Guest Post – The Chimpanzees? Tea-Party

Many years ago, in our zoos, chimpanzees would be dressed in top-hats and trousers, and trained to perform tea-parties for the entertainment of the working classes ? who cared little for the dignity of nature. They sat with dainty tea-cups at little white tea-tables, and put on a simian version of late Victorian etiquette. It was popular. It was a shallow, thoughtless, unpleasant spectacle.

Today, our zoos give their chimps environments with no expense spared in the recreation of their natural habitat. Food is hidden so that it may be discovered with enterprise and skill, just as in Africa. Behavioural patterns are monitored, instincts encouraged, and natural social structures carefully preserved. It is really quite heartwarming.

Why is that? ?

Why do we feel it to be right and good that animals should live as though humans had never existed? What?s so wonderful about ?natural?? What is nature anyway ? how is it delineated? There are no scientific answers to such questions, only answers of the heart. And I?m fine with that.

But consider another of the Great Apes. Our dear, troubled old friend, Homo Sapiens.

Many years ago, even as he was teaching unnatural behaviour to zoo animals, Western mankind was very much in touch with his own nature. The industrial era was new. Many people, even in the West, still subsisted on farms, and their peasant lifestyle would have been familiar to humans from the dawn of history. Famine was no dusty Biblical word.

In a world deprived of 21st century intellectual and ideological enlightenment, human instincts had much more say in the manner of our lives. A man?s identity was more about race than culture, more about culture than values, and more about values than geography.

The idea of any nation admitting millions of aliens to share in her resources ? let alone aliens soaked in an ancient animosity ? would not have been considered. Those who would not assimilate were viewed with suspicion, and if they ever caused trouble were subject to summary ejection, or worse. And no-one worried it might be offensive to the foreigners.

We may safely assume this was an ancient and quite natural state of affairs. Of course it had elements of unfairness and brutality; such is nature.

Today, in Western universities, young people are pressured to wear pussy hats and t-shirts with feminist slogans, and trained in ideological dogmas for the fulfilment of an intellectual class ? whose right and wrong is based on meaningless relative morality. They sit with dainty sensibilities in their little safe spaces, and put on an atheist version of late-Victorian morality. It seems to be popular.

I dunno why I don?t like it. There is no scientific answer