Sunday, April 30, 2006

Predators and Prey

The other day I saw a reasonably well-acted movie about a human predator, in this case a sexual one. The difference this time was that the prey, a fourteen-year old girl, turned the tables on this sorry excuse of a hominid.

And speaking of predators, the Chinese government appears hell bent on trashing the planet in some pathetic desire to become a "great" power, whatever that now means in the era of environmental deterioration. The latest story again goes back to wood.

This time it's a lush, isolated spot of Borneo. China is about to spend billions over the next few years tearing down the forests of Southeast Asia in order to service the needs of its growing middle class, which in the case of China is going to be huge.

Of course it doesn't often take much more than dragging a $100 bill through the military barracks of some of these developing nations to bribe whomever you want. The Chinese have certainly learned their lessons from the West.

The latest obscenity is a "rush order" for a reddish-brown hardwood called merbau, some million cubic yards, in one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world. The purpose for this wood is to build sports facilities for the 2008 Olympic Games to be held in China. Perish the thought that we don't have adequate facilities for our pampered world-class athletes and their increasingly silly activities. The forests are going to disappear Homo sapiens sapiens. Who knows why that could be a very bad thing? In the meantime give them bread in a worldwide circus!

Optimists are fond of pointing out that a society, after a couple of generations, settles down. In other words, a certain standard of living is reached and people want more than "more stuff." Perhaps there are still sane people on this planet that believe we have the time.

The autocrats that currently run China have clearly proven--at least in the short run--that the most irresponsible cartoon capitalism can flourish without democracy. Above all, without any countervailing force to confront this idiocy, this unfolding environmental disaster may happen much sooner.

It's unlikely that these ex-communists "good old boys" are going to become enlightened anytime soon. Nor is any real boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games going to take place. The best we can hope for at this point is that the U.S. regains its sanity--soon. We in the United States certainly are not passive bystanders in this matter. Europe might try harder to internalize the word "survival," and Japan could stop slaughtering whales for no good reason. Just maybe the prey can confound the predator once more.

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