Liberty Is Risky

Liberty is risky.  When you let people make their own decisions and self-determine what they eat, decisions can be quite subjective.  You even risk making bad decisions or allowing scofflaws to sell snake oil.
 8536935455_5d9ef792f6_z
But is the answer government oversight on every decision?  Does regulating every morsel of food insure its safety? Certainly not, as the number of food-borne illnesses and recalls attest. The truth is that a perfect system does not exist. Offering more freedom is risky, but so is complete governmental control. Government experts marched together telling the populace to eat trans-fats and carbs. The official USDA food pyramid probably did more to destroy America’s health than any other single official act.
Subjecting all food to bureaucratic intervention between producer and buyer simply insures that all food must please bureaucrats. That’s an important reality. Government regulators are subject to the same nature as anyone else. Politics, power, and prestige afflict all people, regardless of where they work.
Pleasing bureaucrats requires pleasing cultural orthodoxy. What happens when the orthodoxy is wrong?  The heretics are burned at the stake nonetheless. Today, many of us dare to question the orthodoxy du jour.
Here is a sampling of today’s orthodoxy:
1.  Chemicals are safe; compost is unsafe.
2.  Mono-speciation is safe; multi-speciation is unsafe.
3.  Sterile is safe; biologically active is unsafe.
4.  People should not visit farms; people bring diseases.
5.  My body belongs to the state; self-determination is unsafe.
6.  People can’t be trusted;  people in government can be trusted.
7.  Local food can’t feed the world; we need concentrated animal feeding operations.
8.  Sick animals are merely pharmaceutically disadvantaged;  the terrain theory is nuts.
9.  Food should be cheap; expensive food is elitist.
10.  People are too stupid to make food decisions; bureaucrats must make all food decisions.
On it goes, but you see the drift. The orthodoxy is palpable and clear. But what do you do with nonconformists? Do you burn them at the stake? Or is it not indicative of a liberty-oriented, person-respecting, diversity-loving culture to let the heretics practice on themselves, to innovate?
Those who suggest that allowing food to be grown and sold without governmental intervention
will plague society with poor food and sick people have no basis for the assertion.  Today, those of us who want to produce for our neighborhoods do so with a plethora of knowledge and infrastructure unavailable to our ancestors. Microscopes, stainless steel, indoor plumbing, on-demand hot water, soap, and refrigeration were science fiction in our great-grandparents’ days.
The Virginia Farm Food Freedom Act, known as HB1290, leverages this knowledge and savvy to a futuristic place of innovative food. Rather than being stuck in outdated orthodoxy, freeing food and farm entrepreneurs to access their neighbors with heresy food like raw milk, home-made beef stew, and microwavable shepherd’s pie identifies Virginia as a place that embraces liberty and the future.
The future is always scary. Would you rather go there with several heretics, or securely wrapped
in the protection of today’s orthodoxy? Many of us would choose the heretics, knowing from history that these folks understand thought and practice freedom. When you’re facing uncertain times, you usually want someone willing to think creatively, not someone stuck on forms, licenses, and an archaic orthodoxy.
So let’s join hands and push the Food Farm Freedom Act forward in the upcoming General Assembly. Let’s dare to dream about a food system that embraces innovation.  Today’s orthodoxy will give us more of the same: cancer, Type II diabetes, obesity, autism, and food allergies.  How about something different? Your heretic farmers who fertilize with compost, make cheese in their kitchens, and build immune systems rather than using drugs are ready to take us into tomorrow’s solutions. Get on the freedom train.

Joel Salatin is a Farmer, Author, and a Local Foods Advocate. He and his family operate Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia. You can learn more about him and his farm on their website: www.polyfacefarms.com
Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Liberty Is Risky

  1. Carol

    We’ve been riding that train, Joel, and inviting everybody we know to ride along. Some folks don’t understand why it is necessary to be on board, but they will…love living on a farm 🙂

    Reply
  2. Patti

    Right now there are three men in my life that I believe are the most forthright, intelligent, liberty & freedom loving, innovative and caring people on this earth. Those would be my husband Richard A. Cheatham, our best man and business partner Mark K. Greenough and this man right here Mr. Joel Salatin! There would be a fourth and that was my Dad and I’m here to tell you that he would have been leading this pack if he were still alive. Joel Salatin, THANK YOU! Richard A. Cheatham, THANK YOU and Mark K. Greenough – THANK YOU! You have made a huge impact in my life and I will forever be on this path with you! You are the freedom fighters of today!

    Reply
  3. DennisD

    FTA…” When you’re facing uncertain times, you usually want someone willing to think creatively, not someone stuck on forms, licenses, and an archaic orthodoxy.”
    Actually. this sounds like a good prescription to find a true leader and “fix” our government.

    Reply
  4. jdzyn

    Joel, I understand your sentiment thoroughly, but I think you’re mixing your metaphors.
    I would suggest that the real heretics are those inventors of the modern systems. They have thrown out centuries of tradition for the sake of something new, claiming it is the one true way.

    Reply
  5. Hojo

    I have some thoughts on your argument. I think you’re on the right track by trying to create healthy food. I understand that the difficulties of changing this system are monumental. You lost me when your argument started with my freedom to eat and then transitioned into your freedom to sell. Those two, while related, are not mutually inclusive. I would be more inclined to sympathize if you didn’t try to scare me into thinking that the government is standing in the way of everything healthy. I would be more inclined to sympathize if, rather than casting the system as good v. evil, it’s cast in the light of a country with nearly 400 million people across 3.1 million square miles (3.8 with Alaska) who rely on a massive agriculture system across multiple states and other countries. Our system cannot be broken down into simple platitudes of: A is (not really) good, not A is (not really) bad. You know the reality of our system is far from that simple or that mundane or that conspiratorial. I’ve followed you via a friend for quite some time. I like reading your thoughts. What is wrong with tackling the system from the standpoint of a massive country with citizens of varying needs and values spanning economics, cost distribution, a bureaucracy fraught with special interests making up an industrial scale food system of international scope?

    Reply
  6. Mary Marshall

    Definitely with you here all the way! Love my small, local, sustainable family farms, practicing humane husbandry or organic methods, and the opportunities I’ve had to visit them and get to know my farmers! It’s been a wonderful ride so far.

    Reply
  7. farmer

    Group homes for brain injured people all over the country are ruled by front offices making bad food decisions. Choosing potatoes that are FULL of pesticides, allowing drinks full of brain toxins, serving simple carbs again and again that, along with the drugs and lack of exercise lead to weight gain. It’s because of the bottom line. $$$

    Reply
  8. Patti

    Cancer centers, hospitals, schools…all need to change the way they feed those that enter their doors. Doctors need more than two hours (yes they only get two hours) of nutrition class in med school, administrators should have a huge bank of knowledge in nutrition and then become a shining light to those that they feed. Obesity and illness run rampant in the medical field. Buying from your sustainable local farm, people you know is the way to a much healthier life. This can be done around the world. The problem isn’t lack of food or the ability to grow or raise it is the ability to obtain it from the people you want to obtain it from!

    Reply
  9. theangelscanseeyounow

    Reblogged this on Beyond Angels and commented:
    Liberty Is Risky
    http://www.virginiafoodfreedom.org
    “Liberty is risky. When you let people make their own decisions and self-determine what they eat, decisions can be quite subjective. You even risk making bad decisions or allowing scofflaws to sell snake oil.
    8536935455_5d9ef792f6_z
    But is the answer government oversight on every decision? Does regulating every morsel of food insure its safety? Certainly not, as the number of food-borne illnesses and recalls attest. The truth is that a perfect system does not exist. Offering more freedom is risky, but so is complete governmental control. Government experts marched together telling the populace to eat trans-fats and carbs. The official USDA food pyramid probably did more to destroy America’s health than any other single official act.
    Subjecting all food to bureaucratic intervention between producer and buyer simply insures that all food must please bureaucrats. That’s an important reality. Government regulators are subject to the same nature as anyone else. Politics, power, and prestige afflict all people, regardless of where they work.
    Pleasing bureaucrats requires pleasing cultural orthodoxy. What happens when the orthodoxy is wrong? The heretics are burned at the stake nonetheless. Today, many of us dare to question the orthodoxy du jour.
    Here is a sampling of today’s orthodoxy:
    1. Chemicals are safe; compost is unsafe.
    2. Mono-speciation is safe; multi-speciation is unsafe.
    3. Sterile is safe; biologically active is unsafe.
    4. People should not visit farms; people bring diseases.
    5. My body belongs to the state; self-determination is unsafe.
    6. People can’t be trusted; people in government can be trusted.
    7. Local food can’t feed the world; we need concentrated animal feeding operations.
    8. Sick animals are merely pharmaceutically disadvantaged; the terrain theory is nuts.
    9. Food should be cheap; expensive food is elitist.
    10. People are too stupid to make food decisions; bureaucrats must make all food decisions.
    On it goes, but you see the drift. The orthodoxy is palpable and clear. But what do you do with nonconformists? Do you burn them at the stake? Or is it not indicative of a liberty-oriented, person-respecting, diversity-loving culture to let the heretics practice on themselves, to innovate?
    Those who suggest that allowing food to be grown and sold without governmental intervention
    will plague society with poor food and sick people have no basis for the assertion. Today, those of us who want to produce for our neighborhoods do so with a plethora of knowledge and infrastructure unavailable to our ancestors. Microscopes, stainless steel, indoor plumbing, on-demand hot water, soap, and refrigeration were science fiction in our great-grandparents’ days.
    The Virginia Farm Food Freedom Act, known as HB1290, leverages this knowledge and savvy to a futuristic place of innovative food. Rather than being stuck in outdated orthodoxy, freeing food and farm entrepreneurs to access their neighbors with heresy food like raw milk, home-made beef stew, and microwavable shepherd’s pie identifies Virginia as a place that embraces liberty and the future.
    The future is always scary. Would you rather go there with several heretics, or securely wrapped
    in the protection of today’s orthodoxy? Many of us would choose the heretics, knowing from history that these folks understand thought and practice freedom. When you’re facing uncertain times, you usually want someone willing to think creatively, not someone stuck on forms, licenses, and an archaic orthodoxy.
    So let’s join hands and push the Food Farm Freedom Act forward in the upcoming General Assembly. Let’s dare to dream about a food system that embraces innovation. Today’s orthodoxy will give us more of the same: cancer, Type II diabetes, obesity, autism, and food allergies. How about something different? Your heretic farmers who fertilize with compost, make cheese in their kitchens, and build immune systems rather than using drugs are ready to take us into tomorrow’s solutions. Get on the freedom train.”
    Joel Salatin is a Farmer, Author, and a Local Foods Advocate. He and his family operate Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia. You can learn more about him and his farm on their website: http://www.polyfacefarms.com

    Reply
  10. Tara

    our food laws state that if I want to put on a dinner and feed the public for free, I have to buy meat from the store. I can not go to my local farm and buy turkeys or chickens that were raised naturally, I must buy the poison laden meat from the store because according to the food inspector, its the only safe food we have.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s