Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Globalization Killed The Bison?!

Long before black-masked anarchists were hard at work smashing windows, globalization was up to no good, reports The High Country News' blog, Goat:

A Canadian researcher now says that the final blow to the buffalo actually came from another scourge — the mindless maw of globalization. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports:

M. Scott Taylor, an economist at the University of Calgary who used international trade records and first-person accounts of the hunt, has found that European development of a cheap and easy tanning method after 1870 fueled that continent’s insatiable appetite for bison hides, which could be turned into shoe soles and machinery belts. …

(T)he bulk of the species was wiped out in the U.S. in just one decade - between the 1870s and 1880s - immediately after the foreign tanning innovation, according to Prof. Taylor.

Let's start by pointing out that the final blow to the buffalo has not yet occurred; they are still among us -- as testified by those buffalo steaks in the photo. As if that error were not bad enough, blaming tanning for the not-so-final blow to the beast is some sorry revisionist history.

The blame falls not on globalization, but on a very cavalier disregard for critters that used to be the norm, as anyone who has read Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything will attest. In the last chapter of that book, there are terrible stories of naturalists killing off species just for the heck of it -- and the naturalists were the only ones who cared in the least about the critters.

In one case, a naturalist said that upon killing the last known survivor of a particular bird species that it made him feel ... happy. In another, a naturalist nearly wiped out a beautiful species of American parrot because he discovered that if he fired a shotgun into a tree full of them, some would be killed, and the others would fly away, only to return and look mournfully at their fallen comrades. He found this so fascinating that he fired again each time they returned until there were none to return.

How was such cruelty, which is unthinkable even to a hardened anti-environmentalist today, ever have been possible? The answer is simple: Back then, animals were not given sentient, hallowed status environmentalists have given them today. They were seen as either food, pests or targets back then.

The mere fact that bison made easy targets, not unlike dodos, meant they were going to get shot at; European tanning technology just provided some further efficiency to the hunt.

I bring this up because it's fascinating on its face, and I could wrap it up right here, except that there's something much larger going on here. This is really a tale not of how bad it was, but how great it is. Environmentalists always lament how awful the air is, how foul the water is, how many species are dying off, but they are living in the past.

Case in point: In the preview to Leonardo di Caprio's new global warming panic film 11th Hour, nearly every image of gross environmental degradation -- pollution spewing from pipes and smokestacks, garbage, waste -- appears to have been taken in China, Africa and Third World garbage dump nations, not in the back yard of any of the potential viewers in his film.

He has to do that, because pollution on that scale doesn't happen any more in any developed country, but that doesn't keep Greenies from using images like that to huckster bucks or movie tickets out of naive First World earth-lovers. In fact, it hasn't happened since Richard Nixon ... that's Richard Nixon ... signed the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.

By deifying nature, environmentalists have become extremists. The Greenies, most of them anyway, are fine with aborting humans because in their cosmology we equal Satan the destroyer. But none of them are at all fine with stepping on plants, cutting down trees or killing animals, because all these are of the earth, of the godhead.

To sustain their religion, man must always be the evil force, and industry must be his efficient killing machine. To further their religion there must be continuing evil for them to fight, but because they have been largely successful, there is less and less evil. Yet they can't declare victory because it would remove their religious purpose.

So they become more extreme, doing things like getting legislators to offer up the likes of HR 2421, which would make gutters and storm drains equal to rivers and ponds. Sure, it's an expensive and impractical idea, but if it passes, Greenies will be able to declare that the nation's water quality is getting horribly worse -- not because it is, but because we'll suddenly be forced to include the water quality of gutters and storm drains in the data, even if those gutters and storm drains are conveying the water to treatment plants where it will be made pristine.

News of that phony new degradation of the environment will fire up the faithful, who will pour money into their churches environmental organizations, so the organizations can sue cities and landowners for not meeting the new water quality requirements, which will give them more holiness money to play with, so they can influence Congress to tighten the noose even further.

I don't know about you, but it makes my blood run so cold that I could use a nice bison fur coat right about now.

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