Socialism, Farming, and Property Rights

Thompson Family

Thompson Family

To some extent, this is a ‘me too’ posting, but I hope to have some value added in it as well. Over on WUWT there has been an appeal to help some farmers in Australia who have run into the buzz saw of governmental control. The “socializing” of private property rights. And that is how I see it. When you must get permission from someone, or some agency, to run your affairs or operate your business, you are a serf to the state. Your ownership and property rights are now shared ‘for the greater good’… You have been ‘socialized’.

The WUWT article asked for donations, so I’ve emptied my Paypal account into the donation button. Along the way I discovered more about using Paypal and how easy it is to just directly use Paypal to put money in others accounts. Those long suffering with a semi-broken donation widget here will see that I’ve tossed it and instead put in a direct link to the Paypal page and a slightly encoded email address. (Spam bots search for syntactically correct email addresses, so I’ve learned to put in ‘variations’ that people understand to defeat the Spam bots.) So I’ve already had a positive impact from my decision to donate.

If you think it is wrong to toss a farmer off his land because the Powers That Be are screwing around with him, see the article at WUWT or at JoNova and lend a hand. While the Jo Nova thread began some months back, on WUWT we find that it has reached the point where they have ‘days’ before eviction.

This is the original article from Well worth a read and with a load of interesting comments:

The WUWT article with a link to a donation button:

This link: DONATE BUTTON will take you directly to the donate page set up by Anthony Watts.

In private email, a reader (Ian B.) sent this which is one of the comments:


For my part I have taken the time and effort to become relatively fluent in Enviro babble.

For example:

My landscape has become environmentally degraded, and large areas of it have degenerated into a monoculture. Therefore I propose to intervene mechanically and re-establish the original biodiversity. I expect this to enormously benefit all native flora and fauna in the area, particularly the small marsupial ground dwellers.
As the general environmental health of the area improves, it will also enable some commercial livestock raising in a carefully controlled manner. Economic gain from the livestock will enable further employment of local indigenous people. This will have the triple bottom-line effect of improving the economic, social, and environmental, bottom-line of the area.

Translate to farmer speak:

The country has become overrun by useless bloody scrub. So I intend to get a couple of big bulldozers in and pull all that Scrub. So that some grass will grow and I will be able to fatten my bullocks on it, and make some money.
I will need to employ some black fellas to help me muster all those fat bullocks, so it will be good for them as well.
Also all the little native mice will have some grass to hide in and eat, instead of the bare ground that is now under the scrub.”

And in a curious way I find that encompassing so much. The farmer must be in direct and clear contact with reality. The “environmental advocate”, not so much…

The basis of the complaint about the Thompsons farm is that it will have smell from the cow poo. It sits right next to a hog farm.

I grew up in cow country and it is true that farms smell. To not expect farms to smell is incredibly silly. And yes, cattle feed lots can have more smell than a turnip farm (unless, of course, the turnip farmer is using a manure spreader… )

But it is very clear that a Pig Farm smells much more than a cattle feed lot. At least to those of us who have visited both ;-) Though I do have to say that a visit to a modest ‘egg ranch’ when I was in High School rapidly informed me that chickens can be even worse! There is a reason they are called ‘fowl’! That the cattle operation is taking flack and the pig farm is not just shouts “agenda” at me.

Here are a couple of links to examples of how mitigation can be done. The first one is an example using trees and other vegetation to trap odor:

So a planting of a bunch of Eucalyptus trees might help our farmer friends. The second is more of a story about a pig farmer that gives a broad brush to what kinds of things can mitigate odor.

And if it those things can mitigate pig farm odor, they can mitigate cattle odor. So perhaps the Thompson family can find a proposal to make for ‘mitigation’ that along with a little international visibility can get the local permit issues to see a little light and avoid some heat ;-)

I also have to point out to those living in large cities: Small town politics and power games can be very intense. If you piss off the wrong person who got to be mayor because his brother was on the city council, all sort of problems start to show up at your door. Folks don’t expect such things to be seen by outsiders, and get used to abusing power. So while I’m sure the Thompson’s probably made a bad planning decision to ramp up the scale faster than the ‘permit in hand date’, it’s also got all the fingerprints of ‘bureaucratic revenge’ all over the story. Especially telling is that the old “local guy” pig farm is getting a pass while the ‘new guy’ gets the shaft. Guess who is going to be best positioned to buy the Thompson farm at auction? Yeah, the local town power structure and the hog farmer…

Now, both of those farms can be managed to mitigate (but not eliminate) smells. Personally I’d have the ‘excrement’ sent to a methane digester and then power a diesel generator and sell the excess electricity. This is fairly commonly done and reduces smell a fair amount.

This page has a nice introduction and some decent links:

But lets be perfectly clear, here. Farming smells.

On the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles along I-5 there are two places where you will discover a more pungent aroma. One is a large cattle feed lot. The other is the nice green farm land where the sewage sludge from Los Angeles is spread on the land and ploughed in. Perhaps we should insist that the occupants of L.A. cease and desist their pooing as it stinks up the farm land? Hmmm?

Though, as a Farmer Friend said about the ‘aroma’ from his freshly manured soon to be planted field: “That’s not the smell of manure, that’s the smell of money”. (A very old and very common farm saying…) He ran about 50 head of hogs as a small money making side line and mostly had corn. It was the corn field that smelled that particular day.

One other comment from the Jo Nova posting caught my eye:

Cameron H:
To Elaine at 125 and all others trying to justify the absolute power of the state and associate wowsers to endlessly interfer with our lives I would like to include the following quote from C.S. Lewis “Of all the tryannies, a tryanny exercised for the good of it’s victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own consience.”
This totally describes the modern environmental activists in their self acknowledge aim to “save the planet”. Even the ex PM described it as a moral crusade. This allows the followers of this quasi-religion to inflict any sort of grief upon the average citizen for “their own good”. How can we rid ourselves of these people. They seem to infest all aspects of our government so a simple change of governing party will not suffice. I certainly hope their are some creative souls among us who know the answer to this question. If there is not, then we are truely doomed to slow destruction.

I find I agree with this a great deal. So if you have not already done so at WUWT and would like to take a swing at injustice, well, it’s pretty easy to make a statement with a credit card these days… So look at the kids in that picture up top and ask yourself: Which matters the most to me today? That $5 Starbucks Latté or keeping them in their home?


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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10 Responses to Socialism, Farming, and Property Rights

  1. Pingback: TWAWKI » Birds of a feather flock together

  2. Luís says:

    Anarchism != Socialism

    Learning that shall be a great evolution for you Michael.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @Luis: I am already well aware of it.

    The point that I was trying to make (and it seems did not do clearly enough) was that while having things like zoning (that defines the same rules of use for everyone) prevents “anarchy” it also lets you pretty much plan and run your affairs. While as soon as a ‘commission’ gets to change the rules for some folks vs others then the “commissars” get to start acting as all good socialists do and meddle in your life overmuch.

    So I’m not interested in my neighbor putting in a pig farm, and I’m happy to be zoned ‘residential’. But if I’m zoned agricultural, I damn well ought to be able to put in a cattle ranch… and without someone else telling how big it can be and how I can run it.

    I’ve seen too much small town politics to ever want folks able to pick and choose who wins and who loses via ‘commissions’, and we’re seeing the same thing now at the national level.

    Don’t know how to clarify the distinction between “rule of fixed agreed laws for all” vs “external managers for the greater good giving you ‘guidance'”… but the first one is OK by me and the second one is a signature behaviour of socialism where management by the government is a key distinguishing feature.

    Simply put: He is zoned Ag. So who is managing the size operation he can run on his ag property: Him or Commissar?

    OK, If the local commissars are telling him his management details, that’s a socialist characteristic: Managing operations of economic means of production by government.

    Simple result of the definition.

    To point that out does not mean I think all zoning ought to be abolished nor that I think my neighbor ought to be able to stack up graphite bricks and uranium to keep his house warm. (though I note in passing that they did do that at a certain university in Chicago once…)

    It also does not mean that I think the operator ought to be exempt from suit over any externality he causes. So, for example, if his cow poo runoff kills the river for 10 miles, I’d expect someone to sue for damages. (And a smart operator will take care to avoid such risk of suit by running a good operation, while bad ones will go under from losses at court).

    And just to put too fine a point on it: I’m also fine with a law saying folks can not discharge waste water full of poo. As long as the law applies equally to all.

    Laws, equally applied, OK – not anarchy.
    Zoning, equally applied, OK – not anarchy.
    Commissions ‘fine tuning’ operations property by property – Government control of means of production, so Socialism.

  4. Larry Geiger says:

    I was standing on a street corner in Canton, NC with some Scouts on the way to camp. The pulp mill was just down the street. One of my Scouts said something about the smell around town. There were a couple of old guys sitting on a bench and one took a big sniff and said:

    “Son, that’s the smell of money!”

    Gotta keep your priorities straight. He didn’t take the time to explain to them that it’s also the smell of toilet paper (something the Scouts and their mommies are very fond of), but later, around the campfire, I explained that to them also.

  5. THINK!, have you noticed that every green proposition is tanatic?, enthropic, against Eros, against Life itself?.
    Their dream world: A Giant mountain of human compost!
    Life is Nature´s “trick” to overcome Death
    Let´s awake!: They are the preachers of Thanatos, the pontifices of doom, the church of Negation, proclaiming the Gospel of Hate!
    Then we may sing:

    Love it´s a many splendoured thing,
    It´s like the April Rose that only grows in the early Spring…
    It´s Nature´s way of giving,
    A Reason to believing,
    The Golden Crown that makes
    A Man A King!

  6. “Land reform” was long time ago thought to avoid the formation of local aristocracies which could be independent from the power of international bankers/speculators.
    Now it has evolved to environmentalism.

  7. Anthony Watts says:

    Well said, thanks for your support.


  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Anthony, you are most welcome. And please keep us updated on any need to “hit the button again”. I’d like to know if we’ve won a one day victory, or a month, or if I need to just put my tithe this way for a while…

  9. pyromancer76 says:

    The definition fits — socialism. And that is not a form of governing that Americans’ have ever agreed upon. What happened to our Aussie brothers and sisters? Actually — what has happened to us? (Monstrous fraud, in my opinion. You got the date right in your climate investigations: 1990). Hope the brand of tea being imbibed lately will erase even the Republican complicity in socialism. My donationS (thanks for the change) are on the way.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Reluctantly and against their will the Republican Party power brokers are discovering that their carefully groomed and selected candidates are “Toast”.

    They will ether “get clue” or discover that the new party elected don’t care what they think and puts them out to pasture.

    Next stop: The Democrats…

    I think I’ll go make a cup of Earl Grey…

    And you are both thanked and welcomed ;-)

Comments are closed.