Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Thriving Endangered Bruins

by George Will

"Now that polar bears are wards of the government, and now that it is a legal doctrine that humans are responsible for global warming, the Endangered Species Act has acquired unlimited application. Anything that can be said to increase global warming can - must - be said to threaten bears already designated as threatened.

Want to build a power plant in Arizona? A building in Florida? Do you want to drive an SUV? Or leave your cell-phone charger plugged in overnight? Some judge might construe federal policy as proscribing these activities.

Kempthorne says such uses of the act, unintended by those who wrote it in 1973, would be "wholly inappropriate." But in 1973, climate Cassandras were saying that "the world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973). And no authors of the Constitution or the Fourteenth Amendment intended to create a "fundamental" right to abortion, but there it is.

No one can anticipate or control the implications that judges might discover in the polar-bear designation. Give litigious environmentalists a compliant judge, and the Endangered Species Act might become what New Dealers wanted the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to be - authority to regulate almost everything.

What Friedrich Hayek called the "fatal conceit" - the idea that government can know the future's possibilities and can and should control the future's unfolding - is the left's agenda. The left exists to enlarge the state's supervision of life, narrowing individual choices in the name of collective goods. Hence the left's hostility to markets. And to automobiles - people going wherever they want whenever they want.

Today's "green left" is the old "red left" revised. Marx, a short-term pessimist but a long-term optimist, prophesied deepening class conflict, but thought that history's violent dialectic would culminate in a revolution that would usher in material abundance and such spontaneous cooperation that the state would wither away.

The green left preaches pessimism: Ineluctable scarcities (of energy, food, animal habitats, humans' living space) will require a perpetual regime of comprehensive rationing. The green left understands that the direct route to government control of almost everything is to stigmatize, as a planetary menace, something involved in almost everything - carbon.

Environmentalism is, as Lawson writes, an unlimited "license to intrude." "Eco-fundamentalism," which is "the quasi-religion of green alarmism," promises "global salvationism." Onward, green soldiers, into preventive war on behalf of some bears who are simultaneously flourishing and "threatened."

While being cold to the idea of killing an animal for sport, doesn't bother me in the least if someone else does, just not my particular cup of tea, I'd warm up considerably if it meant that x-amount of liberal lunatics would froth at the mouth then strip naked and run through thorn bushes howling at the moon at the mere thought of polar bears being hunted for fun. Once upon a time the white bruins were on the list of things-to-do whenever anyone developed a new handgun cartridge, and many a brownie and blackie and whitie were dropped in their tracks by .357's, .41's, and .44's.

"Dang thing can kill a 'bar so of course it's one helluva shootin' iron", went the refrain, and staring at nine feet of stuffed bear made arguments to the contrary quite difficult.

But not anymore.

I've heard tell of blacks and browns going down from the efforts of those new Smith's, but not one polar bear. So is there something about a polar bear that defeats the .500 and 460 magnums? Are they just too puny to bring along when stranded on an ice flow? Sure they can kill grizzley's but what about when my small plane crashes into an iceberg. Should I bring along a .454 Casull just to be sure?

See what I mean? Until someone shoots a great white with one, the newer magnums are nothing but hearsay. Hell, even at Captain Jack's in Borneo there's a big old white standing stuffed in the lobby, the .357 carbine that did the deed mounted alongside it.

Unintended consequences. The greenies have screwed us again.

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