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Abolish all agricultural subsidies! – Giving leftism a libertarian hook

Here’s an interesting titbit of news, which I just got from following a trackback to something else to this guy (and his blog).

The Guardian is starting a blog devoted to the single issue of abolishing agricultural subsidies.

Today (Monday, August 18, 2003) with only a few weeks to go before the World Trade Organisation meets in Cancun the Guardian is launching a new website with a single aim:

Help the poorest countries by kicking into oblivion All Agricultural Subsidies
(kickAAS)

This is, you might say, lefties giving leftism a libertarian hook, to refashion one of Perry de Havilland’s most favoured memes. I say, good for them.

I’ve always felt that in the long run (okay, the very long run), if libertarianism (okay, the Samizdata meta-context) were ever to triumph in the UK, it would be via the Guardian and by outflanking the traditional right, which has always had a lively sense of the revolutionary and hence to them regrettable nature of the free market. Guardianistas are trouble-makers first and only socialist centralists second and because this makes trouble for smug establishmentarians. If there’s libertarian (Samizdata meta … etc.) trouble to be made, they’ll make that too.

The message is bound to get spread around in some very unlikely places, many of them very angry and hostile places for such a message, that state spending doesn’t work at achieving its publicly stated goals and most especially doesn’t work at making poor people richer.

I expect a lot of regular Guardian readers to be angry about this. Good.

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7 comments to Abolish all agricultural subsidies! – Giving leftism a libertarian hook

  • Brian,

    You are right to applaud this campaign but I find your analysis of the Guardianista mentality (and hence the motivation behind this) to be somewhat out-of-step with reality.

    Agricultural subsidies should, indeed, be scrapped but the Guardian is getting behind this issue because they perceive it to be a means of ‘sticking it’ to the ‘privileged white’ countrysiders who are not among their readers and tend to vote Tory. The fact that id dovetails with free market opinion is purely an accident. A welcome accident but, nonetheless, not by design.

    Tell you what, try explaining the logic of ending state subsidies to healthcare and education and see how far you get. That, of course, would hit the wealth and privilege of their ‘social working class’ readership.

    “Guardianistas are trouble-makers first and only socialist centralists second and because this makes trouble for smug establishmentarians.”

    You are joking, aren’t you?

  • Cydonia

    David:

    You may well be right about their motives, but the good thing about this campaign is that (perhaps more by accident than design), it forces Statist lefties to think more than they usually do about issues like protectionism and free markets.

    In this regard, it’s worth reading the comments section on the site. One gets a real sense of assorted Statist lefties struggling to reconcile their strongly pro-State pro-interventionist views with the one free market policy that even they can’t object to. Who knows, it might just be enough to make one or two of them see the light!

  • e young

    Well, at least today hasn’t been without it’s humourous moments, and in the Guardian of all places!.

    Do you think they have made the weblog available to the French?.

    their ‘social working class’ readership.

    Like a good Giles cartoon, the humour is in the details…

  • R.C. Dean

    “One gets a real sense of assorted Statist lefties struggling to reconcile their strongly pro-State pro-interventionist views with the one free market policy that even they can’t object to.”

    We should start a pool on how long it takes the graunadistas to figure out they can get to the same place vis-a-vis oppressed foreign farmers simply by subsidizing the imports as necessary to offset the trade barriers. This not only preserves state intervention in the marketplace (whew!), it expands it, with the extra added bonus of shipping taxpayer dollars overseas!

  • Lorenzo

    It’s a fab site, I expect to gain no end of merryment from reading the comment section over at kickASS.

    RC Dean, I’m afraid the there is no point since the largest single viewpoint in the comments section came from the premish that abolishing agricultural subsidies in the West was not actually such a good idea. They where much more vorried about that BIG BAD agribusiness would benefit than any benefit to farmers anywhere. The idea that you could keep the CAP and subsidise 3rd world farming is already there it just takes someone to voice it.

  • I don’t know where you get the idea that

    “Guardianistas are trouble-makers first and only socialist centralists second and because this makes trouble for smug establishmentarians.”

    “smug establishmentarians” sounds to me to be a pretty apt description of Guardian hacks and readers.

    Is this not how you join the establishment?