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The EU Comes for the Food Supply
On Dutch Farmers and Anti-Human Environmental Fanaticism
“I cannot stand forward and give praise or blame to anything which relates to human actions, and human concerns, on a simple view of the object, as it stands stripped of every relation, in all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical abstraction. Circumstances (which with some gentlemen pass for nothing) give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.”
- Edmund Burke [“Reflections on the Revolution in France”]
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Dutch farmers have been protesting for months, in a fashion similar to the Canadian trucker protests earlier this year. However, this protest is not related to tyrannical covid restrictions; it is related to extremist anti-human policies being implemented by the Dutch government to meet European Union climate goals. The Dutch government of Mark Rutte has set a goal to reduce nitrogen emissions by half by 2030. Nitrogen, along with phosphorous and potassium, is one of the main three elements used in plant growth; it is also a major component of cow urine and thus a by-product of agricultural production, especially animal husbandry. Incredibly, the tiny Netherlands is the world’s second largest agriculture exporter by value. While half of that comes from decorative plants, they are also a major exporter of meat, eggs and dairy, fruit, and vegetables. Agriculture is a major component of the country’s economy, as well as a key component in the supply chain of many of the most nutrient rich foods. Since we have seen from Sri Lanka what happens when the government suddenly enforces organic agriculture on a nation, and farmers are not usually the type to just quit and find a different jobs, the Dutch government has come up with a harebrained scheme to purchase and close 3,000 “high-polluting” farms, “voluntarily” if the farmers agree, and compulsorily if they do not. The farmers do not agree, and have been shutting down the cities with their tractors in the face of an increasingly aggressive police response. All of this because the faceless bureaucrats of the EU and clueless academics have decided that dubious attempts at improving the environment is more important than food and livelihoods. To quote Gary Baise who wrote an excellent article about this for FarmFutures, “What is wrong with our academic types?”
To start with, we need to go into the background of environmental extremism, globalism, and “climate change.” It is my view that this is primarily an anti-human death cult, and that the people who like to say “The carbon they want to reduce is you” are broadly correct. I’m in favor of taking reasonable steps to improve the environment, but what they are saying is not true, their “solutions” are harmful, and even if both their problems and solutions were accurate, the idiots who run the liberal internationalist organizations such as the UN and EU are the last people I would want in charge of fixing the problem. It’s commonly pointed out that CO2 is what plants breathe, and thus increased CO2 should be good for the environment, but there is more going on than what many skeptics seem to see. It’s an obvious red flags that they have ridiculous “carbon credit” schemes involving vast corporate spending but also hate landfills. Sequester literally means “to put underground” and somehow they have convinced people that simply burying carbon-based waste is bad for the environment but that “sequestration” is of the utmost importance. This in and of itself should show that this is entirely unserious and simply a scam for huge polluting corporations to put the little guy out of business while you grow ever poorer. What’s more, they want you to believe that prosperity is an environmental problem, kneecapping the growth of developing economies. This could not be further from the truth; it is well-established that “the environment is a luxury good,” and that people do not become responsible stewards of the environment until they reach an economic status where they can afford to worry about it- something known as “The Kuznet Curves.”
The carbon-in-air “problem” notwithstanding, the depletion of soil carbon in arable land is actually a major problem which damages agricultural productivity and genuinely impacts the climate. If you learn to ignore lies about things like the fake “Pacific garbage patch” there is a secret that the human-hating globalists hope you never find out: climate is local. Due to many practices being near universal, sometimes the same problems are happening everywhere, but local conditions have the overwhelming influence on most impacts associated with “climate change.” The reason for this is that soil carbon holds an incredible amount of water. It’s generally said that a 1% increase in soil carbon increases water retention by upwards of 20,000 gallons per acre, and the math and science backs this up. This means in my state of Washington a 1% increase in soil carbon on all the farmland would lead to the soil being able to retain almost 300 billion more gallons of water. This impacts essentially everything we are meant to believe causes “global climate change.” Stored water is a major source of inland rain, water in soil moderates temperature, and water absorption reduces flooding which stabilizes river discharge limiting impacts on ocean currents, and reduces the erosion of soil and chemicals. In short, soil carbon can solve almost every problem alleged to be caused by global carbon emissions on a local level while improving the soil- and as the old saying goes, “real farmers grow soil.” Not to mention, water in soil isn’t in the ocean raising ocean levels [thus the one aspect of this which is global only has local solutions.]
This brings us back to the Dutch and another major climate alarmism lie: living below sea level is not the catastrophe they want you to believe it is. Living below sea level has made the Dutch prosperous. This, perhaps more than anything drives me crazy about the climate doomers, they say absurd things like that by 2075 people will be dying of heat stroke in Minneapolis because apparently no one will have installed air conditioning in 5 decades of gradually warming temperatures. Similarly, a one foot rise in sea level over decades, far from being catastrophic, is imminently manageable. The technology to live below sea level has existed since antiquity, and building some seawall in low lying areas is far more practical than shutting down the engines of economic productivity in a ridiculous and hubristic attempt to stop the climate from functioning instead of simply caring for local environments as necessary and appropriate.
The Dutch grew to be the agricultural powerhouse they are for the same reason they were able to reclaim land when the tide was out: hard work and determination. People don’t realize this, but the Netherlands isn’t even particularly good country for tulips- and they managed to make tulips so successful that almost half of their total land is tulip fields. Tulips are from the mountain and desert areas of the eastern Mediterranean and thrive in sandy soil in a climate with harsh winters and completely dry summers- this is a requirement for them to naturally expand, and in many places, besides where I live in Eastern Washington with a similar climate, tulips will not expand naturally and have to be replanted every 5-10 years. The Dutch figured out to dig up tulips every year after they bloom and put them in dry storage in the summer and cold storage in the winter, and then replant them in the spring. The second largest tulip growing region, Skagit County, Washington, has a similar climate to the Netherlands and only has tulips because a Dutch person realized the same techniques would work there. They are also excellent traders, with Rotterdam being the busiest port in Europe, and Antwerp, in the Flemish [Dutch, basically] part of Belgium being the second busiest. In the popular history text The Tulip: the Story of a Flower that has Made Men Mad author Anna Pavord writes,
“The golden age for Dutch growers started around 1860 as they began to establish a stranglehold on the tulip trade. There was a huge boom in tulip-breeding, fueled by an increasing demand for the flowers, especially in the United States. But the demand could not have been met without extra land to grow bulbs and that meant radically improving drainage in parts of The Netherlands that had not previously been used for tulips. Cultivation, historically centered in the sandy silts round Haarlem, spread out into other areas, round Lisse and Limmen.
Nobody denied the commitment of the Dutch bulb growers. They were hard-working; they were not bedeviled by the us-and-them attitude that permeated so much of British industry. Dutch nursery owners worked as hard as anyone they employed. Dutch bulb growers also took the trouble to visit the countries which imported their bulbs so they could better understand the markets they were supplying.” [VII]
With this attitude and industry the Dutch have managed to maintain control of 2/3rds of the global market in this beloved flower. But it is not just that, they have applied these principles to all of their agriculture, becoming the most incredible producer of valuable agriculture products in the world. The Dutch dairy industry is a global leader in ethical animal husbandry and sustainability. Yet, these farmers, who are such good stewards of the land their forefathers reclaimed from the sea, are under attack from men who have never produced anything. The EU bureaucrats and over-educated globalist cabal in general, epitomize a criticism Burke made of the French revolutionists:
“They should not think it amongst their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society; hazarding to leave to those who come after them, a ruin instead of an habitation.”
- [Reflections on the Revolution in France]
But all of this great productivity causes the release of nitrogen, giving the Netherlands the highest “nitrogen balance” in Europe [though the second highest in the EU, behind Cyprus; however, I refuse to pretend that Cyprus is in Europe.] They want us to believe this will cause acid rain, because this is apparently still 1990 when they want it to be [remember how terrifying that sounded as a child, like it would burn your skin or something? In reality it slightly increases erosion.] The elites further want us to believe that the Dutch farmers are destroying their soil with these practices- the problem with this is that, once again, the Netherlands is tiny. This is not like enormous America where they tore up the plains and rapidly degraded the land- if they had a farming ethos of senselessly destroying the land they would have destroyed it long ago. The EU and Dutch government say this all justifies a policy of reducing their national amount of livestock by 1/3rd, in a sort of Malthusian “degrowth” movement. This must be the only point in history where a ruling class is actively anti-national wealth- even the communists purported to believe their program would make the public more prosperous, whereas the ruling class all seems to hold to the Biden administrations “Lower your expectations” talking point. It amazes me anyone could be brainwashed enough to believe this stuff, but a lifetime of constant propaganda has a way of working.
It’s worth noting that the main way pollution actually effects humans is, well, pollution, and the air quality in the Netherlands is fine- if anything its low-lying position near a coastal breeze makes it an ideal place to concentrate production with limited human impact.
Despite the fact that the elites literally want you to be happy eating bugs to “save the environment” [while they fly around in private jets eating the finest beef and cheese] anyone can see that the demand for animal products will not simply disappear because the Dutch keep fewer cows. It’s the most likely that it will be transferred to places that produce lower quality products in a less humane, less environmentally-friendly fashion and that this achieves nothing but to continue to squander and cede Europe’s inherited wealth.
All that seems to stand in the way are those pesky farmers and their supporters.
The current dispute started with protests in 2019. Things have flared up and calmed down at various times since then. The farmers see that the government’s plan for farms next to nature reserves to cut nitrogen output by 70% is a brutal attack on their entire industry [I don’t know how many nature reserves there are in the Netherlands, but presumably basically every swamp they haven’t drained.] In some provinces they may even demand 90% cuts. On July 6th things got to the point where police fired on protestors. Then, in this move of desperation, the government announced the plan to purchase and close to 3,000 farms [no word yet on if they have said the farmers should “learn to code.”]
The farmers are receiving political support from the new “Farmer Citizen Movement” [BoerBurgerBeweging.] [It needs to be noted this otherwise reasonable Guardian article has a huge afterword denoting the publication’s severe bias in favor of this exact type of environmental alarmism and extremism.] The party is fielding 300 candidates in all 12 provinces, and is currently polling 4th out of 17 parties. Their core value is “noaberschap,” a Dutch word for the kinship between farmers who help each other in the event of disasters. It is reminiscent of what were known as “Prairie Populists” in the United States. This center-right party is gaining support from people who previously didn’t vote because they were understandably disillusioned with the politics of a country that would do things like buy farms to close them in the midst of international food inflation and shortages. 3,000 out of 54,000 agricultural business being shut does not signal the death knell of the industry in the Netherlands, there is every reason to believe if the environmental extremists have their way they are just getting started.
The Netherlands may be far away and the United States is the only larger food exporter and thus doesn’t have food security issues, but there are good reasons to support the Dutch Farmers’ Protest. For one thing, the government’s plan is outrageous, and we saw with covid how fast new tools of oppression can spread across the world. The crazy globalist elites want to do this sort of thing everywhere. This shows that all of the concerns about “Agenda 21,” “The Great Reset,” and everything else of that nature are legitimate and that the elites have a Malthusian and anti-human “degrowth” agenda.
I found two excellent articles about why everyone who values freedom should care about these brazen moves by the Dutch government. The first is from The Foundation for Economic Education, and is titled “Why the Dutch Farmer Protest Is Your Cause, Too.” One of the better passages reads,
“Agriculture will always disrupt ecosystems and cause pollution, but if it is allowed to flourish it can also make up for that by continuing to improve through innovation as it already has been for centuries, and by making humankind wealthy enough to endure an ever-expanding range of potential environmental conditions, which will eventually be necessary anyway.
By contrast, there is no good ending to the story of limiting and reducing the ability of the farming industry, possibly humans’ most important industry, to produce food. The less food civilization has, the less possible it will be to adapt to changing climate conditions. And since agriculture will always affect its environment, the goal of minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture and other industrial activities is one that will never be complete until everyone starves.
Ecological change is a constant of biological reality—but humans remaining well fed is certainly not.”
As explained above I strongly subscribe to this view that when environmental problems arise, prosperity and industry are the best ways to implement the innovations necessary to thrive in a changing world.
The American Conservative also published an article titled “Dutch Freedom Requires Dutch Farmers,” which hearkens back to our own beginning as a “nation of yeomen farmers,”
“The nation that wraps a noose around the neck of one of the oldest practices known to man is bound to produce at least as many problems as it hopes to eliminate.
Some problems are immediately obvious. While you might be able to cleanse your national production from the guilt of polluting the environment, you cannot cleanse your imports of the same. Somewhere, someone—probably China—is making up for it. All you have done is shift the blame. There are other practical implications, too. The Dutch are considered among the most efficient nations in the world in terms of livestock husbandry.”
It is deranged for a developed and civilized country to be anti-agriculture. It’s notable the globalist elite is attacking the people who do the best job at producing surplus food.
There are any number of reasonable things that the Dutch government could do to encourage the building of soil carbon and more sustainable farming practices, however, it would involve competent people looking at local conditions instead of setting arbitrary blanket policies. Perhaps they could understand that modern timber production is sustainable and instead of wastefully recycling paper into more paper, shred it for use as livestock bedding or soil carbon. There must be more ways to capture the waste cows produce and use it for fertility. It may be possible to use fields more of the year to reduce reliance on Ukrainian corn as animal feed [for all the talk about Black Sea grain shipments and starving people in Africa, it was primarily animal feed for western Europe.] The farmers obviously have a great interest in caring for the farms they’ve received from inheritance and hope to leave to posterity- despite what environmentalist lunatics may want you to believe they are not just curmudgeons who won’t “get with the times.” What is completely insane is to just close some of the most efficient food production because they are doing too well and thus producing a disproportionate amount of byproducts per inhabitant.
If the tide against the anti-human globalists cannot be turned back in the Netherlands or somewhere else, I have no doubt that in time they will have us shivering from lack of energy while we survive on the bugs they allow us- covid-mania showed us just the extent to which the elites believe in a caste system where we live as miserable, powerless wretches.
You are the carbon they want to reduce.
Update: At around publishing time The Gray Zone published an incredible piece about this, “Dutch farmers battle technocratic forces driving them into oblivion”
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