Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Geese and Blind Dolphins

The Chinese baiji, “goddess of the river,” the blind white dolphin who swims in the Yangtze River, has been declared extinct . Not a single dolphin was sighted during a Swiss-funded expedition last month. I was reading this item in our local newspaper (and trying not to cry) when something frightened the Canadian geese in the fields behind our home.

Within a few seconds the skies were black with thousands of birds. The honking was so loud it sounded like a Broncos game after a touchdown and, less attractively, a sound like squishy hail hit my back deck and windows as the geese unloaded their, er, tanks.

The contrast couldn’t be greater. Here in the richest country in the world we have the ultimate luxury: Wildlife. If I were a poor starving peasant I wouldn’t be watching the geese fly overhead. I’d be shooting at them so I could have something to eat. Our kids delighted in Mother Goose stories when they were toddlers. I made sure to explain that “Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie” isn’t just a silly rhyme. When people are poor and starving, they kill and eat whatever they can to survive.

People on the edge of survival kill predators, too. Cougars, otters, beaver, wolves and bears were once eradicated from our plains and mountains because they competed with people for food. We don’t kill these beautiful creatures any more because we don’t have to. We have so much food we worry about losing weight to be healthy.

Because of our wealth, populations of wildlife have exploded. White tailed deer, numbering about 300,000 in 1930, are estimated at 30 million today. Cougars, once hunted to near extinction, have rebounded to the point where there are sightings of the big cats as far east as the Appalachian Mountains. Drive across Wyoming and you’ll see many of the 500,000 pretty antelope that were hunted to less than 18,000 in 1920.

In China, one of the poorest countries in the world, people still live on the edge of starvation. If blind river dolphin doesn’t make a tasty steak, it eats fish that do. The newspaper article blamed “China’s turn towards capitalism” as the reason for the extinction of this beautiful and rare creature. Of course in our much more capitalized country of America, our forests and rivers are teeming with healthy wildlife. Why is that? The authors of the article don’t bother to explain; they have their liberal agenda, and they don’t particularly care about the truth.

The truth? Consider this. Vail, Colorado is considering digging a highway tunnel under Vail valley so the roar of traffic will disappear and the elk and trout will return. These people are so filthy rich they can spend their cash making a tunnel so they don’t have to listen to the sound of traffic. They want elk and deer and songbirds instead of the sound of jake brakes and the smell of truck exhaust. That’s how they want to spend their money, and because they’re in our capitalist country of America, they can.

Greenie environmentalists who file lawsuits don’t do much to help the environment. Their radical cousins who vandalize SUV dealerships and burn down ski lodges don’t help our wildlife and our forests. What helps our wildlife is the wealth of capitalism. We conservatives are the reason for the black clouds of geese honking in the skies, for the bear and buffalo and antelope that roam our plains. The conservative concept of privately owned property has created the wealth that allows us the luxury of wildlife. In countries that are collectivist, commonly owned lands are poisoned and bare and creatures like the blind baiji dolphin disappear forever.

That’s one of the reasons I’m a conservative. Listen to the geese, and join me.

Actually, could you join me first in hosing off my deck?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gay men in positions of authority over young boys

One important thing that's going to come out of this Foley case (besides showing the hypocrisy of the Democrats once again) is that people are going to start thinking twice about gay men in positions of authority.

Gay men in the priesthood? The Catholic church is not allowing them any more after the scandals involving gay priests and young men.

Gay men in the Boy Scouts? The Boy Scouts went to the Supreme Court to defend their boys against gay scoutmasters. Smart Boy Scouts.

Gay men in the military? Don't ask, don't tell, and if you want to be overt, you're gone. A smart move by our armed forces.

Gay men shouldn't be in positions of authority over young men. Maybe if anything, Foley is going to allow us to say that in public, and loudly, once again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The overpopulation myth

Arthur Brooks has a new article about the fertility gap. Here's an excerpt:

"Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today."

The whole article is worth a read.

One of the reasons I think liberals have fewer children is the overpopulation myth. The idea that our world is overpopulated and dying because of too many people has been pounded into our brains for so many years that many people take it as an undisputed fact.

Overpopulation is a myth. No one debunks this better than P.J. O'Rourke in his book:
All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty

Although P.J. doesn't go quite so far with his analysis, I will:

The overpopulation myth is a beautifully designed intelligence test. If you buy into overpopulation without checking the facts, you are stupid. If you are stupid, you shouldn't have babies.

Instead of forced eugenics and sterilization, stupid people sterilize themselves! Isn't it beautiful?

Well, actually, I think it's horrible. I'm Catholic. I don't believe that only smart people should have kids. The whole concept of eugenics is repulsive. One of the most radiant girls I know is in my son's class. She has a deformed hand and is missing a leg. The prosthetic is uncomfortable so she leaves her leg in the class, where I always fall over it.

This girl is lovely. Her face could launch a thousand ships, and she is smart, quarrelsome, funny, and eager. Deny her life? The world would be a poorer place without her in it. That goes for Down's Syndrome children, the elderly, the handicapped, and Alzheimer's victims. All are God's Children and all are precious.

And believe me, if you've ever driven across this great nation, you know how very empty our world is. Empty, gorgeous, vast stretches of fertile lands are everywhere you look. There's lots of room. Have another baby.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Whateverism versus Capitalism

Is there any debate any longer, between capitalism and communism? Of course there is, even though communism has been completely discredited. Professors and teachers are still enamored of the idea of redistribution of wealth and books are still written arguing about "progressive" politics. Since "communism" failed, the leftists turned to "socialism." When "socialism" took the big dive into the tank, "liberalism" became the catchword of the left. Now that "liberalism" has earned a well-deserved slimy reputation, "progressive" is the new word.

When I was a child I watched "The Wiz," a black version of The Wizard of Oz. Since I didn't know it was a terrible movie, I was actually enchanted by the film. I loved Diana Ross as a shy spinster Dorothy, a gorgeous young Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, and Richard Pryor as the Wizard. The best scene for me was the Wizard screaming down from his tower: "The color is now green!" and then a few minutes later shouting "Now I love red!" The crowd would instantly change their tune and compliment green, or red, or whatever the Wizard commanded. Lemmings I learned about later in school, and to me they will always remind me of that scene from The Wiz.

Liberals, ditto. Whatever comes down the pipe from the establishment they immediately champion. When Clinton is in office, War is Good! Saddam is Bad! When Bush is in office they change tunes without breaking stride: War is Bad! Saddam is Good!

The energy to resist these types is almost overwhelming, particularly when you have kids to raise. There is a desire to simply turn and go with the lemming-like flow, to gain the approval of the vast establishment of media and teachers and so-called intellectuals. This, of course, is the wrong thing to do.

Ultimately, as Dumbledore said to Harry Potter, we all have to make a choice between what is easy and what is right.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The artery is cut but the bathwater is warm...

One of the indelible scenes from one of my favorite childhood novels, Quo Vadis, is the death of the cynical Roman Petronius. He commits suicide by bathing in warm water and cutting open his arteries. He sips wine and tastes his last meal while his life blood drains away. It is both a horrible and very heartbreaking scene, because Petronius has such nobility and possibility. You want to save him! (Or, at least, I did.)

I am reminded of this scene when I read tales from Mexico such as this one from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

But the export of human labor has been devastating here. It has left the land dotted with near-ghost towns inhabited by the very old and the very young, their lives dependent on whatever money their relatives send home.

In fact the artery has been opened in Mexico and the lifeblood of this country is steadily running out to our own. The beautiful Mexican countryside is being emptied and the corrupt politicians of this land sip their wine and toast each other, uncaring of the increasingly red bathwater that soaks them.

The demonstrations in Los Angeles and elsewhere this weekend don't concern me as much as what happens in the great dying beast that is Mexico. Anyone and everyone who comes to this country sooner or later absorbs into our culture. Mexicans and their Christian, hard-working, family oriented ethos will benefit our country.

Yes, we are drinking from a firehose right now, but the water is clean and pure. These are good people (with the exception of the criminal microbes that inhabit any large number of people.) The influx of illegal immigrants should be slowed for our health and theirs, but our country seems to lack the political will to stop them. At least, I comfort myself, we are being overwhelmed by working folks who will work hard for a better life. But what is left behind...

In Mexico, the gates bang back and forth on the deserted corrals. The old men sit in the sun and the old women sweep the dust from the floors and the sound of children is no where heard. There is only silence. And silence. And silence.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Give War a Chance

That's the title of a very good P.J. O'Rourke book. It should also be the headline of the day, since American troops today freed some lefist, terrorist-loving, America-hating victims from the clutches of their captors.

This happened in Iraq; the "peacemakers" were over there to prove how horrible America is and found out, one of them fatally, that the terrorists didn't like them just because they hate America. Tom Fox's body was recently found dumped in Baghdad. He'd been tortured before he was murdered.

The website of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (which I won't link to) declares that their workers were "released." They weren't released. They were rescued by American soldiers who put their lives on the line to rescue these sad sacks from the clutches of evil.

I suppose we have to keep taking care of these people, the same way that doctors have to patch up gangsters who keep coming back to the emergency room with gunshot wounds. Our soldiers did a brave and heroic thing today, and won't be thanked by the people they saved. But I thank them with all my heart.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Horse and His Boy

We're reading the Chronicles of Narnia as a family and we're on "The Horse and His Boy." (We sit down for an hour before bed and read out loud instead of watching tv.)

The Horse and His Boy is all about Islam, and what a great education this is for my kids. The "Calormene" people are deceitful, cruel, and corrupt. (What a glorious movie this would make, and so politically incorrect!)

Yet Aravis is a Muslim girl (er, a Calormene girl) and she is brave, resourceful and smart.

My kids are learning a valuable lesson with this novel, and without becoming bigots in the process. I despise the Islamic religion, but I do not despise the Islamic people. I have great hopes for them.

When I read the story about the brave Afghan man who is a Christian and might suffer death for his beliefs, (hat tip to Michelle Malkin) I know there is reason to hope. I hope that he can be saved by our government and can come to our country to live peacefully, but in the most important way he is already saved, isn't he?