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The Case of the Disappearing Spotted Owl: An Object Lesson in Left/Liberal Politics

Commentary by Greg Lewis / NewMediaJournal.US
January 19, 2006

As Democrats continue to hemorrhage power and political leverage, it's becoming more and more obvious that at the root of their precipitous decline is the fact that, while they are fond of trotting out their "principles" and "convictions" in support of selected political positions, they hang onto these principles only so long as they support the ends they're trying to achieve. Take, for example, their commitment to the arguably incompatible principles of the theory of evolution and the need to save endangered species.

On the one hand, as long as you don't try to teach creationism or intelligent design or in any other way dispute the theory of the survival of the fittest put forth initially in Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, Dems are happy. The problem comes in when leftists discover that a species of plant or animal is in danger of becoming extinct. Suddenly the foundation principle of Darwin's book goes out the window. If Dems were consistent in their adherence to Darwinian principles, they'd say, "Well, I guess the Spotted Owl isn't fit to survive." That is, in fact, pretty much what the theory of evolution, as well as the facts, tell us is the case.

Instead, of course, leftists have managed to cripple the lumber industry in the northwest by seriously curtailing the areas open to logging so that the habitat of the Northern Spotted Owl — and thus, presumably, the species itself — could be preserved. It's been more than ten years since the Clinton Administration engineered legislation that put a virtual halt to logging old growth forests in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. This ban resulted in the closing of nearly 1,000 sawmills and pulp and paper mills during the 1990s, and more than 130,000 people were deprived of their livelihoods. The legislation designed to save the Spotted Owl virtually destroyed hundreds of small towns which had grown up around logging businesses.

But, even if we look the other way and refuse to acknowledge the widespread human suffering this misguided legislation has caused, it still remains policy formed counter to one of leftist Democrats' so-called "principles." As if that weren't bad enough, it also turns out to be — like so much leftist legislation — policy founded on bad science. Indeed, it's looking more and more like the logging and lumber industries were not to blame for the demise of the Spotted Owl; rather, that species' numbers had been diminishing all along because of a natural predator.
In the decade following the passage of this misbegotten legislation, the number of Spotted Owls has continued to decline . . . by a whopping seven percent a year in Washington state alone. No, it wasn't the destruction of habitat caused by logging that was at the root of the decline in the Spotted Owl population; instead, it was the incursion into the Spotted Owl's habitat of another species, the Barred Owl.
It had long been observed that Barred Owls, larger and more aggressive than Spotted Owls, tended to move into areas occupied by Spotted Owls, competing with their smaller cousins for dominance. And winning, by the way. Not only are those nasty Barred Owls succeeding in eliminating Spotted Owls from their shared habitat, their success serves to underscore the very Darwinian principle, survival of the fittest, that Dems are so fond of pushing out there as something akin to received truth. (At least, that is, as long as the principle can be used to advance their political agenda.)

Except, of course, you're never going to get a leftist to cop to the validity of anything as concrete and verifiable as facts. At least not if the facts can't be manipulated and misrepresented and otherwise twisted to support the dialectique du jour that they're trying to advance. What's really operative here is a principle far more important to the Marxist agenda that Teddy Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and their ilk are putting forth, and that is the hatred of capitalism.
Dems will ride the theory of evolution until it collapses from exhaustion as long as it helps them pursue the implementation of another of their goals: the elimination of religion — especially Christianity — and spirituality from the psychic landscape of America. And if Darwinian theory must be jettisoned in leftists' efforts to destroy capitalism, as it was in their bringing about the economic devastation to the American northwest that resulted from the Spotted Owl legislation, well, what can you say?

What we've got here is a classic example of liberal Democrat tactics at work: The end (in this case, destroying a segment of our capitalistic economic system) justifies resorting to any means necessary. Leftist Democrats will literally stop at nothing to implement, on any level, any part of their anti-capitalist, anti-spiritual, anti-American agenda.

If they can wield Darwin's theory of evolution to strike down the legitimate reference to a God of Creation in the context of our educational system, they won't hesitate for a nanosecond. And if they must ignore Darwin in order to pass scientifically unsound legislation to protect an endangered species — especially if that legislation has a devastating impact on even a small segment of our capitalist economy — well, what's not to like? Does the phrase "killing two birds with one stone" ring a bell?

As far as Dems are concerned — at least to judge by their actions — if the principle fits, wield it. If not, what the hell? It's only a principle, right? And what does a principle matter when the deeper agenda of undermining the very values and institutions on which our wonderful democracy was founded and continues to flourish can be advanced?

It is precisely the insidious duplicity — the discontinuity between what they profess to believe in and what their political actions and utterances reveal them to be — of the increasingly left-leaning Democrat Party in America that is becoming clear in their desperate attempts to cling to a Marxist ideology that has been proven unworkable over and over again during the past century.

That a political party in 21st-century America could continue to advance this agenda, even to the point of disingenuously misapplying the so-called principles they would have us believe are the foundation of their political philosophy . . . well, all I can say is, "Dems, America is on to you." Your penchant for shameless principle-swapping is becoming more and more obvious to real Americans. Until Democrats see the light and make some deep and lasting changes to the way they conduct their political business — I'd suggest that you not hold your breath — they will continue to reap precisely what you might expect from their sowing the seeds of a barren ideology.


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