Monday, October 15, 2012

Oink Oink

Pork: Always Good
The only remaining agribusiness in Dunwoody seems to be harvesting pork.

This has recently surfaced in the Parkway kerfuffle, but it is interesting to note that few voices are raised in opposition to the pork stampede driving this project to completion but rather to the specifics of the project and the million or so bucks it will cost local taxpayers. And it really has gone without saying, in any meaningful forum, that many of these taxpayers are businesses, some of which rely on this little stretch of paved paradise.

However, there has been some indigestion over the general issue of pork--controlling grants that fund bloated excess in what local governments do and how much they [over] pay for having it done. In response, supporters of the gluttonous appetite for this intrusion and bloat offer the tried and true "if we don't do it some one else will." This speaks to the belief of a zero sum game as this is commonly followed by "and they'll get ahead of us." OK. So what? The argument isn't quite as childish as "nanny, nanny boo, boo" but it is pretty darn close.

One valid observation has been made. This version of the pork industry is a structural implementation of the tragedy of the commons. But it has all the moral appeal of starving people only to watch them fight over crumbs. For your own entertainment. Let's just call it a government operated "Survivor" reality show. And local governments, of which Dunwoody aspires to be the best, are fighting to "get on the show" and it is every bit as embarrassing as you might imagine.

A few, a very few, outliers seem to be thinking outside the box that is our city limits, suggesting that at some point people of principle and character must take a stand on a larger stage, even if there is great risk. Normally such talk is allowed in Dunwoody only on the Fourth of July and only in reference to long dead forefathers who risked property and life so we could rape and pillage the future they fought for. After all that is what they fought for. Right?

The fact is there has always been a tension between principled ethics and practical ethics (yes, some consider this an oxymoron). The grade school example is "you see a dollar on the ground--should you take it?" While there are bodies of law built around what folks do, what they are allowed to do, and what they should do in cases  like this, the question remains: should you take something you know does not belong to you?

Of course the situation in Dunwoody is completely different because we have a man in a trench coat flashing us really cheap Rolex watches and if we don't take these off his hands someone else will. We may not need another watch or care what time it is and we don't really care where he got them. In fact, it's better we don't know.