Wolves and Facts

This struck me in a long and interesting article on the reintroduction of wolves to the Rocky Mountains:

Few people have had more experience with wolves, or tried harder to educate westerners about them, than 54-year-old Doug Smith, director of the Yellowstone Wolf Project. “It’s value based, or it’s an emotionally based 
argument, and so facts don’t matter,” he told me. “That’s the tough part. I used to think that if people got educated and had the facts, they’d make good decisions. That’s got nothing to do with it.”

Smith believes there are powerful aesthetic and philosophical values in simply knowing that wolves are out there, making wild places wild. Without apex predators, he said, natural landscapes are simply “scene-ified.”

It occurs to me that Mr. Smith may see some of himself in his opponents.


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