Our personal liberties

Ron Paul recently stated we should have the right to drink raw, whole milk.  Some have mocked him for it.  But his point is that government, and especially the federal government stomps on our personal liberties way too much.

Here is an example from CATO, about a case where a man was mowing his lawn in an urban community.  Cops stopped to check him out, and became aggressive.  They hit him, giving him a black eye, and charging him with two counts of assault on a police officer.  Later, the judge chastised the police officers for trampling on basic rights of a man that was just minding his own business.


We now have the feds passing laws allowing American citizens to be stopped, imprisoned, and even killed in some instances, without proper due process of law, all in the name of the war on terrorism.  Guess what? The war on drugs did not work, and the over-active actions of a war on terrorism will only eliminate more of the rights endowed upon us by our Creator.

When the government gets so far into our lives that they harass people for drinking milk or mowing a lawn, it is time to knock that government back down to an appropriate size.

25 thoughts on “Our personal liberties

  1. This feels like the same reasoning of “There are drug dealers and rapists all over and the police have the time to give little me a parking ticket? How could they?”

    I’m glad the government regulates the pasturization of milk, because I don’t have the time to check up on my milk producers to be sure they’re doing everything right to keep me from getting sick. There is certainly something to be said for not allowing anyone to have raw milk (though I don’t see how they can stop people who own cows), but prohibitive laws tend to come about because of people doing things like drinking raw milk then suing the producer because they got sick from it. Its a protection for the producer more than the consumer.

    For cops doing stupid things, yes, they should be held accountable and fired for such aggregious abuse of power and kept from any job that allows them that power (including campus police).

    But yes, we should be doing something more about the blatant laws taking away constitutional rights from citizens that are ignored by the justice department in favor of more popular rulings like gay marriage.

    (wow, that was just all over the place, wasn’t it)

  2. “Its a protection for the producer more than the consumer.”

    How true that is! It should be no surprise, that virtually every consumer protection law favors big business, with large legal teams, and with massive economies of scale to support the regulatory costs (which ultimately get passed onto the consumer anyway). It’s the small businss that could never afford to spend $100k a year in legal fees, or buy an additional $100k in equipment, or meet various types of inspections, because their sales volumes do not sustain it.

    The irony is, the traditional successful businesses in America started out as small businesses, that grew into large ones, and our economy thrived in the process. So with regulation, which is admittedly designed to protect the producer, it should be no surprise that the large entrenched businesses are protected, while the upstarts and small innovators which would potentially grow into a bigger business with a larger economic impact at cut off at the knees.

    And we wonder why our economy, which has been based on investment, entrepreneurship, and inovation is in a mess. It’s true, a few big guys get these things right, but a million little guys each dreaming their own impossible dreams are going to stand a better chance of being the next Bill Gates, than Microsoft’s army of engineers in an entrenched company concerned about maintaining market share.

  3. If I want to buy and drink raw milk, sure, I’m taking a risk. But I have every right to take that risk. Frank, if you want to cage me to steal my money (“fines”) for drinking raw milk, you are no friend of mine.

  4. Also, Frank, here’s how I interpret your comment: “I’m glad the government cages people for using their God-given rights, because I’m just too darn lazy to take responsibility for myself.”

    I have no patience for that kind of crap. That’s what it is: crap.

  5. Jeff – I have entire other reasons for wanting to cage you 😉

    But seriously – I’d be certainly glad to let you drink all the raw milk you want, providing you will not sue said producers for allowing you to do so. Its the bad apple that ruins the batch; people taking the risk then complaining they weren’t informed enough to be able to assess the risk properly.

    For me, I’m not glad the government forces you to pay into the system of obtaining clean milk if you don’t want to participate in it, but I am glad that the system is there that I can participate in. I don’t see how lazy comes into it – no one has the time any more to be able to know the treatment or production quality of everything they eat or use.

  6. My wife is a wonderful designer and maker of dresses. She started a business online that I think over a five years could have been a pretty great venture. There was a neat little consumer protection law that put her out of business without really trying. It costs about $1000 per design to have every detail (including the materials that had already been checked before making it redundant) checked and made legal to sell to children. Did you know that if you make cloths for children and sell them that you are breaking the law if you haven’t had the fibers tested in expensive official labs? My hear sinks just thinking of it.

  7. I don’t get all the fuss. Don’t we need to be protected from ourselves? It’s not like we were born to make our own choices.

  8. Come on Bradley, it’s not like “Know then that ev’ry soul is free, To choose his life and what he’ll be;” should be applied to anything other than what movie are you going to see or where you want to eat tonight.

  9. I can understand the complaints against badly written or too proscriptive regulation, but the implication of many respondents seems to call for a return to a comprehensive “caveat emptor.”

  10. I think there’s room for regulators to certify pasteurized milk, AND to allow people to decide to have the raw milk itself. In the case of the raw milk, the producer would have to decide whether to take the risk, and how to manage that risk (have consumers sign a waiver, etc).

    It does not have to be one or the other. We can allow both methods. So those wanting “safe” milk can buy certified milk, while others can get milk that is “untainted.” Personally, I would probably stay with the pasteurized (at least most of the time).

  11. In a free society, you would have third party market “regulators” (kind of like Consumer Reports) making unbiased recommendations. This would be ideal, but I could even go for Rame’s number 11 as an interim solution, ie, the government makes recommendations but does not prohibit. Using the force of government to prohibit people from voluntarily buying and consuming and trading raw milk is an Orwellian, dystopian solution that should be be opposed by all people claiming to even care about freedom.

  12. Geoff, I love your last sentence. Not because I agree or disagree with regulating milk sales, but because of the exquisite juxtaposition of the mundane with full blown hyperbole. When people read a sentence like that they should hear trumpets blaring “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Mere fifes a la Oliver Wendell Douglas wouldn’t be enought.

  13. That’s the thing, John. That’s how Orwellian societies form. Do you think that they form by starting with legislation saying that every third child must be killed, or that religious worship is now prohibited? No state could maintain that power for long unless it first acclimatizes people to interference in the mundane facts of life that we don’t typically care too much about—at least, not enough about to care. And they do it in a way that makes life a bit more comfortable for the common man, to associate such interference with increased comfort and ease.

  14. “In a free society, you would have third party market “regulators” (kind of like Consumer Reports) making unbiased recommendations”

    Like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s . . . except their recommendations turned out to be biased indeed.

    I am all for keeping the smart regulations and dumping the stupid ones.

  15. It is good to see that Ron Paul will stand up for the rights of people to sell and drink milk straight from the cow.

    However, given that he has:

    1. Said the civil war was an unconscionable infringement on states’ rights
    2. Said that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights act of 1964
    3. Subscribes to the very weird theories of Rothbard and Rockwell that it is okey-dokey for people to sell themselves or others into slavery

    I am wonder how we could expect him to enforce civil rights more generally. Does anybody have any ideas about this, or is it all just about cutting entitlements and getting rid of Medicaid?

  16. Enforcing civil rights? By that, do you mean forcing people to hire those they don’t want to? I don’t believe in legally forcing people to associate with people they don’t want to associate with. Neither does Ron Paul, and that’s why I support him.

  17. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a good thing. It just has one minor problem – it is unconstitutional. The right way to accomplish the same objective is to pass a constitutional amendment.

    That is what we did after the Civil War, with the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments. I do not doubt that a similar amendment would have passed as well. The problem was simply too severe.

  18. If Ron Paul is elected, everybody will immediately sell themselves into slavery.

    John M, do you think that you have the moral authority to tell people they can or cannot drink raw milk. And if you do, what gives you that authority?

  19. When a government, elected by the people in a democracy, decides that drinking raw milk should be outlawed, I don’t see what is immoral about that. If the people feel imposed upon, then they can elect officials to change the laws. They can also hire lawyers to appeal the laws, and take it all the way up to the supreme court. It doesn’t seem like this is a big deal to me. I see no real evidence that we are entering an Orwellian brave new world. Raise the money, hire a lawyer, challenge the law.

    Laws like this are constantly being challenged in court, appealed, challenged, appealed, challenged. It’s a pretty good system, and it’s constantly being tweaked. Who really wants to go back to the days when you didn’t have to put your kids in car seats? Who wants to go back to the days before the Food and Drug Administration started regulating the quality of our food? If you want to experience unregulated food, go to a third world country. Your chances of getting sick are much higher than they are in the US.

  20. Nate, poverty might have something to do with poor food quality in the third world. All of the regulators in the world wouldn’t solve that problem. It is economic growth that improves food qualiy, not government.

  21. Geoff, I think there is a good reason that the big, annual libertarian shindig is held in Las Vegas, and I also think there is a good reason Rothbard’s final academic home was UNLV. (And no offense meant here to Mansfield.)

    I do not think libertarianism deals very well with the ethics of selling one’s body, e.g. via prostitution, an institution of which Rockwell and Rothbard are huge fans and advocates. Mr. Paul is also on record as saying that he would not even have voted against Jim Crow laws if doing so would violate somebody’s property rights, although I am not sure what that means, and I don’t think he does either.

    Anyhow, for the record, I am glad I can suckle milk directly from a cow’s teat if I feel like it. I assume the principle of federalism would make it OK for states to outlaw this practice, just not Uncle Sam?

  22. That’s interesting Paul said that about Jim Crow laws since many libertarians argue that such discrimination was unnatural and that it’s an example of the state needing to impose laws to prevent free association.

  23. Raw milk used to be the number one killer of children in cities.

    Interesting how some feel free to impose externalities on others (much like your not getting a vaccine increases my likelihood of dying from infectious diseases) or desire to increase the cost of safety.


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