January 06, 2014 | Graham

Jumping the shark on cultural nihilism

4,000 people protesting WA government plans to cull large sharks around surfing beaches is a sign that something has gone seriously wrong with Australian culture.

These 4,000 apparently think that shark lives are more important than human lives.

There are always a few people who think that the world would be better off without mankind, there are always people on the margins. But 4,000 people is a pretty wide margin.

Their concerns are cloaked in environmentalism:

Environmentalists argue there is overwhelming evidence that killing sharks will not prevent attacks.

“There is going to be other marine life caught in the bait lines, not just sharks and there’s going to be sharks under three metres also caught in the bait lines,” protest organiser Natalie Banks said on Saturday.

“We are ruining the marine ecosystem.”

There is little evidence for these intimations of devastation. If they want to see the “devastation” caused by line fishing for sharks off popular surfing beaches they can come to Queensland where we have been doing just that off Gold and Sunshine Coast beaches since well-before I was born.

Queensland still boasts some of the best marine environmental attractions in the world, and there are virtually no shark attacks off popular surfing beaches.

The facts are against the protestors.

This is the sort of thing that happens when cultures lose faith in themselves. Man has been making the world safer for mankind for tens of thousands of years, but suddenly a significant number of us are opposed to it when it involves culling another species, notwithstanding the fact that culling species is a large part of how we make our living.

Over centuries we’ve eradicated threats like lions, tigers and malaria bearing mosquitoes, and our biology is based on nutrients and energy derived from a range of domesticated and wild animals.

As an animal and as a culture, culling is central to what we are.

However, it is apparently OK for sharks to just be sharks, but not for humans to be humans. This is a sign of serious problems for humans as humans, and Australians as Australians.

An organism not prepared to contest its right to live against all others is on the way out.



Posted by Graham at 10:31 am | Comments (9) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. Sharks are as equally important as homo sapiens.
    We are ALL animal species and none are better than any others. We are ALL equal.
    We are different but NOT better.
    We are ALL part of the same ecosystem and without one species we all suffer.
    Homo sapiens is the only animal species deliberately destroying its own, and all elses, environment for its own gratification.
    Environmentalism has nothing to do with it.
    It is common sense and evolution.
    To think homo sapiens is the supreme species is sheer arrogance of the highest degree.

    Comment by ateday — January 7, 2014 @ 7:46 am

  2. Blah Blah Blah
    Wait until one of their loved ones becomes Shark Bait.
    Obviously nothing better to do at home over the Christmas Break.

    Comment by Rank Frank — January 7, 2014 @ 8:54 am

  3. The author wrote: “These 4,000 apparently think that shark lives are more important than human lives.”

    The author really doesn’t know what they think. That is a common sort of comment when arguing against environmentalists. It can be used against clearing forests for farms: “They apparently think that trees are more important than human lives.”

    There should be room on the planet for both humans and sharks. If humans wander into the habitat of a shark, tiger or other predator they put themselves at risk. We can tame nature by getting rid of all top predators. The effects will be that the ecosystem is disrupted.

    The author’s bias is revealed in his remark: “Their concerns are cloaked in environmentalism.”

    Their remarks are not cloaked in environmentalism. They are straightforward appeals to environmentalism.

    If those taken by sharks were outside the flags and beyond the netting they have entered the shark’s domain and should accept the risk. We have culled many species with justification. That does not justify this particular cull.

    Comment by M D Fisher — January 7, 2014 @ 9:29 am

  4. Perhaps the motivations and actions of these people is an example of some misguided idealism but it is nothing remotely nihilistic about their motivations and actions.

    We pretend that is normal to exploit everything, even the epitome of being civilized, the measure of our “progress”. We slaughter, exploit, poison and spoil. We achieve power over great natural forces in the environment, but we cannot be the loving master of our sexuality, our population, industrial wastes, or international politics. Therefore, we are a destructive influence in the natural world presuming that we should force everything into degraded submission for own aggressive and stupid ends, and thus via the industrial scale slaughter machine reduce everything to a McDonalds hamburger.

    Who are the real nihilists and who is their principal “prophet”? Nihilists who pretend that looting planet earth is a cultural imperative, a “virtue” even.
    This reference provides the answer:
    What is more these nihilists have great political power, even their own Mordor from which they broadcast their benighted Sauronic darkness. I am of course referring to the Cato Institute which is funded and controlled by those enlightened “humanitarians” the Koch brothers.

    This reference is also about looting the planet as a “cultural” imperative:

    Comment by Freddy Krueger — January 7, 2014 @ 10:03 am

  5. Culling is necessary. People are more important than any animal on Earth. The obsession with animals, including pets, indicates a severe mental deficiency and lack of self-worth in some people.

    Comment by NeverTrustPoliticians — January 7, 2014 @ 10:18 am

  6. I certainly hope ateday, & M D Fisher don’t eat.

    I have an acquaintance, only a little more crazy than them, who believes he can hear the grass scream when it’s cut, or a cabbage bellow when it is harvested. Surely our posters could not devour one of these beings.

    It is a pity that the Darwin principle is not accurately applied. The world would have been rid of these types long ago.

    Comment by Hasbeen — January 7, 2014 @ 10:36 am

  7. Meanwhile how many millions of sharks are killed by human beings every year?
    And what about the sharks who have their fins cut off for shark fin soup and are then thrown back into the ocean to die? Tell me again who are the nihilists?
    Why not check out the War Against Sharks via

    Comment by Freddy Krueger — January 7, 2014 @ 1:25 pm

  8. Oh Freddy you are misleading us, the subject has nothing to do with Shark Fin Soup.
    It is all about allowing a safe swim at a patrolled beach.
    WA with 12,900km of coastline , shark meshing even 50km would seem almost
    infinitesimal. All of Gods creatures should be respected and treated humanely.
    Human life must in all cases take priority

    Comment by Rank Frank — January 7, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

  9. ‘Environmentalists argue there is overwhelming evidence that……… ‘

    Have you ever noticed that the evidence of Environmentalists is always “overwhelming” ?

    Overwhelming ,as in bait lines working in Queensland , since at least the 1950’s

    Comment by laurie — January 7, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

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