Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 775, June 15, 2014

The very sort of evil that our fathers and
grandfathers fought and bled and died to stop is
fully in control of the United States Government.

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For Better or Worse: Invasive Species vs Invasive Government
by Jeff Fullerton

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Started writing this article while on vacation last week when I took my Honda Civic in for its first routine maintenance appointment.

Brought the iPad along for entertainment in anticipation of a long wait—as I was told it could take several hours for the service. (*1) And read the local paper that was there. The Tribune Review had an article about invasive species which became the source of inspiration. Also read some of my own stuff from the past year or so. I'm surprised how many I have now. Soon maybe I should write something that could become the "Lever Action" for the Reptile & Fish hobbies. Might be a good way to introduce the hobbyist community to Libertarian ideas. The Big Government worshipers and goose stepping treehuggers will probably go nuts for sure! Let them. After reading some of that stuff about Washington State "Ecotopia" or better yet "Ecofascist-topia" and in light of what we just found out about New Jersey(**2)—might have to take back past comments about the Garden State—I would often say: "They goose step so high they kick themselves in the face"—mainly because they were so always so anal about people possessing corn and pine snakes which are like the goldfish of the reptile hobby—and a few other things like permit requirements. But out on the Left Coast they don't want you to have anything because if its a native species it's In-Dayngered and if its exotic—well then it's an alien invasion scenario worthy of David Gerrold's War Against the Chtorr (***3) waiting to happen!

Bog turtles invasive?—are you kidding? And if not—I can't see how that would be a bad thing considering they are in serious trouble in their native range back in the east. Even the idea of the more prolific Japanese Pond Turtles or North American Woods becoming aggressive alien invaders the likes of Red-Ear Sliders is a stretch of the imagination. In Jersey they may sometimes kick themselves in the face when they go off marching lockstep—but in Washington State when kicking themselves in the face they put the boot in their own ass by going all the way down the alimentary canal and out the other end!

And lately Pennsylvania has been striving to be just as bad! I remember—regarding North American Wood Turtles: right after I lost my original pair—I considered buying hatchlings from a breeder out in WA who had a nice flock and was on the breeder's registry. Wonder what became of him and his turts? Sad to contemplate.

Invasive species vs invasive government. It's obvious to most people reading this which one is the lesser of the two evils.

Fortunately most of my dealings are with the former so far and they have not been more an irritation than mortal threat and I've managed to stay under the radar and avoid interaction with the other. Far as the so called alien invaders go—I've kind of accepted that some things like the Asian Wiggly Worms and Japanese Stilt Grass which infest my property are probably here to stay—the worms actually improve the soil structure—though they do alter the ecosystem at the expense of some native plants—and they are said to make good fish bait—because of their tendency to really wriggle on the hook—these are actually the famed Georgia Jumpers that I long thought be a native U.S. species. As for the grass—it is easy to pull and its Achilles Heel seems to be the fact that it is an annual and I might be able to deplete the seed bank by aggressively weeding it out of my gardens and the wooded areas where it is currently established. Bruce the neighborhood Historian finds it makes good forage for his sheep and other livestock and for a while it made for a satisfactory lawn around the Redneck Chateau when mowed or grazed by the animals!

For many years I have to admit to being a purist in my preoccupation with native species though I was not a total native plant Nazi as I did include Asian Hostas and Day Lilies in my landscape because they were so neat and a few west coast natives(****4) like Western Skunk Cabbage which looks way more spectacular than the eastern one. I often wonder if my friend—the plantsman Don Hackenberry thought "what the heck's wrong with this guy"? because I was not so interested in all those new species of Thalictrum (meadow rue) Solomon Seal, and others that started coming into American horticulture when China opened up to the world back on the 1990s. In recent years my preference for eastern North American flora started giving way to more catholic tastes—which also extended to fauna. The decision to get onto keeping Japanese Bitterlings and White Cloud Mountain Minnows and Japanese Pond and Chinese Box Turtles. With the Turts it was a decision born of desire to minimize my need to interact with government in regard to regulations. As for the plants and fish—it was a matter of finding interesting alternatives to species that don't survive or thrive under local conditions—or were lost for whatever reason and were rare and difficult to replace.

Maybe it's because I'm getting old—but lately I have for the most part lost my patience for messing with things that are difficult or unattainable. Like the plants that waste away or find some excuse to rot, or fish that go belly up at the drop of a hat or that neat species of turtle that is no longer common in the trade and if it can be found—costs an outrageous fortune! Maybe its because Life is too short to waste living for the unattainable like it is for a better tomorrow—though I still hope for that. Rethinking the hobby could even be a lot like planning what kind of plants and livestock I would take with me to populate the ecosystem of a newly minted habitat colony in space. For the longest time I imagined trying to recreate specific regional biotypes like people do with aquariums— SE Asian, Congo or Amazon Basin are popular types. But the world we live in is so mixed up. For better or worse, I'm thinking in space as well as here on Earth it might be better to just go with what works than attempt to recreate the past. And the first self-sustaining space habitat will be something truly new under the sun. And that's usually the best way to survive in a changing world. Which will surely earn some enmity from the environmentalists like the ones in Fallen Angels obsessing over the temporary conditions and mayfly species of this interglacial. Much like some comments to a friend a few weeks ago.

I was carping about those plants that dwindle away in cultivation or find whatever excuse to rot—and I said if they are going to be like that—then maybe they do deserve to become extinct. That might be the ultimate in environmental thought crimes—despite being told once that it was actually better to let endangered species go extinct with dignity rather than trying to interfere even more with the natural world trying to save them for our own personal gratification—or the ultimate infamy: for human utility. After all it's all about sacrificing anything of value to humanity—to the non-human—cut off your nose to spite your face environmentalism. Read Ayn Rand's "Return of the Primitive".

And for yet another environmental thought crime—there are hybrids and GMOs. The verdict is still out on the latter but the former are also controversial given they violate the pure species concept. Especially if you are concerned about conservation of rare species or have a compulsive obsession with locality matched specimens or bloodlines. Collectors of plants, fish, there are even locality matched Greybanded Kingsnakes that are kept and bred in pure lines. I was kind of into that to a degree in some things. But it runs into the same problem as the unattainable species—only worse because you are limiting yourself to a specific blood line which might even be harder to replace if lost. Often it is just for nostalgic reasons. And of you do succeed then there is the issue of inbreeding depression. Conservationists also fret about outbreeding depression too—concerning fears of introducing genetic variables into populations and the unknown possibilities of unintended consequences. If only there was more willingness to apply the same principle every time a new government policy or program is proposed! It seems the Left—and the environmental Left in particular lives in perpetual fear of the unknown variable as the whole aim of their policy objectives has been to throttle change and any bad consequences may be intentional. Especially when your motto is "Hey—Hey! Ho—Ho! Western Civilization Has Got to Go"!

Hybrids in their eyes are usually considered impure artifacts of human creation—in contrast to that which is natural and pure. And of course good. Those creatures of mixed ancestry are at best weaklings ill suited for life in the wild which threaten the genetic pollution and collapse of populations—or worse—have potential to give rise to a new hybrid super-species with the potential to usurp and ruin whole ecosystems. Sometimes that is true given there is such a thing as hybrid vigor. Like my Cypripedium x andrewsii—a cross of the very fussy and delicate Small White Ladyslipper and the somewhat less fussy Small Yellow—favoring the former in appearance and has proven horticulturally superior to either in cultivation. Planning on trying some other hybrids in the future that look like the Yellow and Showy Ladyslipper Orchids—which were crossed with some of their Asian relatives to yield easier to grow plants. Why mess with stuff that is difficult to grow—unless you are trying to conserve stocks for reintroduction there is no reason to do that. Why bother with native lilies which are so damned fussy in comparison to their Asian counterparts? To hell with trying to obtain a pure wild Rhododendron catawbiense (Locality matched of course!) when there are plenty of cultivars on the market that look the same?

The genetics issue again.
Recently I discovered that many wild populations of wild plants are actually natural hybrids—the Cypripedium x andrewsii is the recreation of such and so are many of our native wild Azaleas. The Flame Azalea by my driveway is also a good example. Back in the 1990s I planted two varieties from We Du Nurseries; Soquoy River & Keowee Sunset—but my brother kept mowing off one of them and it finally had enough setbacks and died. Not sure which one the remaining plant is but I decided to compare photographs and figure out which one it isn't and then started looking for a replacement for the other!

Mine has which has a more solid orange flower has to be Soquoy River because it looks nothing like Keowee Sunset which is the image from We Du. Unfortunately they have apparently gone out of business leaving Rarefind Nursery—the only other source I can find. And the price tag is a toe curling $75—though not as toe curling as the $2,400 Golden Coin Turtles being ground up onto quack cancer remedies in China! Or even the $150 to $300 captive bred Chinese Golden Box hatchlings being sold in the USA!

They have it in a 5 gallon container which may require extra charges—if they can even ship it— or a trip to Jersey to pick it up. Heck—might as well dip some Blackbanded Sunfish and pick up a spotted turtle or two while I'm there! Funny—Ho Ho—or Funny Ha Ha? There was a time when that was the way to go! Now maybe a thing of the past with the increased likelihood of the goose stepping Green Gestapo out in force looking to score a big bust. And I was regretting again this week about giving up my Spotties. Those are the only native PA reptile I think I will ever get back into since in addition to being super cute turtles with awesome personality; they are also small and easy to accommodate both indoors and in the secure enclosures outside. Native Woods really need a lot of room and with Gulfs and Floridas plus a flock of Chinese Box Turtles—the Eastern Boxies would be a bit much—even though there are some I have really loved in my days.

As for getting back onto spotts—there are three options—

1): Move to another state where it is legal to have them and order from the Turtle Source or Garden State Tortoises.

2): wait a while for the country to turn and the government is no longer interested in looking for reasons to bust outspoken Libertarian critics or Tea Party activists—or does not have the resources to fund the "Turtle Police" and then just say screw it all and go out and catch some more or get someone to buy them for me at one of the reptile shows in Florida.

In the long run the best solution may be—

3): fight tooth and nail to get these damned laws and prohibitions overturned and rally the reptile hobbyists to pick up torches and pitchforks and turn up the heat big time on agencies like the Fish & Boat Commission and also the treehuggers and the backstabbing Big Government worshipers in their own organizations who keep trying to sabotage any pushback by shaming outspoken individuals into standing down and rolling over and giving the prohibitionists whatever they want all the time. There is not much left to give anymore.

And when its all said and done and we've torpedoed the agenda of the Ecofascist juggernauts into oblivion and can buy, sell, trade,possess and breed any species we want—I'll just trade offspring from my Asian turts for some!

End Notes:

(1) Was much less than expected. Honda is usually very fast and efficient in addition to building a good and affordable car!

(2) Incredible!
The Garden State—perhaps a better label would be the "Police State" where it is illegal to pump your own gas or change a flat tire at the side of the highway—actually grants licenses not only to own but to breed and sell wood turtles! And you can apparently have Spotts too and Blandings! [Link]

The PFBC are obviously wasting everyone's time and energy including their own. Of course the New Jersey law prohibits the sale of the turtles within the state—why? Maybe just because the Law must always find some reason to be an ass no matter how generous it is.

(3) The War Against the Chtorr: Have not read it but someday I must. According to the reviews it looks like an interesting story about extraterrestrial invaders who mysteriously arrive on Earth—possibly in the form of spores that drifted through space rather than in ships—along with their entire alien ecosystem that is taking hold and gradually displacing the native one. And in many ways as art mimics real life—the government turns out to be just as dangerous to the soldiers in the field as the invasion they are trying to roll back and contain—if not more so!

Footnote to a footnote—there are even sites with funny Chtorr jokes— [Link]
Q: What does a Chtorran call a Liberal?
A: Politically Correct Lunch.
Q: What does a Chtorran call a Conservative?
A: Gunpowder Seasoned Lunch!

(4) A lot of plants from the Pacific Northwest do not survive well here in the Northeast. If our cold winters are not too much for them—they often expire in the summer heat. There are a few exceptions.

Final note: with all their zeal to snoop and spy on us and force us to do it "Their Way"—with the promise of draconian punishment if we don't—I would say that Big Government is the ultimate invasive species bent on universal domination.

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