Thursday, April 7, 2011

There's so much you can learn, when you're on a pachyderm...

So. My earlier post about elephant hunting, liberal angst, and ritual chanting?

A friend of mine quoted it in a Wired article on the subject, prompting a fringe liberal to start angsting and ritually chanting, spending a page and a half of text trying to rules-lawyer around the fact that this was a consensual, mutually beneficial arrangement between one party that needed food, money, and a lack of rampaging elephants, and a second party that wanted to provide all three.

It has the usual implicit assumption that, no matter how consensual and mutually beneficial everybody involved may think it is, the arrangement must be inherently exploitative because one party has more resources than the other. It has the paradoxical assertion that the appropriate solution to said exploitative inequality is to make poor people dependent on food handouts*, the implication that the hunt is morally tainted if the hunter kept the elephant's tusks, the insistence that hunting non-endangered species is also morally repugnant because we should act like they're endangered, goddammit... It's a greatest-hits compilation of hippie sociology.

There's also this weird digression about how you can't call elephant meat free-range and organic because those are good karma power words while bushmeat is a bad karma word, and anyway game meat is less healthy than farm meat and will give you AIDS and ebola, all of which makes me wonder whether the post was actually composed by a human brain, or just a machine running find-and-replace with fringe-liberal buzzwords.

But as before, none of this is news. It happens every time fringe liberals notice a story that involves evil monocled capitalists. It's as natural and unremarkable as the tides, or as fringe conservatives comparing gay marriage to marrying a clock.

What prompted my response was this particularly entertaining bit of straightfaced doublethink, freely edited out of the morass for comic effect:

... Regulated hunting? Do you have any idea what you are talking about?...[The evil, monocled capitalist] paid between $60,000-$70,000 for this hunting project...[you are] assuming that regulation and hunting and the issues in Africa are synonymous with those in America (and unfortunately, for [you], they are not.)

I concede the point to the honorable gentlewoman from Colorado. Said hunt was most certainly not regulated to the same level of strictness as hunting in North America**.

Can a conscious mind capable of operating a computer honestly think that "threatened" animals are at risk because a tiny community of super-wealthy sportsmen can pay tens of thousands of dollars (plus the significant costs of the hunt itself) to "evade the long standing consequences and just pay off locals to be able to hunt where they want to", when the same critters are routinely being machinegunned by poor local poachers with cheap, Soviet-surplus Kalashnikovs? Can Hanson's razor really explain a detachment from reality this severe, or is Skynet just fucking with me?

[* - To be fair, it is true that the hunt in question didn't permanently address the problem. If you want to advocate for sustainable, local, appropriate-technology solutions by going to Zimbabwe and teaching rural communities how to make their own 2 bore muzzleloaders, you'll have my enthusiastic support.]

[** - Where poor, non-European, preindustrial natives with acceptably high levels of skin pigmentation have long since hunted most of the charismatic megafauna to extinction.]

1 comment:

  1. Personal motives are always suspect. Only if you have no interest in the event our action are you acting "properly."