"Plus c'est la meme chose, plus ça change"
Left-wing British historians complain bitterly about the ‘game laws’ -- legislation which forbade farmers to shoot game such as pheasants or deer, who fed on farmers' crops. The game were to be ‘preserved’ for the benefit of aristocratic hunting-parties. Thus the ruling elite made the lower classes pay for elite leisure pursuits -- hunting.
No such 'class' legislation exists today, of course, in this, the enlightened early 21st century...Or does it?
The Times 29th July 2007 reports: “ ‘Psycho’ bear tears apart an eco-idyll”. The Pyrenees had once supported a large population of brown bears. Now there are some 18 or so left. So, at the behest of environmentalists, French govt officials imported five Slovenian bears to help re-populate the area. One of these turned out to be, not the nubile young creature promised by Slovenian officials, but a grumpy 17-year-old who killed sheep for pleasure. This beast alone killed some 60% of the 95 sheep attacked in 2006. Farmers & residents have now formed a ‘Regional Movement Against Bears in the Pyrenees’, asking Pres. Sarkozy to intervene.
The response of animal rights activists? (eg, 'Land for Bears') (1) Get more sheepdogs & more shepherds [ie, why are farmers so gormless? Why can't they incur higher costs?] (2) Farmers get compensation for their sheep [so why are they fussing?] (3) More sheep die from bad weather & disease than are killed by bears [so what do a few more matter?] (4) There are some 20-odd bears in the area -- who have not attacked sheep… [Only some pheasants & deer eat farmers' crops; the vast majority don't...]
In short, the ecologists' satisfaction is morally more valuable than farmers' sheep. Why are the lower classes complaining? It is their function to pay for the moral happiness of their moral superiors.
Truly, ‘The more things change, the more they remain the same.’ We have now gone full circle. Ecologists now have exactly the same type of ‘game’ legislation: Pyrenean farmers have to pay with their sheep so a handful of animal rights activists can feel happy about ‘the environment’. Of course, environmentalists have the noblest of motives: they are not despicable aristos, who thought only about such sordid things as (shudder) hunting. The principle, however, remains. Ecologists demand that the morally lower classes -- despised farmers, who only care for their sheep -- should pay for the ‘higher’ satisfactions of their moral superiors, the environmentalists.