What about other species of animals' abilities to engage in politics?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most obvious answers is that no other animal has the ability to engage in politics as much as humans do.  The political structure that envelops human beings is a human creation.  Having said that, I think that one can see a form of biomimicry in terms of how animals conduct themselves and examine the political relevance in such actions.  The knowledge about how animals behave helps to establish how political theory can be constructed and how "there is much to be learned from beasts."  Consider the example of the bee.  The bee moves from flower to flower, collecting elements to bring back to the hive for the benefit of others.  There is little deviation in what needs to be done for the bee.  In contrast, the fly moves from different domain to domain without a central base or home.  The political relevance is that the bee is much more productive because it has a central base, a set of beliefs that can guide it in the betterment of both itself and others.  The fly is  open to anything and everything, and thus lacks a central base or home element.  For politics to work, there must be some type of central base or some type of political affiliation through which all actions are geared.

Another example of how politics can be mirrored in knowledge about animal behavior might be seen in the snake.  Scientists have been able to deduce much in way of behavior of female King Cobras.  As an animal type, the King Cobra eats other snakes to live.  The female King Cobra is unique in that she is a fiercely devoted mother.  She protects her young to a specific point.  Yet, her desire to be a good and protective mother overrides instinct.  When she feels that her snakes are able to fend for themselves, rather than succumb to the natural instinct to eat the younger snakes, she leaves them so that they can live.  The political implications are evident here in that devoted leaders must sacrifice so that others can flourish and prosper. Political leaders that are successful and worthy of praise rarely think of themselves first.

The flocking pattern of birds and the collective nature they demonstrate shows how political entities best work in a group setting, where organisms are geared towards a setting where solidarity reveals benefits for all.  The desert locust that swarms as a group to maximize food sources is another example of this.  The ant- hill is another example of how specific knowledge of animal behavior  can help to reveal much in way of political behavior within human beings.

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