Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rub a Dub Dub

Three men in a tub.
And who do you think they be?
The Butcher, the Baker,
The Candlestick maker.
Turn them out, knaves all three.

Because the butcher is not FDA inspected, nor is the baker. No matter that they run clean, small-time operations and no one has ever gotten sick from their food and they have many happy and loyal customers. Their food might not be safe, you know. And we need Big Papa, our concerned and caring government, to keep us safe from unseen risks.

I'm talking about the Food Safety Modernization Act.

I don't care if they think it's for the best. I don't care if they say small farmers are exempt (yeah, right). And I don't even care if it "will allow the Food and Drug Administration to recall contaminated food for the first time and allow inspectors to trace back contamination to the source" as my senator told me personally in a letter about why she voted for it.

Gloom-and-doom predictions abound on the internet. Some may be accurate and some may be exaggerated, it's hard to say. I do know that the whole thing is bad news. I do know that it's not worth the loss of freedom that comes with this level of regulation and control.

You want to know why I know this? Your want to know the main reason I'm against it?

I know you're just holding your breath.

It's very simply not their job.

Protecting me and my family from various health risks is my job (and God's), not the government's. "Protection from food poisoning" is not listed in the Bill of Rights. But I should be allowed to choose what we eat and where it comes from and if it is, indeed, a risk.

The government doesn't know it's own job any more. It doesn't know it's place. Of course, that's because We the People have allowed it, but it's still the case. This is why I don't vote Republican and I don't vote Democrat. None of them know the function of government. Show me someone from either party who does, and I'll be all for him. (Like Ron Paul. There's someone for whom I'd make an exception to my rule.)

But I digress.

It used to be that whatever you didn't produce for yourself, you got from your neighbor, either through buying or bartering. Nobody could do everything, so there was someone in your village who specialized in meats, and another in fresh bread and someone else who brewed beer, and so on. If you didn't have your own cow, you took your bucket to someone who did, or even better, your creamline milk was delivered fresh to your doorstep every day. If you lived in town you took a basket to the market on market day to choose your own produce and talk with the farmer. The farmers didn't dare pull something over on their customers because someone would find out and the farmer would be out of business. You didn't eat tomatoes in January because no one grew tomatoes in January and shipping them from Mexico wasn't an option. Choosing, gathering, preparing and enjoying food is basic and fundamental to our very existence.

I'm not saying we should all go "locavore" or anything. It's certainly nice to have options. Heck, if I lived back then I wouldn't know the joys of avocado and pineapple and Mexican cuisine and look what I'd be missing! But perhaps our food system has gotten just a little to big. Perhaps it's moved too far from the hands it should be in. All I'm saying is that I want to be able to buy food from my neighbor if I want to, and to sell them the products of my garden and kitchen if I want to, without some bureaucrat breathing down my neck telling me what I'm allowed to do and choose and without risking my and my neighbor's imprisonment. In this great "information age" I have many resources available to me the help me make those choices.

We're a society which tends to avoid every risk, real or imagined. No risk is too small for us. But is government regulation the key to eliminating risk? Hardly. Their solutions are invariably limiting, ridiculously expensive, and often dangerous in some other way.

I hereby propose another form of food saftey: If you don't want food poisoning, find out if your food really might be poisonous and then decide if you want to consume it.

Take the responsibility before the ability to take it is taken from you. Oh wait... it was already, yesterday, when the those who represent us passed a bill that moves our food freedoms from us, to Them.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said, my dear.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans do believe it is the government's job to be Big Daddy and take care of us rather then safeguarding our freedoms to TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.

    And define "freedoms". Can anyone do that? Free to choose foods and health care, freedom to travel unhindered, personal freedoms of privacy and speech.

    I better stop before I really get going or lose by Christmas cheer!