I'm wading into a quagmire with this post, but I couldn't help but share an interesting interchange I had yesterday with David Gompert who wrote the book Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights. We were communicating about a book prospectus regarding the backroom deals politicians, regulators, and big food create. It's an ugly fraternity, to be sure.
President Obama, Gompert recalled, came in with great fanfare about helping small farmers access the market by reducing onerous and draconian scale-prejudicial regulations. He mentioned it once. Yes, that's the point.
President Trump came in with great fanfare about reducing regulations. He mentioned food once. Yes, that's the point.
What's going on?
I mentioned that it's funny how abortion seems to suck all the air out of the room, as if getting a baby born does not leave any room to discuss how the baby eats.
Gompert sallied forth with this explanation: more money is involved in eating than birthing. Certainly both involve a lot of money, but he's right. Comparatively, birthing is pennies to the food dollar. And therein lies the problem. As long as an issue doesn't involve a lot of money, like abortion or immigration, it can be hotly contested.
But let a subject like food freedom raise its head, and it must be quashed. It doesn't matter who's elected. I've said for many years, in response to folks who ask why our food can't get traction, that if food freedom and integrity food actually displaced tyranny and faux food, it would completely invert the power, position, and prestige of the entire food and farm industry. That's a lot of inertia.
Food was the first large sector of the American economy to be regulated by the federal government. The 1908 implementation of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) came before manipulation of medicine, education, transportation, communication and labor. As a result it's had the most time to grow its cancerous tyranny. Goodness, it even predates the infamous treasonous internal revenue service.
The only reason--should I repeat that?--the only reason America leads the world in e-innovation is because it came in a Wild West of freedom, prior to regulation. Freedom always spawns competition, innovation, and entrepreneurship. It's still the best antidote to everything that ails us in food and farming, but it's the farthest away because it's the most metastasized.
We've tried to protect and secure our food system through agencies, regulations, and bureaucrats. It has only made us distrust the accredited behemoths more; and it's stimulated additional centralization and consolidation. Why don't we try something we haven't for a long time? Something called freedom.
If you were responsible for discerning the safety of your food, where would you buy it?