Conservatives often talk about the fact that Progressives use children as a wedge issue for everything. Changes in immigration law? It’s to protect those poor children whose parents illegally dragged them across the border. Changes in health care law? It’s so that children, right up until the childlike age of 26, can get full health care, regardless of their parents’ economic or lifestyle decisions. Gun control? It’s for the children, never mind that statistics indicate that children die in greater numbers when gun control increases even as cultural brakes decline.
Barack Obama, of course, took the “it’s for the children” approach to public policy to sickening new heights when he surrounded himself by a gaggle of youthful darlings to herald his stale and ineffectual “gun control” orders. He then followed this unsavory photo op with heart-rending videos of children pleading for an end to guns in America. Yes, children are our future, and yes, we want to leave them a viable world when we pass on, but Drudge was right when he noted that only demagogues surround themselves with children to justify increased tyranny.
I’ve established (to my satisfaction, at least), that Progressives misuse children in order to co-opt their parents. But how do Progressives co-opt the children? Easy: “It’s for the animals.”
In the old days, animal stories and movies used to be about a kid’s relationship with his animal, whether the animal was a yearling, a yellow dog, or a black horse. The child learned and grew because of his responsibilities for the animals and, often, because of the hard, human choices he had to make regarding the animals. Animals weren’t better than humans, but they existed artistically to help children learn about love, responsibility, and tough decisions.
Starting with the baby seal campaign in the 1970s, though, the Left realized that it can bring kids on board by making them feel that ordinary human activity is devastating for animals. The starting point, and it really wasn’t a bad one, was to focus on the animals that were being driven, quite unnecessarily, to extinction, such as the baby seals beaten for fashion fur, the dolphins killed by careless tuna fishing methodologies, or the various African and Asian animals being minced and powdered for aphrodisiacs (and no, I do not want to hear that there’s nothing frivolous about the man who needs an aphrodisiac). There really wasn’t a credible reason for these animals to be subject to mass slaughter.
Lately, though, the Left has been using animal education with children, not because the animals are a target of foolish, wasteful behavior, but because their deaths are a byproduct of necessary human behaviors that the Left hates. Thus, we saw the whole spectacle of polar bears who were supposedly being driven to extinction because Mommy drives a minivan, or spotted owls being driven from their habitat because nasty humans insist on living in houses. It’s one thing to heed the Biblical injunction that we are stewards of the earth, something with which I heartily agree. It’s another thing altogether to teach children that, if at all possible, we should vanish from the earth entirely. (Something that’s looking surprisingly likely, given world-wide demographic trends.)
The reality of life is that anything that living creatures do on this earth affects other living creatures. This is true for plants (kudzu, for example), animals (the balance of wolves and deer in Yellowstone, for example), and humans. Because humans have the greatest geographic range and the most inventive minds, we have more scope to affect our surroundings than do plants or animals. Moreover, even when we seem to be changing for the better, we still manage to mess with nature. When we had horses and carriages, the world was awash in filthy, germ-carrying urine and feces. When we got cars, the urine and feces vanished from cities and towns, but we got dirtier air. When we eat meat, we use resources to feed the animals, the animals produce waste, and we have to kill the animals to take advantage of their protein. That all sounds yucky, right? Except it turns out that when we seek protein alternatives (and even Progressives won’t deny that we need protein), we starve indigenous people who are dependent on these alternatives, rather than eating them just because it makes them feel very politically correct. In the same vein, our decision to use corn for fuel, because it’s “cleaner” than fossil fuels, led to starvation and revolution in the Middle East.
Humans, like any animals, have to fight for resources — we fight with each other, and we fight with animals. Because we’re human, we have the gifts of a greater, more flexible intellect and of a moral compass, so we are obligated to mitigate the negative effects our actions have on others. Mitigating those effects, however, is not the same as vanishing altogether — which is pretty much what the Leftists are suggesting to our children is the best solution of them all.