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Rights and Responsibilities

By Pearl Bullivant on February 24, 2021 in Satire

How embarrassing. Photo: Fiona Sees

As self-appointed COVID Ambassador, Pearl feels it is time to weigh in on the unleashed dog debate before it threatens to spill over into civil unrest on the genteel streets of the Eastern Suburbs. Pearl can be trusted to cut through the emotions and hysteria involved in owning a fluffy animal by providing no-nonsense advice and solutions to pressing upper middle class issues.
Unfortunately, Pearl has noticed that the gentrification of the Eastern Suburbs is directly proportional to a rise in selfish and shoddy social behaviour in the area. Affluent people are notorious for deluding themselves that the rules do not apply and will go to pathetic lengths to ensure the delusion lives on. Of course, fines will never be a deterrent to the wealthy (the cost of a parking fine is well worth getting to yoga on time) and we all know that public criticism is just a form of shaming and discrimination.
That is why Pearl is here to impart her ambassadorial advice on the doggy dilemma – as much as Pearl would like to take a sledge-hammer approach to the problem, we don’t want to upset the sensibilities of the sensitive people who have transformed the suburb of Clovelly into a ‘village’. Hence, I am suggesting we take a philosophical approach by asking dog transgressors to channel their inner Rousseau.
Self-absorbed people often forget that living in a society means engaging in an unwritten social contract with one’s fellow beings. By entering this contract, we as individuals sacrifice the freedom to do “whatever, man” so that we can live in a harmonious, safe society like the Beaches of the East. Pearl understands that it is easy to forget, and with all the pressures of the Eastern Suburbs ‘lifestyle’, being mindful of others is the last thing on one’s mind.
Darling reader, you may be a leash-free advocate or too posh to pick up your dog’s poo, you may also feel strongly about your dog free-ranging in the same way as your child, but I am urging you to think about your social contract before you push the envelope on the rules of polite society – it is not all about you and your rights. Have you considered the rights of others? You might feel your dog has a right to use your neighbour’s verge (or the local park) as a potty, but have you considered your neighbour’s right to a faeces-free lawn? The social contract philosophy can also be applied to other areas of your life. For example, your right to park across a driveway at school drop-off infringes upon the rights of those who own the driveway. You get the drift.
So, darlings, next time you are tempted by self-absorption, think again. Instead of spending a small fortune on mindfulness meditation, one could attain dharma by leashing one’s dog and picking up their poo. And, at the same time, Pearl may have averted the Eastern Suburbs form of drive-by shootings, i.e. dog poo “egging”.