Sunday, February 08, 2004

On the Ethics of Rabbits and Foxes

"Go for the jugular" my granny used to tell me. I wish. What she and my other relatives really told me was to be nice and fair. What they didn't tell me was that I'd meet many people who are neither nice nor fair, and that in these meetings I'd end up an eternal loser. This is something to consider in the current debates over the role of ethics in the society. In fact, an ethical upbringing may handicap a child just about as much as it would a rabbit who is going to live with the foxes.

The human foxes are naturally all for niceness education. I suspect that they hide among the ones who complain about the manners of today's youth in the opinion columns of newspapers, design Sunday school curricula and write ethical guides for little children. This activity would be commendable if it made everybody nice. But it doesn't. There is a special technical term for those of us who were taken in by it: 'a wuss', for the world is run by the foxes and what they have for dinner is rabbit stew.

So what is a nice rabbit to do? Funnily enough, most nice people don't want to stop being nice altogether. In any case, they don't have to. It is OK to be nice to little children, helpless animals and other wusses. It is NOT OK to be nice to the human foxes. They need their butts kicked. That's why rabbits have strong hind legs.

We rabbits need a new kind of ethical education which makes us less nice without making us any less ethical. Those who want to introduce ever stricter ethics should seek out the foxes and work on them. That way they might actually do some good.

Grown-up rabbits will find it very hard to reach a state of only partial niceness. It takes years of hard therapy and several courses in martial arts, tough talk and the like. But it's worth it. Though I am still a recovering wuss I have already noticed how much more fun slightly nasty people have. Besides, wusses need heroes and heroines, supernatural protectors against the human foxes, and the only route to this is through self-improvement (or, perhaps in this case, its opposite). How does a career as a Superrabbit sound to you?