A new federal agency, dedicated to the destruction of predators… aimed to kill every predator of every species in a region… [Dan Flores, Coyote America, 2016]
Extermination, destruction, eradication, extirpation… these words blatantly went into state policy titles. For someone growing up with population ecology common sense, it is beyond ridiculous to see, not too long ago into the past, a governmental agency trying to eliminate the entire “predator” category from the ecological hierarchy.
Forest service, national park service, fish and wildlife service… these names today automatically project green and friendly mental images, referring to probably the most harmless governmental departments. Who would have thought they had such a dark history during the late 19th and early 20th centuries?1
These near past events serve as a warning sign that is still beckoning to us: how zeal wedded with ignorance is surely to produce madness Ahab style. One would think after the Endangered Species Act, wild animals in general were to cast behind them the darkest era of their history, and to ride the turning tides triumphantly into the future. Wrong. If my eyes are not deceiving me, the red wolf recovery program is still on at this very moment – the one that actually led up to the Act itself. One defines a specific animal to be a species, then finds it to be endangered. In the name of purity, some other canids like coyote, whom red wolves naturally have genetic exchange with, simply lost their right to exist. Layman’s questions aside2, the chilling methodology aside3, one never ceases to be exasperated by blind human convictions.
Also noteworthy is the social significance the particular scientific advance in ecology rapidly brought about, which today I have so naturally taken for granted. Back then the coyote research was done in a highly politicized environment, entangled in a web of industrial interests – in this case those of the ranchers and hunters – much like what climate scientists have to face today, as was pointed out in the book. I wonder how climatology will look like in the eyes of the near future. Does it cast a similar curve of acceptance rate that quickly converges to a common wisdom steady state? Has it morphed into a new wave of public movement?
Despite all the atrocities revealed by the book, its overall style is actually quite witty, and also dotted with suspension. The author’s personal encounters with coyotes were most beautifully written. The poignant reflection of the detachment shown by that killer child, awakens my own deep remorse for similar degrees of cruelty. The wooden call episode let me relive the moment of mixed mutual feelings – those of curiosity and fear that seem to epitomize the entire subject of man and nature.
If the Old Man Coyote, “a whirlwind biophysical force with a large capacity for taking sensuous pleasure in life”, who embraces “no religious tradition beyond being alive” but “sacred existence”, and “teaches delight in being alive in a world of wondrous possibilities”, sounds too much of artificial romanticism than a sober observation, then there is this; if among all the tales and accounts there is a single story to remember, then it is this:
A coyote trot along a trail with a sprig of sagebrush in its mouth. At repeated intervals it had tossed the sprig joyously into the air, caught it, then trotted on.4
3 The technique “using morphology measurements and recorded howl profiles” instantly alarms me by a frightening association with the Nazi studies of differentiating human races for malicious purposes. What the author related to was Crania Americana, which at first I presumed was less harmful as I had never heard of it before. But it seems to be recognized as an important work for scientific racism.
All the debates are exhausted. I’ve made up my mind long ago. Why do people still throw the same ancient arguments in speeches and opinion pieces? It tires me. Are they not? … So I thought.
Yet sometimes, occasionally, just “poco poco poco“, I would venture beyond skimming the headlines and into the realm of actually reading it. To see if the world has changed since last time I engaged with it? To be, um, informed (not without an eye roll)? Or mere yak shaving?
This time it was that old old UN’s obsession with Israel, that old old settlement obstacle, and oh a new new number 2334. I despise important people’s speeches and I do not appreciate the significance of their subtle wording. That being said, I started this excursion by reading the state secretary’s full text from yesterday’s newsletter. Well, to my delight it proved a waste of time because I agreed with 99% of what he said. Il n’y a de nouveau que ce qui est oublié.
I held on to my view that it’s logical to claim that settlement expansion on the land which is subject to negotiation is harmful to the negotiation, thus an obstacle to peace, though I do not claim it is the only one or even the major one. And that is just a statement derived from logic. What really agonizes me is how the check posts can deprive the other side of human dignity and potentially brutalize the soldiers – more of the latter.
I am not unaware of their incitement problem. Following that line of thought, I may mention the well-known double standard that always subject Israel to harsh criticism and does not hold them accountable for horrifying deeds they did. I was once very indignant about it, too. It harms the peace process, true. But now I’m part of it. I can now somewhat relate to why some friends of Israel would do that to Israel. Because it is Israel with whom I fall in love with (sadly on my own), not the other side. As the internalization process goes, I naturally see myself whole-heartedly desire for her all the good, peace being that most precious jewel for her eternal grace. So in my eyes all I see is her, every motion she does, every word she utters, every glance she casts, every expression she shows, so much so that I don’t have any attention to spare for what the other side is doing. When she takes the course I deem leads her to danger, I cry; when they do whatever, I simply don’t care. That’s my perverted double standard.
As I just woke up from my foolish serenade, let me also put my double standard in a more comprehensible way. It’s reasonable to hold oneself to the standard of doing what one thinks is right to do, regardless of how badly the other party might behave. Since Israel is mentally internalized by me, I naturally hold her to a higher standard, because she is supposed to be that positive, progressive force.
The main objective of this post is not to document my long held belief regarding the two-state solution, though it’s worth documenting for my future reference. The point is, as my blog name indicates, a surprising revelation of how my belief is not essentially different from the school of greater Israel, of annexation, or from the school of status-quo that is vehemently attacked by both two-state and annexation advocates, despite the unseemly quarrels between these groups. The new perspective was gained following clicking into another headline in today’s newsletter. It is written by a settler. read more …
Two months of reading World Politics: Trend and Transformation, mind-boggling. I’m determined to conclude all these revised thoughts by answering all the questions raised in the last chapter. And will dedicate another post to UN issue. I deeply regret mocking on it hastily.
For the time being, the answer is yes. But that doesn’t mean it has to be this way. Through the reading process, I found a fundamental logic fallacy in mainstream realist theories. They just couldn’t get rid of the concept of statehood. They fear that deepening cooperation and globalization will harm the interests of states. But these trends don’t mean to serve the interests of states, but the interests of common people in the civil society. State or government, just like any other social organizations, when they can’t do the job they initially were meant to do, they should disappear. On the other hand, I don’t see a logic reason why there can’t be a global government above all the states, which has effective functionalities. We need state governments, why don’t we need global government. Why can’t we?
I’m more impressed by the liberal institutional approach than various realist theories.The frustrating security dilemma we today see, in my honest opinion, is a direct consequence of the current state of global anarchy. It becomes simple when imagine what happen if a country fails to protect its citizens. People would have to arm themselves all on their own. This is exactly what’s happening now on a global scale. States have to self-help to pursue their security. Unfortunately with too many independent countries, that goes into a never-ending spiral. This scheme isn’t capable to overcome the deadly defect within itself and we need a change.
State will no longer be the major actor in the future. States have to give up power gradually until a global government coordinates the competitions between regions(states) within an international legal framework.
Personally, it’s unthinkable for me that there’d be anything placed ahead of individual interests. The book tells me there was actually a time in history that people basically agreed citizens should sacrifice for national interests. It’s beyond my comprehension.
Throughout times, morality helps people understand that it maximizes personal interests to treat others the way you want others to treat you. Based on this principle, everyone today should be concerned with global interests. “Today all of us share the same air, only when we save others can we save ourselves.” Alternatively, broader definition of “individual interests” is required to fit our mind-set into the global scenario. By whatever means, global interests are vital part of every single one’s interests. And thus, certainly it should be placed ahead of national interests.