Writing in Grist, an environmental news and commentary webzine, Tom Philpott complains, “a left-right coalition against Big Food and in favor of alternative food networks never materialized” between the natural foodies and the “crunchy cons” – political conservatives who love natural foods.
Maybe the coalition never materialized because Philpott doesn’t know “right” from “libertarian.”
The first clue can be found in the article’s headline itself:
“Why are libertarian right wingers defending a dysfunctional, state-engineered food system?”
While Philpott never uses the phrase “libertarian right winger” in his article (headlines are frequently written by editors, not by the writers themselves) he does use libertarian, right wing, and conservative interchangeably throughout.
(Yes, there are people calling themselves “libertarian right wingers” but neither libertarians nor right wingers claim them.)
Philpott begins by correctly pointing out that libertarians “thundered for years against commodity subsidies and the crony capitalism practiced by agribusiness giants and their kept politicians” and that the libertarian Cato Institute wrote an exposé back in 1995 (“Archer Daniels Midland: A Case Study In Corporate Welfare”) about how the agribusiness giant “fattens itself on taxpayer cash.”
Then, abruptly, he switches his context to vilify “the right wing media machine” for defending Big Food and Big Ag in articles such as the American Enterprise Institute-funded journal, which he identifies as influential among conservative intellectuals, for attacking the sustainable-food movement, and Forbes Magazine, which he calls a “play toy” of conservative icon Steve Forbes, for engineering a “ringing defense of the agri-food industry.”
Then he upbraids libertarians because the articles “contradict libertarian ideology by completely ignoring the federal government’s central role in developing and maintaining the industrial food system.”
But of course conservative articles in conservative publications contradict libertarian ideology. Conservatives are not libertarians; conservatives are conservatives and they follow conservative ideology. Why chastise libertarians for that?
The second problem contained in the article’s title, “Why are libertarian right wingers defending a dysfunctional, state-engineered food system?” is that libertarians are not defending a dysfunctional, state-engineered food system. Libertarians reject it; right wingers defend it.
Libertarians, as always, defend maximum freedom and responsibility.
So while a left-right “coalition against Big Food and in favor of alternative food networks” may yet materialize, libertarians will not be party to the big government coercion deeply embedded in both left and right ideologies.
Libertarians want food freedom; eat what you want, not what others dictate.
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