Thursday, 17 November 2016

Endangered Species

"He'd removed his polar bear rug. Too many visitors had been reproaching him for it. He couldn't explain to them that it was from tenth-century Greenland, when, far from polar bears being an endangered species, things were oftenest the other way around."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 177.

"The humpbacked bear walked into the open shade of the great trees with a shambling arrogance...
"Dane Sweet ought to see this, [Giernas] thought. Hell, we're the endangered species, hereabouts."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Five, p. 94.

Who is Dane Sweet? Reproaches to Everard reflect social changes during his lifetime. A Time Patrolman will know of these in advance and adapt accordingly. His job is to conserve the course of history, not an earlier period. He is a conservative but in four dimensions.

Menaced by grizzlies in the American West, I would certainly approve of shooting and eating them. I suppose that, by killing bears, David Crockett accomplished three worthy ends. He both protected and fed his family and cleared the frontier for later settlers.

18 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I'm not a hunter, but neither am I an anti-hunting zealot. And I have no patience or sympathy for anti-hunters who are fanatical about it. And I'm glad to see you have similar views.

    Oh, btw, another reason why Manse Everard eventually got rid of his polar bear rug was because it was getting worn out and ratty tatty.

    And Dane Sweet was the Nantucketer official in charge of trying to make sure Nantucketers were not too abusive of the environment. He was an environmentalist, but not fanatical about it.

    Intriguing, calling Time Patrol agents conservatives--but in four dimensions! Wish I had thought of that. (Smiles)

    Sean

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    1. Sean,
      Thank you. It is good to have the blog appreciated. I am busy today so maybe not much blogging.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I do understand! Esp. the concern you have for Ketlan. I hope he is getting better.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      Today for exercise I walked along a former railway line now a cycle- and footpath from Lancaster to Morecambe and visited Andrea of Italian descent who is due to have a brain scan to try to determine the cause of his dizziness and other symptoms. He was as hospitable as he always is except when illness prevents. Tonight Sheila and I will attend the annual dinner of Bentham Grammar School Association. Life continues to be a blast.
      Paul.

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    4. Kaor, Paul!

      I often do five mile walks--so I wonder how far it is from Lancaster to Morecambe and back.

      And I hope Andrea's problem can be successfully treated!

      And have fun at the BGSA dinner!

      Sean

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    5. Sean,
      3.8 miles one way, apparently. We get the bus back but sometimes take longer walks by other routes.
      Paul.

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    6. Kaor, Paul!

      So sometimes you take 7.6 mile walks. A very respectable bit of exercise!

      Sean

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    7. Sean,
      Today we walked 10 miles along the river before having lunch in the Infirmary Restaurant and visiting Ketlan but were then surrounded by his two sons and several grandchildren from a previous liaison so we returned home where I am drinking a coffee and typing this.
      Paul.

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    8. Kaor, Paul!

      Oops! I'm only just now reading this. I just hope Ketlan is getting better! He's older than I thought if he has grand children.

      Sean

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    9. Sean,
      Nearly as old as Sheila and me. We sometimes have big extended family gatherings.
      Paul.

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  2. Dane Sweet's a (very sensible) environmentalist on Nantucket.

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    1. Mr Stirling,
      Thank you. There had been a gap in my reading so I had forgotten this character.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Another thing I forgot to mention was how all this about hunting reminded me of the laws banning fox hunting in the UK. A ban I think foolish and ridiculous.

      Sean

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    3. Someone once commented that during the Interregnum of the 1650's, the Puritan regime in England banned bear-baiting -- not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators. I suspect a similar motivation for the fox-hunting ban.

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    4. Mr Stirling,
      I think that you are right about the bears but wrong about the foxes! Unlike the Puritans, animal rights activists are genuinely concerned about animal suffering.
      Paul.

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    5. Dear Mr. Stirling and Paul,

      Mr. Stirling, I agree. I would also put the absurd fox hunting ban down to city people not understanding or sympathizing for rural people.

      Paul, I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. Hunting per se is not wrong. Nor do animals have rights, only PEOPLE, both human and non human, can have rights.

      Sean

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    6. Sean,
      If we say that cruelty to animals is wrong, then I think we imply that animals have a right not to be treated with cruelty but I would not insist on the word "right" being included in legal rulings. Obviously, there is a difference between human rights and animal "rights," e.g., it cannot be murder to kill an animal.
      Paul.

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    7. Kaor, Paul!

      Of course it's wrong to make animals suffer prolonged pain. That is why GOOD hunters take care to quickly kill their prey. But the greater reason why it is wrong to be cruel to animals is because of how it affects, warps, and degrades the human being who is being cruel. And not because the animal has any "rights."

      But we do agree at least on how killing an animal cannot be murder.

      Sean

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