The Corner

The GOP and Animal Intelligence

For those of us, unlike Representative Paul Broun, who prefer our exotic animals alive and well, rather than dead and on display next to the table lamp in our office, this weekend’s Wall Street Journal has a terrific story about animal intelligence. As in: We’ve greatly underestimated it:

A growing body of evidence shows . . . that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Can an octopus use tools? Do chimpanzees have a sense of fairness? Can birds guess what others know? Do rats feel empathy for their friends? Just a few decades ago we would have answered “no” to all such questions. Now we’re not so sure.

We’ve also underestimated the depth of the GOP’s branding problem if we think that the image of a man spending big bucks to go to Africa and kill and eat a young lion is appealing to most voters. It’s the very cliché of a cold-hearted Republican, even if the hunter in question supports conservation efforts (perhaps to ensure there will always be exotic animals to hunt).

More intelligent GOP outreach, and better office décor: a gorgeous photo of elephants.

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