“We risk being the first people in history to have been
able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive,
so ‘realistic’ that they can live in them.”
‘Risk’? Is that really the right choice of word here to describe what’s going on in our country?
Aren’t we rather “totally living” the American dream? The American frame of mind is that we can believe anything we want and be entitled to those beliefs - facts and reality be damned.
“Treating real life as fantasy and vice versa, and taking preposterous ideas seriously, is not unique to Americans. But we are the global crucible and epicenter. We invented the fantasy-industrial complex; almost nowhere outside poor or otherwise miserable countries are flamboyant supernatural beliefs so central to the identities of so many people. This is American exceptionalism in the 21st century. The country has always been a one-of-a-kind place. But our singularity is different now. We’re still rich and free, still more influential and powerful than any other nation, practically a synonym for developed country. But our drift toward credulity, toward doing our own thing, toward denying facts and having an altogether uncertain grip on reality, has overwhelmed our other exceptional national traits and turned us into a less developed country.
People see our shocking Trump moment—this post-truth, “alternative facts” moment—as some inexplicable and crazy new American phenomenon. But what’s happening is just the ultimate extrapolation and expression of mindsets that have made America exceptional for its entire history.
America was created by true believers and passionate dreamers, and by hucksters and their suckers, which made America successful—but also by a people uniquely susceptible to fantasy, as epitomized by everything from Salem’s hunting witches to Joseph Smith’s creating Mormonism, from P. T. Barnum to speaking in tongues, from Hollywood to Scientology to conspiracy theories, from Walt Disney to Billy Graham to Ronald Reagan to Oprah Winfrey to Trump. In other words: Mix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else; let all that ferment for a few centuries; then run it through the anything-goes ’60s and the internet age. The result is the America we inhabit today, with reality and fantasy weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled.” — Kurt Andersen
The nation's current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. "You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts."
When posting about the importance of top predators, and the benefit for instance of having the wolves back in Yellowstone, one of Earthwise Aware's followers mentioned that bison culls do more than having wolves back.
Let’s dig this a little on the topic...
About Wolf vs. Bison cull?
The point of this video is rather likely to focus on the wolf and not really the park. And rather to use the park as an illustration of how wolves are beneficial to large ecosystems. The truth is that the vast majority of people still demonize the wolf and big predators in general.
The bison cull is a tough issue, and its purpose is at least 2 folds: containing the brucellosis disease, and alleviating a very human made problem > the fact that bisons are not allowed to migrate as their ancestors did. There is intolerance from the human population regarding these massive animals. So we surround and enclose them in the limit of a geographic area (the park), that is radically smaller than what their migration territory was. At 7.5 billion of individuals from our species, that’s barely a surprise that the confinement of the other species to small areas leads to an unbalance that we would try to fix ourselves. Now if we tried to bring more wolves and other top predators to regulate those bison populations, then how many predators would you need to get those populations down? And then what would happen to the surplus of wolves? (most likely a cull)…
Cristina Eisenberg (EarthWatch’s chief scientist) says on the bison cull topic: “There are people who think that we should just protect everything and we can’t ever have too many”… “But nature had its own balance, and we’ve removed the ability of systems to function within that equilibrium. Now we have to play god.” Though we’re lousy gods —with Science, history, and ethics concurring…
Indeed we are poor substitutes for the Nature system functions as in the case of culling. The impact of a cull on an ecosystem is different than the result of natural predation, diseases and various functions (biomass recycling, etc.), we scientifically know that. Culling is one result of increasing interaction between humans and wild animals, not because there is more wildlife (totally the opposite) but because there is more and more of us.
Culling is a human solution to a human problem, and of course it’s going to be tough to come to term with it. Actually we should never come to term with it and accept the opposition as part of a healthy process. Its opponents play important role: anything that has to do with artificial death should be questioned. Opponents are the check and balance of this practice.