The Food Man who brings the supermarket delivery Stands at the door wearing a Mask and a Hazmat Suit and tells the Owner that there are Substitutions today. There are different Ice lollies, he says. would you like to Return Them? He asks.
Everything about his Body Language suggests that Returning them would be the Moral Equivalent of Throwing a Kitten at Donald Trump. A Kitten that supported Joe Biden.
The Owner peruses the Text she has been sent detailing the Substitutions. They seem to be Banana and Chocolate Lollies, she says.
Lollies? I say. Lollies? Lollies, Lollies, Lollies, Lollies, Lollies?
Good God, says the Food Man, did your Dog just Speak?
Obviously Not, says the Owner, that would be Ridiculous. He just has an Expressive Face.
Woof, I say.
I could have sworn he was Talking, says the Food Man, he is a he, isn’t he?
Is that a Serious Question? Asks the Owner. Is it possible not to Notice?
I prefer not to Check, says the Food Man, and about the Lollies…
Lollies, I begin again, Lollies, Loll…
We will take them, says the Owner. One cannot Fuss regarding the Nature of Lollies during a Covid crisis.
Later, however, Moral Ambiguity arises. The Owner opens a Banana and Chocolate Lolly, takes a tiny bite and pulls her Lemon Face, which is almost as bad as her Lime Face, but not Quite. She appears Unimpressed. Good Lord, she says, no More Unappealing Item has been created since the Roux Brothers first cookery book suggested that one needed to Boil a Sheep’s Head for 24 hours in order to Make Stock.
Are you suggesting that you do not like your Lolly? I ask the Owner.
It tastes of Real Banana, says the Owner. And Real Chocolate.
That Sounds Banana-Lolly-Appropriate, I say.
I like fake Banana, says the Owner. I like the Fake Banana Lollies of my Youth, coated with Pretend Chocolate. This, however, is Masquerading as the Real Thing. I Tasted it under False pretences.
Perhaps I should check, I say, in case your Taste is affected by Covid.
The Moral Dog cannot have Chocolate, says the Owner. It is Bad for Various of his Parts.
I think my Parts have taken on a Life of their Own, I say, I doubt that they are Daunted by Chocolate and, to be honest, if they were moderated somewhat it might be a Good Thing.
I did not mean those Parts, says the Owner, I meant Parts which are on the inside. But look, I have Scraped Off the Chocolate. You man now sample the Real Banana Lolly. You will see how Unappetising it is.
The Moral Dog cannot really describe the next few minutes, other than to explain that a Period of Bliss ensues. Afterwards, following various Unreasonable Accusations regarding the Quantity of Perfectly Reasonable Slobber the Moral Dog has dispersed around the Kitchen during consumption of the Banana Lolly, the Owner opens the Freezer again and Extracts the usual kind of Orange Lolly that she likes to eat.
I wait, in Expectation of my Half.
It would be Better if the Moral Dog had expected Nothing, since Nothing arrives.
Where is my Half? I ask eventually, as the Owner approaches the Two-Thirds Mark..
What do you mean? Asks the Owner.
I always have Half of your Lolly, I say.
You had a Whole Banana Lolly, says the Owner, apart from One bite and the Chocolate.
You did not want it, I say, so it was Abandoned Property. In the common law abandoned property is res nullius, which means in Law it is a Thing Unowned. That means you did not Gift it to me, I found it. It was Mine and cannot be considered Mitigation against your Duty to Share.
You found it in my Hand, says the Owner, how much more Gifted can it be?
Give me my Half of your Orange Lolly, I say, and I will Demonstrate.
You Enjoyed it, says the Owner.
That is Morally Irrelevant, I say. The Question concerns the Fair Allocation of Resources we Both Desire, not the fact that you Cast Aside a Banana Lolly you did not Desire and the Moral Dog helped Clear Up.
It is not Morally Irrelevant, says the Owner. From a Consequentialist Perspective you have had a Whole Lolly, so I should have a Whole Lolly. Consequentialism is the Best Moral Theory to apply to our Current Dilemma because it results in the Fairest Allocation of Resources. Jeremy Bentham would not Give You any more Lolly.
It is Morally Irrelevant, I say. From a Deontological Perspective you have Agreed to Share what is Yours. It is the Act of Sharing what is Desirable with your Much-Loved Moral Dog that constitutes the Moral Act. The Fact that the Moral Dog found and Nobly Consumed an Abandoned Banana Lolly is Deontologically Irrelevant. Kant would say that Moral Beings must always Keep their Promises, and Resources cannot by Definition be Fairly Allocated if we do Not.
I have not Promised you my Lolly, says the Owner.
You share it with me Every Day, I say. This creates an Understanding which constitutes an Implied Promise. Immanuel Kant would share his Lolly.
I doubt that Immanuel Kant ever had a Lolly, says the Owner.
I doubt that Jeremy Bentham ever had a Moral Dog, I say.
This is Outrageous, says the Owner, my Lolly is being Hijacked by a Moral Dog who is so Full of Banana that I am Surprised he can Drag himself across the Kitchen to Demand It.
I do not care if you think it is Outrageous, I say, my Friend Immanuel Kant was not interested in Consequentialist Outrage, only in the Moral Rightness of Acts.
You had nearly a Whole Banana Lolly, says the Owner.
I did not Like It, I say.
You Wolfed it, says the Owner.
I am descended from Wolves, I say. It is What you would Expect. I say.
You Wolfed mine as well, says the Man, from Round the Corner.
That was also Clearing Up, I say.
Good Lord, says the Owner. You mean the Moral Dog has had Two Banana Lollies missing only the Chocolate and one Very Small bite whilst I have had only two thirds of a Meagre Orange Lolly?
Absolutely, I say. The Moral Dog is so replete with Banana Lolly that Nobody wants, I say, that through no Fault of his Own he is Fit to Burst. He will Struggle to Consume half of the Owner’s Lolly, but might manage a third. That is how Helpful he wants to be, I say, eyeing the remaining Third of her Lolly which, by Happy Coincidence, is the Best Part as it involves Chewing the Stick.
What do you mean? Asks the Owner, why would it be Helpful?
Well, I say, the Moral Dog is also considering the views of Harry Frankfurt and is taking care not only of your First Order desires, but also of your Second Order Desires. Your first-order desire is to Consume the Whole of the Lolly, but your Second Order desire is almost certainly that you should Not Consume the Whole of the Lolly.
And why might Harry Frankfurt think I do not want to consume the whole of this Lolly? Asks the Owner, gazing at the Remainder of her Orange Lolly with a certain Nervousness. What do you know about this Lolly that I do not? Has the Moral Dog already Slobbered on it?
Of course I have not Slobbered on it, I say. Immanuel Kant would not Countenance such an Act. My concern is merely that I can imagine how much more Enormous you will Become if you no longer Give Half to the Moral Dog on account of some Legal and Moral Ambivalence regrading Palming Him Off with Discarded Bananas.
The Owner looks at the Third of her Lolly.
Of course, I say, I will still love you if you are as Big as a Baboon, I say.
I will not be as Big as a Baboon because of One Lolly, says the Owner, you are being Ridiculous.
I am sure you are Right, I say. It is not the First Lolly that you fail to Share that will make your Bottom the Size of Lithuania, although of course That is what they All Say. And I think you would look good with a Much Bigger Bottom, I say. You will have my Full Support. Although of course that may not be enough to Get you Up the Hill.
Give him the Lolly, says the Man.
It works Every Time.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.