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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Species Is A Social Construct

by Tim Murray

Barney the Lab
Taking charge. Barney the Lab breaks free of human patriarchy.


After a decade of failing to inculcate any sense of deference, discipline or obedience in my Labrador Retriever "Barney," I have beaten myself up with self-reproach. His failure, I reckoned, was a reflection of my failure. The failure to guide and mentor him as I should have, so that he could take his place as a responsible citizen of the neighbourhood.

But now I realize that this was hope was founded on a false patriarchal paradigm. You see, I had always assumed that his was a subordinate species, and that I was charged by nature to manage and direct him. His subservience was genetically ordained, as was my oppressive and controlling behaviour. In retrospect, however, I can see that his persistently recalcitrant attitude was an understandable rebellion against an arbitrary and socially constructed division of labour that served my interests, not his.

Of course, the arrogant belief that it was my mandate to lead and his to follow was not necessarily inspired by malicious motives. Indeed, I believed that I was doing him a service. According to my reasoning, leadership of what I perceived to be an unruly beast driven by instinct rather than reason was not a privilege of power, but a burden of responsibility.

Barney's job was clear. To obey his master and mind the kitchen. (I must concede that he discharged the latter duty admirably, especially when food was on offer). He was never thought to have the intellectual capacity to make rational decisions, and the idea that he and his species should be accorded the right to vote never even entered my head. Dogs, in my view, do not think as much as they emote. They have the capacity to guard the home but not the nation. The idea that any Prime Minister would reserve half of his cabinet seats to dogs would seem so fantastic as to be beyond imagination. And the thought that one of these dogs would appear on an American talk show and defend Islam would have seemed outrageous.

How wrong I was! But it was only after I entered university as a mature student that I discovered how wrong and presumptuous I really was. In former days I could have pursued a double major in Math and Economics uninhibited by any requirement to attend introductory courses in political correctness, White male privilege, of diversity awareness and sensitivity. Now, however, it's a different ball game.

This is 2018. Today, any university student who aspires to acquire a degree of any kind must first run the gauntlet of Species Studies courses, where White human males are mercilessly hectored, badgered and instructed by two-legged canine Alpha females to spend the rest of their lives in a state of permanent contrition and self-loathing. Incorrigibly submissive and malleable to the most absurd directive, and kept on a short leash.

Those male students who prefer to be foolishly defiant and skeptical soon come to understand that if they don't swallow the party line, they will not pass the course. Simple as that. The consequences of taking such a pointless stand would be catastrophic. Their GPA would fall, they would not win scholarships, they would not be hired as tutorial assistants, nor be admitted to graduate school. Coming to this realization in itself would prove to provide a more valuable lesson than anything any professor could teach. Rebellious White male students would soon learn that if they want to climb the ladder, they must parrot Po-Mo jargon and ape their doctrinaire professors. In other words, they must learn to play the game.

If they are lucky, these rehabilitated males will eventually come to believe in their own bullshit. They will have internalized what they were fed and forced to eat in the classroom. After that, the glass ceiling is theirs to hit, and the road to ever increasing social status is wide open. Just so long as they remember to sniff and kiss butt on the way up. After all, it only takes one verbal misstep to destroy a life-time of arduous social-climbing and status-seeking. Endless apologies and humiliating self-deprecation after the fact will not make up for it. It's back to the Gulag for you buddy.

After four years of human male obedience training at Indoctrination University I finally appreciate what Barney has tried to tell me in a non-verbal way for the entirety of his life. DNA is not destiny. It is not about genetic reality — for there is none. Rather, it is about how you perceive yourself. If Barney regards himself as a transgendered, trans-species-d being, then that is what he is. It's about respect. If you have a problem with that then you had better wake up to the New World Order and the progressive post-national state of Canada. Get with the program, comrade, or to use Hillary Clinton's words, be consigned to the dark regions of the Internet.

Looking back at those ten lost years, I can now realize that Barney never saw himself as my instrument, but as my equal. An autonomous individual who had an inherent right to chase his own dream (a cat) as he sees fit. In refusing to follow the role that I assigned him, he made a statement. One which I am now fully in accord with:

Species is a social construct.

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