This is a guest post from Homestead: Theatre of Words.
New South Wales is a mass of farmland hanging precariously between drought and floods, weeds and mice. Land was heavily over-cleared in the first century of settlement, and painstakingly restored toward health over the century that followed. The balance between environmental health and agricultural usefulness has been struggled for, achieved, missed, retained and argued over for every one of those past hundred years, and the process continues. A vast corridor runs through the western tablelands – along the Macquarie Fold – and this enables security of habitat and freedom of migration to the greater part of the indigenous species – and farmers maintain wetlands, riparian flats, slopes, bushland and wooded stands upon their own land according to their individual sensitivities and skill. Land management is not ideal, but then nothing is.
Now new players have joined into the land management mix.
“Australian native animals could be given property rights…” reports Weekly Times Now. “University of Western Sydney academic John Hadley, who is at the forefront of a global push to give animals property rights, believes farmers should be forced to negotiate with the legal guardians of Australia’s native animals before clearing their land.
“Under an animal guardianship system, landholders who want to modify habitat on their land would have to negotiate with a guardian acting on behalf of a designated group of animals,” Dr Hadley said…”
It is this last suggestion that gives a clue to Dr Hadley’s mind. The Guardian, whose costs must surely be covered as part of the application, will have an unparalleled access to wealth and patronage power simply by declaring herself as speaking for the dumb beasts. The dumb beasts themselves will have no say in the matter. Ratification of guardianship will come from where? a council of similarly self-ratifying guardians?
The Swarm is identified by its prophets (Hardt and Negri) as communist. It is, by any measure, an extreme collectivist entity. That being so, it need not be communist to remain on the left (where its worshippers abide), but may also be fascist. The Guardians of Australia’s Native Animals will represent a new type of authoritarian collectivist, each a fascist of her own devising: they are moral entrepreneurs able by the might of their self-proclaimed superior virtues to decide how every one else will live on and be nourished by our land, our water and our air. Their voices are to be unstoppable, their views intractable, and their judgements unassailable. They are the new mind of The Swarm.
Calls for an eco-dictatorship are part of the mainstream political debate. “Whether non-democracies such as China will negotiate the rapids of the coming century more adroitly remains to be seen. Certainly, freed from any need to pander to the 80/80 rule, they have at least one freedom Western-style democracies do not have – the freedom to act decisively” writes Elizabeth Farrelly in the Sydney Morning Herald, reflecting upon the idea that 80% of the population has an IQ of only 80% or less and is therefore too stupid to be trusted with its own affairs. One time candidate and general intellectual leader of The Greens, Clive Hamilton, writing about supposed Global Warming, has this: “(T)he implications of 3C, let alone 4C or 5C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of “emergency” responses such as the suspension of democratic processes.” The emergency, interestingly enough, is not real; it is an inverted commas emergency – that is, merely a convenience to institute the suspension of democracy that he craves. Even the medical profession has its fascist adorations. David Shearman of Doctors for the Environment Australia recently published this opinion: “Government in the future will be based upon . . . a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists. These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities.” (For a review of the last, see this.)
Among those filling this new paradigm of government will be the Guardians for Australia’s Native Animals.
A question that appeals is this: are all native creatures to be represented, or only the pretty ones? Are we to hear from the guardians of ants, flies, lice, Funnel Web Spiders, centipedes, amoebas and germs – or only from those for koalas, kangaroos, sugar gliders and lyre birds?
There is a real swarm that regularly afflicts New South Wales. It is locusts, and it causes extraordinary devastation to crops, houses, vehicles and public health every year. Moreover, its attacks severely deplete the foodstuffs of the New South Welsh people.
Is there to be a Guardian for the Locusts to whom we might, as a community, address our pleas for compensation? Might we sue? Might we demand reparations to our property from their nominal property? And might we be able to do likewise with spiders, mosquitoes, bush ticks, scorpions, snakes, dingos and all those others that cause bodily harm to people?
And, finally, for every furred and feathered creature that harbours fleas, but that does nothing to prevent their spread – may we who suffer infestations among our livestock, our pets and ourselves seek punitive damages out of their stock of property?
Rights carry attendant obligations. What obligations have the native animals of Australia offered to bear in return for the rights which we shall award them?
What indeed have the activists for such plans as this – extreme, misanthropic and arrogant – offered as obligations toward us in return for the rights to supreme power that they now demand devolve upon themselves? There are none.
The Swarm is obliged to nothing and to no one. It does not care for rights, only for its own appetite. Now it proposes to consume even the most apolitical of God’s creation to serve its rapacity and its greed.