Just in Time for 'Pride' Month, Court Confirms California Lawmakers Can Let Bumblebees Identify as Fish


A bee by any other name would still buzz when flying around, pollinating plants, right? Not in California. Unless fish can now buzz through the air, pollinating rose blossoms.

In California, an appeals court has ruled that some bees are to be legally considered fish, according to The Hill. Yep. You read that right. You are witnessing the day that fish can fly.

In the once-upon-a-time where common sense ruled the day, fish were defined in California as “wild fish, mollusks or crustaceans, including any part, spawn or ova thereof.” In 2015,  the California legislature, in its infinite display of leftist madness,  modified the definition to read “‘fish’ means a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian or part, spawn, or ovum of any of those animals,” as reported by The Hill.

I’m not sure what “or part” refers to in the new definition. Then again, I’m not sure about a lot these days. Without a steadfast faith in God, I’d be confused beyond repair.

In 2019, a lawsuit was filed by large agricultural groups against the California Fish and Game Commission. The lawsuit was to decide whether the commission exceeded its authority by designating four bumblebee species as endangered –- the Crotch bumblebee, the Franklin bumblebee, the Suckley cuckoo bumblebee and the Western bumblebee –- calling them invertebrates.

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Invertebrates, as we have seen, now fall under California Endangered Species Act’s definition of fish. The CESA protects species, in divisions designated as “bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant.”

The appeals court ruling gave the commission the legal authority to list invertebrate species as endangered, even if they’re not aquatic animals, according to The Hill.

The ruling stated, “We next consider whether the commission’s authority is limited to listing only aquatic invertebrates. We conclude the answer is, ‘no.’ Although the term fish is colloquially and commonly understood to refer to aquatic species, the term of art employed by the Legislature in the definition of fish in section 45 is not so limited.”

“The term of art” is an apt phrase. In art, imagination is king. Think of Jonathan Swift’s Lilliputians or Dante’s Inferno. Both are works of art and both are fiction. In California. it seems, law and fiction can be conflated at will.

Can a bee be legally a fish?

I am no expert when it comes to bumblebees, in California or anywhere else. Far from it. But I do know something about language.

If certain bumblebees in California are endangered, why not just change the California Endangered Species Act to include insects, arachnids and other terrestrial invertebrates? It would be a straightforward approach that conformed to reason.

Instead, democratic lawmakers double down on the trans craze sweeping the county and extend it ever further into a trans-species approach. This has nothing to do with reason. If a law isn’t reasonable, how can it be just?

To borrow from Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter From Birmingham Jail, “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” King was borrowing from St. Thomas Aquinas.

Bees are subject to natural law, too.  Designating them as fish probably degrades the poor things, whether they know it or not.

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Designating bees as fish is akin to teaching first-graders that apples are bananas. How did we get this far gone?

Whether they know it or not — and most of them probably don’t — leftists are nominalists.

According to Michael R. Egnor, MD of Mind Matters, “Nominalism is the view that universals exist only as concepts in the mind, but not in reality. A universal is a category of being — for example, “mankind” is a universal, and “Donald Trump” is a particular. Donald Trump is a real, tangible, specific person, whereas mankind is a concept, of which Donald Trump is an example.”

The opposite of nominalism, according to Egnor, is realism. I’m a realist. I don’t conclude Donald Trump is a “man” by abstracting him into the concept of “mankind,” just like I know a bee is a bee and not a fish by simply observing it. I don’t need to think about it at all.  It simply is.

If there are no universals like bees and humans, one can go about calling a particular thing like a bee anything they want, “The bee is a fish.” Naming would become — is becoming —  a function of feelings, not of reason. Who could take pride in that?

The California appeals court feels like the bees in question are endangered; they need to go the extra mile and prove it. The next step would be to amend the language in the law instead of arbitrarily designating bees as fish.

For a realist, saying that a bee is a fish is, at best, stating a subjective feeling — even when that feeling is shared by a collective — not an objective truth based on reason.

But what if a bee feels like it’s a fish? We’d never know. But even if the bee did feel like a fish, it wouldn’t make the bee a fish in reality.

And neither can an appeals court in California. Is it too late to get real?

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Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.
Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.