In his February 16, 2013 column in the Guardian, columnist Will Hutton lays out the numerous failings of the British Food Standards Agency (FSA), which led to horse meat entering the human food chain. The horse-meat scandal may actually turn out to betwo parallel mislabeling scams. Whatever the case, and as strange as mislabeled horse-meat is – it is not my primary issue.My issue is with Hutton’s disgusting use of the scandal. Mirroring the penchant for American “journalists” who turn their columns and shows into personal soap boxes, Hutton takes swipes at right wingers in the United States, and he espouses the supposed ability of large government to function better than a slim and efficient one. Hutton especially takes to task a British politician who supported cuts in the funding of the FSA.
Hutton would have us believe a fully funded FSA would not have allowed this fiasco to occur. Indeed, an FSA, or any other governmental agency that does not receive adequate funding, is the cause for any accidents and other unfortunate mistakes that then occur. Hutton thinks that because the politicians, often times responding to their voters’ concerns, reduce funding to a bloated agency, they should receive the anger and onus of the press and people too.
Hutton so seems to dislike politician Owen Patterson, he goes so far as to make a personal attack of the man, referring to him as “one of the less sharp knives in the political drawer”. Hutton’s anger seethes against anyone he deems “connected” to the scandal. He attacks the large supermarket chains who seek to price food where the consumer can afford it, he attacks the stock holders of the supermarkets, he attacks right-wing think tanks in the U.S., and he eventually goes so far as attacking capitalism itself, saying it does not deliver the best outcomes.
Within those barbs fed by misunderstanding and assumption, Hutton joins so many of the American left, who hear the word, “capitalism”, and either rage or cringe. The cause of so much damage to people, the cause of so much environmental damage – is the dreaded capitalism. Never mind that it is also the reason there are 90 different types of bread on the supermarket shelves or that it is the reason that clothing is still relatively inexpensive and easily replaced — we must see like Mr. Hutton, that capitalism is inherently evil. Everything it touches, businesses, politicians, and workers are worse off, Hutton would have us believe.
Oddly though – the tax revenue that the capitalism structure generates that allows the left’s dream of bloated and inefficient government programs – well, that is the only good thing that comes from capitalism. Somehow, running the funds through the filter of government who then divvy them out, changes the funds from merely evil capital, based on worker exploitation, to a wonderful means to a social end. Again, in a parallel with the left in the United States, Will Hutton seeks to use a crisis to further the false cause of enlarging the government’s reach and its strength.
I find it interesting that while the right, conservatives especially, often find themselves fitted with the mantle of being a backward-looking anachronism, the left on both sides of the pond, seem constantly to recycle their failed policies of Keynesian spending and bloated government structures. A strength of conservatives is to not only look to history for measures that work, but to look back, and abandon and prevent measures that have failed. Perhaps the left should finally abandon the continuous failure that is Keynesian economics – but with as rabidly as some support left-wing politics, you have a better chance of having lunch with a Kentucky Derby winner…