Minding other peoples’ business

World wars have been fought because people who lived in one land took it upon themselves to tell people living in another land what they had to do. The Germans once tried to tell the rest of Europe how Germany would permit them to live. Earlier, Romans tried the same thing. The Japanese ran their own version in the 20th century Pacific.

The newly minted United States of America emerged from a revolutionary war begun because a people in one land presumed to give orders to the people of another. Even the American civil war, ostensibly over slavery, was more broadly fought because the northern states presumed to tell the southern states how the north would permit them to live in their own southern land.

It could be argued that the US tried to tell Vietnam how the US would permit it to live in its own land.

Today, Islam presumes to tell the world how it will permit the people of other lands to live there according to their prophet, and it attempts to enforce its mandate with violence.

These affairs don’t ever go well, and there’s a reason for it. There is an … almost … universal feeling among people everywhere that if they are minding their own business in their own land no outsider has any right to interfere. This sentiment is so strongly felt that those people being commanded from without tend to dig in and fight.

I say that this feeling is ‘almost’ universal because, regrettably, there is always a contingent of folk in all societies who are convinced of their personal superiority as thinkers, usually because Mommy told them so, and they thus feel exempt from the generally accepted ethic of not telling people elsewhere what they must do in their own lands. It is as though they are driven by some divine compulsion to ‘improve’ on everything they behold, as … they … define improvement, whether or not there is any agreement outside their own cloistered circles that a particular situation even needs improvement.

So, content in their superior notion of what needs to be fixed and why, they blithely dictate to other people what they must do even in those other people’s own lands. Oh, these folk always have what for them seem to be splendid reasons for their meddling, and they seem to resent having to account for meddling in other people’s lives. After all, Mommy always told them they were just the smartest little kids in the whole wide world, and Mommy knows about these things.

Soon, history has shown us from ancient times, a bitter conflict develops between the self-superior meddlers and the mere mortals being meddled with. Often, it degenerates into a blind battle of wills that obscures all legitimate merits of whatever issue the meddlers are trying to shove onto the meddlees.

Cue the newest iteration of ‘improving’ the Cascades with grizzly bears. Here, the meddlers claim that the grizz were in the Cascades before the meddlees living in or near the cascades were. Of course, grizzlies were also in Seattle and the entire urban western seaboard before the meddlers were there too, but, curiously, the meddlers’ concern for ‘rewilding’ doesn’t quite extend to rewilding the lands … they ... live in. Go figure.

The meddlers pontificate that the Cascades where they want to re-infuse grizzlies are publicly owned (in theory), ergo they are everyone’s lands, but even they know this is smoke to obscure who has to wake up where there could be a half-ton omnivore in their yard … and who doesn’t.

I like the grizzly myself – they’re much like dogs if you discount the incidentals like … oh, say … they are wild and one of the biggest land meat eaters in the world. The statistical risk grizzly would pose to people in or near the Cascades is often exaggerated. They usually mind their own business (as they see it …), which is more than can be said for the meddlers. Yet … grizzly have killed many bear experts who knew them well and skillfully posed them no threat.

I’d hope everyone would look at all sides of the Cascades/grizzly question with as much objectivity as can be wrung from such a classic meddler vs meddlee scenario. Maybe there’s a place for grizz in the Cascades where the risk to those people who call it home is realistically (and apolitically) adjudged acceptable.

But grizzly are not an endangered species and are no more likely to become so than any other wild animal in America facing the results of unwisely planned human population growth. If grizzly are not artificially reseeded into the Cascades their species (if perhaps not the precise DNA strain that was once there) will survive elsewhere.

So be it.

William Slusher spent fifteen great years in Okanogan County before recently returning to his native Virginia. Among other novels available from Amazon, he is author of the political comedy: Cascade Chaos, or, How Not To Put Your Grizzly In The Statehouse. He may be complained to at williamslusher@live.com.

User menu

NCW Media Newspapers