Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Les Races de Chiens

I was at Wal-Mart the other day, pick up dog food for our two smallish pets, and I noticed that, along with the English on the bag, there was also French, which read, in part, "pour les petites races de chiens." Glory be. In France, dogs have races.  Actually, it's just a linguistic glitch that English reserves "race" for human variations and uses "breeds" for dogs, horses, and other animals. I thought of this because of one of those internet squabbles awhile back comparing human races to dog breeds. Of course this produced a hissy-fit on the part of the usual liberal, who just couldn't stand the idea that human races vary in any meaningful way at all, or even that they exist. Dog breeds, of course, obviously exist.

Don't they? But let's not be too hasty.  First, this from John Craig over at Just Not Said:

If liberals controlled the dialogue on dogs

The recent post about white women and their dogs got me to thinking, if liberals moderated the discussion about dogs, what sorts of conclusions would we be allowed to draw?

The fact that border collies are smarter than beagles would be purely a function of the more intellectually stimulating environments they grew up in. ("Border collie privilege.")

If a newborn bull mastiff puppy was raised by a family of poodles, it would grow up to be a poodle.

The fact that Labrador Retrievers make better guide dogs than Chihuahuas would be attributable only to their superior prenatal nutrition.

That greyhounds are faster than other dogs is mostly a function of the fact that they're not allowed to succeed in other areas of doggy endeavor. (Though suggesting that there may be a genetic link here is not quite as heinous a crime as suggesting there might be such a link in other areas.)

That pit bulls are more likely to be violent than Golden Retrievers is purely a function of their deprived environments and the "despair" they feel.

If a dog were not heterosexually inclined, and you saw this as anything but a genetically/hormonally dictated precondition, you would be considered a horrible person. But if you looked at any of the other differences between dogs as a genetically/hormonally dictated precondition, you would be considered a horrible person.

The variation within a dog breed would constantly be said to be greater than the average difference between breeds.

Every doggy park would have to maintain proportional representation of all major dog breeds.

Any uncastrated male dog which tried to mount more than one female dog would be labeled a "chauvinist" and a "pervert" and a "harasser" and would become an immediate candidate for castration.

An attempt would be made to convert all dogs to vegetarianism.

The fact that dogs are more loyal than cats is purely a function of upbringing and not instinct.

If we let dogs roam free, they would immediately revert to being wolves.

The fact that wolves are smarter than dogs (all of which descended from wolves) has nothing to do with the artificial environments and lack of natural selection that dogs were bred in.

You might therefore say that human society had a dysgenic effect on dogs.

Or rather, you might not, since liberals would control the way we speak about them.

Now, John is kidding here, or trying to, but he's been blindsided by a relatively new phenomenon that's always tripping me up, too. You can't really parody anything any more, as Vox Day tells us in the quibcag up there, because the silliest exaggeration you can come up with is probably being taught in some college somewhere by a flake with a PhD in "studies" of one kind or another, who is regularly interviewed on NPR. Actually, some people are thinking that there's something "racist" about assuming that different breeds of dog behave differently. So, while John's piece works very well for most of us, a certain number of humorless liberals will take it as an instruction manual rather than a joke.  Some time back, Steve Sailer blogged THIS.

And, finally, we get this from Greg Cochran over at Westhunt:

Men and Dogs

In his blog, the mermaid’s tale, Ken Weiss wonders if the characteristic behaviors of different dog breeds are inculcated, rather than inborn:
Which raises the general question of just how built-in strain-specific temperaments and the like really are. To what, if any, extent is it that given breeds are raised in particular ways that make it seem as if the resulting behaviors are ‘genetic’? Are breed behavior characteristics being overstated?”
Of course this question has already been answered years ago by Dan Freedman, who had puppies of various breeds raised by raised by bitches of another breed. As I noted earlier, breed personality looks to be inborn:  Little beagles were irrepressibly friendly.  Shetland sheepdogs were most sensitive to a loud voice or the slightest punishment. Wire-haired terriers were so tough and aggressive that Dan had to wear gloves when playing with puppies that were only three weeks old. Basenjis were aloof and independent.
Freedman went on to find similar personality differences in newborn babies of different races, as seen here.  I sure hope that Ken Weiss watches it. Could be funny.
And to spare you the clicking, here's the video referred to.  Wow.
And if anybody here still doesn't think that race exists, go argue with Temperance Brennan.

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