bonobos treasure sex over violence, stella, mainstreaming crazy takes time

Why Bonobos Will Save the World

When I wake up this morning, someone might try to kill me. I live 10 minutes from a small town called Durham, NC, where according to the last statistics, 22 people were killed, 76 women were raped, and there were 682 cases of aggravated assault.

[  ]…I’ll tell you this: I would swap every gadget I own – my car, my laptop, the potential to fly to the moon – if I could wake up as a bonobo. No bonobo has ever been seen to kill another bonobo. There is very little violence towards females. The infants get an idyllic childhood where they do nothing but hang out with their moms and get anything they want. There is plenty of food.

Bonobos (Pan paniscus) belong to the same genus as the common chimp (Pan troglodytes), but they are far less violent. The author suggests that their is some prejudice against the bonobo in the scientific community – and thus one reason you might not have heard of one of our closet primate relatives Pan troglodytes, but not Pan paniscus. That prejudice is thought to derive from the fact that bonobos have gay sex. She might be correct. Without some supporting documentation its difficult to say for sure. P. troglodytes benefit from the legacy of Jane Goodall among others. Maybe its that wildlife programing is synonymous with family viewing to some extent. Certain subject matter is difficult for some parents to explain. Whatever the reason the bonobos do appear to have been unjustly slighted by way of public relations. Maybe M’s Woods will be their Jane Goodall.  As to bonobos setting an example for world peace. As much as my inner sentimentalist sympathizes with the thought, the rational part overrules any practical applications being adopted by Homo sapiens. M’s Woods even notes the Bonobos are only to be found in one place in the world – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the most violent places on earth.

update: rewritten for grammar and clarity.

stella desktop

Is Rand Paul Crazier Than Anyone Else in D.C.?

The media mock libertarians and other candidates outside the mainstream. But are their ideas really any less valid than those of the ‘centrists’?

Forced to name the “craziest” policy favored by American politicians, I’d say the multibillion-dollar war on drugs, which no one thinks is winnable. Asked about the most “extreme,” I’d cite the invasion of Iraq, a war of choice that has cost many billions of dollars and countless innocent lives. The “kookiest” policy is arguably farm subsidies for corn, sugar, and tobacco—products that people ought to consume less, not more.

All sadly true up to a point. Most of the liberal and libertarian posts I read about poor Randall did confine themselves to the legitimacy of his claim in effect that supposed impositions on proprietors of public accommodations was worse than condemning a whole class of citizens to the fringes of society. ( some of the legal reasoning behind civil right legislation – Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States and the dissenting opinion of Justice Harlan in The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883)

My brethren say that when a man has emerged from slavery, and by the aid of beneficient legislation has shaken off the inseparable concomitants of that state, there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation when he takes the rank of a mere citizen, and ceases to be the special favorite of the laws, and when his rights as a citizen, or a man, are to be protected in the ordinary modes by which other men’s rights are protected. It is, I submit, scarcely just to say that the colored race has been the special favorite of the laws. What the nation, through congress, has sought to accomplish in reference to that race is, what had already been done in every state in the Union for the white race, to secure and protect rights belonging to them as freemen and citizens; nothing more. The one underlying purpose of congressional legislation has been to enable the black race to take the rank of mere citizens. The difficulty has been to compel a recognition of their legal right to take that rank, and to secure the enjoyment of privileges belonging, under the law, to them as a component part of the people for whose welfare and happiness government is ordained.

If we open up the debate to include Paul’s brand of “craziness” versus a the cornucopia of craziness available to us, sure Randy’s come off less deplorable compared to Mao or Pol Pot. Friedersdorf does do a service by reminding us how some kinds of extremism have become mainstreamed. George W. Bush and company lied us into a war – thus is responsible for the death of every soldier and marine killed under that pretense – yet he is enjoying a cozy retirement with a pension instead of a 6 by 8 cell where that kind of treason usually lands political figures. The recent passage of some very modest health care reforms includes legislation that prevents insurance companies from suddenly deciding your prostate or breast cancer is a preexisting condition and thus canceling your policy. For that – supposedly sane rational people have called Obama and Democrats Stalinists. In the purges of 1937-38 alone, it is estimated almost 400,000 people were executed by Stalin. Those that make direct comparisons between Stalin and health care reform are considered the main stream – Fox, The National Review, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and conservative members of Congress have used similar demonizing, sans any lucid rationale. Randy’s crazy is just part of the big circus of crazy. Randy’s particular marriage of one strain of libertarianism and conservatism at least so far, has not had the chance to mainstream their brand of extremism.

* Just a note- Friedersdorf is partially incorrect about tobacco subsidies. They are being phased out.