Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jane Goodall
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Here's an interview with primatologist Jane Goodall. You don't have to watch it. I am posting it here because Goodall, who has done some good stuff for apes and the Jon Stewart who is not entirely insane despite being a talk show host, are probably as close as you are going to get to American household names who might agree with me on some issues.

And this scares the living daylights out of me.

For some reason, the subject they choose to discuss here is "extremists". Some loony vegan nutcases complain about how the candles on Goodalls birthday cake might contain animal products. So the scientist and the talk show host shake their heads, oh those extremists.

I have had enough skirmishes with vegan activists to suspect that some of them might not be on my side. Their motivations and their aims sometimes seem disconcerting to me. I could even claim that most rich businesspeople I know are more friendly and tolerant than the vegans I have encountered.

But I don't buy the idea that "extremists" are poisoning the well, that because of their actions the rest of the environmentalist movement has setbacks. Vegan activists and animal liberation types are too few. The power of those who wish to destroy the earth is astronomically larger.

The sometimes misguided actions of "extremists", like setting out domesticated animals into the wild, is only a problem for other environmentalists if we keep yammering on about it, like here, instead of shifting focus to what the problem really is.

The "extremists" are not the real enemy. They're nothing, compared to the logging industry, the oil industry, compared to almost anything. The ice cream industry is stronger than all the "extremists" combined. I know PETA has Pamela Anderson, but come on.

The apes' habitat has been destroyed by all kinds of human greed and destruction, and yet Goodall and Stewart chose to whine about a handful of "extremists".

In the US, to a larger extent than in Europe, I have been amazed at how often I have been told stories of treehuggers who neglected to clean up their campsites, or of ill-advised "safe zones" for deer that have resulted in overgrazing and starvation and so on. Incredibly, harm on the environment is routinely blamed on the people who make attempts at protecting it.

(I don't think European activists are better or that Europeans are smarter at recognizing flak from corporate media. But mainstream news coverage in the US does seem rather one-sided, seen from the outside.)

Not once during this interview do the two otherwise rather clever participants lean back and say: "But honestly. Who are the real extremists here? Who really wields power?"

1 comment:

Oldfool said...

Seems I'm once again in your debt for good finds such as this. Two of the very small number of known to the public figures that I find myself in agreement with.
Anton and his water purifier is another.
Thanks, this is the kind of debt I don't mind.