My brother, Lucky, and his wife, Sabrina, are wild animal rehabbers. For years, the Roanoke valley has recognized them as the go-to folks when one has a sick, injured, or orphaned wild animal. At all hours, in all weather, in all seasons – especially in the spring with the hatching and birthing of critters – Lucky and Sabrina provide a haven of hope. They don’t discriminate; all regional animals, great and small, are welcome, whether mammals or birds (including raptors, which requires federal licensure).
I have learned much from my brother and my sister-in-law, not limited to the feeding and handling of orphans. (They don’t want me handling sick or injured critters; being so ham – handed,) Lucky and Sabrina have an absolute non-negotiable: animals are restored to health so they can be restored to their proper environment. They do not domesticate these animals.
The process is fascinating and involves a combination of substitution and teaching. Sabrina’s particular skill is knowing which approach is required: choose wrong and the animal dies. For example, they have had me feed baby squirrels with a syringe, then rub their tummies with a Q-tip to stimulate a bowel movement. In this, the Q-tip takes the place of the mother’s nose, which she would use to stimulate them; up until their eyes open, after which magically, they no longer need the stimulation.
Then, there was the time when Lucky had to ‘teach’ an orphaned flying squirrel how to ‘fly.’ Time and space do not permit, but you can be sure that Lucky figured it out. On the other hand, there are fascinating behaviors encoded into the squirrel genome. Baby squirrels, lacking a mother to teach them, will still select acorns from the species of oak tree specific to that squirrel species, will still gnaw off the germinal center to permit acorn storage. Lucky confirmed this by providing the babies with a smorgasbord of all the local acorns. The squirrels chose well.
Lucky and Sabrina tell me that wild animals kept in domestic surroundings live longer. The wild environment is a strict and caste-like food chain of predator and prey; also, the animal’s designated world harbors its own dangers. More squirrels die from falling out of trees than from predation. Groundhogs inhabit the ground, said ground also being traversed by lethal highways.
So they live longer, so what? Consider the killer whale: his dorsal fin is rigidly upright in the wild; folded and collapsed in captivity. If you believe animals incapable of grief, you need only visit your local zoo and gaze into the eyes of the inhabitants. Lucky and Sabrina advise me that they have never had a wild animal come seeking domestication and, when healthy ,they fight like the very devil against it.
What life lesson comes from this? Human beings are the same. While they might be better off physically in the domestication of the welfare state, their incentive is killed and they are deprived of any chance at self-esteem.
When charity was in the hands of spiritual groups (i.e., the churches, synagogues, and mosques), the proper application of charity came with a message: this is a consensual activity, consisting of someone with a need and someone with an obligation before God to meet the needs of that other someone.
There is no shame in accepting charity, when the recipient knows that, were the circumstances reversed, they would be equally charitable. I know this form of charity exists: I saw it as a medical missionary in Haiti. Charity is never cold when it is clear that the provider is merely a conduit through which a loving God can meet needs.
Governments got into the business and charity will never be the same. Charity lost all risk of ‘coldness,’ but it was replaced by an agenda. Charitable support became an entitlement and short-term provision became open ended.
During a presidential campaign, candidate Al Gore’s published tax returns indicated that he had given absolutely no money to charitable organizations. This is not an indictment of Al Gore. It is merely a reflection of the total disconnect between charity and those taxpayers who have outsourced all their charitable impulses, leaving the ‘giving’ in the hands of a bureaucracy that levies entitlements for the sinister purpose of ensuring votes and perpetuating the bureaucracy.
Much has been said of the plantation mentality. At its base, it is a complete subjugation of the prerogatives of the individual. The bureaucracy has become both the plantation and the master; inhabitants being regimented. (Celebration of diversity’ only refers to diversity of appearance or behavior. Just like the plantation, there must be absolute non-diversity of thought.)
Inhabitants receive only that education that the master deems suitable. (Thus explaining sensitivity training and ethnic studies that diminish the emphasis on math, science, and communication). Individualism is suppressed and there is no reward for initiative. Sadly, the only positive is that the government plantation is color blind: there is no racial group that would be turned away from the master’s plantation. This plantation produces no sugar, tobacco, or cotton; its major export being the ‘welfare child.’
Three hundred years ago people fled intrusive, arbitrary government to come to America to establish their individuality. Now, people come for the exact opposite reason. The motto of the state of New Hampshire is ‘Live Free or Die.’ In our modern era, that phrase is now politically incorrect.
– Dennis Garvin