Do you know why they don’t have bonobos in zoos? I don’t either, but I have heard that the preference for having chimpanzees, despite the fact they are violent as hell, is that if you had bonobos in an enclosure at a zoo, they would literally just have sex, like, all the time. And so I guess people just don’t want to see that? Who can say? The fact of the matter is, these two animals represent, in some way, the inner struggle of every human. We are both warlike and peace-loving. We are violent and compassionate. It seems just a bit too easy to side with the chimp for some reason that I can’t figure out. Why don’t we want to go to the zoo and watch a bunch of bonobos hump each other constantly? It’s because we have attached ourselves to the part of our ancestry that, distilled, is a warlike creature. We only enjoy sex as a power move. We only show compassion when it gets us points in our social circles.
That’s why when a bonobo shows up, we don’t know how to respond. When someone comes along and says, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if people could go to college if they wanted to? Or didn’t have to go bankrupt in order to treat cancer? Or, maybe we could just legalize weed?” people freak out and start flinging poop. Whenever a bonobo comes along, they beat the everloving crap out of it until it’s dead because that’s what chimps do.
I’m not sure how far I can take this metaphor, so I might stop there and say, there is nothing that Sanders is calling for that is not immensely popular with most Americans. But as long as no one is actually offering it up, we are too cowed to demand it.
College Tuition (as an example)
Most arguments against free tuition and student debt forgiveness that I have seen fall into two closely-related categories:
- I had to pay off all my debt the old fashioned way!
- That’s socialism!
To the first category, I have this response: if you got cancer, would you wish it on everyone else in the world? If you survived a gulag, would you want everyone else to go through it as well? It sucks what you went through, but it is absolutely not a justification for not forgiving the debt of people struggling. And people will make this argument even given very strong evidence that it would help them as well. They have even gone so far as to say, “Will I receive reparations?” Reparations! I’ve seen these people use this word. It’s bizarre to me in ways I cannot completely articulate. It speaks to a selfishness. An inability to see beyond the immediate circumstances of their world. And when they do peak out of their tiny little bubble, it’s to make sure that everyone else is as miserable as they are. Which is, of course, bullshit. It’s some serious chimp behavior (I think I can keep the metaphor going after all).
To the second category, I think we can definitely see that chimps and bonobos align themselves with capitalism and socialism very nicely, don’t they? At this point, I’m not going to try to define socialism in any concrete way, or distinguish it from communism, even. I’m going to simply say that in my mind, capitalism is the propensity in humans to only think of theirselves and their immedate tribe and to fuck all with everybody else. It’s an economic philosophy that looks for fancy ways to justify selfishness. It’s the chimp.
Socialism is the quality of human endeavor that cares about other people even if you’ve never met them. It’s the part of humankind that rushes to help someone who is drowning. Pay for someone else’s groceries. Rescue a stranger from a collapsing building. It’s the bonobo. How these things are structured, implemented, or organized is categorically irrelevant when you distill the ultimate intent. When the intention is to be good to your fellow human whether you know them or not, you are being the bonobo.
The Democratic Party
A bonobo has shown up. His name is Bernie and he’s so, so old. But he’s also walking around telling them what to do and how to fix things around here and everything he says is making a lot of sense to people. So much so that people are starting to nod in approval and take his side. And the alpha chimps sitting on top of their big alpha chimp log are sacrificing their own to consolidate power so they can beat the everloving crap out of the bonobo. Because the DNC and Joe Biden and the Clintons are chimps. That’s how it is. They are violent, aggressive, and do not care what’s best for anyone. They will all gang up on anyone that they perceive as the other. Anyone that is a threat. Anything that they do not understand.
My apologies to the chimpanzees. My intention is not to besmirch the good name of this noble animal. The chimp only acts in the way that it has for hundreds of thousands of years. But let’s face it, they can be really vicious, violent creatures, and I kinda feel like humans should try not to behave like that.