I recently read somewhere that there are so many laws and regulations on the books of federal and state governments that we are all breaking a law at some point every hour of the day. I have little doubt of that.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of “Democracy in America”, was a Frenchman living under a monarchy that, not long after the American Revolution would be overthrown. In contrasting America’s emerging society with his own, he wrote “[Tyrannical] power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.”
“For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?”
I had a college professor who said that no government is more than two weeks from being overthrown if it cannot feed its people. This was the case of the French Revolution and, in more modern times, a major reason for the initial overthrow of the Egyptian government.
The Socialist movement that emerged in the early years of the last century is a perfect example of a tyranny that seeks to control all aspects of people’s lives.
Food is critical to our lives and there is no lack of those in government and outside of it who are intent on determining, controlling, what we can freely choose to eat. Some are just petty do-gooders like New York Mayor Bloomberg intent on imposing his views on the citizens of the Big Apple.
Others spread fear like those who rant about Bisphanal-A, a beneficial chemical that protects people against food poisoning. The World Health Organization, the European Food Safety Authority and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have all discounted its risk to human health. I have written extensively about BPA and you can visit the blog, The BPA File, I maintain in its support. Another example of food fear-mongering has been the smear campaign against finely textured beef that was subjected to some very bad, inaccurate media coverage last year, called it “pink slime.” It is a filler that has been commonly used for decades in ground beef and other food products. I wrote about it in March 2012. To avoid more attacks, Cargill Inc. has announced it will begin labeling ground beef that contains it.
There have been and are some foods that pose a threat to health and that is why, in 1906, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came into being, signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt. Originally called the Food, Drug, and Insecticide organization, later shortened to the FDA. By 2008, it had 9,300 employees and I have little doubt they perform a very useful, necessary service.