Wednesday, November 20, 2002
A French farmer-turned anti-globalization celebrity, José Bové is going to jail for various attacks on genetically-modified crop fields in France. Bové is better known as the farmer who attacked a MacDonald's, earning the praise of French president Jacques Chirac.
Activists have hailed Bové as a leader of the fight against globalization (click here for an example). I've always found this absurd. Bové's decision to attack the MacDonald's in the first place was due to a U.S. decision, during a typical trade spat with the EU, to raise tariffs against French luxury goods. This had a devastating impact on Bové's livelihood, as "someone who supplies sheep's milk to makers of Roquefort cheese," according to the New York Times. In other words, the initial incident that triggered Bové's "protest" was a lack of globalization, not its acceleration.
The fact that Bové and other protestors concluded that the cure for Bové's ills was to halt the free flow of goods and services across borders even further is a testimony to the blinkered logic of the anti-globalization movement.
TWO WEEKS LATER: Six weeks
TWO WEEKS LATER: Six weeks ago, a prominent reader of this blog asked me whether I was a "blogaholic" -- whether I felt compelled to blog to the point where it interfered with my real job. After two weeks of cold turkey, the answer is no. After the first few days, I stopped checking my declining hit count rate and just started doing the research and committee work that I needed to do. There were still moments during the past two weeks when I wanted to comment on well-written essays (like Heather Hurlburt's first-rate Washington Monthly article on the "security expertise gap" Democrats suffer), or snarky pieces of provocation (like Chris Sullentrop's intentionally outrageous attack on Harry Potter in Slate). So I'm not addicted to blogging, but it certainly takes care of an itch that needs scratching.
The other thing I've done was listen to all of my liberal friends (and relatives) bitch and moan about the imminent collapse of Western civilization now that Republicans control the legislative and executive branches. Complaints along the lines of:
"Abortion will be illegal within three weeks!!"
"The Bill of Rights are doomed!!"
and, to combine all liberal sore points into one canard:
"Non-union Southerners -- all of them without health insurance -- are going to raze public schools to the ground in favor of urban strip mining for coal!!"
Relax, people. For those who genuinely believe this will happen, click over to Jacob Levy's extended analysis of the median voter theorem. More importantly, stop thinking that the federal government is the source for all good and evil in the world -- this might be the signal difference between true-blue liberals and the rest of the population.