|Montreal, January 18, 2003 / No 117|
by Harry Valentine
Beginning on January 20, 2003, four Western farmers will go on trial in Regina, Saskatchewan, for having exported wheat without a licence. The November 23, 2002 edition of this commentary (see CANADA IMPRISONS PRO-FREE-MARKET FARMERS, le QL, no 114) described how Western farmers were imprisoned for having exported wheat without a licence, including one farmer who had actually donated wheat to a Montana 4-H club. The Regina farmers face similar charges and will likely face a similar sentence.
In my previous commentary on this subject, I provided information suggesting
that Eastern Canadian wheat farmers are exempt from restrictions placed
on Western farmers, despite the Charter of Rights and Freedoms stating
that all citizens are equal before and under the law. The Webpage
of the Western Canadian wheat farmers (www.farmersforjustice.com)
describes a law forbidding the export of Western wheat (except by
an arm of the federal government) and defining Western wheat as
wheat grown in a designated geographic region of Canada. Sections under
the subheading "In Depth" (click on Carol
Husband's name), give detailed information on how Western and Eastern
Canadian wheat farmers are treated differently by the Canadian Wheat Board
and by Agriculture Canada.
Consistent with the Zwangswirtschaft system
This law is more consistent with the Zwangswirtschaft system that was the cornerstone of economic regulation in Nazi Germany (Zwang means compulsion while Wirtsschaft means economy). A description of this system appears in a treatise entitled Socialism(1), in which the economist Ludwig von Mises highlighted the shortcomings and downfalls of socialist and other types of interventionist economies.
Under the Nazi system of Zwangswirtschaft, private ownership is maintained over the means of production (p.485 of Socialism), but the government tells the entrepreneurs at what prices and to whom to sell. In Canada, Western farmers are forced to sell their wheat only to the government's wheat board, in a scheme called "buyback" (a description of "buyback" is provided by Carol Husband on the farmers' Webpage). On page 529 of Socialism, Mises mentions the slogan into which the Nazis condensed their economic philosophy, namely, Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz, or "the commonwealth ranks above profit." This certainly is consistent with the philosophy by which Western Canadian wheat farmers are regulated by the Canadian government.
The four farmers who will go on trial beginning on January 20 will be tried not on laws that are consistent with equality before and under the law as spelled out in the Charter of Rights and freedoms, but they will be tried, prosecuted and convicted on laws that are consistent with Zwangswirtschaft and Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz, the economic regulations that were administered and enforced from Berchtesgarten, by the Führer.
The constitution of Canada advises that it is the Supreme law of Canada and that any law that is inconsistent with the statutes written in the constitution, is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect. However, this is irrelevant in cases involving free-market Western wheat farmers. Conviction is practically guaranteed, given the practice of "Judge shopping" (more information on "Judge Shopping" can be accessed from the farmers' webpage, by clicking on "Ken Dillen Injustice"). This is a practice whereby some prosecutors apparently arrange to have their cases heard by sympathetic judges, to ensure easier convictions.
The national government has many allies who stand ready to defend the concept of state regulation of sectors of the economy, especially as it applies to Western wheat production. They will justify the initiation of forcible state compulsion (Zwangswirtschaft) against peaceful and productive citizens. Most of the state's allies even uphold the theme of Keynes' General Theory as the foundation that justifies such state action. This treatise was first published in 1936 and is based on the concepts of Zwangswirtschaft and Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz. The German translation (1938) apparantly received high praise from Berlin after its publication. However, a long list of economists and economic writers have since discredited the General Theory and the pro-interventionist theories it stands for.
Two recognised texts on this subject include The Failure of the "New Economics" – An Analysis of the Keynesian Fallacies authored by Henry Hazlitt (1959) and also The Critics of Keynesian Economics, edited by Hazlitt (1960). Economists such as Mises and Arthur Burns have debunked Keynesian and interventionist theories, as have four University of Chicago professors who are Nobel Laureates in economics. They are F.A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom) and Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom) who both used logic to debunk Keynesian interventionist theories, while George Stigler and Ronald Coase used parametric methods to illustrate the consistent long-term failure of state enforced economic regulation. However, in the eyes of officials who are eager to convict Western pro-free-market wheat farmers, such material is regarded to be as irrelevant as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The central theme of Plato's treatise, The Republic, still prevails with these officials. It claims that the state has all the rights while citizens have no rights, except to serve government.
Despite a plethora of proof illustrating the consistent and long-term failure of state economic regulation and control, the national government continues to stand ready to use coercion and forcible compulsion against the productive activities of peaceful citizens, as the means by which to enforce such regulation and control. Canada's government need look no further than the decimation of the East Coast cod fish industry, to see proof that state enforced economic regulation and control can and does fail. Despite having had a large bureaucracy backed by an extensive staff of politically favoured experts to guide governmental action in the fisheries industry, a mega-debacle still occured.
The negative results of stringent regulation of wheat in Western Canada are beginning to show. During 1960, the Canadian Wheat Board issued over 221,000-permits. In 1987, the CWB issued 143,428-permits to process 28,195,484-tonnes of wheat, incurring operating expenses of $26,857,530. In 2000, the CWB issued 101,299-permits to process 23,628,850-tonnes of wheat, incurring expenses of $63,771,000 (information on farmers' webpage, by Lynda Swanson, under statistics). As is typical with most government debacles, expenses increase while bureaucratic productivity decreases.
A CWB electoral farce for five vacant director seats was held during December, 2002 and was seen by the state appointed head of the CWB as an endorsement of the CWB. Except that the election reflected events that occured in Quebec's last election, where Jean Charest and his liberal party received more popular votes than Lucien Bouchard and the PQ, but the latter still won more seats in the National Assembly. In the CWB election, just over 43% of the 45,000-eligible voters cast ballots, with 50% of the popular vote going to pro-freedom candidates (Globe and Mail, December 16, 2002). This means that less than 22% of Western farmers gave the CWB and its policies their endorsement. Of fifteen CWB board of director seats, five are appointed by the federal government. Another CWB election for the other 5-seats is scheduled for 2004.
After asking some western contacts as to why some 57% of the eligible voters declined to vote, I was advised that very few farmers see any hope for change in the future, while most are quite fed up with the existing situation. These sentiments reflect comments made by a Chinese political prisoner, on page 510 of The Black Book of Communism: "It doesn't take a prisoner long to lose his self-confidence. Over the years, Mao's police have perfected their methods... Their aim is to make you accept your ordinary life. The basis for their success is despair... the prisoner's perception that he is utterly and hopelessly and forever at the mercy of his jailers." The regulation of Western Canadian wheat farmers seems to have achieved a similiar result.
Excess state control
Recently, a trial balloon was floated from Ottawa suggesting that farmers may be allowed some limited freedom to sell their wheat directly to customers. Such a plan may ultimately resemble Ontario's recent electric power deregulation farce and its subsequent failure. In this debacle, a few minor cosmetic changes were made to the existing regulatory regime and the farce renamed "deregulation." Except that private producers could not operate under such a regime. A regime of limited freedom to privately sell wheat indicates the agriculture department's loyalty and commitment to Zwangswirtschaft and its refusal to abandon such a regime. Such behaviour from Ottawa adds credence to the western independence movement and what they stand for. Ottawa's own behaviour gives western Canadians little choice other than secession to achieve economic freedom.
Several Western farmers have faced crop losses due to recent summer droughts. Government regulation may actually discourage them from growing an alternate drought resistant and pest resistant crop that could have application in the garment, plastics and pharmaceutical industries. Worldwide, there has been an increased demand for clothing made from long-wearing and UV-resistant hemp fibre, while the restricted supply of hemp fibre has raised prices. Excess state control and regulation of fibre-hemp production would effectively discourage drought-affected western wheat farmers from even considering it as an option. They would face far greater state intrusion and scrutiny than if they were growing wheat. Federal regulatory behaviour in Western Canadian agriculture (CWB) and the environment (the Kyoto Accord) ultimately justifies and adds legitimacy to the cause of Western Independence.
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