Wolves: A Modern Look, by the Wolves In American Culture Committee
Does this short book make me view wolves, or the authors of this book, in a particularly positive light? No. I certainly think that there is a way that a book can be written about wolves that does allow them to be seen in a more positive light, and at least some aspects of this book hint how this may be done. The authors note that the preservation of wilderness space to minimize competition between wolves and human beings will allow the wolf to have more territory but also preserve the well-being of livestock and other human property as well as animals for hunting. This would have been a more successful approach to take that would have made the book a far more appealing one for this reader. However, for the most part, this book offers an approach and a perspective that is unappealing and even insulting, and thus appears to be one of many efforts that is designed to appeal to those whose worldview is already similar to that of the author rather than to a wider general public which may be convinced of the worth of the wolf but is not likely to do so based on arguments that support shamanism and that are hostile to Christianity and to Western civilization as a whole. This is a great shame, as if the authors had genuinely wished to increase fondness of wolves, there are better ways of doing it than insulting whites and Christianity to do so.
This book is a bit more than fifty pages long and is divided into several chapters. The book opens with a foreword that discusses the cultural differences that exist in views of the wolf. This is followed by a largely biased historical review of the history between mankind and wolves and their interactions as well as the dramatic changes that resulted from farming. After this comes a look at the biology of the wolf and its relationship with mankind. This is then followed by three chapters that look at the place of the wolf in folklore, children’s literature, and native American legends that again discuss the subject with a high degree of bias, pointing to the negative cultural changes that have resulted in more contemporary views of nature worship that appeal to the authors and others of their ilk. Finally, the book discusses matters of wolf management. The book then ends with suggestions for further reading and illustration credits.
Indeed, books like this help to demonstrate the wide cultural gulf that exists between different views of creation. The biblical call to subdue the earth is often one that is misunderstood by both those who are hostile to it and those who claim to be following this “dominion” mandate. Largely speaking, mankind has been successful at subduing the creatures of the earth, and have been for some time. Those animals which exist at present exist largely at our sufferance, and animals either proliferate because they meet the economic and emotional needs of mankind or because we allow them to have some confined space where they may exist largely for our entertainment and amusement. As thoughtful commentators have pointed out, though, to subdue and control is not to destroy, although the wolf has been extirpated from many areas because of its threats towards livestock. For wolves to be allowed to live in the wild, people who defend the wolf must be able to successfully assuage the concerns of other powerful and worthwhile interests. I believe this can be done, but I also believe that this book does not do so in an effective manner because the authors of the book themselves do not sufficiently respect those who think differently from themselves, a common problem among the left, past and present.