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Reblogged:Joakim Book Against the 'Bambi Syndrome'

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Through a recent episode of Power Hour, I learned of Joakim Book's timely short essay, "Against the Bambi Syndrome: Nature Is Not Nice," which speaks against the common myth that nature is fragile and nurturing:
polar_bear.jpg
Cute in photos, life-threatening in person. (Image by Hans-Jurgen Mager, via Unsplash, license.)
The "Bambi Syndrome" is an often derogatory term for someone who -- thanks to the wonders of progress -- can feel an awe for nature and animals uncoupled with respect for the dangers they represent. Protecting polar bears, mountain gorillas, and rainforests becomes an uncomplicated moral imperative when their preservation does not threaten your home and sustenance.

The Inuit communities of Nunavut harbor no delusions about the peaceful nature of wildlife. They are intimately familiar with the ruthlessness of nature -- the cold, the treacherous ice, the capricious polar bears.

Calling for better human control of nature is neither the climate denials of oil executives or the early Christian convictions that man was created to shepherd animals and dominate nature. Fundamentally, it points to the threat that nature routinely poses to humans -- seemingly needless to point out in the midst of a pandemic with a virus bent on killing its host in all manner of unpleasant ways. Disease, earthquakes, storms, volcanoes, floods, and extreme temperatures are other ways that nature displays its power over all life. [links omitted, bold added]
The essay -- which starts with a polar bear ripping apart a man saving his daughters and includes a brief survey of the engineering wonder of the Dutch Delta -- should be required reading for anyone concerned with improving the environment and with human flourishing. The ignorant and destructive mindset Book describes prevents many people from realizing that both causes align quite well.

In addition, it might be worth remembering this essay the next time you encounter someone who has fallen for the anti-human environmentalist agenda, but is open to argument.

-- CAV

P.S. The podcast linked at the start of this post is interesting in part for the first-hand account of how, as Epstein puts it in his program note, "a climate activist turned [into a] climate thinker." As with many of the episodes of Don Watkins's Liberty Unlocked podcast series, the insight into how someone becomes an advocate for liberty can be valuable to anyone interested in furthering that cause through persuasion.

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