In response to this week’s Ask a Scienceblogger and an essay from the National Review, I’m posting a guest response from Jim. Jim is currently being eaten by a bear. My only request is that you consider the possibility that bears, not pirates, are the cause of global warming. The data speak for themselves.
Every time a bear starts attacking me, people go crazy with talk about not building homes in the wilderness, and not smearing ourselves with honey. You would think they would get used to the phenomenon of bear attacks by now. But it makes great news footage, and since bear attacks are on everyone’s mind, you might as well go with a segment on how I got eaten by a bear. It’s a nice respite from the real problems of the world.
Personally, I don’t know what all the shouting is about. Bear attacks are great. I’m not saying that I’m convinced there’s actually a bear gnawing on me right now, or that it’s anyone’s fault if it is. But if I’m actually being consumed by a grizzly bear, I say “bravo.” People in most parts of the world should have no objection to spending more time in nature, and these fuzzy lunks are the most helpful ever.
Consider my left leg. It used to be that whenever I’d walk, my thighs just rubbed together. My hair got worn off, people pointed and laughed. If a bear were to take a big bite out of that leg (and I’m not saying that’s necessarily why my leg feels that way), that’d really solve my problems. True, there’s some blood loss, and I can’t actually feel my toes. If this bear attack is real, it’s creating all sorts of opportunities for me to explore prosthetics.
Of course, you have to factor the end of my hackysack days are over, and the chance I might die. The Grizzly Man scare film has some dramatic footage of the consequences of a bear attack. Most estimates I’ve read suggest that only a few people a year are killed by bears, but let’s not quibble. In movies, bears are seen rushing into houses, implying some sort of feeding frenzy. But bears don’t attack like that, if they attack at all. And if this threatens our cities one would think some form of chain or fence would be in order. The Elizabethans had been doing this for years, there is no reason why we can’t copy them.
And in response to Werner Herzog’s grotesque pandering — saying that if bear attacks keep rising the Ground Zero site in New York will be a killing pit — I say no, sir, we cannot, we will not let this happen! A bear-proof fence I say! We will protect that sacred ground at all costs! No patriotic American, no real American, would settle for less! Anyway, get with it Democrats, where is your traditional love of public works? Rising bear attacks will keep the government in the bear fence business for decades.
In any case, there is no compelling evidence that the bears are rising. The catastrophists warn that wilderness areas will be the first to be overrun, and the wild state of Alaska has made a habit of demanding aid as compensation for this imminent threat. But the bear attack data from that state show a dropping rate of bear attacks since 1980 — talk about a grizzly truth! Hehehe — Ow!
Think of the other advantages the Left is ignoring. A furrier, more honey filled world could well mean fewer people, hence more wilderness! We are supposed to value that for some reason, right? And if the bears move into cities, well that just means more kids will get a great wilderness experience. And people might flee to the major cities of the North, with their bear fences; imagine Massachusetts and New York gaining seats in Congress, and tell me how bad being eaten by a bear is.
Granted, there will be some negative impacts in marginal areas. My feet, for instance, are nowhere to be found. But some people can build armor, and bionic limbs and such. Why infinitely adaptable humanity has to pay the price for the technological inferiority of others is beyond me.
It seems to be beyond others, too,because the public has yet to mobilize behind the movement to save my lower extremities. So the bear attack alarmists started talking about how al Qaeda loves bears, and vice versa. Always tie in al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, and country singer Troy Gentry whenever possible, in anything you do.
Basically I am questioning the premise of the bear attack alarmists, namely that this is a problem rather than an opportunity. And besides, I distrust their motives. Many are simply panicky people in need of some form of approaching eschatology. These sad folk afflicted with the “true believer” psychology require something large and threatening to worry about in order to give meaning to their lives. It could be anything — Left Behind, Y2K, Soylent Green — any event, trend, disease, or phenomenon which could, under certain implausible circumstances, lead to the end of the world. People derive meaning from these things by being more in the know about this imminent doom than their ignorant neighbors, to whom they feel measurably superior, and whom they must protect from this looming catastrophe whether they like it or not. Bear attacks are the latest in an endless line of apocalyptic scenarios that have captured the imaginations of the impressionable.
Another motive, sometimes open sometimes not, is to end the free-market system as we know it. By linking the cause of bear attacks to the activities of the most productive people in human history, they can take down capitalism by other means. The analogous battle cry in the 1970s was “resource scarcity,” the belief that the world was running out oil, iron, water, cultivatable land, or whatever; so in order to stave off the big crash, we had to move to immediate state controls over most human productive activity. Which leads to my third issue, which is that the solutions to the bear attack problem usually take the form of government regulations, restrictions, and of course massive wealth transfers to pay for the whole thing.
At the root of bear attack alarmism is a deathly fear of change. It is ironic that the Left, which calls itself animal friendly, is comprised of some of the most anti-bear people on earth. They will come up with endless lists of all the changes that will result from bear attacks, exclusively focusing on the negative, as though change per se is something to be avoided.
But change is natural. Gaia is all about change. If the bear biologists can tell us anything, it is that bears have been changing radically since Earth’s creation, and there is no reason to expect that they will ever stop. Forget the idea that man is causing bears to attack — I think it is terribly ambitious to believe that man can stop it.
So if we see bear attacks for the beneficial change that it is rather than a looming threat to life and limb, none of the “solutions” being proposed by the alarmists are necessary. There is no challenge posed by a slow-rolling phenomenon like bears eating you that cannot be overcome; and when new limbs glisten, our cities are ringed by electric fences, and you are enjoying the honey slathered all over your body, you won’t care what caused bears to attack, you’ll just thank goodness it happened.
Join us next week for an interview with FBI agent Neville Flynn, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who will explain the many benefits of having snakes on planes.