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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Perpetuities in a Nutshell

Bow in the Outer Pen this Morning Enjoying a Persimmon I Picked for Him
At the farthest corner of my land, surrounded by brambles and blackberry thorns, is a tiny persimmon tree that is covered with fruit.

It's the Smallest Persimmon Tree on My Land, But It Bears More Fruit than the Others

It's the smallest persimmon tree on my land, but it bears much more fruit than the others. The other trees usually lose all their leaves by the time the fruit is ripe, and they stand tall and naked, with only a few orange globes hanging from them, which is why I refer to them as my Halloween Trees.

This image is from a post in 2014
None of these trees were planted by me, and they sprang up on their own, because I did not mow the pasture. The landscape of my land changes every year, I think that change is more natural than everything remaining at a stand still, so I wonder about those who are agitating to try to stop climate change.

A View of My Pasture at Sunset a Couple of Days Ago
If you look at the picture of my pasture at sunset, neither the fruiting mulberry in the foreground nor the cedars and pines in the background were there when I bought the property -- and they were not planted by me.

The Weigela Blossoms day before yesterday
It has been unseasonably warm lately, and not only the service berry and the cherry and the apple tree have been blossoming, but on the Weigela bush the fruit and the brand new blossoms are growing side by side.

What if it really is getting warmer here, and what if it has something to do with "global warming"? Does that mean we can do anything about it, or that -- even if we could -- we should?

If change is the natural state of things, should we try to artificially stop the change, preventing bigger harvests and easier living conditions in temperate areas? Why?

I know of people who want to freeze everything, keeping it all the same, because, after all, people and animals depend on the status quo. When a large business goes belly up, they try to keep it afloat at the public's expense, for the sake of the workers and of the economy. But the workers and the economy would be just fine, if you just left everything alone to decay and die and be reborn in the natural course of life. There are business cycles. There are climate cycles, There are winners and losers every time something changes. If you try to help the losers at the expense of the winners, you will eventually bring everybody down.

Take the current state of the Congo. Not very safe for either humans or other great apes. So what do conservationists do? They try to send money to the Congo to help to keep everything the same. Meanwhile they try to destroy the ability of private apes in the United States to keep eking out a living in a new environment. But the greatest hope for non-human apes to survive is among humans in the United States. 

And then there are the researchers who actually believe that some rich donor is going to provide them with funding for their project in perpetuity. But every single time, the particular business that this donor depends on falls on hard times, and there goes their revenue in perpetuity. No business can last forever. The economic climate is constantly changing. It's natural.

When I was taking Trusts &Estates in law school, I happened on a tiny book called Perpetuities in a Nutshell.  For me, it was just a study aid, but it was a good one, and the title was so catchy that it stuck with me.

Here is what I can tell you about perpetuities in a nutshell: Nothing lasts forever. Things change constantly. If you take advantage of those changes that work in your favor, then you can always find a way to survive and sometimes even to thrive.

This means that instead on insisting on having the fruit you have always had under the circumstances that it has always ripened, you look around and see what fruit happens to be ripe for the picking right now.

The Ripe Persimmon

One of the persimmons on the tiny tree was already ripe, so I picked it and brought it home to Bow. I have been told that persimmons should not be eaten until after the first frost, but in that case, why do they ripen without a frost? Surely in some areas it never freezes.

Bow was not particularly hungry. It was not long after breakfast. But he accepted the persimmon from me and ate of it delicately.

What if the warming trend in Missouri continues, making the outdoors safe for chimpanzees here year round? Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing for chimpanzee conservation in the US? Why would you want to reverse this trend for the sake of other animals elsewhere on the globe? If everything had always stayed the same throughout our own history, would any humans have ever left Africa? Do you want to reverse that trend, too? It just does not make any sense. 

Progressives accuse conservatives of wanting to "halt progress." But isn't that exactly what progressive conservationists are trying to do to climate change on this planet -- halt progress? There is really no telling where nature is going with this. It is unlikely that we can stop it, But we can help ourselves and the animals we love by adapting to the change. The entire history of life on this planet is a history of natural migration and natural adaptation. 


  1. Some climate change angst is made up. For instance, sometimes climates do change. Humans could abuse the world less, but then those who complain about it are the jet setting class. It does come across as hypocritical to tell someone to drive a certain kind of car when you fly around the world on jets. Also, there is the article with John Mackey in Reason magazine where he said the EPA will not let Whole Foods throw away vitamins with selenium. As if that is hurting the environment.

    1. Hi, Julia. I do not pretend to know to what extent the climate is changing here, but this is certainly a hot day for October. Just as not all people find themselves in the same situation when something shifts in the economy, different animals would profit or lose from different climate change scenarios. What is bad for polar bears may be good for crocodiles, for instance. I just don't understand who deputized the climate alarmists to decide what is best for the whole globe and every animal living on it.