We have spoken to your mother. We know everything.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Who's in Charge?

A news item today caught our attention.

"
Avian Flu World's No. 1 Threat, CDC Head Says." This news story, off the UPI wire, will no doubt be the first of many warning about the possibility of a major flu pandemic. The last real pandemic, the '1918 Spanish Flu pandemic' (info here, here and here and here claimed between 30 and 40 million lives.

In it's latest incarnation, the disease is passed directly from bird to human. The surest way to prevent the disease from spreading is to kill any bird population that may carry the disease.

We have chosen to write about this now, because inevitably there will be a loud outcry from that hard corps of idiots that will scream of the 'genocide' and 'holocaust' of the bird population.
This stupidity shouldn't come as a surprise.

Pratie's Place
has a post/review of a book
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond, a Pulitzer Prize winning author. The review of the book presents an excellent overview in describing the events surrounding the demise of the Easter Island ecosystem. So far, so good.

SC&A take issue with what is extrapolated and learned from what seems to be an otherwise excellent book.

In particular, we were puzzled by one commentators referenced quote, well meaning as it may have been:
"On an island as small as Easter, it was easy to see the effects of the deforestation as it was taking place. But the inhabitants continued their destructive actions. They probably prayed to their gods to replenish the land so they could continue to rape it, but the gods didn't answer. And still the trees came down. Whatever one did to alter that ecosystem, the results were reasonably predictable. One could stand on the summit and see almost every point on the island. The person who felled the last tree could see that it was the last tree. Nonetheless, he (or she) still felled it."
We take issue with a number of ideas in that quote.

Firstly, sad as the demise of an ecosystem is, it is not rape. As tempting as it may be to refer to anything some people don't approve of as 'rape,' the misuse of that word is no less than despicable. If the actual rape of one woman could be prevented by the use of a chain saw to a flower, animal or even priceless work of art, SC&A would be happy to wield that chain saw ourselves.

The role of language in constructing a social reality, must not diminish the violent reality of what the word 'rape' suggests, implies, or describes.

In conversations with NG, we have become much more aware and sensitized to certain issues. The word 'rape' is one of the most powerful words in the English language. The word should make one shudder and recoil in fear. If that word is used to describe anything other than it's intended meaning, it will lose it's effectivness- and thus become common and less meaningful.

There is no moral equivalent between the rape of a woman or child and anything else, period. If you think there is, you are an idiot- and you and your ideas, are therefore irrelevant to any serious discussion. By insisting on using that word, you prove that you cannot be considered to have anything worthwhile to say, as your value system is seriously impaired.

Let us be more explicit: If your daughter or wife were threatened with a sexual assault, and the only way to prevent that from happing was to cut a tree, kill an animal or deface a priceless work of art- and you hesitated for even a moment in knowing what you had to do, well, you are idiot.

We responded to that idea and others in the comment section of Pratie's Place. Take the time to read that excellent blog and see our comments.

We wanted to talk about this because no doubt, as we said, some idiot will want to 'save the birds.'