Quote Eco-Warrior Attacks Big Families Endquote

Dave Toschi: And man is the most dangerous animal of all?
Arthur Leigh Allen: That’s the whole point of the story.

The preceding is a bit of dialogue from David Fincher’s film Zodiac, in which dialogue a man betrays himself to his interviewer as a homicidal maniac. The following is excerpted from May 11, 2008 article “‘Eco-warrior’ Prince Philip attacks big families” by :

Philip, international president emeritus of the World Wide Fund for Nature, has been passionate about conservation work for many years. He is at pains, however, to point out the difference between conserving species and the “huge emphasis” placed on animal welfare today.

The distinction provides him with a defence for more bloody country pursuits, such as pheasant shooting and fox hunting. “People don’t realise it is the species that matter – not the individual – from the conservation point of view,” he says.

“You’ve got to be fairly hard-hearted about it. Conservation is not a romantic business. It’s a very practical business, trying to ensure as many different species of wildlife can exist, and which means in some cases controlling some so the others can have a better chance.”

By itself, Prince Philip’s statement above about the nature of species conservation is unobjectionable, even laudable, even crucial. Such was my first impression, and I still see its validity.

Perhaps due to the great merit of the prince’s statements, it wasn’t until a day after reading the article that I became aware of the article’s context. You see, Prince Philip is a man who has spoken eloquently and accurately and often in the past about how much humanity endangers the rest of life on earth. For this he cannot be faulted. But behind the eloquence lies a profound and broad and enduring hatred of humanity as betrayed by decades of callous remarks. You be the judge of these remarks, culled from Wikipedia:

  • “You have mosquitos. I have the Press.” Prince Philip in a conversation with the matron of a hospital while on a tour of the Caribbean, 1966. (quoted in Andrew Duncan, The Reality of Monarchy)
  • Speaking to a driving instructor in Scotland, he asked, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?”
  • When visiting China in 1986, he told a group of British students, “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
  • After accepting a gift from a Kenyan citizen he replied, “You are a woman, aren’t you?”
  • “If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.” (1986)
  • To a British student in Papua New Guinea: “You managed not to get eaten then?”
  • Angering local residents in Lockerbie when on a visit to the town in 1993, the Prince said to a man who lived in a road where eleven people had been killed by wreckage from the Pan Am jumbo jet, “People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle.”
  • On a visit to the new National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff, he told a group of deaf children standing next to a Jamaican steel drum band, “Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.”
  • In 2002, he asked an aboriginal Australian businessman, “Do you still throw spears at each other?”
  • Said to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary, “You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly.” (1993)
  • Seeing a shoddily installed fuse box in a high-tech Edinburgh factory, HRH remarked that it looked “like it was put in by an Indian.”
  • “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” (in 1994, to an islander in the Cayman Islands)
  • At the height of the recession in 1981 he said, “Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.”
  • Upon presenting a Duke of Edinburgh Award to a student, when informed that the young man was going to help out in Romania for six months, he asked if the student was going to help the Romanian orphans; upon being informed he was not, it was claimed the 85-year-old duke added, “Ah good, there’s so many over there you feel they breed them just to put in orphanages.”
  • In 2002, speaking to a blind, wheelchair bound woman who was accompanied by her guide dog, he remarked, “Do you know they’re now producing eating dogs for the anorexics?” [OK, this one happened to be funny.]
  • In 1997, [Prince Philip], participating in an already controversial British visit to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (Amritsar massacre) Monument, provoked outrage in India and in the UK with an offhand comment. Having observed a plaque claiming, “This place is saturated with the blood of about two thousand Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who were martyred in a non-violent struggle,” Prince Philip observed, “That’s a bit exaggerated, it must include the wounded.” When asked how he had come to this conclusion Philip said, “I was told about the killings by General Dyer’s son. I’d met him while I was in the Navy.” [If you’re wondering why this was offensive, consider that in the entry for “Jallianwala Bagh massacre,” Wikipedia states, “Dyer said he would have used his machine guns if he could have got them into the enclosure, but these were mounted on armoured cars. He said he did not stop firing when the crowd began to disperse because he thought it was his duty to keep firing until the crowd dispersed, and that a little firing would do no good.”  So that’s who Dyer was and what he did.]
  • In 1987, [Philip] wrote in his foreword to If I Were an Animal that “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”

So there’s that bit of context-I remembered that Prince Philip’s the guy behind arguably the most broadly genocidal quip in human history, as well as a bunch of other off-color hateful witticisms. And then more specifically, I realized that his comments about the hard-hearted nature of conservation came in the midst of an interview not about imbalances between wildlife species, but about one particular species’ current profligacy and gluttony-ours. In light of this, the following lines take on a more ominous tone:

“People don’t realise it is the species that matter – not the individual – from the conservation point of view,” he says.

“You’ve got to be fairly hard-hearted about it. Conservation is not a romantic business. It’s a very practical business, trying to ensure as many different species of wildlife can exist, and which means in some cases controlling some so the others can have a better chance.”

I humbly submit to you, dear reader, that in the above lines, Prince Philip’s too-frequent attitude toward individual humans, and toward humanity as vs. other species, is laid entirely bare. The individual [human] doesn’t matter. Conservation is about controlling some [humans]. You’ve got to be fairly hard-hearted about it. And so on. The trick isn’t to read between Philip’s lines unfairly; it’s to realize that his statements apply to humans as much as to any other species he might be thinking of-he isn’t specific.

Now, my purpose is not to hold court over this particular man-after all, if you raised anyone in the particular cultural bubble he grew up in, they’d likely harbor similar views to his. (I know because I grew up thinking I was smarter than most people, and I to this day can quite empathize with Philip’s brand of blackest humor and hard-heartedness.) And my purpose isn’t to offer proof of a definite, specific conspiracy to enslave and thin the human herd for reasons noble or nefarious. Rather, my point is, it’s a little scary that this guy sits at or near the apex of the global elite, and it’s likely that his combination of misanthropy and noble intentions is not an anomaly. As the world begins to burn at the edges, we must bear in mind that our collective inner Philip poses what may be our greatest challenge-for behind every noble and well-reasoned argument by which he approaches the specter of apocalypse, lurks, it seems, a vicious instinct to hold one’s neighbor in utter contempt, to loathe others for existing, to treat one’s fellow man as does a drowning soul, as something to shove under and stand on and wait until it stops thrashing. Such is our capacity for hypocrisy, for covering our self-bias in shining seamless robes, for developing just enough objective perspective to lull our consciences back to sleep so we can get on with the business of favoring ourselves over those around us.

I’m not judging Prince Philip. God bless him. I mean that. I’m not judging him, but I am saying that several of his statements, taken together, offer an unusually clear portrait of how the satanic hides in each of us.

Not that you could tell by looking.

Prince Phillip

Since this post is made up largely of quotations (thanks, Wikipedia, TimesOnline, and IMDB!), I figured I might as well finish with another one that seems to belong here. I hope it haunts you. I hope it haunts me.

Man, if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!

-The Ghost of Christmas Present, “A Christmas Carol”

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