Friday, April 04, 2008

Conservatism and Small Farmers

No, not ALL of Kirk on Conservatism, but a snippet which deserves contemplation.

...true conservatives have an "affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems."

The remark was quoted by Dreher, who was commenting on the latest EU/Brussels Heavy Foot of Uniformism trick.

[Szczepan Master] keeps his livestock in a straw-floored “barn” that is part of his house, entered through a kitchen door. He slaughters his own pigs. His wife milks cows by hand. He rejects genetically modified seeds. Instead of spraying his crops, he turns his fields in winter, preferring a workhorse to a tractor, to let the frost kill off pests residing there.

While traditional farms like his could be dismissed as a nostalgic throwback, they are also increasingly seen as the future — if only they can survive.

Mr. Master’s way of farming — indeed his way of life — has been badly threatened in the two years since Poland joined the
European Union, a victim of sanitary laws and mandates to encourage efficiency and competition that favor mechanized commercial farms, farmers here say.

...If they want to sell their products, European law requires farms to have concrete floors in their barns and special equipment for slaughtering. Hygiene laws prohibit milking cows by hand. As a result, the milk collection stations and tiny slaughterhouses that until a few years ago dotted the Polish countryside have all closed. Small family farming is impossible

Of course, the EU provides subsidies to farmers who comply with their regulations--but ONLY to those farmers who comply.

So--is the EU right? Not to a Conservative, given that the small farmer is not poisoning his customers, nor his next-door-neighbor's land or water.

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