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Christopher Snowdon on fake charities and sock puppets

Here is part of slide number one of Christopher Snowdon’s talk at LLFF14 yesterday afternoon, entitled “How the state finances the opponents of freedom in civil society”:


That is from The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, first penned, it would seem, in 1779, and actually passed in 1786.

Christopher Snowdon is described here as the “Director of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA”, which means he is their chief complainer about sin taxes.

His talk yesterday was based on the work he did writing two IEA publications, Sock Puppets: How the government lobbies itself and why and Euro Puppets: The European Commission’s remaking of civil society. Both those publications can be downloaded in .pdf form, free of charge.

Snowdon walked around a lot when talking, so although I took a lot of photos of him, only this one was any good:

ChristopherSnowdon Silhouette

Behind Snowdon is a long list of NGO’s which receive substantial funding from the EU. For legible versions, see Euro Puppets.

In the short run, all this money paying for leftist apparatchiks to lobby for more money for more leftist apparatchiks is good for leftism, but I wonder if in the longer run it won’t be a disaster for them. Another quote, about how all causes eventually degenerate into rackets, springs to mind. This is the kind of behaviour that even disgusts many natural supporters of leftism. As Snowden recounted, few people outside this incestuous world have any idea of the scale of this kind of government funding for “charities”, never mind knowing the extra bit about how the money is mostly used to yell and lobby for more money, and for more government spending and government control of whatever it is. In particular, Snowden recounted that when John Humphrys interviewed Snowden on the Today Programme, he (Humphrys) did not grill him (Snowden), he (Humphrys) mostly just expressed utter amazement at the sheer scale of government funding for “charities”, for anything.

What this means is that if and when a non-leftist politician gets around to just defunding the lot of them, just like that, he gets a win-win. He cuts public spending, even if only a bit. And he slings a bunch of parasites out into the street where they belong, who are then simply unable to argue to the public that they were doing anything of the slightest value to that public. Insofar as they do argue that they shouldn’t have been sacked, they do not further their own cause; they merely discredit it further and further prove that the decision to sack them was the right one.

9 comments to Christopher Snowdon on fake charities and sock puppets

  • pete

    The problem is that no non-leftist politician will ever do anything about it. The tax funded quango and charity gravy train based in London is a valuable source of employment for more than just lefties.

  • llamas

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who sets great store by Jefferson’s second-most important work product.

    The great man set such great store by the principles of free speech and free thought which he drafted into this law that his will gave the following express instructions for the design of his grave marker:

    “On the grave, a plain die or cube of 3.f without any mouldings, surmounted by an Obelisk of 6.f height, each of a single stone.

    On the faces of the Obelisk the following inscription, & not a word more

    Here was buried
    Thomas Jefferson
    Author of the Declaration of American Independance
    of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
    & Father of the University of Virginia.

    because by these, as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.”

    and so indeed it stands to this day.



  • Mr Ed

    But were this to happen, BBC news would be devoid of sound bites and ranting hacks, the Grauniad’s job adverts revenue would be devastated and, oh, where would it end?

  • CaptDMO

    “Insofar as they do argue that they shouldn’t have been sacked, they do not further their own cause; they merely discredit it further and further prove that the decision to sack them was the right one.”
    In the US, we have this appointed “chief” of our Department of Justice.
    We ALSO have this recently “resigned” “chief” of “National” Health Insurance Tax Promotion, asset “redistribution” to…um…tax exempt community “activism”.
    We ALSO have this “Tax collector” in charge of “Political” DONATED money, as well as National Health Tax “investment” enforcement.
    We ALSO have an “Environmental” department with astonishing powers to make laws, without “debate”, or “oversight”, concerning..”.because, shut up, THAT’S why.”

  • Rich Rostrom

    It’s harder than you think.

    The Left operates elaborate networks of NGOs. Many of them run in parallel – a “tax-exempt charity” operating from the same offices with as a partisan political group.

    Money gets laundered through these nets. Government makes a grant to A; which awards a fat consulting contract to B; whose personnel are volunteers at C. Detecting and proving such scams is difficult, especially as the government grantmakers are often accomplices.

    Even when these rackets are exposed, shutting them down is extremely difficult. There is a leftist U.S. group called ACORN, which gets a lot of grants directly and more for its many affiliates. ACORN has been exposed for voter fraud and worse. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives put through a rule barring ACORN from Federal grants and contracts; a leftist judge ruled that this was a “bill of attainder”, forbidden by the Constitution.

    Then there is the longstanding “Legal Services Corporation” racket. The LSCs (one in each state) were established to provide civil law services to indigent people in – wills, divorces, and such. They are almost exclusively staffed by leftists, and spend much of their time pursuing activist cases, such as suits against governments to require higher welfare benefits. Congress imposed restrictions which they simply ignore. (Each LSC has a citizen board of directors; conferences for LSC staff include sessions on “How to hide things from your board”.)

    The parasites are very deeply embedded.

  • Paul Marks

    A good post.

    Indeed all these vile people should be defunded – partly because they are collectivists and partly to save money.

    And it would not be a little money – as these “charities” (as Mr Snowden and Brian point out) spend their time (and our money) demanding more (a lot more) government spending on X,Y,Z.

  • I wish I had been there to audit Mr. Snowdon’s talk. The list of NGO’s is jaw-dropping. Does Europe really produce enough to pay, via taxes and hidden taxes, to sustain all these parasites? I imagine so. I’m mean-spirited enough to want to see every one of these creatures tossed into the street without pension or any other recompense. Let them live the way they have forced others to live, a hard-scrabble life making ends meet, and just when the end is met, it’s taken away. Short of extended prison terms for legalized theft, that’s the best justice I can think of at the moment.

  • Bill Johnson

    snowden, snowdon – are they the same?