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Against Everything, For What?

Opinion Editorial
May 9, 2000

By Linda Gorman

Over the last forty years, those who like to throw bricks through windows and blueberry pies in peoples faces for The Cause have been on the wrong side of one issue after another.  Who can forget the unilateral disarmament devotees throwing themselves in front of moving trains in an effort to appease the Soviet Union?  They wanted to the U.S. to take its missiles out of Europe.  Had they had their way, the U.S. and Europe would have disarmed, leaving the Soviet Union to menace the world.

Maybe hot asphalt emits fumes destructive to normal though processes.  Maybe shantytowns harbor some unknown pathogen that wipes out nuanced thought.  Or perhaps some people are simply born with latent ascetic tendencies and find themselves in the wrong era now that the zeitgeist ridicules religious vocations, principled public servants, and scholastics who devote themselves to pursuing the truth.  Like the Americans who converted to Communism after the Great Socialist October Revolution, they gravitate towards causes that offer camaraderie in the pursuit of a noble purpose.  Breaking a few eggs seems a small price to pay for the omelet.

Boulder, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. have seen recent eruptions of such passion in the pursuit of purpose.  Like Mussolinis fascists, the demonstrators oppose many things.  They are somewhat less clear about what they are for.

They oppose both poverty and poverty stricken farmers who clear land and drain swamps to feed their families.  They oppose the export of cheap U.S. agricultural products because these put local farmers out of business.  They oppose large corporations because they typically offer what consumers want at the lowest possible price, and when consumers try to ameliorate their poverty by buying at the lowest possible price, local businesses must either change their ways or fail.

They oppose international organizations that take money from taxpayers in the industrialized democracies and give it to people who happen to live in nations with low per capita incomes.  Maybe they dislike taxing the poor who happen to live in high income countries in order to support the fabulously wealthy kleptocrats who control most low income countries.  Maybe they hate such transfers because the IMF and World Bank have the temerity to give gifts with strings attached.  Perhaps they would be for a new kind of Cargo Cult in which bales of money are simply parachuted from airplanes.  They could always be against the inflation that inevitably results.

In Boulder, they oppose Chancellor Byyny because he refused to join the Worker Rights Consortium, a group dedicated to making everyone have it their way.  They oppose jobs for poor people if those jobs are provided by big money or those jobs fail to meet the standards of American union leaders.[1]  In other words, the poor should be picky.  Only jobs provided by small money or big government need apply.

They also oppose killing the planet, although how one kills a ball of rock remains an open question.  They accuse unspecified titans of industry of doing the killing despite the fact that the places in which such titans are endangered are the ones in which environmental damage is most extensive.  They say corporate activities are bad because they create such things as tree farms and tree farms pay insufficient homage to the deity of Biodiversity.  Given that they oppose all human actions that reduce biodiversity, where is the rally to protect the endangered smallpox virus?  And what about Nature itself?  Wasnt it nature that smacked a hulking asteroid into what is now the Gulf of Mexico, wiping out who knows how many species?  Why should man be held to higher standards than Nature?

Were such people truly in touch with nature and opposed to corporate interests they would have condemned the actions of the Biotic Bakers.  This delightful group pushed a blueberry pie into Chancellor Richard Byynys face because he refused to bow to the imperial will of the WAAKE-UP! coalition and help it in its quest to throw poor people out of work.  The problem is that blueberries ripen in summer.  To make a blueberry pie at this time of year, it is likely that the Bakers used berries that were harvested, preserved, or transported by titans of industry who run oppressive frozen food warehouses and canning plants.

Front range rhubarb, on the other hand, is ripe and ready for use.  A rhubarb pie made from products purchased from small local growers would have contributed to local sustainability, a real problem in Boulder.

A small mistake but a significant one.  It shows that even the morally superior find it impossible to take all relevant factors into account when they set out to run the world.

[1] Terje Langeland.  5 May 2000.  Blue day for Byyny,  Colorado Daily online edition.

Linda Gorman is a Senior Fellow with the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado, https://i2i.org. This article originally appeared in the Colorado Daily (Boulder), for which Linda Gorman is a regular columnist.
This article, from the Independence Institute staff, fellows and research network, is offered for your use at no charge. Independence Feature Syndicate articles are published for educational purposes only, and the authors speak for themselves. Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily representing the views of the Independence Institute or as an attempt to influence any election or legislative action.

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Copyright 1999