Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Big Brother is Watching Your Milk

BUSTED! CRIME IN PROGRESS. This child is consuming non-pasteurized milk, which the state health department seems to think is a terrible health hazard, unless it is from goats. Confused? Not as badly as the state Health Department!

At a time when citizens on the left and the right are deeply divided on so many issues, it is refreshing when an issue comes up that gets support across the political spectrum. And boy do I mean across the spectrum. People from ultra-liberal Max Brantley to me liked this idea, and that is about as big a spread as you can get. Rep. Mark Martin of Prairie Grove filed a bill which was supported by types as diverse as dope smoking field hippies living in the commune to gun-toting survivalists living in the compound.

What was this consensus idea of the year? It was a simple one. To wit: That people in Arkansas be allowed to sell small quantities of raw (unpasteurized) milk to people who wanted to buy the same. This is perfectly legal in most states in the Union. Most of us over 40 have probably had unpasteurized milk from the parent's or grandparent's milk cow back on the farm. And of course every baby that is breast fed gets access to unpasteurized milk, presumably because the dolts at the state Health Department haven't thought to make it illegal yet!

To compound the absurdity of the current ban on sales of raw milk from cows, the sale of raw milk from goats is already legal by state law. Rep. Martin's bill would have made "parity" with raw milk from cows and goats. There is no logical reason why the state Health Department would insist on a ban on the milk from one animal while milk sales from the other animal are perfectly legal.

But the fact is that Joe Bates and others from the Health Department did lobby, and lobby hard, to kill Rep. Martin's little bill to give people from the natural state back one little freedom that we never should have lost: the freedom to buy or sell raw cows milk without the permission of the government.

It is appalling to me that the state treats us like such children. This should not even be controversial- and as I have noted, it isn't. People from far, far, left to far, far right and at all points in between don't have a problem with letting their neighbors choose for themselves what kind of milk they want to buy. But your nanny-state bureaucrats do have a problem with it- they are not in charge of it and therefore you should not be allowed to do it.

Joe Bates and company at the Health Department don't think you are grown up enough to buy milk without their permission. Does it comfort you to know that you will roll your carcass out of bed and go to work in the cold tomorrow morning in order to pay taxes so that Joe Bates can make more money than you do in order to protect you from yourself regarding milk?

The dairy lobby, which sells the Joe Bates approved milk, got together with the nanny-staters at the Health Department who don't trust you to run your own life and stopped Martin's bill. Thanks to their taxpayer-funded efforts, you are still protected from your own desire to buy cow's milk from a cow. If Martin tries again we will see if the legislators- and my guess is that most if not all of them have tasted unpasteurized cow's milk- will listen to the WHOLE FREAKING STATE FROM MAX BRANTLEY TO MARK MOORE AND EVERYONE IN BETWEEN or listen to a few control-freak bureaucrats (and the lobby for milk processors).


Anonymous Top Hat said...

Fresh milk rocks!

Pasteurization was forced upon dairy farmers for the same reason Corporate Agri are trying to force animal i.d. on everyone: they benefit from the technology, but it would raise their costs disproportionately if the little farms didn't implement it as well.

With milk, the long transport times (especially with milk from Mexico, etc) necessitate that it be treated to lengthen shelf life. Furthermore, fresh milk tastes much better than the swill offered by Big Dairy. So they lobby to have Big Brother force everyone to do what is best for Corporate America.

For those who still believe that we have a government that exists to serve us, here is yet another example of the State's true mission.

8:23 AM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Unfortunately, the State and Federal governments treat us like children in many aspects of our lives - case in point: dry counties . . . "No, you people in select counties can't have nearby access to (legal) alcohol b/c you're too stupid not to consume too much of it." With a wink and a nod, and in its infinite wisdom, government thus makes people in dry counties drive long distances to buy alcohol, with the buyers often consuming it on the return trip, potentially creating more danger than if they'd been able to buy it closer to home.
When will the government make counties fat-food free in order to wipe out obesity? I ask that with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but it may not be too far off in the future. Free societies must allow individuals to make their own decisions, good or bad, and then live with the consequences. However, I shouldn't be required to pay for someone else's bad decision(s). If they're a chain smoking, alcoholic, bacon-double-cheesburger(BDCB)-eating, couch-potato, they should be allowed to do those things, but I shouldn't be forced to pay their medical bills. But, I also say that I, too, occasionally like to enjoy a BDCB. That's the purpose of a free society: to do the things one likes to do, and pursue happiness, but not ask anyone else to pay for your mistakes.

If the government really wanted to save lives in traffic accidents, they would require every vehicle to have a NASCAR-type roll cage and make drivers & all passengers wear helmets, X-harness seat belts and fire suits. The old do-gooder saying, "well, if it saves just one life, it's worth it" doesn't fly when the idea becomes too expensive and impractical for the masses. If car makers were forced to install roll cages & X-harness seats in every vehicle, very few people could afford cars. In a free society, people must be allowed to use their individual judgment, and the idiots out there who don't use good judgment ("Hey fellas, watch this!") can be dealt with individually.

The reality is that in a free society, people sometimes die when they exercise their judgment, because they didn't use GOOD judgment; but, they were nonetheless free to use their judgment, good or bad, and not be dictated to by the government.
If government really had our best interests in mind, ALL mothers would be required to breast feed unpasterized milk to their babies b/c study after study shows it to be healthier. Sadly, our ever-increasing bureaucratic nanny-state government will continue to think it knows best.

8:31 AM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Top Hat said...


With fresh milk, it's NOT an issue of safety-- that's just the ruse used by Corporate Agri to propagandize the masses into supporting their lobbying efforts. So the discussion is not about letting people make choices that are potentially harmful to them, but whether corporations should be allowed to continue their control of puppet legislators to herd the taxpayers into whatever cage they devise for us.

Now, regarding alcohol: Many people see that as a moral issue, and still more don't want its degrading effects exerted upon their communities. If people don't want an immoral activity in their county, I have no problem with them effecting legislation to address that. If for some reason the majority of people don't want fresh milk sold in their community, I have no problem with them banning that, either. But that's not what we're dealing with here.

8:55 AM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Top Hat,
I see your point - but to me, it is an issue of nanny-state regulation for the safety of the citizens. I agree safety is often the ruse when more regulation is wanted, and more regulation means somebody's ox will be gored. Spreading fear is the most common way of enacting more regulations. Case-in-point: AlGore's charlatan tactics of spreading fear re: global-warming. His scare-mongering, "the-sky-is-falling" rants have caused even reasonably intelligent people to believe it.

I posted previously I don't have too big of a problem with speed limit laws, b/c I don't want some idiot plowing into me and/or my family at 100mph. That IS an issue of safety, to me. People do make idiotic decisions and I'd prefer not to be on the receiving end of them.
I'm certainly no expert on milk, i.e. collection, handling, transport, safety, but it seems to me that milk does go bad at some point if mishandled, which could create a safety issue for unsuspecting consumers.

Now, as to whether "corporations should be allowed to continue their control of puppet legislators to herd the taxpayers into whatever cage they devise for us," the fact is, corporations get $100 in return for every $1 they spend on lobbying. Wouldn't you spend $1 to get $100 back? Until lobbying rules are changed (to the "one cup of coffee" rule), expect corporations to continue to get their way, as you say. In Arkansas, though, there is a bit of a twist: all 3 branches of government (& the fourth branch: state agencies) are controlled by one political party. It's no coincidence that the bill was defeated and Martin has an "R" by his name. Even Brummett, who did seem to favor the bill, tagged him as "R-Twilight Zone." Lobbying efforts are far easier when you only have to lobby one side of the aisle; the $100 return on $1 spent may actually be greater than $100 in Arkansas.
I agree with your comments re: people "effecting legislation" to ban alcohol, or other "immoral" activity. But alcohol actually goes beyond that - it has social ("Happy Hour") and criminal (DWI)implications as well as moral. Some people also see tobacco use as immoral, but it's legal in every county in Arkansas. Gambling, which some people also see as immoral, is more restricted in that only certain kinds of gambling are legal in certain places, but it is true that both are legal in Arkansas and that both are regulated by the State. All these activities are regulated by our nanny-state government, and to me, it's not an issue of how the regulation was enacted, but WHETHER it was enacted.

9:44 AM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Top Hat said...

Good points. Reminds me of Mark Moore's point that the lottery we're about to "enjoy" in Arkansas was never a question of gambling in our state, but rather a question of government-run gambling. A particularly odious form of that ancient vice.

As far as Republicans go, they've had a century to build their utopia after dragging the country into civil war and destroying our Constitution. If ever a person were disoriented just long enough to think that more Republicans (or Democrats-- please switch interchangeably) might be the answer to our problems, a mere cursory glance at their track-record should snap such an unfortunate soul back to cognizance.

1:25 PM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Top Hat said...

Also, the call for lobbying reform is right on. How can any rational person expect those who govern us to look out for our best interests when direct bribery is enjoyed and encouraged?!

It's hard enough to keep indirect bribery to a minimum (e.g. Harry Reid's property improvement schemes), but open quid pro quo-- please! At least respect our intelligence while you abuse us!

1:37 PM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't overlook the processors. They stand to lose money if farmers no longer have to run their milk through their machines before they can offer it for sale to the public.

1:54 PM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Top Hat: Your point about government-run gambling is spot on. Our nanny-state government doesn’t want its’ children misbehaving too badly unless they get a piece of the action (through tobacco & alcohol taxes, and sponsoring and/or taxing our “enjoyment” of gambling), so they can then buy advertising to tell us how bad it is. The bribery will continue (Cunningham, Stevens, Dodd, Reid, Frank, Blago, et al) until the “one cup of coffee” rule is forced upon our lawmakers by the people. Case in point: the Arkansas legislature would never have imposed term limits upon itself; it took a petition by the people to do it. You can argue the merits or lack thereof of 3 terms in the Arkansas House and 2 in the Senate (with some possible redistricting-year extra time for Senators), but it would not have happened but for the people doing it themselves.

3:25 PM, February 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people have no clue what you are talking about. Cows are bovines and their milk has certain bacterias that cause it to go bad much quicker than goats milk. Goats are not bovines, but are instead related to the deer family. Do your research befor opening your mouth.

11:18 AM, March 24, 2009  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Illiterate peasants from the 5th century without access to modern medicine used raw cow's milk and managed to populate Europe pretty well. I think we can handle the "risks" of the same product today, if we can get the nanny state to let us buy any!

6:44 AM, December 16, 2009  

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