Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Protecting a predator

Do you fancy having one of these things (right) chewing through your surfboard? Or your arm? Or your loved one? It does happen.

The chance of it happening has increased with Conservation Minister Chris Carter announcing he is adding Great White Sharks to the list of species to be protected. Herald story here.

This directly pits the anti-concept of 'intrinsic values'-- which environmentalists employ to say things should be protected 'as is, where is'--against real human values, such as the value of human life, from which all real value is actually derived.

This isn't just a semantic argument, as you will find if you do see one of these things appearing at the end of your surfboard. A similarly stupid three-decade Australian ban on hunting crocodiles has seen numbers jump from 5,000 to 70,000, and an increase in savage croc attacks.

David Graber, research biologist with the US National Park Service, once declared on behalf of mainstream environmentalism that “We are not interested in the utility of a particular species or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value—to me—than another human body, or a billion of them... Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.” City University of New York philosophy professor Paul Taylor adds: "[T]he ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty 'Good Riddance.'"

Graber gives the game away by declaring the notion of 'intrinsic values' itself to be valuable to him: as trees, rocks and mud puddles can’t speak for themselves, environmentalists like Graber must be paid to do it for them. (I discussed this phenomenon the other day.) Responding on behalf of human beings, Glenn Woiceshyn argues:

While extreme, these anti-human sentiments are logically consistent with environmentalism's "intrinsic value" philosophy: Since man survives only by conquering nature, man is an inherent threat to the "intrinsic value" of nature and must therefore be eliminated. Environmentalism makes man the endangered species. The only antidote to these haters of mankind and their anti-human philosophy is to uphold man's right to pursue his own life by means of his productive activities.
The real endangered species, says Michael Berliner, is us:
There is a grave danger facing mankind. The danger is not from acid rain, global warming, smog, or the logging of rain forests, as environmentalists would have us believe. The danger to mankind is from environmentalism.

The fundamental goal of environmentalists is not clean air and clean water; rather it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Their goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather it is a subhuman world where "nature" is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion.

The history of how a love of nature has turned into a preservationist religion is traced briefly here by Robert Bidinotto. Chris Carter's announcement is just one more example of that policy: Protecting a killer as some sort of 'totem' is a clear threat to the rest of us.

Fortunately, one person at least came out against Carter's stupidity. Me.


  1. Robert Winefield13 Sep 2005, 12:26:00

    Personally I like sharks... fried in batter and dipped in tomato sauce.

    Now if we were allowed to farm them for fish & chip merchants there wouldn't be a problem would there.

    I'd love to be the first person to open a Kiwi-Burger/GW Shark & Chips shop...

  2. Not a diver, are you, Mr Cresswell.

    Or someone that could claim a very good working knowledge of concepts such as 'food chain' or 'eco-system'.

    I am still chuckling at the emotive, pandering bullshit quote of yours from this Michael Berliner character as well...

    "The fundamental goal of environmentalists is...the demolition of technological.industrial civilisation"


  3. Den, tell it to someone who's been mauled by a shark, or someone who's loved one has been killed by one.

  4. Well, using this most awesome of arguments, surely we should rescind protection of other animals who have been known to attack humans? The hippopotamus springs to mind, being responsible for many, many more human fatalities than the Great White.

    Your own link shows a total of 64 deaths in total since the 19th century due to the Great White WORLDWIDE. Hardly a huge risk, or even a small one. 'Infinitesimal' would nicely sum up the risk posed to humans, I would imagine.

    But then you sound like one of these folks swept up in the Jaws-fuelled anti-shark hysteria.

    And in response to your beautifully emotive 'Tell it to someone who's loved one has been killed by one' ripper, how about you LISTEN to the parents of the most recent Aussie Great White victim.


  5. PC, is this really such a big deal? I agree with you about all this intrinsic value semi-religious bullshit. But Great Whites are pretty damn impressive animals. They don't kill or injure THAT many people ("more people are killed in the U.S. each year by dogs than have been killed by white sharks in the last 100 years."), and I think they are well worth preserving for their sheer coolness value alone. (And I say that as a human, placing value on them.) You appreciate a beautiful sonata; don't most of us appreciate the beauty of nature? Can we make an argument from aesthetics here?

    I think the real problem we have here is not with the preservation of Great Whites, but the fact that the NZ Goverment wants to use OUR money - and official coercion - to achieve it. Let's privatise the sharks and/or the seas. You didn't make it clear that Libz policy is not to simply kill them all off.

    This kind of odd, unpopular, say-it-to-shock-'em complaint is the sort of thing that gets us labelled the "loony Libz". Haven't we got much bigger (cough) fish to fry with tax, health, education, the shoddy police system, hiphop tours, and - well - almost ANYTHING else?

  6. Hrrm... Not replying, PC?

    Have you changed your mind, then? Good.

  7. Changed my mind, Den? No, I haven't. I hadn't replied either to you or Luke because the basis of any substantive reply was already there in my original post, and I thought it would be seen. However...

    "Well, using this most awesome of arguments, surely we should rescind protection of other animals who have been known to attack humans?"

    Yes, we should. IMO, there is no case for protection of animals per se, and certainly not one based on the bogus concept of intrinsic values, and absolutely not if that protection would lead to more human deaths. Protection if at all should be based on ~real~ values, with perhaps a property right involved. As Graham Webb has long argued, "The proposition that wildlife conservation can sometimes be enhanced through allowing and even promoting the harvesting of wildlife is a sensitive issue," but it is a necessary one to consider.

    There is a a reason that cows are not endangered, but kiwis, for example, are: the former's value is recognised and protected in law, and that protection is in favour of those to whom the animals are a real tangible value. The notion of 'intrinsic value' is not required since real value is protected. Or, as one newspaper headline explained Webb's notion, 'Eat Them, Skin Them, Save Them.'

    See for example Graham's discussion of the proposition that recognising a property right in animals makes for 'sustainable conservation':
    "...An increasing body of conservationists believe local people should not be treated as the enemy of
    conservation (Hutton and Dickson 2000). They should be active partners, at the frontline. To
    achieve and sustain this, they need to receive tangible, sustainable benefits for their efforts. In
    most cases, the only sustainable way of providing those benefits is through using wildlife for
    economic gain. That is, conservation through sustainable use (CSU)."

    Graham's own crocodile park outside Darwin is a great example of one way this can work. The private conservation projects here in NZ and the various Southern African private wildlife parks are other good examples of private 'sustainable conservation' that succeeds by eschewing the idea of protecting non-existent 'intrinsic values' and instead by answering the question, "Of value to whom, and for what?"

    See one of Graham's papers on this at: http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/susg/images/PDF/Webb_evolving_concept.pdf

    "Your own link shows a total of 64 deaths in total since the 19th century due to the Great White WORLDWIDE. Hardly a huge risk, or even a small one. 'Infinitesimal' would nicely sum up the risk posed to humans, I would imagine."

    But as I mention in the post above, when crocodiles in the Northern Territory were protected, their numbers jumped from 5,000 to 70,000, hardly a 'natural' increase, and not necessarily beneficial to an ecosystem. And naturally, with this huge jump in numbers came a corresponding increase in the number of croc attacks, and an increase in areas even around suburban Darwin that became off-limits to human beings due to the risk level in being there.

    And in any case, ~one~ human death is too many.

    "The fundamental goal of environmentalists is not clean air and clean water; rather it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization."

    I agree with you that it is not the fundamental goal of ~every~ environmentalist, but it is the necessary outcome of many of the anti-human notions of the environmental religionists and the deep ecologists, such as Mr Graber. When human values are pitted against the so-called 'intrinsic values' of the environment and humans lose, then it's clear that something is not right.

    Luke, you asked, "PC, is this really such a big deal?"

    Yes. It is. :-)


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