Cattle ranchers in northeast Washington call for the renewed extermination of wolves, a species extinct from the area until recently thanks to shallow minds and destructive policies. Meanwhile, commercial fishermen take every opportunity to shoot protected seals and sea lions they view as competition for the fish their nets drag in by the thousands. And news that the Arctic sea ice has retreated to an all-time historic low, due to climate change wrought by the burning of fossil fuels, factory farming and a host of other human-induced hazards, only emboldens oil companies to drill offshore there and tempts industrialists from U.S., Canada, Beijing and beyond to use the fragile polar waters as a new shipping route.
It appears that Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand aren’t the only ones who think selfishness is a virtue.
Loath to share with other species what they see as their entitlements, animal exploiters think nothing of calling for the annihilation of long-besieged predators like wolves. Washington state rancher, Bill McIrvin told the Capital Press he is hoping for a total deletion of the Wedge Pack: “If we can get this pack removed, hopefully we’ll have long enough that people in Washington can wake up and see what’s going to happen to our game and our livelihood.”
The attitude, adopted by ‘wise use’ resource extractors across the board, goes something like, “Our ancestors massacred the wolves for our benefit, now the ‘game’ and the land are ours to do with as we see fit.” It’s the same self-centered stance taken by fishermen against marine mammals. Never mind that those intelligent Earthlings were mercilessly slaughtered during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, today’s ocean exploiters see them as nothing more than rivals for ‘their’ fish. Meanwhile oilmen disregard all other animal life, and the very climate on which we all depend, in the single-minded veneration of the almighty dollar.
Yet, a dollar in and of itself is just a neutral marker of means. Money, like a gun, depends on human intent to unleash its devastating power.
No, I’m afraid to say, Mr. Ryan, selfishness is not a virtue—it’s the real the root of all evil.