The World Slides Further Into Nihilism

It seems silly to worry about polar bears and whales and whatnot, when humans appear to be lining up a Permian Extinction-style wipeout for everyone. But it seems as it humans are rushing toward the freight train screaming “come at me, bro!

New York Post [nyp] reports:

TOKYO – Japan announced Wednesday that it is leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial hunts for the animals for the first time in 30 years, but said it would no longer go to the Antarctic for its much-criticized annual killings.

Japan switched to what it calls research whaling after the IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in the 1980s, and now says stocks have recovered enough to resume commercial hunts.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan would resume commercial whaling in July “in line with Japan’s basic policy of promoting sustainable use of aquatic living resources based on scientific evidence.”

I.e.: “Japan First!”

Of course it’s research! It even says “research” on the side. In Japanese.

As I mentioned before, [stderr] this is not exactly “nihilism” – nihilism does not argue that the powerful should go out of their way to prey on the weak. This is more like: someone told Japan’s elites that eating whale was bad, so now they must re-establish their elite credentials by demonstrating that they can overcome any attempt to control them. Basically, “for every whale you save, I’m going to eat two!” Perhaps the word is “Thanotic”? Are our politics in love with death?

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“Research whaling” – it’s not research if you eat it. That’s lunch.

I am reminded of a bad joke which ends with the punch-line “so much for your fucking canoe.” That appears to be some humans’ reaction to the radical idea that a) resources are not infinite b) by-products of industrial processes do not magically vanish off the planet when we are done with them c) we are not the only people whose lives matter. What’s next, the LAPD announcing that they are so annoyed by Black Lives Matter that they have decided to raise the ‘bag limit’?

In the meantime, I wonder if the Houthis would spare one of their wire-guided anti-ship missiles? That big slab-sided upper works is a great target. “Oh, we just decided unilaterally to resume bombing Japanese ships like we used to.” Oh, oops, did I say that out loud? Gazing into the abyss and all that.


  1. Jazzlet says

    I’ve been reading round this as it doesn’t make sense from what I knew – that most Japanese people do not consume whale meat and have no desire to do so. There are now only two wholesalers who say demand is low and dropping (they have meat in storage they haven’t been able to sell), the price has been dropping for years.. Whale meat eating is nostalgic for the generation that grew up after the war and got whale meat in their school lunches – the only meat most of them had at that time, though plenty of them seem happy enough to never eat it again. There was a small coastal whaling industry before MacArthurs intervention when he was in charge of Japan after the war – he gave them a couple of military tankers to be outfitted as factory ships and encouraged their use in the Anarctic Ocean. It seems that the problem is a small number including some powerful politicians who view the industry as traditional, and therefore culturally important, to be preserved just as other culturallyy important historic industries are preserved.

    I’ve no idea if this is a valid analysis, but it seems to be the one that most outlets that have done more than report the mere fact of the intention to resume commercial whaling have come up with. It’s still bloody appalling.

  2. lanir says

    Damn. And to think, the problem might have fixed itself if we’d only promoted the manly qualities of eating puffer fish instead.

  3. John Morales says

    Jazzlet: “It seems that the problem is a small number including some powerful politicians who view the industry as traditional, and therefore culturally important, to be preserved just as other culturally important historic industries are preserved.”

    Being politicians, they wouldn’t do it did they not think it served their purposes, would they?

    But I can’t dispute it boils down to national pride.

    I do feel for the whales; even without open-slather harvesting, their habitat has been profoundly (ahem) disrupted — their aural habitat particularly so — by human industrial practices.

  4. komarov says

    Perhaps the word is “Thanotic”? Are our politics in love with death?

    The SciFi-Author Stephen Baxter had a sort of group or cult that actively opposed combating world-ending catastrophes. I don’t recall much (SB wrote some books in a rather copy-paste style) but they called themselves Letheans or something among the lines of the underwold river. Basically they’re a bunch of backstabbing smegpots with power, shitty priorities and unfathomable (or perhaps forgettable) motives. A good fit in other words.

    P.S.: The discussion makes me wonder if there’s a “Big Whale” lobby and whether they’d feel silly about the name…

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