From: Jim Beers [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2005 12:50 PM
To: Jim Beers
Subject: Mother Nature
MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW BEST
No not your Mom or my Mom, Mother Nature. Our gullibility has increased exponentially in the past 35 years. We are now at the point that any bureaucrat or professor making some environmental or animal rights assertion is assumed to be using the language of "sound science" to tell the rest of us what "Mother Nature" both demands and requires to "preserve our environment". One of the most frequently heard of such revered words of late is "Balance".
We are told "Invasive Species" "upset" or "destroy" the delicate "balance" in our ecosystem. Conversely, (or is it similarly?); we are told that African predators (named by environmental elites and professors) that have neither ever inhabited North America nor have not occurred here for many thousands of years would "restore" "the balance in our ecosystem. How some plants or animals that arrived in the last 200 +/- years (i.e. "Invasive Species") "destroy" the "balance" in our ecosystem while African species can be introduced by environmental elites, professors, bureaucrats, and multi-billionaire socialists (i.e. the "REWILDING" crowd) is accepted by many of us as one of Mother Nature's mysteries that luckily we have these sophisticated sophists to interpret for us.
This sort of blind acceptance of environmental and animal rights propaganda is all too common in the US today.
- A cougar kills a jogger and we are told the cougar "balances" deer herds and besides we are in "their" (the cougar's) habitat.
- A bear invades a home and we are told killing the bear is not reasonable since they "balance" other species and "belong" there.
- Wolves kill livestock and dogs and game herds and threaten rural people and we are told they are "vital" to "balance" the ecosystem.
- nmanaged native deer in National Parks eliminate plants throughout the Parks for decades by over-grazing them; yet only when Federal dollars and new authority for "Invasive Species" are proposed does the Park Service wail about how "Invasive Species" are decimating plants and upsetting the "natural balance" in National Parks.
And on and on it goes as our elites interpret Mother Nature to the rest of us. Any failure on our part to do what Mother Nature requires will result in "extinction for (fill in any number) of species" and "collapse" of our ecosystem.
This entire pitiful situation was highlighted recently by a classroom exercise by a group of Law students at a State University. A University of Vermont Law professor led his class on an exercise to force the Federal bureaucrats to establish and protect wolves in "Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York". The students were successful in that they caused a Federal judge to direct the US Fish and Wildlife Service to get going on the introduction of wolves into New England. Such wolf introductions will have horrific impacts on big game species, big game hunting, pets, hunting dogs, livestock, hobby pets, Federal land access and use, rural communities, and rural residents. So how is such a thing justified?
The professor and his class merely played with the Endangered Species Act.
The judge merely took the Act one more notch down the road toward it's becoming the most powerful and abusive Act in US history. All the New England politicians that have supported the Act since it's inception and it's growing abuses "out west" and "down south" for decades will leave no fingerprints on this coming wolf debacle. The State fish and wildlife agencies will merely shrug and say it is a Federal matter. The US Fish and Wildlife Service will shrug and direct us back to the court and the binding nature of this decision. But how was this decision justified?
The University professors and many government biologists, all of whom will benefit from increased funding, authority, and grants tell us the wolves are "necessary" to "balance" the "native ecosystem". But while this sophistry is spread by environmental and media elites: it is nowhere in evidence in the courts rationale or authority. So how can this be happening?
The animal rights radicals speak of the benevolence and charm of wolves and their "important" role in establishing a "balance" in the ecosystem. Supporters of this notion would likely be the first to call the police if some large dogs were seen running loose near their homes but somehow the presence of larger, wilder, and much more dangerous wolves doing the same thing seems like a worthwhile notion. The environmental elites likewise tout the untold benefits of the return of this magnificent weight on the "balance" of Mother Nature's scale.
Neither group mentions their expectation that this will enable the elimination of hunting, fishing, trapping, rural pets, rural communities, and rural traditions as well as the closure of more public lands by reducing the level of public use and users. All this however is unmentioned and unnoted by the Law professor, the "happy" students, or the judge. So answer the question already, how can this be happening?
Drum-roll, please. This is happening because decades ago when wolves were listed as "Endangered" in the US they were abundant in Alaska and common enough in Minnesota, and NW Montana in the US. This was in addition to there being common to over-abundant wolf populations throughout much of Canada, Asia, and Europe. They were and are far less "Endangered" than elephants or most whales today. (For instance, the best thing, for many good reasons, that could happen to many whale species and elephants today is a managed, annual harvest). Anyway, in drawing up the "science" and "justification" (for funding) and plans for wolves in the US, the bureaucrats and their academic "partners" mentioned all the wolf "habitat" and "past history" of wolves in New England. They could have said the same for Alabama or Illinois or Kansas but since there is less "Federal" land there and more land inhabited and in use, they didn't want to form any determined early opposition from groups or politicians that would later have to deal with the spreading wolves. Soon enough we will read about the "need" for wolves in Virginia and the "need" for "wildlife corridors" to the Ozarks and down the Mississippi and out to New Mexico and how this fits with some UN program. New Englanders and their politicians were apparently correctly believed to be supportive of the idea of wolves being important and Federal authority being benevolent.
So after decades of protection, wolf numbers and problems mount annually in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The Federal government is pleased to subcontract (i.e. "delist" the wolves there to State authorities) management and control under perpetual Federal oversight to State agencies. The State agencies are glad to do so because the complaints are mounting to them and they can do nothing now and they want the illusion that they may do something in the future to help those harmed. Truth be told, they are promised Federal money to help manage wolf problems but it is inadequate already and the wolves are only going to increase and unilateral control by States will not be allowed. Besides, the State agencies and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are strongly committed to a multi-year campaign to get and maintain a Billion or more dollars from the US Congress each year for everything except hunting, fishing, trapping, animal control, and natural resource use management programs by State agencies.
Anyway, the environmental elites and animal rights radicals do not want the federal government to even give the appearance of turning wolf management "over to the States". So one strategy underway is claiming in Court that the early wolf recovery documents named New England as a prime target for wolves and therefore, until wolves are "recovered' in New England we cannot begin to even consider turning over wolf management to State agency subcontractors in Minnesota and Wisconsin and Michigan. Whether the New England professors or one or two of the "happy" students realize this or admit this is moot. They got the judge to order it.
So now New England's ecosystem will be "balanced" by wolves. Biologically, no ecosystem is ever "balanced"; but this term "balance" is not biological. This use of the term "balance" mimics the other use of this word in today's newspapers and on TV. You know, as in the "balance" on the Supreme Court. Then there is the "balance" being sought by a repressive Chinese government and Chinese reformers. "Balance" can indeed hide a myriad of agendas and like the character in Alice in Wonderland "mean exactly what I want it to mean, no more and no less".
"Balance" may be defined as the current status of conflicting agendas.
Shifting the legal perspective of the Supreme Court from one of judicial activism towards one of judicial restraint changes the nature of decisions and the purported "balance" is nothing more than a measure of where it was and where it is currently. Shifting Chinese rights and freedoms either toward more government repression or towards more freedom is measurable and the term "balance" is merely a rough indication that summarizes such a shift.
It is the same with the "balance of nature" or the "balance of the ecosystem". This is not a biological determination with a real definition and real boundaries. There is an ecosystem with or without wolves or bears or deer or whatever species you want to name. The ecosystem can be simple or complex, it can be very beneficial to or overtly hostile to man and societies and communities. Intensely farmed areas can have greater biodiversity than untouched wilderness. Areas of unmanaged and unused plants and animals may be, and often are, less productive of species and annual increases than nearby intensively managed and used areas. This is true of marine environments, plains, lowlands, and mountains as well as remote valleys or busy seaport areas.
You may want wolves everywhere; I may not. Bostonians may want cougars and bears protected completely; ranchers, hunters, farmers, dog owners, and most rural residents may want their numbers kept low and their distribution strictly circumscribed and control allowed in any emergency. Birdwatchers may want all logging and hunting and fishing stopped on and all land controlled by the government over 5.5 Million acres of southern bottomlands of potential use by an Ivory-billed Woodpecker; those that live and work and recreate there may not. These are all legitimate perspectives that, like the Supreme Court and Chinese politics, reflect human conflicts that involve confrontation, dialogue, and resolution.
To allow the mythical "Mother Nature" and her "balance" to be pronounced by elites and radicals so that it trumps all else is both foolish and dangerous. Yet it continues unabated with an awful box score of victories over property owners, rural communities, families, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, animal owners, business, and even the very fiber of our system of government.
The time has come for recognizing that "sound science" and statements about the "balance of nature" are terms of art and not science. They represent information that may or may not be worthy of consideration as we (the voters and our elected representatives) decide what our ecosystem will be or won't be. I vote for these questions to be matters for State and local decisions as served us so well for 200 years. The time for rural constituencies to be hostage to urban myths or westerners to be hostage to Eastern city voters or all of us to be hostage to what some professor says is needed to "balance" things should come to an end. Whether we are talking about endangered species or predators or government land control or government/non-government land acquisition, or water projects or whatever: giving up our right to self-determination whether to the Federal government or powerful factions or "Mother Nature" (per Clint Eastwood) "ain't cutting it!"
26 August 2003
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