The Savage Nation

Respect for God’s creatures should be a conservative impulse.


I recently came across an issue of Outdoor Life, the sportsman’s Bible, and noticed an ad for something called “the Wayne Carlton bear call.” The bear season finds hunters using an army of tech-nology out in the field, and this little gadget makes the spot-on sound of “the frantic squalling of a terrified cub.” The adult bear hears it and comes a-running-while the intrepid sportsman Watts.

The idea, in short, is to turn one of the bear’s finer qualities, its fierce protectiveness of cubs, against him. The creature’s very virtues—or strengths, or evolutionary survival skills, or whatever you want to call them-become his undoing. It seems a little unfair. What kind of man would use a thing like that?

Somehow, when we were given dominion over the earth and its creatures, I don’t think this is quite what He had in mind. Conservatives are wary of modern environmentalism with its strain of nature worship. But there’s a smug insensibility in this other attitude that is every bit as bad. It is the Imperial Self, armed and dangerous, a fundamentally vulgar vision of man as special pleader, man the all-conquering consumer facing the universe with limitless entitlements and appetites to be met no matter what the costs. Want a bearskin rug for the living room? Go forth then to bait and slay the beast-bring along the Wayne Carlton, and don’t forget the keg. Wildlife hindering new development? Bring dominion to field and forest, exterminate the creatures, and raise up thy new strip mall.

Read more at the International Society for Animal Rights