Apologize to Chimps Too!
Today, publisher Rupert Murdoch apologized for the recent New York Post cartoon that some viewed as racially offensive in its attribution of Congress’ stimulus bill to a chimp. “Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted,” Murdoch, said. “I can assure you — without a doubt — that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation.”
Let’s not let chimps get stuck with a reputation for making bad laws.
As Jane Goodall and Frans de Waal have documented chimpanzees are highly social creatures. Among other things, chimps have long-lasting familial ties and they live in communities governed by complex social norms. Chimps cooperate in hunting and maintain social order through sophisticated forms of communication. They adopt orphaned siblings. They use tools for a variety of purposes. They mourn death. They have phenomenal memories. They can learn to complete complex tasks. They have highly individualized personalities. They engage in diplomacy and other political behavior. They patrol the boundaries of their communities (and sometimes they engage in warfare with outsiders).
Chimp law works quite well.