Whooper swan considers Egyptian geese in a Devon field (there were previously five)
Back in the early sixties I read ‘King Solomon’s Ring,’* a classic of animal behaviour by a medicine and psychology Nobel laureate.
There was a passage that has stuck in my mind for more than 50 years. The author was explaining the phenomenom of ‘submissive behavior’ and described how, in the process of establishing seniority in a wolf pack, the loser in any trial of strength would adopt a surrender posture, exposing its throat to the winner. The dominant would then cease the struggle, but continued to snap at the air around the loser’s throat in what appeared to be a paroxysm of frustration. Lorenz concluded that a mechanism had evolved in the wolf’s behaviour that prevented any serious injury or death. This had evolved, he concluded, to preserve the species.
But this only applied within a particular species. He also witnessed a fight between a goose and a swan in which the losing goose presented its throat to the dominant and was killed by the bird that was not programmed to recognise a goose signal.
I was reminded of this by the wave of emotion and outrage that has followed the massacre at Sandy Hook school. The liberal left seems to be programmed to believe that, like the wolf, if it were only to adopt an ‘appropriate’ surrender posture, this would be recognised and the aggressor would respond in the ‘appropriate’ way. In this case, they believed that by creating a gun-free zone in schools (or army bases, for God’s sake) this would somehow affect the behaviour of a psychopath (or an Islamic terrorist).
So, instead of learning from the needless and preventable deaths of twenty seven people, they clamour for more of the same only this time nation wide.
This is the behaviour of the goose.
* Lorenz, Konrad, King Solomon’s Ring’Routledge; New Ed edition (9 May 2002)ISBN-10: 0415267471
or was it ‘On Aggression’ by the same author? ISBN-10: 0415283205 — I can’t remember but both books are worth reading.
Can you think of any other examples of this destructive behaviour in recent history? CND perhaps? Obama’s gift to Putin of the missile screen? The West’s ongoing submissiveness to Islam? Appeasement in the 30s? The mass rapes of Rotherham?