1960s >> 1961 >> no-682-june-1961
Short Story: Monkeys of the World, Unite!
Monkeys, trained to operate controls at given signals, are being used to pilot American space ships! Newspapers show front-page photographs of the new astronauts, their apish chins thrust forward with Mussolini arrogance. It’s all very interesting, but what about the social effects of such new developments?
Human astronauts are too few and disorganised at the moment to insist on union membership. And if an Astronaut Union meeting was held to discuss the matter, it’s likely that there would be more chimps there than men. The result could be a union dominated by chimpanzees.
Now everyone knows chimps are reactionary. They accept the truck system of payment, fully satisfied with a weekly wage of bananas. They demand no danger money and can easily be bribed with a full length cover story in Life magazine. What will happen when the characteristics of monkey labour are noticed by industrial employers?
An American factory has already tried using chimps as labour. Mechanisation and mass production have reduced most factory jobs to a simple routine. The monkey could become a serious threat to the working class. Their food, clothing and shelter requirements are few: so are their notions of freedom. They could be farmed in colonies and crossbred to produce strains suitable for all conditions.
Naturally they’d have to be kept happy but industrial psychology is already a science. How about a few rousing songs like. “The British Chimpanzee, is the salt of our Count-err-ree ”?
Laws could be passed making it a capital offence to murder a chimp and a National Veterinary Service could be set up to make sure a sick chimp could go back to work as soon as possible. British law would have to be extended to cover the chimpanzee; he should be able to sue his master for the loss of five bananas at the cost of only a hundred bananas.
Religion would have to be adapted for him. As a reward for work, patience and obedience, he would look forward to a life after death in which he would be introduced to a Gorilla father image who presided over a banana plantation. He would learn modesty and cover up his bottom, read good books and be prevented from reading bad books about his promiscuous ancestors.
None of these things is impossible with careful scientific breeding and conditioning, and our modern age would he far better served by chimp workers. For it’s becoming increasingly obvious that in our modern age. human beings simply don’t belong.