The Parable of the Stupid Dog

There once lived a man who bred dogs. Well, not really breed them. What he did was just think of them, and they appeared; and then they bred from there. The dogs were strong, intelligent, and capable of loyalty, but the man gave them enough intelligence so that they could understand his commands and make their own choices. Most of the dogs appreciated this, but a few were ungrateful and blamed the man for their problems.

For example, one day one of them saw that the man had posted a sign near the farm that said DO NOT PASS THIS SIGN. FIELD BEYOND INFESTED WITH FLEAS. Some of the dogs heeded this warning, but others just laughed. "That man probably keeps steaks in that field and is trying to trick us," some said. "I'll bet we can find those steaks and become bigger, stronger dogs." Of course the dogs never found the steaks, but always came back infested with fleas, which they passed on to the other dogs, including their own puppies.

Before long, however, the infestation of fleas became so serious that the man realized that the dogs would have to be quarantined. He planned to put all his dogs in quarantine if needed, but first he had another idea. He loved his dogs so much, in spite of how stupid they could be, that he decided to send his young son in the dog pen with flea spray. The son would ask each dog if it wanted to be sprayed, and if it accepted, he would spray it.

But some of the dogs refused to be sprayed, and in fact, got so angry that they killed the young son.

"Oh, well," said the man, and immediately raised his son from the dead and put him in charge of the whole operation, where the son continued to give the dogs a choice of either being sprayed or being quarantined.

Later as the man was retired in Tierra del Fuego, one of his dogs -- a chihuahua, as it happened -- came to see him.

"You know, that was a very stupid idea to send your son in to where the dogs were to get killed," the dog woofed.

The man sipped at his cool drink. "Why do you say that?"

"Well, there it was, you sent your son as a model of innocence and virtue, to save the dogs from themselves, thinking that surely, in the presence of such an obvious example, master, the dogs would be humbled and would learn to reject their monstrous ways."

"Who told you that?"

The dog cocked it's head. "Uhhhh....that's not why you sent him?"

"No. That's what some of the more liberal dog breeders out there think I did it for. Of course I don't deny that I expected some of the dogs to use my son as a role model, but only the ones who took the spray. The rest were not the ones I sent him to help."

"Uhhhhhhhh....but wait. In your heart you knew they would kill him, right? You knew those dogs would kill your son. And they did. They ripped away his clothing and tore him to bloody pieces."

"Yeah, and?"

The chihuahua was flummoxed. "Well, uh, that's terrible!"

The man sipped again. "Why? My son wanted to do the job; it got rid of fleas forever on the dogs that took the spray, which ended their suffering and allowed them to co-exist with him -- because we can't have those fleas spread to people, now, can we? -- and I raised him from the dead and put him in charge of the operation. He thought it was worth the effort; so did I. It allowed countless billions of dogs to be free of fleas, as well as countless billions more puppies too young to avoid fleas on their own. Why isn't that worth the death of a single person who isn't constrained by death in the first place?"

The chihuahua stuttered and stammered a bit. "Uh, well, I say that any human being who would do such a thing to his own son would rightly be condemned as insane, immoral and evil."

The man laughed. "Well you are just a dumb dog, after all, and a very selfish one at that. I guess you've never heard of the idea of vicarious sacrifice."


"Look, you dumb little dog -- throughout the history of my operation, the vast majority of dogs who have ever lived have recognized willing and vicarious self-sacrifice as noble and honorable. It's just a tiny lot of you -- who have been bred only very recently, as it happens -- who have gotten so self-centered and ignorant that you don't appreciate the nobility of dying for the sake of your loved ones. Tell me, do you have a mate?"


"If you did, would you love them enough to die for them?"

"Look, the point is, that in every human society, a person who abets the murder of an innocent for the sake of the unworthy, and calls it 'love', is rightly regarded as insane, immoral and evil."

The man looked at the dog closely. "So, you call yourself an unworthy, right?"

The dog's eyes popped like saucers and he said, "Duh."

"And if you're an unworthy, then what the blazes do you know and what makes your understanding of the situation reliable?"


"Let me sum it up for you, little fellow. The bottom line is that your lack of appreciation of the value of noble self-sacrifice is your own problem. You're self-centered and without a care for what others think or do. My son volunteered for his duty out of his own love for you dogs. The least you can do is be appreciative, but obviously you're an ingrate."

The dog turned red with rage and nipped at the man's boot.

"Hmph. See what I mean? So are you going to complain that it's unfair that I put the likes of you in quarantine away from the healthy and obedient dogs? You complain if I do that, and you complain if I give you a way to take yourself out of quarantine that in the end benefits everyone who is willing to do nothing more complicated than give their assent. What the heck kind of dumb dog are you, anyway?"

And with that, the man ground the obnoxious little chihuahua into the dirt with his boot where the chihuahua continued to yip, whine and complain for eternity. This is the plain and obvious moral abomination at the core of those who called the breeder insane for what he did: They didn't get their facts straight; they're a bunch of selfish whiners, and to top it all off, they call their own beliefs after the names of "reason" and "simple human decency" as though they were the bellybuttons of the world.