THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 869, April 24, 2016
Scatter the oligarchy to the four winds!
Nihon Ishigame: Year III : Celebrating the Pursuit of Happiness & Ripping Earth Day
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
It is Saturday; the day after Earth Day and my own birthday which I celebrated yesterday by spending a lovely afternoon planting some new Hosta varieties and just enjoying the warmth of spring which finally decided to return.
With highs in the 70s it was good enough to bring the young Chinese Box Turtle trio out for the day and after feeding them some cicada nymphs unearthed in the process of planting and then left them out overnight. The Japanese Pond Turtles have already outside couple weeks ago after yet another successful hibernation in the garage. That definitely is a milestone as it marks the beginning of their third season here and hopefully the beginning of a new generation of them. I almost had success last year but for some reason the available nesting sites in the terrestrial portion of their enclosure was not to their liking so the females just dropped their eggs in the water—and ended up partially eaten. Then if that were not bad enough I lost one one of the Chinese Boxies—Yin who apparently drowned in one of the watering pans in the new outside enclosure last summer. Then the smaller cohort of the young male Japanese Pond who featured in the second Ishigame article ended up with a prolapsed penis and died despite veterinary attention. That was a nasty combination of husbandry mistakes and bad luck but in a sizable animal collection these things happen and you learn from your mistakes and make improvements and move on.
Which I did with the purchase of two hatchling Chinese Boxies from the Turtle Source last fall which came a little after the arrival of the two hatchling European Pond Turtles of prettier Hellenic type and the same week as the Andean Marsupial Frogs—another prime breeding project that I succeeded with before in the early 2000s and for a while it looked as if I might never have another chance because like so many other things these days they became next to impossible to come by. And then I got my second chance—which may very well be the last chance.
It seems to be the last chance for many things in what was once the land of the free and more and more the home of the slave where our life choices are contracted more and more. And we keep moving around trying to stay one step ahead of those looking to infringe upon our happiness. And to me—the one date upon which I was born—April 22 is also the day that those who endeavor to contract our life choices celebrate their aspirations to do so in the name of protecting the Earth. I don't celebrate that anymore. It's kind of hard to worship at the alter of a deity that someone else is looking to offer you and everything you hold dear upon. And that is Earth Day and the Mother Dirt religion entity or superorganism in a nutshell.
I often find politically incorrect humor in the various stories I stumble across that are worth sharing for the enlightening insights into the misanthropic minds that are looking to strangle Liberty. Or maybe just disturbing factoids indicative of how bad it is and how much trouble we are in. Sometimes though they give me reason to hope that all is not yet lost.
Like this one here.
I'm passing thru the break room to retrieve my lunchbox on the way out of work and this guy—Anthony Bourdain—a journalist is on: interviewing people in a cafe in some Third World country. What caught my ear was a complaint by one of the locals that they—I presume either the government or the political activists care all about the monkey and not the people and said pretty much ; who cares it it gets hotter or colder when the issue of climate change came up. Then he said they want to base the economy of the country on ecotourism with everyone working as bellhops and tour guides catering to affluent foreigners and the interviewer asks: isn't that like colonialism?
Funny I never thought of it before in that light even after being exposed to William Tucker calling environmentalism ; the popularization of aristocratic attitudes. A good Earth Day joke to make Greenpeace and PETA howl would be to suggest the monkey might be better off working a street corner with a cup for a guy with an organ grinder than running from snakes and jaguars in the jungle.
Regardless whether or not their environmentally conscious sentiments are offended it is likely they would just shift the topic to preach about how we in the First World live too well and consume too many resources. After all it has been said in times past that Mother Dirt cannot afford having the entire population of the globe living like Americans let alone Americans continuing to live as high on the food chain as they do. In SM Stirling's Draka novels the Draka consider the American led Alliance of Democracy to be less sustainable than the Domination of the Draka because the common people engage in conspicuous consumption which is a privilege reserved for the Citizen Class of a couple hundred million vs a billion private and state owned serfs that are forced to live modestly while serving as manual laborers, domestic servants and sexual playthings of the former.
Since environmentalism is an aristocratic mindset—it pretty much follows that course which is also the course of George Orwell's Animal Farm. Some animals are more equal than others and environmentalists are often the most equal of all.
Ray sent me a clip of a really great comeback to a comment on a forum that is pretty much sums up the same and is very reminiscent of stuff we've both heard on the native fishes and other hobbyist forums:
A lot like my philosophy on the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement:
After You pal!
I figure this fellow is about my age and he's fixated on the population level of several decades ago. I was kind of surprised to hear that it was 6 Billion having heard it was 4.5 Billion much of my life. The normalcy bias in action I suppose? People like that never see themselves as part of the problem. It's always someone else who ought to go to the death camp or die in the next good plague or malthusian famine when the human population overshoots the sustainability limit and collapses. They really ought to be careful what they wish for because if it really does get that bad—unless they are part of the global elite who have a well stocked fortified underground stronghold they are likely to be adversely affected.
Back to matters reptile hobby related there was an article sounding
the alarm on a snake poaching epidemic in California. Employing a
rather fancy approach to an old herper's method it remember the
herpetologist Dick Bartlett once refer to as 'seeding'. Which
involves habitat enhancement in the way of putting down pieces of
plywood or sheets of metal to provide easily to access hiding places
for snakes and other ground dwelling herpetofauna.
Since garbage dumps make excellent hunting places for reptiles one man's trash truly is another's treasure! The article brings back a few memories of long ago—like the encounter of a lifetime with a 5 foot Eastern Diamondback under a piece of plywood I flipped on an old logging road on my first visit to the Appalachicola region with my friend Mike in the spring of 92. We were looking for one of the regionally famous Kingsnakes but found a rattler instead! And there was this really neat place in Maryland that Chuck the Snake Man showed us the previous summer near a bridge over the Paxtuxent River just north of the Beltway. Which was a garbage covered dreamland for finding snakes and all manner of scaled critters. The DNR later cleaned it up and even created some artificial marshes but if you are a reptile or a reptile collector you would hardly consider stripping away all of that wonderful shelter an improvement of the habitat!
Though it kind of funny that the California authorities are urging people to report sightings of such devices but not to touch or disturb them. First thoughts of a long time snake hunter: if you see one—lift it up to see if there's something good underneath!
Seriously; given the smashing success of captive breeding of all commonly traded snake species there is little need to collect from the wild anymore other than for fun—catch, photograph and release—or maybe to acquire a little fresh blood to reinvigorate a captive bloodline or an unusual pattern or color morph. And in places where it is legal—most snake populations can sustain the harvest of a few individuals in accordance with the bag limits often set by the DNRs or other agencies.
Captive breeding created and refined by the cottage industry of reptile hobbyists has done a lot to conserve rare species by taking pressure off wild populations and even preserving species that are threatened with extinction in their native countries where the authorities are unable or unwilling to conserve them—such as the Chinese Box Turtles that are more numerous in US collections than in the wild in China. And while it is tragic I still agree with Mr Kennan that "Alive in captivity is still better than extinct". And there are efforts currently underway to send offspring of that and other species back to China to rebuild wild populations.
Of course there are those who like to beat the drums over invasive species and one there is Bsal—a new emerging strain of the dreaded Chitryd fungus that infects salamanders and newts which led to a ban on the interstate movement of a long list of species in the US. Pretty much nearly all of them—so they might as well have saved their effort and composed a clean list instead.
It looks like this might be modeled off the VHS scare which proved to be a convenient back door approach to getting stuff banned—pathogen pollution may be a more effective boogie man than invasive species when it comes to restricting things. But evidence of high temps eliminating the fungus was apparently omitted. The hobbyist community needs to fight tooth and nail for that one. That treatment is simple and anyone can do it. Even heat sensitive species like Chinese newts should be able to survive long enough to render them Bsal free!
If that is true then the move by the Fish & Wildlife Service is most likely a power grab to use a disease that can be contained and eliminated as an excuse to shut down something they don't like. This looks like a good example of regulatory capture of a government agency by special interests.
In addition to being treatable—Bsal can also be tested for. And from what I've heard—it is not even present yet in the US. So captive breeding and even scientific research is being snarled by red tape—in this case—green tape. They can't even send pathology samples across state lines and exchange of breeding sock of rare species becomes impossible to do legally and breeders may decide to get out of those species like I did with native turtles and valuable bloodlines are going to be lost. Another virtue of captive breeding is that the animals are usually cleaner than specimens sourced from wild populations because sick animals get treated and the life cycles of parasites that require alternate hosts are disrupted.
Another talking point touched on in an earlier letter to the editor is the mixing of threatened and In-Dayn-Gerd species by animal breeders to get around the laws and regulations—as an unintended consequence of those rules at the expense of conserving them which would happen more often if the agencies and the activists would stop trying to shut everyone down.
Their knee jerk reaction—like with the crayfish and newts will probably be a blanket ban on everything else too since it is obvious according to their convictions the entire ecosystem must be put on lockdown for the rest of eternity to keep people from messing it up. Best response to something like that would be a blanket boycott of all environmental and animal rights groups (stop sending the bastards money) until they stop trying to destroy our hobby in the name of an impossible promise for a perfect world where nothing can go wrong.
Proponents of such draconian approaches to solving the world's problems are the classic example of the Younger Pitt's observation that Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human Freedom. For the environmentalists it goes something like this: we live in a world knee deep in gasoline and all it will take is one match to destroy us all.
My thoughts—if it really is that bad—then maybe it would be better if someone just strike one and get it over with.
Really—I don't believe it could ever come to that. In reality doomsday scenarios are highly overrated and there are still many things and people that continue to make life worth living on this tired old planet. At least until we can leave it. The ultimate Earth Day Thought Crime for sure!
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