Morality, Hawk-Eyed and Pigeon-Toed

I’m not sure whether the title of this essay in New English Review was written by Dalrymple, the magazine’s editor Rebecca Bynum, or by some great sage centuries ago, but I find it very profound! It certainly captures the sense of the piece, in which Dalrymple discusses a murder of pigeons that he recently witnessed and pokes a little fun at his own sense of moral indignation:

Rational as it is to view their behaviour as devoid of all moral significance whatsoever, and absurd as it would be to consider those birds as morally reprehensible, I find it almost impossible entirely to clear my mind of the irrational notion that the scene had a moral significance or meaning. If, for example, I had been able by some means or other to protect the pigeons from the unprovoked attack of the sparrowhawks upon them, I should have done so, even though saving the pigeons meant harming the sparrowhawks…

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