While you’re enjoying your long weekend, lend a thought or two to the people who made it all possible.
Category Archives: Deep Thoughts
Deep thoughts, omphaloskepsis, and other random musings.
Rule Five Ninth Annual Commencement Speech Friday
It’s that time of year again, when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the ninth year, I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.
So, here it is. Enjoy.
“Graduates of the Class of 2023, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.
For the last four years you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, to plan how to achieve those goals, and to see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.
Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.
In spite of what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds or outright charlatans.
Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.
You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:
If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.
Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.
But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.
So, where do you go from here?
Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.
Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:
Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
Work a little harder than the other guy,
Never pass up a chance to learn something new.
Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.
Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.
How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:
Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.
Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.
Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.
Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.
Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:
Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.
Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:
All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.
There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.
Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.
In her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:
‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’
Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.
Go out and do it.
Thank you and good luck.”
If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.
Goodbye, Blue Monday
Thanks as always to The Daley Gator (twice!), Flappr, The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links! And as always, if I missed you in the acknowledgements, let me know in the comments and we’ll get you added to the weekly listing.
Bill Whittle points out that the first words of the Hippocratic Oath as “first, do no harm.” This is the defining principle of medicine. I’m at a loss to explain how any physician could see clear to remove healthy limbs, or eyes, or anything else. And I agree with Bill Whittle; any physician who will amputate a healthy limb or remove a healthy eye should be de-licensed and forbidden to practice medicine in the future.
This “Transablism” is a horror show. These people need psychiatric help, not surgical help. I really can’t add anything to what Bill Whittle, Scott Ott and Stephen Green have said on the topic in this video; so make sure you watch it through. Think on it. I’m not sure how much more damaged our society can become, when anyone – anyone – can think this is an acceptable course of action.
Rule Five Lost Boys Friday
This week we’re back with Law & Liberty, for Brenda M. Hafera’s article Our Lost Boys. This is an issue that has prompted a lot of thought with me lately; as a man with three (so far) grandsons, I’ve been more than a little concerned about the culture they’re growing up in. Read the whole article. A few excerpts, with my thoughts, follow.
Identity politics leftists tend to portray all masculinity as toxic. They do not have a vision of what healthy masculinity looks like, and are likely incapable of providing one, given that they deny there are differences between men and women and reject a conception of virtue grounded in an unchangeable human nature.
On the other hand, male advocacy often devolves into the discordant. Conservatives can sometimes fall into the trap of delivering sweeping generalizations about rigid gender roles that make constructive conversation impossible. Some writers even stoop to bombastic so-called “solutions” like an author in Crisis magazine who wrote: “We should do one really sound and sensible thing: take away women’s right to vote.”
Neither of these (as Ms. Hafera points out) are tenable strategies. The fact is, both sides fall into their own ridiculous sweeping generalizations, and both sides are generally wrong when they do so.
According to The Boy Crisis, written by political scientist Warren Farrell and counselor John Gray, the primary driver of the boy crisis is the absence of strong fathers and male role models in the community (single-sex spaces can help offset the missing example of a parent). Almost every school shooter is a dad-deprived boy, and such boys “are more likely to be addicted to drugs, video games, opioids, and online porn, more likely to be depressed, withdrawn and to commit suicide, they are even more likely to have their life expectancy shortened.”
Personally I think this is a big part of the problem facing American boys today. I was indeed fortunate to have a strong and strong-willed father, who taught me the meaning of masculinity, respect, integrity, honor and the value of a good work ethic. The Old Man was a hell of a great role model. He’s been gone for five years this month, and I am still am and always will be trying to live up to him.
Boys need this. All children need fathers, of course; they need good role models in both parents. But boys in particular do better when they have strong, honest fathers in their lives.
In Men Without Work, American Enterprise Institute political economist Nicholas Eberstadt details how men of prime working age are willingly unemployed and spending a great deal of time looking at screens.
I think this is more a symptom than a cause. See my comments above; a strong father, imbuing in his sons a strong work ethic and sense of familial honor (a man, first and foremost, provides for his family) would reduce this.
In The War Against Boys, Christina Hoff Sommers, a senior fellow emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute, raised the alarm over 20 years ago about our education system. She wrote, “Boys today bear the burden of several powerful cultural trends: a therapeutic approach to education that valorizes feelings and denigrates competition and risk, zero-tolerance policies that punish normal antics of young males, and a gender equity movement that views masculinity as predatory.”
In this Ms. Sommers makes a good point: Education in the United States has been deteriorating for some time. There have always been problems; I went to a small-town Eastern Iowa high school that focused primarily on preparing young men to be either good farmers or to hold jobs on the assembly line at John Deere on one of the other large local manufacturers. My high school experience yielded me very little, with a couple of rare exceptions, one being an American Literature teacher who got me interested in reading great books and my time as the opinion editor of our high school newspaper, which at the time seemed a lot like giving a maniac a loaded gun (boy howdy did I start a lot of yelling matches) but it seemed to have prepared me well for doing, well, this.
As I said, read the whole article. But I can sum up things like this:
Raise your sons to be men. Teach them the value of liberty, honor, integrity, fortitude, courage, knowledge, and work. Teach them that nobody owes them anything, and that if they want something, they had best be ready to work for it. Teach them that money in and of itself is nothing, but the manner in which you earn money – through honest work, production and trade – is everything. Teach them to care for and provide for their families when the time comes.
Those are the lessons that matter. And they are the ones that too many boys aren’t getting.
As I mentioned, I have three (so far) grandsons. I’m glad that their parents are raising them to be men. I’m glad that I still have a part to play in that as well. I’m glad that, in looking back at the Old Man and his life, that he would have approved.
Goodbye, Blue Monday
Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, The Daley Gator, Flappr, The Other McCain and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links! As always, if I’ve missed your link, let me know in the comments and I’ll get you added to the call-out. Also, check out my guest editorial over at RedState.com! That article was a lot of fun to write, and the feedback was great; with a little luck, I’ll be appearing over at RedState again.
I haven’t said a lot about this whole Dylan Mulvaney thing, mostly because Dylan Mulvaney is someone that never has and never will go above a 0.2 out of 10 on my Give-A-Shit-O-Meter. Attention-whores rarely do, and Dylan Mulvaney is an attention-whore extraordinaire.
Nor can I boycott Nike or Bud Light, for that matter, because I haven’t bought any of their products for years. If you find beer in my refrigerator or in a cooler when I’m outside, it’s from either Alaskan Brewing in Juneau or Denali Brewing just up the road in Talkeetna. My outerwear comes mostly from Duluth Trading or Key Apparel. I like rugged outdoor wear, not fancy “athletic” horseshit. Bud Light is consummately “sex in a canoe” beer – fucking close to water. I like my beer to have a little flavor. (I receive precisely nothing for linking to these companies; I only do so because I genuinely like their products.)
Lots of people are calling for boycotts of Anheuser-Busch and Nike, on the “get woke, go broke” model. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.
But have a look at what Lauren Southern has to say on companies going woke:
Now, Lauren – who I like and admire – wanders off course a bit towards the end of this piece, but her primary point is this: These huge mega-corporations aren’t doing this blindly.
I’m not so sure. I do seem to remember Gillette’s sales dropping precipitously, after their “buy our products, you toxic, sexist assholes” ad campaign. I haven’t looked at what Nike’s sales are doing right now (there’s that Give-A-Shit-O-Meter again) but wouldn’t be surprised if they’re feeling a little hit. I’d be much more surprised if Anheuser-Busch wasn’t feeling some pain. I doubt Dylan Mulvaney is very representative of Bud Light drinkers.
Personally I find the whole thing equal parts sad and amusing. I think Dylan Mulvaney is milking this thing for all that it’s worth, and it’s probably worth a fair amount of coin. I really doubt there’s any other reason for all this. No agenda, no moral issue, just attention-whoring for money. That’s all.
Animal’s Daily Written English News
Before we start, check out the first installment in a new series (a sequel to an older series) over at Glibertarians!
Now then: I have a busy day with errands in town and responses to write to several bids for work, one of which may have me traveling again; more on that later. So today’s post will just be a little musing. On what topic, you ask? Well, I’m going to tell you a few of the reasons I weep for the death of written English.
First: What has happened to the question mark? I’m seeing more and more people write what appears to be a query, but framing it thus: “Why would anyone want to ride a bicycle in a big city.”
That’s wrong, of course. The correct punctuation would be “Why would anyone want to ride a bicycle in a big city?” But for some reason the question marks is going away. I’m seeing this more and more, including by some folks who should know better.
Second: “On accident.” No! This is wrong! Stop doing it! It should be “by accident.”
Third: ALL CAPS. It just makes the writer look like a strident asshole. I’ve long had a rule here on this blog, which I hasten to note is my personal property, that people who comment in ALL CAPS will have their comments edited to remove the ALL CAPS. I won’t change their wording, but I hate ALL CAPS and will remove them. So there. And what bugs me almost as much are people who can’t be arsed to use caps at all, even where it’s proper to do so.
Capital letters should be used appropriately. Doing so makes the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
Fourth: Apostrophes. Here’s a guide to using them correctly:
Fifth: Stupid use of single letters. I’m talking about “u” for “you” or “r” for “are.” It’s two furshlugginer keystrokes. Type it out, so you don’t look like a moron.
I suppose I’m more persnickety about this stuff than a lot of folks. Being a writer who is married to an editor and publisher has something to do with that, I’m sure. But think on it: Here in the virtual world, the only thing we have to judge one another on is the skill with which we employ the written word. It’s in our best interest, if we want to be taken seriously, to do a good job of it.
Just to ease your minds after that rant, enjoy a little totty from the archives:And with that, I return you to your Tuesday, already in progress.
Animal’s Daily Re-Declaration News
Before we start, take a look at the final segment of Breaking Out over at Glibertarians!
Now then: Have a read of Jeff Goldstein’s Re-Declaration of Independence, found here. Excerpt:
I am not a disease. My existence doesn’t “warm the planet.” I’m not interested in your “sustainability” concerns. I am not yours to manage.
I won’t eat your bugs, live in your pods, surrender my cars, or without consent be packed into your cities. I reject your charity. I unmask your intentions. I know what a woman is; I know that any race can practice racism; I know that 2+2=4, regardless of how contingent you wish to make reality. I despise your ideology. I refuse your relativism. You are not the Elect, and I am not answerable to the various neuroses you wear as badges of honor.
I know you better than you know yourselves. You are conditioned. Programmed. Automotons who believe themselves sentient beings. Your intolerance of “hate” is not a virtue. It’s a ruse. An excuse to practice your own intolerance and luxuriate in your own hatreds. You are a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are that which you claim to despise, and I am that which you claim to be.
I see you. Clearly. And I aim to misbehave.
Read it all. If I was in the audience and Mr. Goldstein delivered this live, it would rate a standing ovation. I especially like this bit:
I strive to be self-sufficient. I honor the founding ideals of my country, and I work to live up to their measure. I recognize the great fortune of my birth. History does not frighten me. I reject your blood libels: I am not responsible for that which I didn’t do, nor are you victims of what was never done to you. I will not proclaim your goodness while knowing your evil.
Now, it seems to me that the obvious next question is “All right, but what are we going to do about it?” But as a commenter to this piece points out, many major societal movements, among them the founding of the United States, began with words on paper, parchment or pixels. Scribes, commentators and bloviators on all sides of any issue burn up plenty of pixels yapping about what needs to be done, but there seems to be some evidence that ordinary folks are getting good and tired of waiting and are starting to do things themselves.
And that’s a good thing. Spread this one around, folks.
Goodbye, Blue Monday
Thanks as always to Whores and Ale, Pirate’s Cove, The Daley Gator, The Other McCain, Flappr and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!
Programming note: I’ll have a few things to say about this tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, have a look at this:
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
‘I’m really not Irish because I’m sober…and I don’t have any relatives in jail…’ -Joe Biden at the Friends of Ireland Luncheon pic.twitter.com/v9gI8xYylo
— Liz Churchill (@liz_churchill8) March 17, 2023
What. An. Asshole.
I’m fond of the “shoe on the other foot” method of analyzing things like this. I haven’t seen much out of the legacy media on Biden’s senile ramblings about the Irish – but imagine the reaction if Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis had uttered these exact words.
Look also at the legacy media’s lack of reaction over things like this. Then imagine if the same charges were leveled at Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley.
You can, of course, apply this test to any number of stories featuring any number of prominent political figures – and use it in conversation, as well. It can be something of an eye-opener to anyone who is amenable to evaluating actual data.
Rule Five Civil War Friday
I’ve talked about the possibility of a second civil war in the United States several times. But what I haven’t gone into much (aside from taking a look at other people’s guesses) was this: Who would win?
Here’s the tl;dr version: In a civil war between Red and Blue, as we understand the terms in American politics today, the Reds would win. Overwhelmingly, quickly, decisively. Here’s why.
Look at who is having babies. It’s not the left. People in red states have more kids, and while that’s not a one hundred percent correlation to “people on the political right have more kids,” it’s a pretty good broad indicator. Utah is (perhaps unsurprisingly) the state with the highest number of kids per household, with our own Alaska (a tad more surprising) coming in second. Texas is fourth; New York, forty-second.
Why is this important? Because a higher birthrate translates into more young men of military age. If we are to have an armed conflict, this is the single most important demographic, as these are the people who will do the bulk of the fighting, whether in the regular military or in more-or-less organized militias. While blue states have higher populations, the red states are more adept at sustaining those populations. But aside from numbers, a state must have the right attitude for victory, and that’s largely cultural.
Look through the history of humanity, and you won’t see many wars fought over pronouns. Young men – the demographic described above – are generally more motivated to fight for love of home, hearth, and country than for ‘social justice’ or other nebulous terms. Denizens of the red states, people on the right of center, are more likely to hold attitudes that would serve well in conflict: Self-reliance, thrift, courage, mental and physical fortitude.
The rank-and-file military would be key players. The military leans right, except for some senior officers who are often as much politician as soldier; it’s likely, though, that most ordinary soldiers, especially combat arms soldiers, would side with the right, in many cases even taking their weapons and supplies with them.
Add to that the fact that the left, especially the radical progressive left, tends to badly overestimate the popularity of their policy positions. The vast majority of the population does not want drag queens wiggling their crotches in front of children, or allowing twelve-year-olds to make decisions to undergo life-changing “gender-affirmation” surgeries and treatments. The very lunacy of the progressive left will tip a lot of fence-sitters, people who would otherwise support liberal positions like same-sex marriage, into supporting the right if things come to open conflict. And, finally, two words: Second Amendment. The rural/suburban right are far, far more likely to own/use/maintain proficiency with firearms. Who has the guns can make a huge difference, and in America today, the right has almost all the guns.
Honestly, look at the progressive left’s track record. Every time they have attempted to run a society, even on a small scale, the result has been abject failure. Example: Seattle’s “CHAZ” attempt, where leftist radicals seized control of several blocks of a major city. Within days, they were out of food; within weeks, the zone had devolved to a dictatorship led by a warlord, backed by a gang of armed thugs. This is not a formula for the kind of cohesive society that wins wars.
Examine these maps, based on the 2016 election. The first is Trumpland; the second, the Clinton Archipelago.
The implications of these maps are enormous.
Look at this from a strategic sense. By and large, the left is concentrated in a few small geographic areas. For the most part, these areas are heavily urban, and dependent on the outskirts – red country – for electricity, gasoline, food and clothing, indeed most of the requirements of a modern lifestyle. It would not be terribly difficult for a military force or even a well-organized militia to shut down imports into even a large city. The blockage wouldn’t have to be leak-proof, but even preventing fifty percent of a major city’s food and energy imports would have that city melting down within a matter of days.
Indeed, in any hypothetical second civil war in the United States, that’s the main advantage the right would have; penned into their cities, deprived of internet, electricity, and food, the big blue cities would very rapidly destroy themselves; all the right would have to do is wait.
Now, I’m not advocating the idea of a civil war. The likely result of this, regardless of which side wins, would be deaths in the hundreds of thousands at a minimum, more likely in the millions. It would mean trillions in economic losses because of the infrastructure loss and the collapse of the big cities, which in all honesty remain great centers of economic activity and innovation. It would engender hatreds and ill will that will last for generations, and may very well damage the Republic beyond repair. America as we know it would almost certainly be no more. This is something nobody should want and an outcome that we should take great pains to avoid.
But if it comes down to it – these are the reasons that the right would win, and quickly. Agitators on the left, some of whom (I’m looking at you, Anderson Cooper) have been calling for “economic civil war” should take this into account.
Goodbye, Blue Monday
Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Flappr, Bacon Time and The Daley Gator for the Rule Five links!
Over at RealClearScience, wildlife biologist Zack Vucurevich recently pointed out some practical questions around the cloning of a mammoth. While the whole article raises some interesting points, here’s the part that jumped out at me:
Why stop at mammoths? Are we going to bring back the saber-tooth cats and the short-faced bear to help manage the mammoth populations? The dire wolf? In fact, why stop at animals? The neanderthals were hunting and consuming mammoths for tens of thousands of years in northern Europe. Considering that Neanderthals and humans share 99.7% of the same genome, wouldn’t it be easy enough to bring them back, too?
There’s a nugget of fascinating speculation, eh? Now as for mammoths, or saber-tooth cats, or short-faced bears, let’s be honest, these creatures will never be present in sufficient numbers to form a free-ranging, self-sustaining population. Also, they will be some of the costliest biological experiments in history, far too valuable to be turned loose into the wild.
Also, the behavioral aspects are not to be underestimated. Mammals in general invest a lot of time with their offspring, in effect teaching them how to be bears, or mammoths, or squirrels. That won’t happen here, adding to the impossibility of forming any kind of wild population.
But what about the Neandertal?
These were people. Not us, but people. They almost certainly had a spoken language. Their brains were larger than ours, but organized somewhat differently. If we were to use the fully-sequenced Neandertal genome – which we have – to bring back one of these people, what would their status be?
My thinking is that this would be a human being, with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that. He or she would be genetically Neandertal but with a modern human’s viewpoints, experiences, and world-view. He or she would grow up in the world with modern technology and economy; so we would have this person who is, literally, a minority of one, part of modern society and yet separated from it in a way that no ethnic or religious minority today has ever been.
That’s the real ethical question. If I were forced to answer the question now, “would it be ethical to clone a Neandertal,” fascinating as that would be, I would say no. There’s a huge difference between conducting a genetic experiment on a mammoth or a bear, and conducting the same experiment on a person, whether it be a modern human or a Neandertal.