Nobody would have believed it when I was a kid. But sometime in the 1980s, it became unthinkable to fail to bag up your dog’s poop. Previously, it was unthinkable to bag up poop.

Nobody used to do that. What they did do was let their dogs out first thing in the morning so they could rove the neighborhood in packs and terrorize small children and pick up a mess of fleas and a torn ear or two and then let them back in for Ken-L Ration in the evening. Even if you did want to bag up your dog’s poop, and I’m confident no one did, it’s not like you knew where the hell they were.

Consequently every lawn for miles around was full of turds. The only thing you could say for certain was the ones in your yard weren’t going to be from your dog because your dog would never poop in his own yard. Periodically someone might take a little shovel and flip them into the hedge. But that wasn’t a regular thing. Those of us who, by virtue of our size and energy level, did a lot of rolling around on the lawn encountered turds all the time. It was turds and chiggers as far as the eye could see. If we were lucky the turds would be white and crusty.

Anyway now you never see dogs running around on their own. They’re bodily attached to their owners and they poop and they scuff up the soil with their rear feet and then they stand proud as an AKC champion watching their owner bag it up like Christmas.

The whole routine contributes to my lack of interest in having a pet dog again, but I am very much in favor of the bagging. I think it is a sign of civilization. Seen one way, it is a strike against freedom, but the freedom to be a total butt to your fellow citizens is a pale principle. A sense of responsibility is important in a crowded world. It’s interesting. Both the conservative and the progressive viewpoints like to claim the Adult Outlook. The conservatives tend to think of it in terms of people seeing after their own needs like an adult, and not relying on others, theoretically rewarding honest work. Which is a valid viewpoint. In my mind, it doesn’t account for the abject poverty of the hardest-working people in the world and the fecklessness of the very rich. But.

There are other dog-shit differences between modern conservatives and progressives. The right wing tends to elevate private property rights, should one be so fortunate to own such, earned or otherwise acquired. Progressives are more likely to elevate consequences. So one group might keep a very neat lawn free of dog turds, and the other will take responsibility for the roaming dog.

One group will lobby for the right to pour concrete in wetlands for a big box store, and the other will lobby for wetland conservation and responsibility for cleaning up effluents downstream. It’s my lawn, says the first group, and But it’s your dog, says the second.

I’m rooting for the shit-baggers. The other approach might have a negligible harm if there weren’t nine billion of us, but there are. If we’re going to send our dogs out in the world, we should be prepared to bag it all up.