James Delingpole on the remarkable community of interest between charitable organizations (partly funded by governments) and the government agencies they lobby:
“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical”. Thomas Jefferson, 1779.
One of the curses of modern life is the plethora of “charitable” lobbying groups demanding that the government take more regulatory action in areas where most of us believe the state has no business interfering.
Almost every day you read in the papers that some apparently grassroots movement, supposedly speaking for all of us, thinks more should be done to stop us drinking, smoking, eating sugar or salt, make us less sexist, force us to spend more on foreign aid or environmental issues. But if that wasn’t annoying enough, here’s the worst thing of all: we’re paying for these unrepresentative, mostly left-leaning lobby groups with our taxes.
This is the message of Chris Snowdon’s report for the Institute of Economic Affairs, The Sock Doctrine [PDF] — the third in his trilogy of broadsides against the lavishly state-funded “fake charities” industry. By 2007, he noted, a quarter of the UK’s 170,000 charities were receiving money from the state and approximately 27,000 received at least 75 per cent of their income from the state. If you share these charities’ predominantly liberal-Left-leaning aims you probably won’t mind so much. But if you don’t, you might be inclined to believe, as Fraser Nelson argued in these pages last year, that “Britain’s charities are nurturing a colourful, talented and efficient anti-Tory alliance.”
But, of course, there are opposing charitable organizations equally dependent on government funding and spending disproportional time and effort lobbying for their pet causes?
Well the problem is that they’re almost non-existent. The reason for this was identified in 1985 by US researchers James T. Bennett and Thomas J. DiLorenzo:
“Virtually without exception, the recipients of government grants and contracts advocate greater governmental control over and intervention in the private sector, greater limitations on rights of private property, more planning by government, income redistribution, and political rather than private decision making. Most of the tax dollars used for political advocacy are obtained by groups that are on the left of the political spectrum.”