Modern Morality and the Value of Life
The mainstream media has turned the killing of an African lion named Cecil into an explosive international story. The hunter, who paid Zimbabwe some $55,000 for the right to bring back such a trophy, was identified as Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. Social media has been abuzz over this for days; Palmer received death threats and the most extreme of the “tolerant” haters online were literally demanding his scalp.
Lost in the reporting of this story are some disquieting facts. First, Zimbabwe has been cast in the unlikely (and wildly inaccurate) role of outraged victim. For those who might have missed it, Zimbabwe is run by 91 year old dictator Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980. As has been reported in the alternative media, Mugabe delights in giving extravagant parties; his recent birthday party cost a reported $1 million. While animal activists and modern “liberals” of all sorts were mourning the loss of Cecil the lion, they managed to ignore the fact that Mugabe consumed what was referred to as a “zoo” at that party. Included among the delicacies was a baby elephant. Evidently, there aren’t any liberal tears being shed over the death of this innocent creature.
Among Mugabe’s birthday presents, just a few months prior to the death of Cecil the lion, was a stuffed lion, to be mounted as the dictator’s personal trophy. Local wildlife conservationists called the party “obscene” and described the celebration as “totally unethical.” And yet Social Media was silent. They also protested about all this taking place in the midst of “collapsed public hospitals, clinics and rural schools” in the impoverished African nation. Zimbabwe’s per capita GDP is the third lowest in the world, and the average wage for a Zimbabwe citizen is a paltry $253 per month. As a headline in the Minneapolis Post described it, “Cecil the Lion Had a Better Life Than Most People in Zimbabwe.”
Yet in spite of the embarrassing state of their downtrodden nation, Zimbabwe officials had the gall to demand that the United States extradite Palmer back to them for some suitably Third World style of “justice.” Palmer’s defense, which has fallen on predictably deaf ears, is that he relied on local guides and had no idea the lion he killed was a well-known local favorite. A petition urging that Palmer be delivered into the hands of this corrupt dictatorship had garnered some 175,000 signatures as of the end of last week. More than 500,000 had signed such a petition on Facebook. I don’t know if Palmer is lying or telling the truth, but the old “innocent until proven guilty” thing seems to apply here.
The country that has expressed such outrage over this one particular dentist has become, under the leadership of Mugabe, one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Zimbabwe regularly exploits its wildlife and natural resources, as illustrated recently when they captured more than 60 wild elephants to ship to overseas zoos in China and elsewhere. Safari Club International actively promotes trophy hunting in Zimbabwe, and as indicated by the princely sum the unfortunate Walter Palmer paid to the government there, Mugabe and his cronies obviously enjoy profiting from the enterprise.
The International Business Times recently reported that research shows people are twice as likely to give money to save a dog than to save a dying child. As they note, “an estimated 21,000 children die from the consequences of poverty” around the world every day. And, in fact, every year Americans alone kill some 360 lions. So what makes this one particular lion so special? Why the massive news coverage? Why all the impassioned outrage? And why do so many human beings now apparently value the life of animals more than they value human life?
During this same time period, there was a rash of undercover videos filmed, of Planned Parenthood officials, seemingly caught admitting to the marketing of human fetal tissue. The response on the part of our demented establishment was to suppress the videos. This is, of course, symbolic of what we see everywhere now in our culture, from Edward Snowden to the victims of bullying in schools. Whistleblowers are always the ones targeted for retaliation, and punished more severely than the wrongdoers they expose.
Recent studies suggest that an increasing number of college students support the concept of after-birth abortion. In other words, the willful murder of human infants. There is no semantics to be argued here, no debate about exactly when “life” starts. When a baby is born, life has clearly started. And a growing number of human beings, most of whom are undoubtedly outraged over the death of Cecil the Lion, are okay with that. The fact that a group of alleged “medical ethicists” associated with Oxford University could openly proclaim that parents should have the right to kill their newborns because they are “morally irrelevant” tells us just how far we’ve fallen as a civilization.
As far back as 2008, CNN recognized this phenomenon, in a story headlined, “Do We Care More About Animals Than Humans?” As we’ve seen in an untold number of instances, perhaps best exemplified when shoppers at a West Virginia Target completely ignored 61 year old Walter Vance, after he collapsed in the store and died, we seem to be feeling a decreasing empathy for our fellow humans. Animals, on the other hand, seem to evoke entirely different, more powerful feelings. We certainly see this in women, especially, who sometimes treat their dogs and cats like the children they often don’t have. By design or otherwise, we are dealing with redirected maternal instincts there.
I have never had a desire to hunt anything, let alone go on an African safari. It was certainly sad that Cecil the Lion died at the hands of a hunter. But the death of any member of the animal kingdom has to be considered as less significant than the death of any human being. Without society recognizing this seminal rule of human civilization, our moral compass becomes really skewered. Carrying this to its logical extremes, we risk becoming like Naomi Watts’ character in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong; ready to protect a giant, threatening beast, who has killed an unknown number of human beings, and willing to risk our own life in the process.
The U.S. Senate, in the wake of all those disquieting Planned Parenthood videos, still was unable to stop taxpayer funding of this organization, whose founder, Margaret Sanger, is remembered for quaint sayings like “the most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” Does anyone really believe that if taxpayers were responsible for any costs relating to the marketing of baby animal parts that our spineless politicians in both carbon-copy parties would fail to stop that funding?
So rest in peace, Cecil. But in the wake of the overblown media coverage surrounding the death of Cecil the Lion, let us never forget all the human victims of war, poverty, oppression, and injustice that lose their lives needlessly every day, of every year, all over the world.