Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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"Hippie Chimps" a dying breed?

Yes. You read that right. Hippie Chimps. The bonobo breed common to the Congo and known for resolving their conflicts and differences with sex rather than violence (Make Love Not War!) is having a rather hard time of it. This article outlines the details of the story (and is worth a quick read on many amusing levels). Apparently the strategy of these chimps is not working. For one thing--despite all their sex--the chimps only seem to produce one offspring per female every five years. Mark Steyn ought to have a word with them. And now, their peaceful ways are being disrupted by a violent enemy--man. It seems that the "sensual body rubs" and other forms of kneading these chimps engage in makes for a pretty tender and delicious meat. Poachers are getting big prices for these chimps. You gotta love the response from one policeman who admitted to illegally eating the chimps: "What can we do if bonobo meat is tasty?" he asked.

Discussions - 5 Comments

This was noted in the January edition of Foreign Affairs in Robert Sapolsky’s essay: A Natural History of peace.

Doubtfull that anyone here would feel good about reading it, since it attempts to find answers for man based on the behavior of primates... but the jist of the article is that neither the bonobos nor the purely violent Baboons have the same sort of advantages as the Forest Troop Baboons. Due to a "selective bottleneck" that killed off the most aggressive males and left the troop with a greater female to male ratio the following might have occured.

"Living in a group with half the typical number of males, and with the males being the nice guys to boot, Forest Troop’s females become more relaxed and less wary. As a result, they are more willing to take a chance and reach out socially to new arrivals, even if the new guys are typically jerky adolescents at first. The new males, in turn, finding themselves treated so well, eventually relax and adopt the behaviors of the troops distinctive social milieu."

Somehow the habits that make this forest troop society of apes persist are effectively passed on....

So Robert Sapolsky says that "we are not Bonobos and never can be"...but we aren’t Baboons that depend only upon brute force...but we have something in between that we call society? civilization?

In any case perhaps there is something to the idea that a war or disease that only killed the Alpha males, could have given females an upper hand in crafting the rules of the game that become our habits and pushed us towards the first polis....

If it is illegal to eat them, this is either a new thing, not enforced, or not applicable in Zaire. When I was in Zaire (now the republic of Congo) I remmember wandering around the grand marche (with parental supervision) and I remember seeing stacks of smoked chimps/monkeys laying out in the open. I was told that I tried some but I can’t remmember it... in any case it is rather spooky the resemblence one of these has to a skinny child. I also believe that I have read an amnesty international report stating that the Pigmy people in Congo were at one point being killed and canabalized. It would probably be wrong to say that someone with experience couldn’t tell the difference, but given the harsh realities and open racism in Africa I wouldn’t be suprised if the Pigmy’s were at some time sold in the grand marche as smoked monkey...after all plausible deniability seems to win out if something is tasty enough.(an argument aknowledged by conservatives who claim that liberals engage in this when defending abortion.) While an ape is an ape and a man is a man, and meat is very dear in both Congo’s, it is probably for the best if one does not eat them unless one has to.


A nice challenge for the liberal mind ... The most advanced animals in the world, from their standpoint, face extinction -- because they’re so advanced.

The usual solution, West-bashing and multiculturalism, doesn’t seem too promising in this case ...

If aggressiveness and clannishness didn’t pay huge survival dividends, we wouldn’t have them in such supply! Instead of ignoring this or wishing it away, we should be focused on how to harness it in a "prosocial" way. Sports does this marvelously, but pursuits like science and business also profit from competitiveness and loyalty. Of course, there is that downside....

The good Lord is smiting them heathen apes for their preversions.

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