Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maureen Dowd vs. Sarah Palin : who's more anti-hunting ?

In today's New York Times, liberal columinst Maureen Dowd belittled hunting as an unfair activity to animals as part of a critique of Obama's agreement with the GOP. The agreement extended for two years a Bush tax-cut for the rich in exchange for extended unemployment benefits. Likening Obama to a helpless caribou being shot by Sarah Palin as part of her outdoor show, Dowd laid bare her contempt for hunting.

It was a particularly gross piece of cultural warfare coming from a member of the anti-hunting left, with its caricature of hunters and gun owners as a nutty right-wing monolith. One of the few things that Palin has ever said that I liked was "hunting is a great way to get organic, free-range meat". This was dismissed by Dowd.

While I'll probably never see Palin's show, I couldn't help but think of the irony of her loving caribou hunting in the Alaska wilderness, something a lot of us hunters in lower forty-eight can only dream of, and her anti-wilderness and anti-conservation policies. Palin is a strong supporter of drilling in ANWR, which would lead to a decline in caribou populations by breaking their migration corridor, leading to fewer hunting opportunities.

The entire article got me thinking, whose more anti-hunting ? Dowd, who would protect the environment but greatly restrict or ban hunting, or Palin, whose personal love for hunting has no impact on her broader politics, whose environmental policies would destroy ever increasing areas of wild places to hunt and fish ?


  1. We have a similar cognitive dissonance in Canada as well under the Government of Canada where the pro-hunting attitudes are clashing with the anti-environmental clauses. Tar sands and sales of crown land (public land) to oil companies and forestry company is something our neoliberal governments have been participating in.

    I suspect much of the contradiction is because those who still live in the rural countryside, the bastion of hunters, are the ones who are dependent on the extraction of natural resources. To not support promise of prosperity means moving to city. To move to the city means giving up the rural lifestyle.

  2. Dave, I agree with your point, but one encouraging trend is we are gaining traction in some of these conservation fights with the argument that extraction, or at least the most destructive kinds, such as sulfide mining, also hurt rural economies that are partially based on hunting and fishing. I have to say as a union steward, tourism jobs I'm sure are lower-paying and have less benefits than the extraction jobs, which will most likely be union, with good pay and benefits. However, extraction jobs don't last, and some of the processes have become so mechanized that they require very few workers.

    1. Yes, there is a huge debate about the pipeline which goes to Kitimat, British Columbia. Those who lost their jobs and don't want to move to the city are championing it as good employment for themselves. However, the leftists who live in the cities point out that most of construction jobs sourced out will go to the people who live outside the province for a few months. The companies will fly in these outsourced workers and not hire the locals. After construction, the rest of the process will be automated by a few dozen people who are manning the station.

      It seems like people are more worried about when their next jobs will be without thinking about the consequences, oppose to the long-term job security which is vital for the stability of the rural areas.