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Shark as Shark Bait

A fascinating shark attack in Australia makes me wonder if its aptness as a metaphor for politics and therefore of the totally politicized world we are being forced to live in isn’t too obvious:

It’s about a giant shark cannibalizing another, smaller shark. I know that many people feel that is what life is like, but I simply haven’t encounered that myself. I will grant you that when we are insecure or afraid we become incredibly cruel, but that insecurity and fear isn’t necessary.

The function of the family is to provide a secure setting in which people don’t need to be sharks or even swim with them.

Small local communities cooperate to protect and care for each other.

Nor is it mere social contract. On the contrary, it is good and pleasant when brothers dwell together in unity. It’s annoying when they don’t get along. In other words, we are inclined by nature to live together in harmony.

But we do have sharks within us.

That’s maybe the funniest irony of our era. Politicians and educators and other manipulators of public opinion tell us how we are so good by nature, but the underlying attitude of all practical people is that you have to swim with the sharks to succeed.

So the politicians set themselves up as the ones who will protect us from the sharks – like, say, doctors, teachers, parents – you know, the people who could actually love you if only they could get to know you.

Because we have sharks within us and among us, we need to define and limit what people are allowed to do. Job descriptions help with this, like, for example, our constitution.

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