August 8, 2013

"Government is the same institution that takes over forests to 'protect' them — but then builds logging roads into forests to cut down trees..."

"... that unsubsidized, private roads might never have reached. The forests end up smaller, but people still assume they're safer in government hands than in greedy private hands."
Government is the institution that puts itself in charge of caring for wildlife but recently sent a dozen armed agents into a Wisconsin animal shelter to seize and kill a baby deer named Giggles who was being nursed back to health there, since Giggles wasn't in the right type of approved shelter.

When government screws up, we're supposed to say, "They meant well." When individuals pursuing their own interests screw up, we're supposed to feel ashamed of industrial civilization and let government punish and control us all. If we let it do that, government will do to the economy what it did to Giggles.


bpm4532 said...

Government IS trying to do to the economy what it did to Giggles.

Tregonsee said...

The issue of roads is chump change compared with the efforts to prevent natural fires which as a byproduct remove the blow-down and dead trees in manageable amounts. The result is that when there is a fire, it is much more likely to be a mega-fire destroying everything in its path. Most unnatural!

YoungHegelian said...

I knew that was John Stossel even before I opened the article. There's something about Stossel's style (just try saying "Stossel's style" three times real fast...), that "Preach it, brother John" for the libertarian set declamation that make him instantly recognizable.

BarrySanders20 said...

Paul Smith, the fantastic outdoor writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has a column on this today. I would link it if I knew how. Paul is coolly rational (cruelly neutral?) and makes sense.

Here's the first few lines:

Humans revere wildlife.

You can sense it in the cave paintings of our ancestors. And it's on display daily in the smiles of children watching frogs and the amazement of urban residents as peregrine falcons soar among buildings.

Our regard for the wild ones touches our thoughts, emotions, even our souls.

Despite our best intentions, human compassion sometimes results in harm to wild animals.

The high season for such transgressions is spring, when young-of-the-year animals are picked up by hopeful do-gooders.

He goes on to explain why it was folly to bring the fawn into captivity.

Bob Ellison said...


Brian said...

I take Stossel's point, and I get the methodological objections and all, but I've had enough of the Ballad of Giggles the Baby Deer. Deer are vermin; libertarians may as well try to tug at my cold conservative heartstrings with the Star-Crossed Tale of Chuckles the Baby Sewer Rat.

Dr.D said...

The US government is far more intent on destroying this nation than it is the forests. The present administration DOES NOT MEAN WELL, at least in the sense that ordinary Americans understand that phrase. It means Communism, in the "practical" applied form, where a few rule the many, entirely for the benefit of the few.

Carol said...

There was an interesting book, Best Laid Plans, that talked about how the Forest Service allowed an ungodly amount of logging back in the 1970s based on faulty computer modeling, e.g. 800-ft trees and stuff. This resulted in all the horrifying clearcuts anyone could see from airplanes in the NW.

Then they had to radically cut back and the logging communities all but went bust.

So, yeah, they can do some damage. But turning the lumber companies loose on the forests doesn't seem like the answer either.

Mike said...

Building on Tregonsee's comment let me add that as a result of forest mismanagement we have these super-wildfires that burn more acreage, more housing and more firefighters than ever before. But the loony Left blames these fires on global warming -- err, Climate change -- creating an Orwellian "explanation" for their own disastrous policies.
And the beat5 goes on. The super-fires burn more forest, which reduces our natural carbon sinks even further, which leads to more...
Ah hell, you get the idea.

Sam L. said...

In Oregon, they are now shooting barred owls that are out-competing (and breeding with) spotted owls.

Plus, what Tregonsee said.

John Scott said...

Way back when they used run a train from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. A lot of the track remained as it ran along Exhibition Blvd. In my neighborhood they designated the area surrounding the track a green zone with posted signs that state that anyone tampering with plants or trees will be prosecuted.

Well, as always, laws are for the little people. A few years ago LA decided to rejuvenate the rail line. Whatever plants and tress that were there before are now gone to make way for the new line.

Stephen Reynolds said...

Not a good example for making the point.

n.n said...

Good perceptions.


You are describing a debt metaphor. It only works when the rate of return exceeds the rate of accumulation; otherwise, the outcome is progressive and eventually conclusive destruction. It will also work through redistributive mechanisms (i.e. shifting); but, the outcome is only an isolated and temporary euphoria or good perception, since there is a diminishing return.

It applies to finances, when the rate of debt accumulation exceeds the rate of production. It applies to immigration, when the rate of displacement exceeds the rate of assimilation. And it applies to natural recycling efforts (e.g. forest fires), when conscious intervention prevents natural mitigation.

Anthony said...

Although I agree with most of the global warming, errr, I mean climate change portions of that column, it's fairly weak. The quoted passages are far more interesting, IMO, as they highlight the "trust in government*" fallacy that really infuriates me. For some reason, so many simply trust the government without any real warrant for doing so.

* As long as it's their team in charge, that is.

Smilin' Jack said...

Private enterprise might sometimes give us an Edsel or a New Coke, but it takes a government to give us a Vietnam War.

cubanbob said...

Short answer: the left wants to see what it wants to see and ignores it's lying eyes. The right sees what it's eyes see and is terrified it's eyes aren't lying.

Shanna said...

In Oregon, they are now shooting barred owls that are out-competing (and breeding with) spotted owls.

A month or so ago they killed a swan and its' babies for the same reason, it mated with a local swan and game and fish decided the other swan was dangerous or something. I think it was a trumpet swan?

People were very upset. But nobody here would cry over a deer, that's for damn sure.

C Stanley said...

And we had to abandon free market principles in order to save the free markets.

And sacrifice our freedom in order to protect our freedom.

The only time these things are actually true is when the entity to whom we yield that power is pure and good and competent.

Government is not, but God is.

David said...

I'm not sure why he says private interests would not build the logging roads. They are not all that expensive and the reward is significant.

The real problem is the underlying assumption that the forests should be left alone. Of course we do not leave them alone, because we suppress fire, which is an essential element of a healthy unmanaged.

And what is an unmanaged forest? Forests have been managed since there were humans, and since way before logging was one of the uses of the forest. The Native American forest before European settlement was a successfully managed forest. (See Cronin, "Changes in the Land.")

The horror that Carol (posting above) expresses about clear cut is a product of this confusion and ignorance. Clear cut is a proper technique for management of many kinds of forest. Some forests which are selectively cut will not regenerate, and will also become unhealthy if not cut or allowed to burn.

Our predecessors on this land had worked much of this out very successfully. Contemporary foresters are always learning, but they too have a pretty good idea of what they are doing.

It's the sentimentalists that tend to gum things up.

The Drill SGT said...

Clear cutting is no more evil, if properly done than allowing forests to become overstocked with fuel load and burn.

the result in either case is a hillside without trees. The differences are with a clear cut:
- you do it at the right time of year, rather than near the end of Summer, where veg doesn't regen in time to catch the rains
- you can cut in strips that become fire breaks or beetle/disease barriers
- you provide jobs and GDP

alternately, some forests are better thinned...
Nothing sadder than seeing where a lodgepole pine forest or redwood stand has been allowed to build up a fuel load. Either mature forest is immune to annual natural fires, but very vulnerable to man caused mega-burns.

Carl said...

Government is what we do when we can't work together voluntarily. That's why it's preferred by those who have a hard time getting along with others. If you think I'm joking, join a food co-op or leftie child-care co-op and take notes of the vicious fratricidal behaviour.

Big Mike said...

He goes on to explain why it was folly to bring the fawn into captivity.

@BarrySanders, the story I read stated unequivocally that the fawn was slated to be returned to the wild the very next day. The Wisconsin DNR sent thirteen armed agents to the no-kill shelter just to demonstrate that it could.

Fr. Denis Lemieux said...

I don't mind, particularly, the kill of the deer. I live in a wilderness area and have little sentimentality about wildlife (currently have a doe and her three fawns living in my back yard).
I do mind rather badly the overkill of the thirteen armed government agents, which seems frankly insane in the context of the job they were doing. I am not aware that charitable wildlife shelters are hotbeds of armed resistance to the feds, y'know? It is this strange and alarming propensity growing among law enforcement to treat every situation like a drug bust and every citizen like Scarface that is the real problem here, not the life and times of Giggles the fawn.

Class factotum said...

The issue is not about the type of shelter as implied in the clip - it is about chronic wasting disease.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do agree with the good Father about deer - we have a pair living in our yard - they sleep in the grass in the back, and hang out in the front during the day. One came up to me a week or so ago, trying to see what was in my vehicle. We live within the city limits of a small town, which means no hunting, and the pre-venisons know it. Also, no real preditorss around this year - two years ago we had a bear, but it didn't make it back last summer. Wolves are mostly 80+ miles away towards Missoula (though we do have T-shirts available that promote their hunting), and mountain lions are mostly higher up. Roads aren't that bad until maybe dusk, and then it gets somewhat dicey at times. Also have a problem with big horn sheep getting themselves acquinted with Darwin some 10 miles east of here - some 300 or so in the last decade over a maybe 5 mile stretch of road that used to have a 70 mph speed limit (recentlyl cut back to 55 in the worst spots, where they come down to the river for water).

Still, this SWAT team to kill the deer reminds me a bit about my brother and his wife getting a cat awhile back from the (I believe) Humane Society. Turns out it was pregnant, which meant that it needed to be spayed. They apparentlyl showed up at the door, asking to borrow it for the operation. Never mind that it would have aborted the (ultimately three) babies it was carrying. Big fight, but ultimately three healthy cats were delivered, which all lived long fulll lives (one with that brother, and two with another). Not sure what was humane though about aborting the wanted kittens.