Although we don’t have much else to brag about in this life, at least we are still standing after a lifetime of apocalyptic doomsaying. We’ve not only survived the imminent ice age that was predicted in our youth but have thus far withstood all the global warming that has been warned of in our middle age, as well as the ozone hole and “The Population Bomb” and the heterosexual AIDS epidemic, not to mention the invasion of killer bees and the swine flu and bird flu and all the other zoological flus that were supposed to have killed us by now. According to no less an authority than The Washington Post even the non-killer sorts of bees, who were supposed to have been gone by now, are still hanging on.
The Post’s report piqued our interest because of a late friend of ours who used to go on at length about the coming “Bee-pocalypse” or “Bee-mageddon” or the more scientific “colony collapse disorder,” which started killing off 20 to 40 percent of America’s honey bees sometime around 2006 and was set to kill them all off by now, a documented phenomenon that our friend assured us presaged the same fate for mankind. He might yet be proved right, but for now it seems that America’s honeybee population has reached a 20-year high and that for the foreseeable future honey will remain as plentiful as snow in wintertime. What’s more, our late friend would surely be disappointed to know that that the “Bee-pocalypse” was averted not by the sort of totalitarian government control that he advocated but rather by the actions of free men and women working in a free market system.
There was a governmental response to the sudden and still-unexplained declines in America’s bee population starting in 2006, but that was just a “64-page policy framework for saving the nation’s bees, butterflies, and other other pollinating animals” called the “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Bees and Other Pollinators,” and before it could be implemented the nation’s beekeepers set about solving the problem on their own. Motivated by a desire to keep their businesses afloat, which is even more compelling than the loftier intentions of modern liberalism, the beekeepers replenished their stock by such innovative methods as splitting one healthy colony into two and supplying the new one with an on-line ordered queen.
Such free-market solutions have thus far sufficed to forestall all those other doomsday predictions, as well, and if this global warming proves imminent enough that the world’s leaders stop flying jetliners to international conferences and taking motorcades to the fancy dinners we expect they’ll be on that job as well. In the meantime the honeybees will continue to buzz, buzz, buzz, and we’ll still be standing to see what comes next.
— Bud Norman