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First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.

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A Tale of Two Coyotes - Monday, July 19, 2010 at 00:01


A Tale of Two Coyotes

To Be Free, We Have to Think Free

David C. Stolinsky, MD
July 19, 2010

One might think that there is no relation between coyotes and freedom. One would be wrong. How we react to predators is an excellent indication of whether we possess the mindset required to remain free. Consider these two coyotes.

The first coyote has the good fortune to live in upstate New York. He and his pack mate were roaming the streets of Rye when they spotted a group of children playing in the front yard of a home. As predators do, he attacked the smallest, six-year-old Emily Hodulik.

The child screamed as she was knocked to the ground, and the coyote bit her on the shoulder and back. Her mother and a neighbor, who luckily were nearby, ran over and scared off the coyotes. They remain free to roam the streets with others of their kind.

Emily is recovering, but must undergo a course of rabies-vaccine injections. She is afraid to go outside, and thinks there are coyotes in the basement of her home. Efforts to trap coyotes and “relocate” them to the woods continue, with uncertain effect.

Predictably, environmentalists complained that we are encroaching on coyotes’ territory. Why their territory includes urban areas was not explained. Coyotes roam schoolyards and residential streets in Los Angeles, and even in New York City. In fact, coyotes’ range has increased following the arrival of humans.

The second coyote had the misfortune to live in Travis County, Texas. This coyote spotted a man jogging with his daughter’s Labrador puppy. The puppy looked like it would make a tasty lunch, but the man had other ideas. He happened to be Gov. Rick Perry, but that fact was irrelevant. What was relevant was that he drew his pistol and killed the coyote, canceling the lunch.

Predictably, opponents of firearms complained that the man was armed. Apparently, when yelling did not frighten the coyote, they wanted him to allow his dog to be carried off, or himself to be attacked. But Gov. Perry remarked, “Don’t attack my dog or you might get shot…if you’re a coyote.” Perhaps the pause was as significant as the words.

What can we learn from the fates of these two coyotes?

● First, it is untrue that “they were here first.” Single-celled organisms were here first. Every plant, every animal, every human being is an invader. Every nation occupies land that used to be occupied by other peoples, who in turn had displaced even earlier peoples. We deserve to keep only what we can put to good use − and can defend from attackers.

● Second, we have a finite amount of compassion. I’m sure Mother Teresa had more than I do, but even hers was limited. Wisely, she spent it on those who needed it most, the poor of India. If she had used it for the middle class and rich, she would have had less to give to the neediest. We should follow her example. The more compassion we squander on predators − either the two-legged or the four-legged variety − the less we have for their victims.

We then deteriorate into self-anointed “humanitarians” who have compassion for coyotes, but none for Labrador puppies or six-year-old girls. Such people sign petitions for the release of Roman Polanski, who drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl, then served only 42 days. Such people boast that “compassion and mercy” were shown when a mother who strangled her 14-year-old daughter with a headscarf was given a suspended sentence − and must serve no time at all in prison. Those who have no compassion for endangered children deserve none for themselves.

● Third, freedom is fragile, and history proves it is often transient. In order to become free and remain free, people must exert constant vigilance for enemies of freedom. These enemies may be external, but they tend to be easier to recognize. They may wear flashy uniforms and shiny boots, or they may wear turbans and robes. They may goose-step, or they may march poorly. But they can be recognized as they loudly proclaim their contempt for freedom and their lust for all-encompassing power.

More insidious are internal enemies of freedom. They wear trendy suits or casual clothes. They talk soothingly about “freedom,” but they mean control. They talk about “power to the people,” but they mean power to themselves. They push through unpopular programs, because they believe they are the “elite” and know better than the “masses” what is good for us.

From Marx to Lenin to current “progressives,” they believe their job is to “raise the consciousness” of the “common” people − that is, to indoctrinate everyone with leftist propaganda, until we surrender our freedom in exchange for promises of economic security. In the end, we will have neither freedom nor economic security, but no matter − they will have power, which was the object in the first place.

● Fourth, and most important, the two coyotes teach us that in order to be free, first we must think free. The people where the six-year-old girl was attacked may be the nicest people you will ever meet. They may be loving spouses and parents. But they look to the government to protect them, and those dependent on them, from predators. They are free only to the extent that predators allow them to remain free. They see themselves as dependents, not as responsible individuals. They don’t think free.

As Jeff Cooper taught us, “Unarmed men, and unarmed nations, can only flee from evil. And evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.”

On the other hand, the people where the Labrador puppy was saved from becoming a lunch see themselves as ultimately responsible for the safety and well-being of themselves, their loved ones, and their animals. Yes, they look to the government to provide what government should provide, especially public safety. But when all else fails, they know they must stand on their own feet. They know that power flows upward from them to the government, not down from the government to them. They think free.

This condition can affect anyone. Thomas Jefferson was a genius. The Declaration of Independence and his other writings prove this beyond doubt. But even he had difficulty thinking free. He had spent his life up to that point as a subject of His Britannic Majesty King George III. So when he wrote the first draft of the Declaration, he automatically used the word “subjects.” But he saw his error, erased “subjects” and substituted “citizens.”

If even Jefferson had to make an effort to think free, how much more do we non-geniuses have to exert ourselves constantly to be alert. If we citizens allow ourselves to doze off in our easy chairs, watching TV game shows and munching snacks, we will wake up as subjects. It will not be a pleasant awakening.

But if you don’t believe me, just ask the coyotes. They know from experience that it’s safer to prey on subjects.

Thanks to Kevin D. Williamson for pointing out the contrast between the coyotes’ fates in the July 19 National Review. Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: