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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2008

A. Barton Hinkle Wins Bastiat Prize

On Wednesday, A. Barton Hinkle won the 2008 Bastiat Prize for Journalism, given every year by the International Policy Network to the journalist whose written work clearly and wittily promotes the institutions of the free society.

Hinkle is the deputy editorial page editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Among the articles for which Hinkle won the award was a hilarious piece of satire in which he proposed to solve the country’s “food-care crisis” by “establishing tax incentives for employer-provided food coverage.” Under this plan, he said, American families would choose the groceries they want, their employer would cover the bill at the checkout line, and everyone would pay the same flat deductible or co-insurance payment no matter how many shopping carts they filled up.

But that’s just the preliminary step, says Hinkle. Here’s where we end up:

The final phase of my plan, called Total Choice, will require everyone to shop at a public grocery store. It will ration scarce groceries through long lines instead of high prices. No one will have to pay directly for any food they consume; they will simply present their food-rationing card at the checkout counter and take whatever is given to them. Farmers and grocers will get paid the same whether they produce groceries for their consumers or not.

The article, “Government Can Solve the Food Crisis, Too” was published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on November 13, 2007. (Sorry, couldn’t find a link.)

A report on the event from IPN provides some additional food for thought:

Following the award, Barton gave an emotional speech in which he compared himself and the attendant audience – which included many of the leading lights of the US free market movement – to an idea proposed in an essay by Albert J. Nock, entitled “Isaiah’s Job”. He said that the assembled guests were the “Remnant” – those who continue to explain, defend and promote the institutions of the free society in an environment that is predominantly hostile to such views. As governments in the US and Europe take control of financial companies left, right and center, with narry a whimper from the public, the role of the Remnant has become more important than at any time in the past two decades.

Posted on 10/24/08 10:30 AM by Alex Adrianson

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