Rich Lowry vs. Big Business 

Free-market populism is catching fire. Jonah Goldberg at National Review has been on this beat for years, and today NR editor Rich Lowry jumps in the anti-corporatism waters with a column assailing BP:

Fundamentally, we don’t want a free market and a system of laws to protect corporations, but to protect us from both government and corporations, especially when the two are in league with each other. Corporations like BP tend to be craven, unprincipled, and willing to use government for their own ends – all qualities evident in BP’s spectacular green-marketing campaign.

The bigger and more complex government is, the more incentive corporations have to politicize themselves and get in bed with Washington. If they have resources to do it (not everyone can afford Stan Greenberg), they’ll protect themselves from the worst while disadvantaging their competitors. This accounts for the corporatist paradox of the Obama administration. The president is so arbitrarily anti-business that The Economist dubs him “Vladimir Obama,” yet the same industries he demonizes support key elements of his “reform” agenda.

I wrote last month about BP’s pro-government lobbying efforts, including early and continuous support for cap-and-trade. Lowry adds a new and delicious detail:

In a speech at Stanford in 2007, Browne advocated an “international climate agency” that would entail “a move beyond the limitations of national sovereignty.”

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Timothy P. Carney

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