One prop of progressivism that people tend to overlook is the increasing power of NGOs (non-governmental organizations). These private (but often taxpayer-subsidized) advocacy groups are elected by no one, answer to no one, are accountable to no one. Yet they are becoming increasingly influential, especially through their congressional lobbying and the courts.
Case in point? The Center for Food Safety got a federal judge to revoke the Dept. of Agriculture’s approval of modified sugar beets – which account for 95% of the entire beet crop, and 50% of the nation’s sugar.
And what is the Center for Food Safety? A junk-science outfit that opposes modern technology in food production. Its Executive Director is Andrew Kimbrell, an anti-business crank, who is one of the beneficiaries of the largesse of Douglas Tompkins, a tycoon who made his pile in the clothes business, sold out and decided (as, unfortunately, many rich people do) to “make a difference” (there’s some good background on these guys at Activist Cash).
I see the impact of NGOs at my federal agency, too; for example, many are heavily involved in attempting to shut down coal-fired power plants and divert resources to favored (but inefficient or untested) “renewable energy” projects.
The extent to which many policies are, in effect, being created by unelected advocacy groups is appalling. This is an area where we really need more transparency.
(Big H/T to Overlawyered)