Politics, Bluefin Tuna, and Pythons
It is believed by many Americans that we live in a democratic society. Indeed, the founding fathers of this nation set things up as such. The basic idea is: government for the people and by the people. This sounds good, and to this day, we vote in many different ways – what we buy, what we watch, what we eat, and who we vote for. But, the truth is, America is a capitalist oligarchy, an oligarchy born out of World War II – and that oligarchy is run by the interests of multinational corporations and the lobbyist that represent them as well as their contributing special interest groups. Policy has become the arena of money—if your group has money, you get favorable political clout.
Because of the way things are done on Capitol Hill, the lobbyist for these corporations have tremendous power, as do special interest groups that financially support these politicians. These entities have a seemingly limitless supply of money, and in a capitalist society, it’s all about the money.
Since the close of WWII, government offices have grown tremendously, and especially the executive branch. Most, if not all of the appointments to cabinet positions, are filled by former executives from multinational corporations – this is a double edged sword! Since the US, like all governments, is a business, it takes business people to run it; however, those people have their loyalties – after, that’s how they got into office in the first place.
We would like to think that reason (and science) would be enough to prevent laws from being made that would do damage to a smaller sector of the business world or help protect those who are in danger from exploitation – but this is not the case!
Let’s consider the Blue-fin tuna.
Blue-fin tuna are in danger of extinction; they are in desperate need of a measure of protection. Their numbers have steadily declined over the last twenty years, to the point that, in some places, it is no longer profitable to fish for them. A committee was convened to consider the scientific data and make a decision on how to deal with the situation. Biologists studying the tuna made the following recommendations: To allow the fish to recover, a limit of 10 thousand tons per year should be imposed; to sustain the population at its current level, no more than 15 thousand tons per year should be harvested. The committee considered the data, and set the limit at 29.5 thousand tons per year – double the sustainable yield!
Why? In the face of losing this profitable species, why would they allow this? The answer is: a multinational corporation – Mitsubishi (Yes, you read that right!) Mitsubishi controls approximately 60% of the Blue-fin tuna market worldwide. They have dispatched newer, more elaborate vessels recently (claiming to be replacing the older ones, while not removing them), and are building large freezers to keep back some of the valuable fish! The objective here is, when the species is no longer profitable to fish (when numbers decline to near extinction), their meat will be a luxury for the very richest! The sushi restaurants around the world will reap a huge profit, along with Mitsubishi! Science made no difference here; the threat of extinction made no difference either! The only thing that matters is politics – politics driven by financial gain.
Now, we can consider the “python ban”. Science has little to with the policies sought by those pursuing them. Reason has little sway on Capitol Hill if there is not a lot of money involved. USARK is in a true David and Goliath struggle – with a budget of $300, 000 has to fight against giants with millions! It is amazing to see that it has done as well as it has. And for every time USARK has a victory, those that want to enforce their ideologies upon the rest of us, can turn right around, and reintroduce the bills again and again.
Centralian Python (Morelia bredli)
We think that we are protected by the constitution, but in reality, its safeguards are constantly weakened by other”amendments”, while appearing to be in compliance with the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments), are actually lessoning its power. On top of that, we must realize that the courts, and especially the Supreme Court, whose appointees are also mainly acquired from ex multinational corporate positions, are “interpreting” the laws to the advantage of the oligarchs.
What can we do? We MUST ALL ban together. We also need to put our money where our mouth is – if nothing else is clear, money is the true power in all legal and political struggles. Living in a capitalist society, we need capitol to stay alive. The fight will not end – so long as there are those that have political clout, backed by currency, we will have to fight. The question always ends up being: What is it worth to you?
Carl Person Worked for Tom Crutchfield from 1981 to 1986 (Herpetofauna in Ft. Myers, Fl.). His interests have always centered around venomous snakes, and in fact, has very rarely kept anything that wasn’t venomous since he was 13! While living in North Carolina, Carl helped start NCARK when, after an incident involving a large cat, PETA and API, in conjunction with NC Zoo, tried to legislate a ban on all exotics. Carl is currently working on his Ph.D. in genetics of rattlesnake speciation and snake venom to medicine. He also helps with the USARK booth during the larger west coast shows. He can be contacted at [email protected]