There is something about our species that makes us almost welcome the idea of turning back time and going home to the jungle.
Every few years, groups of ber liberals start getting ready for the happy collapse of the planet’s resources. They are eager to experience the opportunity to go back to the wild and grow their own food, their own white wine, their own marijuana, and even their own iPhones fabricated from sticks and stones and carp bones.
In that way, they may gladly succeed in giving up civilization — with the exception of wanting to keep their state-of-the-art running shoes and a fresh supply of oat bran.
Most brave liberals heading back to nature eventually sober up and drop the idea of leaving modern life because they would no longer be able to watch “The Daily Show” or MSNBC. And they would find life impossibly hard without lattes.
Then, as liberal bravado fades from the scene, it is people on the political right who get squirrely and start talking about leaving contemporary life to go live off the land. They want to be a man’s man with his womanly woman — but not, of course, without pickup trucks, fishing boats and pepperoni pizza.
I was reminded of human urges for life in the wild when a few Northwest folks on the right were attending one of those survivalist gatherings where they talked about getting ready for the collapse of the nation’s economy. They spent the weekend threatening to go into macho mode, preparing to stockpile more guns and ammunition, and getting ready for Armageddon by buying durable new fishing rods and more camouflage skivvies.
The newspaper story actually said their retreat included sessions on training midwives and hand-to-hand combat. I kid you not.
(I don’t mean that the midwives practiced hand-to-hand combat against women having babies. It was two different classes.) But a person can see how classes on midwifery would prove useful if you’re out in the wild without any entertainment except frisky nights with the missus.
Some of the hippies back in the ’60s and ’70s were equally determined to cope with their doomsday. They formed rural communes. They were so fearful of a collapsing planet and potential Republican rule that they could hardly concentrate on their tofu feasts, their simple folk songs and their joyful hours of tie-dyed free love.
But it is not merely the far twitchy left and the far paranoid right that long for the forest where we and the other apes originated. We all harbor ancient urges from our time in the trees and in the cave.
That’s what camping and hunting and fishing are all about. In fact, that’s also what backyard city gardening is about. The ancient imperatives remaining in our bones make us want to go home to tree and stream and cave. That’s where we come from and that’s why some people kill deer and fish while other people want to live on soybeans and its natural wonderfood tofu.
In truth, that’s why my wife and I grow our own tomatoes and potatoes and blueberries. We feel safer that way than depending entirely for survival on supermarkets.
That’s why geriatric hippies still grow their own soybeans. That’s why the paranoid right still stockpiles deer rifles, Keystone beer and Ayn Rand novels.
Maybe when doomsday threatens we should all get together like brothers and sisters in a universal commune.
Sharon and I will provide the vegetables. The hysterical right-wingers will guard the veggie patch with their guns.
And they can also stand ready to scare the hippies away if those savage liberals try to feed me any tofu.Contact columnist Bill Hall at email@example.com or 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.