Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Who gives a hoot

The tastefully named Gregg Easterbrook writes, Game over! for the barred-not spotted-feathered friend, thanks to government protection. The latest policy, owl-wise, is shoot to kill;
... the plan is to start shooting barred owls. Excuse me, "culling" them. The Fish and Wildlife Service wants to kill at least 3,000 barred owls, which are so similar to spotted owls that a trained eye is needed to distinguish the types. Spotted owls are federally protected, by the Endangered Species Act. Barred owls are not protected. So let's kill the disfavored owls in order to help the politically correct owls!
That's necessary because the hitherto Easterner (barred owl) has now migrated westward and is supplanting the meek spotted owl native to the Pacific Northwest.
Having thrown loggers out of work in order advance a contention there is something super-ultra-important about the northern spotted owl as opposed to other owls, federal officials painted themselves into a corner. They must either admit that the previous owl-protection initiatives were overdone, or kill barred owls. Government agencies do not excel at admitting error. If the "cull" begins, it won't be long until a northern spotted is mistaken for a barred and shot. We had to destroy the owl in order to save it!
Underneath this issue is a fallacy in human understanding of nature: the assumption that the environment and its creatures are brittle things whom the slightest disturbance will render extinct. The environment has survived ice ages, comet impacts and climate change far more dramatic than any that artificial greenhouse gas may cause. Inconveniently for Pacific Northwest environmental lobbyists, birds extremely similar to spotted owls are doing just fine on their own. So get rid of the evidence.
There's a lesson here for Obamacare--'We're not repealing it as long as I'm here.'--it won't ever be admitted that the legislation was a colossal mistake (even when the Senate goes Republican in 2014 as millions lose the insurance plans they were counting on to pay their medical bills).

But the talking away of the evidence ought to be entertaining. A hoot, even.

1 comment:

  1. Most people have enough intelligence to notice when they are being lied to and cheated. But, the practical experience for say 2/3 of them is at a social level. They see politicians lying, and they think that those are probably lies, but they aren't completely sure. Those politicians are important men and women, after all. How could they lie and get away with it?

    So, they use a simple rule. They assume the politicians aren't lying and haven't made mistakes, unless the politicians admit it themselves. So, the politicians never admit a mistake, and a good chunk of the populace is never sure enough to blame them. Instead, that part of the populace tell themselves that the politicians are good people dealing with complex problems on behalf of the most vulnerable of the people.

    The politicians laugh.