What America can learn from the Animal kingdom

meerkat and baboon stand in front of a chalkboard that says "good morning, class"

Are we back to the jungle, an animalistic society with roaming packs of foam-at-the-mouth beasts howling for the enthronement of their king?

As witnessed in the ugly collapse of Donald Trump’s presidency, his furious animalism was unleashed on America, revealing a soulless selfishness that he had written about years earlier in a book on corporate deal making. In a “great deal,” he explained, winning is not enough – “You crush the opponent.”

Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?

But wait, that’s not fair to animals! In the real animal kingdom, the species that are the most successful survivors are not the beastliest, but the ones that work together in a sharing society. From ants to elephants, animals in the wild organize to hunt together, build homes, nurture and teach their young, spread their available food throughout the community, mourn lost ones, etc.

They even vote! The real “king of the jungle” is the group, as has been found in communal societies as varied as meerkats, baboons, and bees. Whether primates or insects, such decisions as where to live and which direction to go forage are made by democratic consensus reached in a sort of caucus system. When several thousand honeybees, for example, split from a hive to form a new colony, they dispatch a few hundred scouts to find a new home. One by one, the scouts report back, doing unique waggle dances that describe what each found. Gradually, scouts decide what bee’s site is best and synchronize their waggles accordingly. Once the scouts are doing the same dance, the whole swarm flies off together and settles into their new hive.

America has more to learn from bees than from Trump and his lifelong enthusiasm for a social order based on corporate power plays. The great hope for our society is not domination by the strong, but cooperation by all.

print
Spread the good word! Lowdown gift subscriptions are just $15.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

Never miss a word from Hightower– sign up today: