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Friday, August 21, 2009

THAT DOGMA WON'T HUNT

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 9:16 AM

Did you ever notice how quick conservatives are to abandon a deeply held principle when it clashes with another? The most common example is how maleable the committment to states' rights becomes the moment a state might do something unacceptable, like allow same-sex marriages or let families make private decisions or choose the wrong presidential candidate.

NPR was polite enough not to point out the underlying hypocrisy in this report, but you can't miss it:

Starting next year, the Justice and Agriculture departments will hold public workshops in farm towns throughout the United States to learn about anti-competitive conduct in agricultural markets.

The announcement came one day before the annual convention of the Organization for Competitive Markets. The next day, many among the 150 people gathered at a St. Louis hotel for a session — titled "Confronting the Threats to Market Competition" — could not believe what they were hearing.

Small but influential, the nonprofit, nonpartisan group is made up of farmers, academics and others concerned about the gigantification of American agriculture. Its executive director is Fred Stokes, a Mississippi rancher and registered Republican who has been leading the charge for the government to intervene.

"We want to stop this rubber-stamping of every ag merger that comes down the pike," Stokes said. "We want to call in the predators that are putting our farmers and ranchers out of business. We want them to do their job."

Mr. Stokes is absolutely right — the federal government has stood by and watched for decades as mergers have created mega-corporations against which no small farmer has a chance. But one can't help but wonder if he's ever considered that the Republican candidates he's voted for over the years are the very ones who've made that possible. Market forces are practically God's will — isn't that what Republicans have been preaching for at least 30 years? And, Mr. Stokes now wants the federal government to intervene?!

I don't mean to make fun of him, he's got enough problems. But it's maddening that so many Americans vote against their own interests — much less the common good — then seem baffled over constantly losing ground. — Frank Lewis

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