American Elephants

The Environmentalist War on Rural America by The Elephant's Child
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Very vague. Instead of merely asserting that private lands are better managed than federal lands, the makers of the video could have shown some of the latter instead of an unrelated picture of a farmer loading hay.

At the end, the speaker only alludes sweepingly to attempts to specific complains, such as “… the attempt to control the water and to stop irrigating large parts of the San Joaquin Valley. These are all hurting the environment, these aren’t helping the environment.” All hurting the environment and not helping the environment? I think a more accurate claim is that the effect of these initiatives on the environment is mixed.

In any case, the central claim — that those elite urbanites don’t understand us poor farmers — is as old as the hills, and as valid (or not) as the counterclaim that rural folk don’t understand city slickers.

Many Californians living in cities have roots to farming, and many in the environmental movement have spent a lot of time in the countryside, which in the case of the San Joaquin Valley is not that far away.

If the speaker wants to give an example of the gap between the two communities, it would be more convincing if he spoke about the complaints of people living further from the coast, not an area whose irrigation systems owe their very existence to federal and state subsidies. Indeed, the whole political economy of the U.S. Congress is weighted towards rural areas. All states, no matter how few citizens they house, have two Senators and at least one representative in the House. That is one reason why agricultural subsidies have been so difficult to roll back.

One valid complaint from the rural sector that one doesn’t hear much about are the changes that led to the closing of all slaughterhouses authorized to slaughter horses for meat. The consequence is that a large number of horses ended up being sent to Mexico for slaughter. Recently a slaughterhouse in New Mexico was allowed again to process horses, but it is going to be some time before that small but valuable niche business recovers.

Good luck to him.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

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