Over at National Review’s “The Corner,” there’s an interesting observation by professor Victor Davis Hanson: the United Nations is looking into the rising prices of food around the world. (Hat tip: He Who Needs No Linkage.)
Dr. Hanson wonders why the United Nations is so interested in food prices, but won’t even consider looking at one of the underlying causes: the rising price of oil.
The easy answer is this: by focusing on the price of food, the UN can manage to blame those nations that produce the most food. That would be the West (the United States, mainly) for being greedy, stingy, and mean.
That’s certainly true, but there’s more to it than that.
The United Nations is increasingly dominated by a bloc of oil-producing nations and Muslim nations. Toss in the overlap between those two groups, and you have quite a powerful coalition.
Well, right now that bloc is sitting pretty, economically. They’ve gotten the price of oil up to stratospheric levels, and that means more and more money rolling in to their coffers.
Meantime, in the United States, we’re not looking at the price of food. We’re the ones looking into the price of oil.
Congress, in its infinite wisdom, didn’t ask those setting the price of oil. Instead of finding out why oil costs so damned much, they called in the big oil companies and asked them “why are you paying so much for oil, and passing along those costs to your customers?”
I wondered why Congress didn’t ask about costs of food, but then I remembered: part of the reason is that Congress has worked hard towards biofuels. In other words, while food prices have been shooting up, they’ve been foursquare behind competing with those who want to eat food encouraging people to burn food.
So, why doesn’t Congress hold hearings on the price of food? Probably because they’re afraid someone would find the testicular fortitude to stand up and say “because you people are idiots!”
Likewise, the United Nations won’t hold inquiries into the price of oil because they can’t be certain that someone won’t stand up and point out just how many UN Ambassadors and bureaucrats owe their own personal status and wealth and power to the high price of oil. No, unless they can find a way to blame the nations that buy oil, that developed the technology to dig up, refine, and use oil, that are paying the obscene prices that the petty tyrants and brutal dictators and oil ticks of the world command for their oil, while not apportioning any of the blame on those tyrants and dictators and ticks, they won’t look too carefully at oil prices.
In one aspect, I welcome this kind of news. If the bureaucrats and other useless clods of the world are busy holding hearings and investigations, then they’re often too busy to cause real mischief. In that sense, government is a pretty cheap way to keep these idiots occupied.
But there is a danger there. After all, Gideon Tucker was right when he said in 1866 that “no man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” Sooner or later, the bureaucrats will grow tired of hearing themselves talk (hey, it could happen) and try to put their words to deeds.
And when that happens, almost inevitably, they make things even worse.