Yes, Of Course Greenpeace Are Full Of It – Heritage Is Libertarian?

It’s clearly true that if you’re somewhere over on the fringe close to Maoism then the difference between conservative, free market and libertarian is going to look pretty blurred. But we can also work this the other way around. If you are finding that the difference between the three is looking pretty blurred then we should perhaps think of you as being over on that edge-gripping left. For only those over there find the distinctions difficult to understand.

New trade minister Liz Truss had private talks in US with libertarian groups

So who has Truss been hobnobbing with? Cato perhaps?

The cabinet minister in charge of negotiating a new US trade deal met with a series of rightwing American thinktanks to discuss deregulation and the benefits of “Reaganomics”, new documents have revealed. Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, had a number of meetings with libertarian groups that have championed parts of Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda and tax cuts.

All sounds terribly mysterious so far, so, who?

New details of her three-day visit to Washington last September have been uncovered by Greenpeace’s investigative journalism team, Unearthed. Truss met senior representatives from the Heritage Foundation, a thinktank committed to shrinking the state and cutting environmental regulation, to discuss “regulatory reform”. Also at the meeting was the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Both groups were part of the “shadow trade talks” project, designed to advocate a wide-ranging US trade deal allowing the import of American goods currently banned in Britain.

Ahh… Heritage is more traditionally conservative than libertarian. And CEI, even as I know and like a couple of people there, is rather more pro-business than any particular political flavour. And neither of them are in fact libertarian nor even, really, liberal even in the classical sense.

So, well done to Greenpeace’s crack investigative journalist team for not actually knowing the world they’re trying to describe.

Truss has made no secret of her interest in cutting the size of the state. However, she is now in charge of Britain’s post-Brexit trade deals in a government committed to leaving the EU with no deal if necessary. Many fear a no-deal Brexit will pave the way for a weakening of UK food and environment protections. The US agricultural sector has insisted that any deal scraps restrictions on chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef, and pesticide usage currently circumscribed by the EU.

John Sauven, Greenpeace’s executive director, said: “There are widespread concerns that Brexit will be used to weaken our safeguards on food safety and animal welfare, opening the floodgates to products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef. These concerns will only grow at the discovery that the minister in charge of forging a trade deal with the US flew to a libertarian boot camp run by Donald Trump’s buddies to be lectured about the supposed benefits of ditching regulations. “Boris Johnson promised that a trade deal with the US would not jeopardise our food and animal welfare standards. People will be watching closely to see whether these words mean anything at all.”

Actually Mr. Sauven, no one at all is suggesting that regulation be ditched. I do know this as I’m one of the people doing the recommending. As colleagues of mine are actually on varied committees and doing so more formally.

What is being recommended is that who does the regulating change. Currently it’s the nomenklatura who do so. They, as with everyone else, being subject to their own biases, prejudices and economic incentives. All we are suggesting is that this set of regulators be replaced by another set. The consumers themselves.

So, chlorine washed chicken. Say, as an example. Maybe Greenpeace is right and no one in the UK wants to eat it. Not even as cat food. Great, so, if it is allowable to sell it then some people will try. No one will buy it and so people will stop importing and selling it. Regulation by the consumer will work assuming the consumer doesn’t actually want this shit. Of course, it’s also possible that the British will look at the prices, consider that all prepared salad is already given a light chlorine rinse, and decide they’ll have some of that. And then go out and buy it by the megatonne.

In which case regulation by consumers still works because the consumers are getting what the consumers want, good and hard. Further, your ban on chlorine washed chicken is revealed to be the authoritarianism it is. You are demanding that peeps don’t get what they want.

There are only these two answers. Maybe you’re right, that Brits don’t want cheap food. Great, so, they won’t buy it, will they? Or maybe they do and therefore your ban is just a denial of the democratic and consumer will. In which case what in buggery are you doing Adolf?

But then, you know, as with up at the top and Greenpeace not knowing who is libertarian, who is conservative, Greenpeace doesn’t recognise logic either. Or, come to think of it, liberty and freedom.

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Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt

No wonder Dr. Patrick Moore left Greenpeace Chickens are washed in a chlorine solution in the USA to kill off bacteria, per capita rates of salmonella in the States are lower than in the EU, which begs the question who has the higher standard of food. This needs calling out, those opposed to trade with the USA and often the USA itself have latched on to the way American’s wash their poultry, all the while drinking chlorinated water, eating chlorine washed salad and even letting their kids swim in the stuff. Chlorine in portable water is the biggest single saver… Read more »

Rhoda Klapp
Rhoda Klapp

I don’t recall the supermarket chickens in the US being any cheaper than the ones in Sainsbury’s. How is this flood of cheap chicken going to work?? Is it even a thing, except a stupid remainer talking point that has no basis in reality?

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston

As long as everything is labelled, who cares, if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married, if you don’t want chlorine chicken, don’t buy chlorine chicken.


Notwithstanding that I have no problem with salmonella free chicken (though I’m happy for the salmonella rich version to be available for those who prefer it) these people have no idea of how negotiation is done. They appear to be far worse at it than May. The US food industry, and every other US interest, will insist on far more than they want or expect to get. That way they get what they want, or at least what they need. Negotiation is not taking orders from the other side. I guess they think that the whole world works by the… Read more »

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole

They believe that international trade only happens because of thousands of civil servants writing memos to each other. Whereas in fact it happens because people in country A decide to buy products made in country B.