This is a follow up to an earlier post on an article published in the National Post that Jim P. Houston brought to my attention.
What is really being lamented by some conservationists is that some species X which the conservationist values for whatever reason does not have broader appeal. The only possible other argument would be that all life is valuable and worth preserving. Which is absurd. No one (sane) would voluntarily take immunosuppressants to be the host of bacterial infections.
Rather than just point out that we discriminate our conservation expenditures based on our sometimes shallow values (which is rather obvious), plaintiff conservationists must show to us — their wider constituency — why we too should care about species X.
To assume offhand that discrimination based on "cuteness" (or, even worse, commercial interest) is shallow, is itself shallow. I suspect this is what's behind the article in the National Post and I suspect this supposed shallowness is why it was deemed noteworthy. Assuming I'm right, we are being shown how silly and short-sighted we are in our resource allocation of conservation funds. If so, where are the arguments for how we should otherwise allocate such resources?
Should we be more "equitable"? More rational? More laissez-faire? Why is not cuteness a perfectly reasonable criteria for fund allocations? The article presents no proposals. At best it presents the obvious. And it's a pure puff-piece. At worst it makes us feel silly and hints we should leave resource allocation to "Canadian ecology experts". If the latter, this is a politically and socioeconomically dangerous position to take.
And yes, the good old Basic Imperative comes into play. But even in the context of the imperative, the solution to resource allocation is the same: a market economy under the rule of law and a political process based on sound mathematical procedures.
If you want to be preserved as a species, I suggest getting a really good lobbying group. Make your case to us pesky"shallow" humans, you toads of the world. I'm all ears Ugly Animal Preservation Society. Fascinate me with something really, really grotesque and maybe I'll send you a few bucks. Just don't make it a praying mantis. Those creatures really freak me out, even when they're from New Zealand.