by Robert Wright
Apparently we don’t have to worry about Jonah Goldberg writing a book called “Canine Fascism.” Turns out he loves dogsand indeed approaches liberal levels of sappiness in talking about them. I love dogs too (especially Frazier). But I must take issue with Jonah’s formulation of a question that, he says, is now raging in philosophy-of-dog circles: Are dogs “social parasites” or do they “actually love you”? Putting the question this way suggests that Jonah may be confused about doggy loveand, indeed, about person love. I’m here to help!
With all due respect for the intelligence of Jonah’s dog, I doubt he/she is consciously choosing to be a parasite. Then again, you may say, neither is a tapewormbut it’s still a parasite. Exactly my point! Parasites can be parasites without any awareness of the fact. Parasitism is a behavioral relationshipprofiting at the expense of the host--not a state of mind. So in principle Jonah’s dog (in contrast, by the way, to the average liberal) could be feeling deep love for Jonah even while harming him.
In fact, in principle the love felt by the dog could be something evolution built into dogs as a way to aid in the parasitization of people. After all, any good Darwinian would expect animals to feel love when it is in their interest (or, strictly speaking, the interest of their genes) to feel loveregardless of whether it is in the interest of the animal being loved.