For a narrated video via YouTube click on the picture…
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For a narrated video via YouTube click on the picture…
(To return to this website, hit your “back” arrow after the YouTube ends.)
In 1980 when I first moved to the West, to Flagstaff, Arizona, one of the first things I did was become involved as an environmentalist and join the Sierra Club and, shortly thereafter, Earth First!. I was excited about my new home, about the mountains, canyons, rivers, and wide open spaces, and wanted to keep those things as spectacular, healthy, open and free as possible. At the time I arrived, one of the hottest environmental issues was grazing private livestock on public lands. Grazing livestock on land both public and private was claimed to be the most damaging activity humans had brought to the West. As one environmental group put it:
“The ecological costs of livestock grazing exceed that of any other western land use.”
Livestock grazing was blamed for endangering species, destroying vegetation, damaging wildlife habitats, disrupting natural processes, and wreaking ecological havoc on riparian areas, rivers, deserts, grasslands and forests alike.
What most caught my attention about this campaign against public lands grazing were the photos of denuded, eroded, cowturd-littered landscapes. Those photos served as one of the most effective tools for communicating the damage described above to those, like me, who were most likely to be concerned and recruited.
Here are a couple:
To make a long story short, I got involved, wrote a couple of books about the topic (actually about environmentalists and ranchers working together), and ended up enjoying a fairly rewarding speaking career about the topic.
Over time, the furor over public lands grazing has lost much of its intensity. Although grazing continues on public lands, it is highly regulated and significantly reduced. In fact, it has been totally removed from many areas where it had been standard operating procedure for more than a century. Also, Global Warming/Climate Change has replaced it (as well as a number of other issues) at the top of the eco-issues hit parade.
Living in Arizona, and remaining just as concerned about the mountains, canyons, rivers, and wide open spaces that have been my home now for 34 years, I have continued to keep track of the areas I made such a big deal about as a wilderness advocate and crusader for “healthy ecosystems.” As a result, I have something to report that may surprise you. It certainly surprised me.
The surprise is, the problems purportedly caused by grazing haven’t gone away even where grazing has. In fact, they have become worse, so much worse that a significant portion of Western rangelands may be in worse shape today than they were when the campaign to protect them was at its hottest. What is different, however, is that the responsibility for the deteriorated condition of the western range has shifted — reversed, in fact. Now it is protection and regulation and the advocates of those policies that are wreaking havoc on our natural heritage.
This is something you have to see to understand — and to believe.
Having noticed the poor and deteriorating condition of the rangelands near my home in Sedona and on trips as far afield as Big Bend National Park in Texas and Jasper National Park in Canada, I started taking photographs to confirm my concern. First, I took photos of the most eye-catching (and mind-blowing) examples of degradation on lands that are now “protected” but were grazed in the past. That ignited my curiosity, and inspired me to start ferreting out old photographs of those exact same places while they were being grazed. These I located via local U.S. Forest Service offices, museums, books, and the internet. I even copied some from old movies (An old Elvis movie — “Stay Away Joe” was one of my sources).
One of the first “before and after” comparisons that caught my eye is illustrated by the following pair of photos from along a favorite hiking trail near Sedona. The first photo (courtesy of the Sedona Heritage Museum) was taken on 12/29/1957. Grazing was ended on this site shortly after this photo was taken.
The next photo shows the exact same place in 2012 after 55 years of protection from grazing. The mountain on the upper right in the first photo (Courthouse Butte) doesn’t show above the trees in the second photo because the trees are bigger, and the point where I took the re-photo is lower than the original photo point, according to my rough calculations, due to 3 to 4 feet of soil erosion.
Next, I located some old U. S. Forest Service photos of old rangeland monitoring sites used to evaluate the effects of management (in this case grazing) on Forest Service lands. Here’s an example — a photo taken in 1963, also near Sedona, of an area that had been grazed for more than 50 years.
In 1963 the grass was short (most likely it had recently been grazed), but you can see the plants were close together, the coverage was fairy complete, and there was little evidence of erosion.
I even located a photo of a 3 foot square frame by means of which the plants in a certain part of the transect were identified, recorded, and mapped to enable the USFS to accurately read and record any change that happened.
Forty-nine years later (2012) I took a photo of that exact same site. I even relocated (and re-photoed) the frame. According to the best information I can find, grazing was removed from this area “before 1981,” so, at the time of the re-photo, the area had been protected for 30+ years. To shed a little more light on what is happening here, I included a photo of the land just to the left of the monitoring site. (That’s the same location stake.)
Interestingly, a U. S Forest Service Range staffer, upon visiting this site with me in 2013, and comparing what she saw with the 1963 photographs said, “Well, The grass looks healthier now than it did back then, except where there isn’t any.”
”Where there isn’t any” is just about everywhere. Here’s a photo showing a little broader perspective on the matter.
To give a bigger picture of what’s happening here I’ve included three photos from nearby on the same grazing allotment.
From the look of the exposed tree roots and freshly toppled trees it appears safe to say that erosion continues in this area in spite of the fact that it is being protected and has been for 30+ years. (I would also add it’s just as obvious that protection isn’t doing much to heal the area.)
Seeing devastation of this degree I couldn’t help but wonder: Were the effects of “overgrazing” anywhere near as bad as the effects of protection? To answer that question, I started searching the Web for those denuded, eroded, cowturd-littered images that were used to make the case against public lands grazing. I wanted to compare the effects of the activity whose “ecological costs exceed that of any other western land use” with the impacts of the remedy that was supposed to return the West to conditions the protectionists described as “pristine nature.”
This is where things really got surprising — the great majority of those “cows destroy the West” photos were mild, ho-hum, no big deal in comparison. Some even looked like positive impact photos.
When that collection of photos showed up on my computer screen I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this what so outraged me and recruited me thirty years ago? Is this the best they’ve got?
It must be, I concluded. These are the images that were published in books like Welfare Ranching, and Waste of the West, These are the photos that are on the websites of the groups still making the case to remove grazing from public lands.
So, If environmental groups were so concerned about the effects of grazing on public lands in this photo, for instance:
Why do we not hear a peep from them about the apparently much more damaging effects of protection on public lands in, for instance, this photo?
Another comparison — same question:
If environmental groups are concerned about the effects of grazing on public lands in this photo:
What about this?
What do these comparisons tell us? Well, one thing they seem to make clear is that, for those of us who are truly concerned about restoring and sustaining the ecological health of the rangelands of the American West, we’re spending our money and our energy in the wrong place. Instead of campaigning to protect the public lands of the West from grazing, we ought to be protecting them from, well, “protection,” which may qualify as the real “most damaging activity humans have brought to the West”
One thing that qualifies protection for this distinction is that the damage it causes is not only more severe, it is more permanent — more permanent because it is a one way street. Ask protectionist groups what they can or will do to heal the damage shown in the photo of me looking up through those protected tree roots or that fellow peering out from that huge eroded gully in the White Hills Study Plot, and the great majority of them will tell you, “Protect it longer.” One activist has told me, “It might take more than a lifetime.” The White Hills Study Plot has been protected for 78 years. That sounds like a lifetime to me.
I’ve written books (and articles for this magazine) about ranchers who have healed damage greater than anything shown among the “grazing destroys the West” photos by using their management practices and their animals as the means to perform that healing. In fact, I’ve done some of those restorations myself (I have some dynamite photos). Those restorations took days instead of lifetimes.
To their credit a few environmental groups and collaborative associations are using those grazing-to-heal techniques today. I suspect that, in some cases, they’re even using them to heal the effects of protection.
But to heal damage, you have to be able to see it, be aware that it is there, and you have to want to heal it.
Environmentalists have trouble seeing the damage they cause because they suffer from a type of blindness of which they have accused ranchers for as long as I’ve been involved in this issue.
Environmentalists accuse ranchers of being blind to the damage they cause to the land because they (ranchers) consider what they do (raise food for people by using resources they believe God gave us just for that purpose) so valuable and so righteous that they refuse to see, just plain ignore, or consider irrelevant the damage it causes.
This phenomenon — being rendered blind to the damage you cause by your own feelings of righteousness — is a more accurate description of an affliction that plagues the green side of the aisle. When environmentalists say, “We all want to protect the environment,” they use the word “protect” in its vague general sense: “to protect from hurt, injury, overuse, or whatever may cause or inflict harm.”
The idea that “protecting” in this sense could cause harm to anything doesn’t make any sense. How could saving something from harm cause it harm?
If you peel away this blindfold of righteous semantics, however, as the photographs in this article have done, it becomes evident that the ecological impacts of “protection” may actually “exceed that of any other western land use” including grazing.
The implications of this are clear… If environmental groups and government agencies truly want to achieve their stated mission — to protect the environment from whatever may cause or inflict harm — they’ll have to open their eyes to the damage caused by what they call “protection.”
And hold this environmentalist panacea as accountable as any other land management method.
Here’s an alternative final paragraph that is less functional but more fun:
The idea that “protecting” in this sense could cause harm doesn’t make any sense. How could saving something from harm cause it harm?
If you peel away this blindfold of righteous semantics, however, and consider the comparisons included in this article, it becomes apparent that the ecological impacts of “protection” may actually “exceed that of any other western land use” including grazing.
The implications of this are clear… If elements of the protection industry, (environmental groups and government agencies) want to truly achieve their stated mission — to protect the environment from whatever may cause or inflict harm — they’ll have to protect it from themselves.
The most effective way to repair damaged ecosystems, my experience and study has taught me, is for us humans to combine forces and energies with other animals (and plants, too) to work together and apply the processes that naturally create and sustain ecosystem health. This YouTube (my first successful effort at uploading one of my PowerPoint presentations) provides illustrations of successful applications of this natural collaboration.
I call this kind of environmentalism “conservative” because it is directed at and judges its success by creating a certain result rather than applying a liberal policy — “protection.” In fact one of the examples illustrated here deals with healing the damage caused by applying the liberal panacea of protection.
That, in my opinion, is Real Environmentalism…
Take a look…
Words, words, words…
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Mark Levin and a long list of others dedicate thousands of hours of air time and millions of words to make the point that liberal policies don’t work; that they don’t solve the problems of the economy, race relations, international relations, etc.
Their case is only as good as they are articulate in making it.
There is one place, however, in which you can see liberalism’s failures exposed graphically in barren landscapes, catastrophic erosion, precipitous gullies, desertified grasslands, washed away soil, etc. That place is here, on the RightWayToBeGreen.com.
(Note: Since this is an unfolding story, I’ll be adding to it as time goes on and as I make new discoveries. In spite of that, the story will always begin at the beginning, but if you’re following it as it develops (and don’t want to have to search through the whole thing to find out where you left off) I have included search terms similar to chapter headings that you can use to go straight to more recent posts.)
One more note: many of the comparisons I present here use the technique of rephotography. What that means is, I locate an old photograph in one of a number of places — old movies, magazines, or books; museum collections; the files of the U. S. Forest Service or some other government agency; family collections, my own colletions (I’ve lived in the West and been involved in environmental issues since 1980) and then I relocate where that photo was taken and rephoto it as exactly as I can.
I’ll start off with one of the most startling examples of what this technique can reveal. The first photo in this comparison comes from the files of the Sedona Heritage Museum. It was taken by a local writer and photographer and shows cattle on an area from which they had been permanently banned about a year previous by order of the U. S. Forest Service. My suspicion is the writer knew cattle had been banned from this area and intended to use this photo to prove that a violation of the had occurred.
Below is her photo taken on 12/29/1957. Cattle are plainly visible. Note the condition of the land. There are trees and lots of grass. The land looks healthy. There is no indication of desertification nor of erosion. At this point the land had been grazed for more than 50 years.
Shortly after the above photo was taken grazing was effectively halted here. Fifty-six years later I reshot the photo. Here’s what the same place looks like after it had been “protected” for more than half a century.
Notice the changes. First of all, the grass is gone. Second, the trees are bigger and there are more of them. Third, there has been significant erosion. For instance, the mountain on the right doesn’t extend above the ridge as far as it did in the original photo. In fact, you can barely see it through (rather than above) the trees. The reason, I believe, is that the point where I was standing when I shot the second photo is three feet lower than the original photo point because that much soil has eroded away.
At this point you may say, “Wait a minute! How could removing the cows cause all these negative effects? Environmentalists have been campaigning for years to remove cattle grazing from public lands because they claim doing so would reverse desertification and prevent erosion.
Other changes have happened here. After ranching was stopped here, houses were built in the area. (The chimney of one is visible above the trees just left of center in the “after” photo.) Also, an area nearby has been made a U. S. Forest Service trailhead, and people now hike and bike through the area. A small power line has also been constructed through the area — to service the house. In fact, I was standing under the power line as I shot the “after” photo.
Where does that leave us? If protection causes the kind of ecosystem changes illustrated in these two pictures, the same thing must have happened in other ecologically similar places where similar management changes have been made.
REPHOTOING U. S. FOREST SERVICE MONITORING SITES.
The photo shown below was taken by the U. S. Forest Service as a monitoring tool to determine how human activity (in this case, cattle grazing) effects a certain area of the Coconino National Forest in central Arizona near my home town — Sedona.
Since 1958 (the date of this photo) this same site has been periodically re-photographed, and certain data (plant species, density, and condition) have been recorded.
This is the same place in 1974.
Here it is in 1979… About this time (in 1977) grazing was effectively halted on this USFS grazing allotment.
Here it is today, in 2013. Notice the changes. The trees have gotten bigger. There are more of them. There is less grass, more bare dirt, and erosion is accelerating.
The change is revealed more effectively if you take a look beyond those trees.
Here it is easy to see that there is a lot less grass, a lot more bare dirt, and much, much more erosion. Scroll back up and see what it used to look like.
This land has effectively been “protected,” for more than thirty years. According to liberal environmentalist dogma it should be returning to ecological health instead of turning into desert. What has happened here and what can we learn from it?
First published on American Thinker:
Most environmentalists I know consider themselves non-religious, even anti-religious. A few subscribe to “new” religious denominations such as Unitarianism, which I have heard described as “church for atheists with children.” None, as far as I know, would take kindly to being described as practitioners of fundamentalist, Bible-thumping, “ol’ time religion”.
The irony, here, is that contemporary environmentalism and fundamentalist religion have so much in common.
Take the most basic assumption of contemporary environmentalist doctrine. Individual environmentalists and environmental organizations, alike, hold that the one and only way to solve the problems they address is to “protect” the environment. Who they would protect it from, of course, is us, based on the further assumption that everything that goes wrong with the environment — desertification, species extinction, invasion by non-native plants, etc. — is the result of human misuse or overuse or just plain use of “nature” or the ecosystem, or whatever you choose to call our surroundings.
This assumption has become so all-encompassing that we now even blame ourselves for occurrences we used to call “natural” disasters.. Hurricanes are our fault (a result of Global Warming). Weather too hot — our fault. Too cold — ditto. There are even plenty of people who say earthquakes and tsunamis are our fault; also caused somehow by Climate Change.
Such a line of reasoning leads inevitably to the conclusion that the only way to solve any and all environmental problems is to somehow get us humans to use less, produce less, and reproduce less. So, at environmentalists’ behest our government creates such things as wilderness areas and nature preserves, on the theory that nature-left-alone will heal its human-caused wounds and help sustain at least a part of the planetary life-support system. In some countries, Canada, for instance, there are areas into which humans are forbidden to even set foot. More radical environmental groups, such as Earth First! (which I played a small part in helping to form) are pushing for similar measures in the U. S.
You’re not paying attention if you haven’t recognized this as simply a rerun of the biblical story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
This congruence of environmentalism and fundamentalism isn’t a coincidence. It can be traced to the fact that John Muir, “the spiritual father of the environmental movement” who founded the Sierra Club, the first environmental group, was a Calvinist. Calvinists, who first coined the word “fundamentalist” to describe themselves, held that the original sin for which humans were punished by expulsion from Eden, is a defining characteristic of what it means to be “human.”
As a good Calvinist/fundamentalist/environmentalist, Muir was a frothing misanthrope, referring to humans as “the Lord Man” and writing, “Man is always and everywhere a blight on the landscape.”
So, as modern day green fundamentalists engage in a ritual re-creation of the expulsion of “the Lord Man” from Eden, one could make the case that they are indulging in a religious exercise rather than applying a practical effort to solve environmental problems.
Using an approach derived from fundamentalist religion to deal with real world problems (and there are plenty of environmental problems that are real and serious) has a huge downside. First, it dooms us to deal with practical problems with an approach that treats them as invariably a matter of good versus evil, of “us” (the righteous Earth Savers) against “them,” the heretics and devils (Global Warming Deniers, capitalists, one percenters, Republicans,…)
Because this makes those issues a matter of winning and of defeating devils rather than solving problems, we spend more time proselytizing, evangelizing, and battling in the arena of politics than we do learning to live sustainably within our surroundings. Evidence that this is the case is provided by the fact that environmentalists measure their success in terms that really have nothing to do with the ecological problems they supposedly set out to fix. Among those terms are:
• the number of converts (members, supporters, and devotees) groups are able to evangelize, and the amount of contributions they are thus able to attract
• the extent to which they are able to convince the rest of us to blame the villains, demons, devils, satans, they blame — capitalists, free enterprisers, private land managers, meat eaters, the 5 % of the world’s population who live in the U. S. and use 25% of the world’s resource, and…
• the extent to which they are able to inject their doctrines, prejudices, and policies into the rules by which our society operates.
Does this approach of using religious-style rituals, exorcisms, and crusades work to make the environment any better, healthier, more sustaining?
To true believers that question doesn’t even make sense.
Religious truth is a matter of faith. It can’t be falsified by experience or fact. Can you prove via experience, facts, or science that God didn’t make little green apples, that Buddha wasn’t truly enlightened, or that Islam isn’t the religion of peace?
In the same way, and for the same reasons, it is just as impossible to debunk the charge that we are the cause of global warming, climate change, species extinction, or whatever.
This is why using environmentalist dogma to guide the creation of legislation and regulation violates the separation of church and state. It is also why doing so can lead us to results that are just the opposite of what we intend. If environmental policies can’t be proved wrong by experience, facts, or science, there is no way to prove that they don’t work, even when their results are absolutely disastrous.
This fatal flaw isn’t limited to environmental policies, it extends throughout liberalism. The reason it is impossible to prove (at least to liberals) that wealth redistribution doesn’t solve the problem of poverty, no matter how much poverty rates increase under those policies, or that Obamacare doesn’t create the best health care system possible, no matter how much rates increase or how many people end up without insurance as a result of those policies, is because liberalism, as well as its offspring, environmentalism, is a matter of blind faith, not reason.
or PLUMBER, CANDYGRAM, GLOBAL WARMING…
By Dan Dagget
Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.
What’s funny about liberals? That they actually believe that stuff. Liberal dogma, I mean. In fact, if you take off your liberal blinders (If you happen to be wearing a pair), liberal politics reveals itself to be nothing more than a string of second-rate comedy routines.
Take Global Warming, for instance. It doesn’t take a PhD to recognize this scam as nothing more than a cheap imitation of the old Saturday Night Live “Landshark” skit. For those who aren’t old enough to have seen “Landshark” (or are so old they’re unable to remember), it was a take-off on the movie “Jaws.” Bill Murray, disguised in a Muppet-style shark suit, would ring the doorbell of an unsuspecting Gilda Radner, who would refuse to open the door because she had heard there was a landshark prowling the neighborhood. The “shark” would then attempt to fool Radner by announcing itself in a tinny monotone as a “Plumber,” and when that didn’t work, “Cable guy,” or “Flowers” and finally, “Candygram,” at which point Gilda would open the door, and, there would be the landshark, which would then mock-devour her to the “Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum” theme of “Jaws.”
The difference with the liberal political version of this routine is, instead of “cable guy,” “flowers,” and “candygram,” liberals threaten us with a litany of crises they’ve dreamed up specifically to convince us that we ought to open the door to what they’re all trying to sell — bigger government. In the 1970s they tried “return of the ice age” to convince us that we should surrender more of our rights and liberties to the government (which means to them), and when we got bored with the “ice age” scare, and it lost its traction, they changed to “the end of the rain forest,” then “death of the oceans,” and “the ozone hole,” More recently, they’ve come up with “global warming,” at which point some of us said, “Wait a minute, You just said “return of the ice age.” Now it’s “global warming?” Do you really think we’re stupid enough to believe that humans are making the world too cold and too warm at the same time?”
So, they changed to “climate change.”
I guess “whatever” is next.
And when we finally do open the door to one of these scams by electing some liberal or other to office, the remedy they propose to solve any or all of these the problems is always the same. In fact, liberals only have one remedy for anything: That we invest them with more authority so they can gobble up more of our freedoms with more government, more regulation, and more sure-fire solutions that don’t work.
The theme music, however, remains the same…
Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum.
Because a public school in Queens, NY has become the first in the nation to serve only vegetarian food…
And, because a new eating disorder: orthorexia (the compulsion to eat only politically correct foods — no dairy, eggs, meat, grains, fats) — is sweeping the nation.
I have decided to re-post EAT MEAT AND SAVE THE PLANET!
On the other hand, visit a cattle ranch here in the West and you have a good chance of seeing deer, elk, pronghorn, coyote, black bear, bobcat, rattlesnakes, gila monsters, road runners, Gambles quail…. the list is too long to print here. Get lucky and you might see a mountain lion. I know a rancher who has seen a couple of jaguars on ranchland here in Arizona.
As for wildflowers, as I write this, I’m looking at a ranch out the window of my camper, and I can see giant saguaros, cholla cactus, palo verde and creosote bush. The Arizona poppies, brittlebush, and desert marigolds were spectacular this spring, and the native grasses are providing plenty of forage for wild and domesticated animals alike.
An activist vegetarian responding to what I just said would point out that growing vegetables requires a lot less land than raising meat. This enables us to protect more land and allow it to return to nature so it can be home to even more wildlife and wildflowers.
That would be an effective counter-argument if it weren’t true that raising meat on the land can benefit it ecologically even more than protecting it.
Scientists who’ve studied the matter tell us that grasslands and grazing animals evolved together and developed an interdependence similar to so many other mutually beneficial relationships in nature: bees and flowers, beavers and meadows, reef fish and coral. When cattle are managed so that they act like natural grazers, i. e., when they are kept in herds and moved across the landscape in response to conditions of moisture, season, and other natural factors, they create this same kind of interdependence.
That’s why cattle have been successfully used to restore ecological health to land that has been damaged by mining, by raising crops in ways that exhaust the land’s fertility, and even by the environmentalists’ panacea “protection.” For instance, in Arizona and Nevada, cattle have been used to return native vegetation to denuded mine sites and piles of mine waste on which other forms of reclamation had failed. How do they do it? By stomping in seeds and mulch and nourishing the mixture with their own natural fertilizer. Sheep and goats have been used to create firebreaks and remove nonnative plants at various locations from East to West, and sheep, goats, and cows have been used to revegetate land damaged by catastrophic wildfire.
I haven’t heard of a single case of soybeans or broccoli being used to achieve any of that.
As for all that cow flattulence and belching the anti-meat folks tout as a cause of global warming, properly grazed grasslands have been shown to be so effective at sequestering carbon in green and growing grass that some ranchers have been able to supplement their income by marketing carbon offsets created by their naturally-managed cattle.
That works even if you don’t believe in global warming
Acknowledging the effectiveness of these techniques the state of Florida has come up with a plan to contract with ranchers to use their livestock to improve that state’s rangelands’ ability to absorb, clean, and sequester water. One of the aims of this program is to raise the water level in the Everglades. That’s right. Florida is using cows to rewater the Everglades.
On the other hand, when grazers are removed from the land the ecological results can be disastrous.
In Central California, when cattle grazing was removed from seasonal wetlands called vernal pools, the native plants and animals that live there, some of which are endangered, were displaced by nonnative weeds in as few as three years. When grazing was resumed the rare plants and animals returned.
Also in California, the threatened bay checkerspot butterfly has disappeared from lands from which cattle grazing was eliminated — to protect the butterfly. On lands that continue to be grazed the butterfly has managed to persist.
Because of this and similar instances “cessation of grazing” has been recognized as one of the main threats to some of California’s most sensitive ecosystems by the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition. That organization includes The Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and Audubon, among others.
And, for those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember (and want to link back to) the story of the native fish in Arizona (the spikedace) that was sustained by grazing for more than a century and exterminated in less than a decade by “cessation of grazing,” or the Drake exclosure that’s been protected for more than 60 years and is as bare as a parking lot while the grazed land right next to it is covered with native grasses.
Meat is the only human food that can be raised on land that is officially designated wilderness. Not so with vegetables.
Meat can be raised on land that can also be used for recreation such as hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, orving, downhill skiing, and birdwatching. Vegetable fields are off limits to most of those. Just try riding your orv or your horse through someone’s field of bok choy.
So, the next time you chow down on a big juicy steak or leg of lamb, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for saving the planet, and remember that you are enjoying the only food that can be raised within a diverse, native, openspace ecosystem in such a way that it restores, sustains, and even enhances that ecosystem.
On second thought, maybe you ought to order two steaks. It’s going to take a lot of cows to remedy all the ecological damage perpetrated by vegetarian environmentalists.
Note: This article was first published on American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/using_gun_violence_to_get_elected
The most frustrating aspect of the continuing verbal marathon about guns and gun control is that no one is talking about the real cause of our continuing problem with mass, meaningless murder.
That means no one is talking about real solutions that will have real results.
Instead, we are once again talking about disarming law-abiding citizens, or (more accurately) pushing government deeper into our lives by diluting the only document on the planet — the U. S. Constitution — that protects humans from tyranny.
Take away guns and you still have violence. But take away our Constitution and you empower tyrants, both illegal and legal, who will have plenty of guns whether they are banned or not.
So, why are we spending so much time talking about a non-solution to such a serious problem?
One reason is because the liberals who make up our current ruling class, in a very significant way, have caused these senseless tragedies, and they certainly don’t want to talk about that.
How did liberals cause recent gun massacres? I discussed that in an earlier piece — “Ban Liberalism Not Guns.” Here, however, I want to address a more important topic — Why liberals aren’t interested in real solutions to the problem of senseless, mostly random violence, whether it is perpetrated with a gun or otherwise. In fact, I want to talk about why they aren’t interested in any solutions at all.
One reason liberals aren’t interested in solving problems is because they are so totally invested in using them. Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s first White House Chief of Staff, made that clear when he voiced the cardinal rule of liberalism, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”
How do politicians “never let a crisis go to waste?” They use it to get elected.
They use problems of all sorts to get elected by blaming their political opponents for causing the problem and by selling themselves as the saviors of those of us whom they can convince are victims of said problem and of the “villains” whom they say perpetrated it.
And once elected, they use this same blame game to get their policies enacted, increase their political power, and enhance their chances of getting re-elected.
Before we follow that thread any further, I want to point out that there is another reason the liberal ruling class isn’t interested in solutions: They don’t have any.
In another post made the point that liberals were doomed to selling less (blame, hate, problems) because nothing produces solutions better than free-market capitalism applied by individuals blessed with a high degree of individual political freedom. This system, as devised and utilized in the good ol’ USA, has enabled us to achieve a greater and broader prosperity than any other society in human history.
As for what I mean by saying “liberals don’t have any real solutions… to anything,” consider how well they’ve handled the “War on Poverty” – nearly $20 trillion spent since LBJ initiated this monstrous government redistribution of wealth in the 1960s, and the administration tells us 1 in 6 are still “in poverty.” And how well is the welfare state and income redistribution working for Greece? Spain? The United Kingdom? France’s Labor Minister, Michel Sapin, recently described that country as “totally bankrupt.” The UK doesn’t look for economic recovery until after 2017.
How about race relations? The election of Obama in 2008 was supposed to usher in a “postracial era,” but today racial polarization is as bad (or worse) than it has ever been. Anyone who opposes Obama on any issue is tagged a racist, an extremist, an enemy.
The energy crisis? Can you say Solyndra and wind power? And, in spite of the fact that global warming has been revealed to be a fraud based on trumped up data, liberals keep telling us that there is scientific consensus on the matter except for a few oddballs who ought to be thrown in jail because they are Global Warming “Deniers”.
Getting back to gun violence… Want to bet that limiting our access to guns will reduce gun violence. It hasn’t worked anywhere it has been tried.
Because “using” crises is so valuable to the liberal ruling class, even if they had a solution to anything, they wouldn’t apply it. After all if your entire political strategy consists of using crises and problems to paint your adversaries as villains and enemies in order to get people to vote for you, the last thing you want to have happen is for a problem to be solved.
What’s more, because liberals have such a terrible track record at solving anything, if a problem is solved, most likely it will be solved by the opposition, i. e. those pesky free-market capitalists.
What does continuing to elect liberals to run our government get for you and me?
First of all it gets us a lot of “solutions” that don’t work.
Even worse – it gets us a society that operates on the basis of hate and divisiveness. Can you think of anything worse than that?
Evidence of this is easy to find – the movie, Django Unchained, provides an excellent example. So do all the tweets in support of Christopher Dorner, murderer of four in his recent crime spree. And then there are all those episodes of “gun violence.”
Continuing to elect politicians who have nothing to sell but blame, hate, and “issues” gives us a society in which it pays to invent crises — so you can blame them on your opponent. Remember acid rain, the ozone hole, the coming ice age, the death of the oceans, OVERPOPULATION!, and on and on. In every case we were told that the only way to avert each of these “crises” was to elect liberals/democrats because the Republicans, free-market capitalists, or America caused them… by creating More.
Which brings us to another history lesson.
In his 1968 book, The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich told us that hundreds of millions of us would die during the 1970s no matter what we did because we had already outstripped the planet’s ability to feed us and to supply us with the raw materials necessary to sustain our lifestyle. He also predicted that, by 1985, so many billions would have died that the Earth’s population would have shrunk to 1.5 billion. And by 1999, the overconsuming U. S. would suffer such devastating environmental catastrophes that the life expectancy of its citizens would have dropped to 42 years, and its population would be a mere 22.6 million.
Instead, in 2013, the population of the world is at 7 billion and growing, the U.S. population is over 300 million, our prosperity is unprecedented (At least it was until we elected the Pelosi Democrats in 2006 and Obama in 2008.), and our life expectancy continues to rise.
To underscore how wrong Ehrlich was, many countries now are concerned about underpopulation rather than overpopulation. Why? Because their “Ehrlich scare” birth rates are too low to produce the workers needed to keep their economies running (and to support all those seniors).
What saved us from Ehrlich’s predictions of doom? The same thing that has saved us from scarcity and adversity so many times – human ingenuity and initiative applied within the framework of a free-market economy.
This reveals what may be the most ironic downside of continuing to elect politicians who have nothing to sell but blame: It gives us a society in which the problem solvers, the tragedy averters, the producers of abundance are villainized. A society in which we regularly vote against the people who can solve the very problems that supposedly plague us.
In this upside-down process the people who continually sell us less (liberals/Democrats) end up being the only ones with more – more money, more power, more everything. Barack Hussein Obama, unsurpassed peddler of “less” is now worth $11.8 million and lives like a king.
The best way to wrap this up, I believe, is to restate, in a form simple enough to remember easily, what continuing to elect politicians who have nothing to sell but blame, hate, and less gets us.
It gets us a society that operates on the basis of hate, divisiveness, and blame.
It gets us a society in which politicians rise to power by inventing crises — so they can blame them on their opponents and use that blame to get elected.
It gets us a country ruled by a government with a vested interest in solutions that don’t work. After all, if a problem is solved, politicians can’t use it to get elected anymore.
In a society of this sort the surest route to power is to cast yourself as a victim. As a victim, you become an asset to the liberal ruling class which can use you to villainize its opponents (because they made you a victim) and attract votes by casting itself as your savior.
Last, but not least, electing politicians who trump up problems and use them to get votes by heaping blame and vilification on their opponents gives us a society in which those who truly are able to solve problems, create abundance, and get us out of the mess we’re in are invariably cast as villains.
The tragic killing of 26, including 20 children and 6 teachers, at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut has liberals once again clamoring for government to severely restrict gun ownership or ban it outright.
The conservative response has been all over the map, saying that ball bats, hammers, and cars kill more people, so liberals should be calling to ban them too. On a more serious note commentators on the right are also blaming drugs, video games, and an entertainment media that has become an orgy of violence.
While those latter three charges bear significantly more merit, the fact remains that both sides are just plain missing the point.
The problem, when it comes to orgies of mass destruction, isn’t guns, it’s liberalism.
Cho Seung-Hui, who killed 32 people and wounded 17 others on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia is reported to have left a note in his dormitory room containing a rant that denigrated “rich kids,” and claimed he did what he did “to inspire generations of the weak and defenseless people.” Those are all sentiments more recently expressed by the Occupy Wall Street movement and our liberal president, Barack Obama, who blames the rich for virtually everything that is wrong with America (or the world for that matter) and sells himself as a champion for the poor and underprivileged.
Eric Harris, who, with Dylan Klebold killed 13 and injured 21 at Columbine High School in Aurora, Colorado, hated country music, people with a limited vocabulary who mispronounced words, people who believe professional wrestling is real, and fans of Star Wars. Sounds to me like he hated the same people whom Barack Obama has referred to as “bitter clingers.”
Jerrod Loughner, shooter of U. S. Representative Gabrielle Gifford and 18 others (6 killed) in Tucson, was a “truther.” He believed George W, Bush was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Towers in New York and the deaths of the 3,000 people who perished there. I know plenty of liberals who believe the same thing.
Adam Lanza. Who killed 26 and wounded 2 more at Sandy Hook was a vegan. He was opposed to eating meat or any product produced by or from animals, such as cheese or eggs. He was against killing animals or even inconveniencing them but he had no trouble killing human children, lots of them. Veganism is common among liberals.
Before you get the wrong impression, I want to make it clear that I’m not saying these people were (or are) liberals. Whether they were liberal or conservative is irrelevant. What I’m saying is that liberalism and its practice of using blame and villainization as a political tool drove these people to the brink and over it. Timothy McVeigh, certainly was no liberal, but it was the Branch Davidian disaster in Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge in Idaho, both done under the authority of Clinton Administration Attorney General Janet Reno, that he said drove him to do what he did.
This is not just a matter of politics. Liberals tell us that global warming, capitalism, corporatism, Americanism, speciesism, threaten the very existence of life on Earth. And that homophobia and Islamophobia, make what life does manage to persist prejudiced and unjust. The only way to save the planet from this litany of disasters, they tell us, is to wrench power from the practitioners of the old ways that have created all of the above. Conservatives, Republicans, the 1%, those who believe in America as the shining city of the hill, all of these practitioners of the old ways must be overcome or the world is doomed.
Sufficiently frenzied by this doomsday drumbeat global, warming zealots are calling for the jailing of climate change “deniers.” Some have called for their death.
Vegetarians sport bumper stickers that read: “Meat is murder.”
“The rich aren’t doing their fair share.” says Obama and his minions. Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, says times are as bad today as they were during the time of the “Robber Barons” when, she suggests “The labor leaders of that time, … were ready to kill.”
Daily Beast writer Buzz Bissinger says Alex Jones, a blogger who defends gun ownership, should be shot.
Some simplify all of this to charge that there are just too many people. They openly wish for pestilence or even nuclear war to kill millions, making Cho Seung-Hui, and Adam Lanza seem rather tame by comparison.
To me all of this is the same as screaming fire (as in Ready!… Aim!…) in a crowded building and continuing to scream until one of the less tightly wrapped within earshot snaps and commits an outrage like Newtown or Columbine. And when that happens, the old ways and their practitioners —conservatives, gun rights advocates, talk show hosts, believers in that shining city — always get the blame.
A better way to set blame, I believe, is to apply the old adage, “Follow the money.”
Who benefits from these tragedies? Not conservatives. Not gun owners. Not the 1%. Not people who want to mind their life and liberty and spend their time pursuing happiness.
Liberals benefit from these tragedies — they use them to grow the power of government and increase their degree of power within that government. Now, in the aftermath of Newtown, as liberals clamor for more gun control and bigger government you can hear them cranking up the volume in hopes of un-hinging some other unfortunate to create another catastrophe to which they can apply Rahm Emanuel’s dictum:
“Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”
At this point it seems to make sense to call for banning liberalism, but that would make us just like them. A better idea is to convince liberals to stop screaming “Ready, Aim, Fire” and become conservatives. Accentuate the positive! Increase freedom! Free your initiative to create a rising tide of wealth that lifts all boats. Eat whatever you want. Have or don’t have as many kids as you want. Get as rich as you want. Drill and mine for the energy you need, and if doing so creates problems, deal with those problems by using the greater wealth you’ve created by mining and drilling. If the world is getting warmer, use the power of free enterprise to adapt to it and make life better for all of us in a world that’s warmer or cooler or whatever, because the only thing more certain than the fact that the world is always changing is the fact that the best means of dealing with that change is freedom.