Teh awesome

by Henry Farrell on February 26, 2008

Hilzoy, “rejoicing the departure”:http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/02/ding-dong-the-w.html of the truly odious William J Haynes II, provides this mind-squirbling story from Haynes’ earlier career.

In this amazing brief, Haynes argued that bombing a nesting site for migratory birds would benefit birdwatchers, since “bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one.” Moreover, he added, the birds would benefit as well, since using their nests as a bombing range would minimize “human intrusion”. The judge’s comment on this novel line of argument: “there is absolutely no support in the law for the view that environmentalists should get enjoyment out of the destruction of natural resources because that destruction makes the remaining resources more scarce and therefore more valuable. The Court hopes that the federal government will refrain from making or adopting such frivolous arguments in the future.” (pp. 27-8)”

I once voiced my suspicion that Fafblog had retired because nothing, not even an entity with the godlike powers of the Medium Lobster, could out-lunatic Norman Podhoretz. I was wrong. William J Haynes II could out-lunatic Norman Podhoretz without raising a sweat. Sadly, the Medium Lobster isn’t even in the race.



bad Jim 02.26.08 at 10:08 am

At the same time my town, Laguna Beach, California, was struggling to establish a greenbelt, the powers that be in Orange County were intent on running a toll road right through the little strip of coastal chaparral we were trying to save from development.

There seemed to be a chance that we could use the local gnatcatcher’s status as an endangered species to block this atrocity. After a devastating fire during seasonal high winds (which wiped out several neighborhoods but killed no humans) a spokesperson for the road project opined that those little birds were clearly no longer a problem, apparently unaware that birds can fly away.


Jasper Milvain 02.26.08 at 11:32 am

His second argument isn’t quite as in-all-circumstances cherishably absurd as his first: consider Salisbury Plain.


MattF 02.26.08 at 3:00 pm

Haynes is only a single link in the Great Chain of Wingnuttery. And the Principle of Wingnut Plenitude requires that to the right of every link there is another.


lemuel pitkin 02.26.08 at 4:27 pm

His second argument isn’t quite as in-all-circumstances cherishably absurd as his first

Yes, IIRC, the Chernobyl area has thriving populations of all sorts of rare animals. Ditto the Korean DMZ.


qb 02.26.08 at 4:49 pm

wow that’s crazy although honestly i’m a little disappointed at the judge’s response. the possibilities for much harsher but still subtle mockery were many and deep, but dude just walked right by. there is a time and a place for high-minded self-restraint and this i do not think was it.


"Q" the Enchanter 02.26.08 at 4:55 pm

“The Court hopes…”

In vain, alas.


bi 02.26.08 at 5:25 pm

OK, I can’t help but ask… What’s Haynes’s view on global warming?

(Will global warming help bird-watchers by creating more rare bird species? Should we induce more flooding of coastal areas so that the affected areas will suffer less human intrusion? Will polar bears evolve like Pokemon into new breeds of bears, thereby helping to advance the state of scientific research? These are grave questions.)


nick s 02.26.08 at 7:43 pm

Following Haynes’ argument, does that mean pro-torture wingnuts need to be culled so that others can appreciate their scarcity?


John Emerson 02.26.08 at 9:13 pm

The more endangered species there are, the more endangered species can be saved. A lot of liberal fascist environmentalist just don’t care how many endangered species we save. Doesn’t that show you the bankruptcy of the left right there.


John Emerson 02.26.08 at 9:37 pm

+s +?


sab 02.27.08 at 3:27 am

I’m new here. Who or what is the medium lobster?


Charles S 02.27.08 at 8:01 am

This reminds me of something I’ve wondered about for years. Why isn’t Obsidian Wings on the Crooked Timber blogroll?


Clyde Mnestra 02.27.08 at 4:01 pm

The argument was perverse and a foolish one to make. Haynes should not have approved the brief that contained it, directly or indirectly. But it seems unfair to attribute it to him in this way without explanation — to my understanding, it was a stupid argument that the Washington Legal Foundation put in its brief, and that a government attorney (acting with the approval of DoD and Navy, and possibly personally reviewed by Haynes) attached to the government’s brief and thus endorsed. “Haynes argued” is true in some sense, but one might read this and imagine a more substantial role.


MattF 02.27.08 at 4:13 pm

“The Medium Lobster”, quoting Fafblog, “is a higher being with superior knowledge from beyond space and time. To your limited perception, he appears to be just another medium lobster. To your limited perception.”


ed 02.27.08 at 7:05 pm

I’m new here. Who or what is the medium lobster?

One presumes that you’re so green as to be unfamiliar with Teh Google. I strongly urge you to learn how to use this powerful tool.


Nell 02.27.08 at 10:22 pm

Ed, it would have been just as easy to answer the question as to be a pill.

sab, The now almost 2-year dormancy of Fafblog is sad for everyone who enjoyed it, but at least the archives are there, unlike some of my other favorite blogs that went dark.
Two of my favorite posts are Wake Up and Driving with Donald. But do go explore and find your own.

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