stones, acids, and enzymes that are used to turn rice and other things birds ingest into either bird or bird blood sugar. This myth was exposed almost immediately yet continues to enjoy credence. While I'm not sure why people continue to buy this lie, i've got a fairly good idea how it started.
I first heard the story that expanding rice killed birds back in the Eighties, about the time of the big famines in Africa. Somehow some liberal Church types took offense at the idea that people were wasting rice by throwing it at newlyweds while poor people were starving, so they began to get after people not to throw rice at weddings. Of course, it's rather obvious that nobody is going to throw enough rice to make a dent in world hunger at any given wedding. But still, throwing rice at weddings in a starving world is a waste. So...
Somwhere someone grabbed the "fact" out of thin air (or somewhere else) that when birds ate rice at weddings the rice expanded in their stomachs and killed the birds. They told a lie for a good cause.
And that is the way too many statists work. They have good intentions, come up with good causes. Then they tell a "little white lie" to push their cause. Then another, and another, and they create some new cause based on their lies and end up needing the state to solve their problem. The imaginary problem is based on one lie, then another, then a third. However, the laws they get passed aren't illusions, they are enforced with real fines and jail time.
So, if you want to release doves at your next wedding and you can line up an ethical and reliable company that leases them out enjoy yourself. And if you want to throw rice, well maybe the doves need a snack to last until they find their way home. However, in this and all other cases, don't let well intentioned liars erode your freedoms.
Which is the point of all these words.
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