Monday, May 12, 2008

animal-lover extremism

Like many of my generation, I grew up reading animal books where animals were treated like people. The animals had thoughts and goals just like people. They loved and hated and understood the concepts of right, wrong, and justice --everything you need to make a story. Unfortunately, I think that a lot of people just did not grasp that they were reading fantasy. At some level they came to believe that animals are essentially just like people, and now you have situations like this (from Instapundit):
Scientists and outdoorsmen began to warn of danger, but they were ignored by both the Boulder public -- which was sentimentally attached to the idea of free-roaming wildlife -- and state wildlife-protection bureaucrats, who downplayed first the presence, and then the danger, posed by the cougars. Dogs and cats started being eaten, cougars started threatening people, and yet meetings on the subject were dominated by people who "came to speak for the cougars."

In the end, of course, people started to be eaten...
As Reynolds points out, this seems to be the result of two interacting syndromes: appeasement and personification fantasies. Appeasement is the syndrome where people take the side of other people who want to kill them --terrorists, violent felons, foreign enemies. We see it in every conflict and it seems to be getting more prevalent as it no longer leads to political ostracization --in fact since Vietnam, it has led to political power for many Democrats. Then you add these personification fantasies where animals are viewed as people, and suddenly predators are added to the list of great people who want to kill us but only because we aren't sufficiently peaceful and docile and understanding.

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