Jewish World Review December 28, 2012/ 15 Teves, 5773
Don't tread on six-toed cats
By Jonah Goldberg
One of my
Federalism reduces partisanship by shrinking the importance of the federal government. It increases happiness by maximizing the number of people who get to live the way they want to live.
Unfortunately, proponents of federalism tend to start the conversation with the really big issues: gay marriage, drugs, guns, abortion, etc.
I'm for making all of those things local issues wherever possible, too. But, admittedly, those questions are complicated or emotionally freighted. Some questions do cut to the heart of what it means to be an American.
But many don't. So let's start there.
For instance, consider the case of
Snowball's six-toed descendants live on at the
The cats get weekly veterinary visits and regular belly-scratchings from tourists. The Hemingway Home website says that the cats even have a corporate sponsor, Pfizer, which provides free medicine for them. Most are spayed or neutered to keep the number of Snowball's descendants from snowballing.
The property has a high wall, but as cats are wont to do, they occasionally get out and wantonly rub up against the legs of passersby.
In short, the whole scene is one of sickening cuteness and laid-back charm, consecrated by time and local tradition.
And the federal government cannot abide that.
"obtain an exhibitor's license; contain and cage the cats in individual shelters at night, or alternatively, construct a higher fence or an electric wire atop the existing brick wall, or alternatively, hire a night watchman to monitor the cats; tag each cat for identification purposes; construct additional elevated resting surfaces for the cats within their existing enclosures; and pay fines for the museum's non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act."
I don't have the space here to get into all of the details of this 10-year-old legal dispute. But, in short, it's all incredibly stupid.
The fracas began when a neighbor felt that one of the Hemingway cats -- Ivan -- was getting, in her words, too "macho" with the street cats she fed a couple doors down. So, obviously, she complained to the government in
After a decade of squabbling, a federal appeals court recently sided with the Obama administration, ruling the museum must comply with the federal diktat or get rid of the cats.
To be fair, maybe the cats are a problem. But you know what? If they are, they're not my problem. I don't live in
In other words, what on earth is
I'm always amazed by people who love visiting exotic locales abroad -- and are often sanctimonious about keeping them exotic -- but simultaneously support a government at war with exoticism here at home.
The federal government has plenty on its plate already. It should not be the cavalry of busybody neighbors or aggrieved cat ladies who can't win an argument at the local level.
Otherwise, the locals can work it out for themselves. They'll be happier, and
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