Food: Freedom’s Last Frontier

Editor’s note: From time to time we will give space in Linda’s blog to the Furious Foodie. We cannot divulge the Furious Foodie’s identity so as to permit her to rant without limit. Our editors believe that her views are worthing reading even when they get a bit extreme. That’s what getting furious can do to you.

Food: Freedom’s Last Frontier
By The Furious Foodie

A little while ago I wrote about the shameful police raids on Rawsome’s and Sharon Palmer’s businesses, all in the name of our best interests but quite clearly, in truth, in the name of Big Dairy and Big Food.

I’ve been getting more and more furious ever since.

Is food freedom’s last frontier?

A little dramatic, you think? Well, think on this: the word ‘liberal’ is bursting with connotations of freedom, even though it has been demonized by the right and emasculated by liberals’ own pusillanimity.

The word ‘conservative’ needs no definition, even though those who claim conservatism are currently riding their bullock carts right through it.

Have I, at this point, succeeded in ticking off both political wings – and what does this have to do with food?

Our freedom to choose what we buy cook and eat should not be a partisan issue yet both sides are absolutely determined to control that choice, probably because control is power and both sides love their power.

Liberals – who, by very definition, should be open-minded, free-minded and fair – are continuing the construction of a regulatory system which is as dysfunctional and corrupt as a Mafioso business lunch. Why doesn’t a liberal administration start by making existing food regulations work? Perhaps because that would involve the hard labor of personnel management and the elimination of the corruption that results from, among other things, the traditional merry-go-round of corporate executives taking regulatory posts and legislators and regulators boosting their fortunes by sliding into comfortable corporate positions – often in the very food and food-related companies they were regulating.

Conservatives – who preach freedom of choice and the operation of a Free Market, intrude more and more aggressively into our personal lives (and what is more personal than our food choices?); and fight as brutally as any mujadeen to ensure that monopolistic and cartel policies prevail over the free market so that the market imposes its food on us rather than we driving the market by demand.

So it’s clear that both sides are determined that you will only grow, buy and eat what they tell you to grow, buy and eat.

This massive erosion of freedom is supported and encouraged both by giant corporate powers like Monsanto, and by the self-serving and comfortable bureaucracies of Big Regulation. Monsanto thrives partly because it is accorded all the rights and privileges of an individual citizen but, apparently, is not subject to the same application of laws. It’s permitted to operate covertly, as secretly as any intelligence agency. Come to think of it, with this degree of efficiency and success, perhaps Monsanto should run our secret services.

Big Food Regulation thrives because we foodies don’t have the cohesion or the power to insist that our government make it work – and because it’s largely run by career bureaucrats who now earn more than the private sector, have bomb-proof employment contracts and benefits and are not going to put their comfort at risk by upsetting the status quo.

Freedom means you have the right to choose to eat at Monsanto’s table or Big Regulation’s buffet. You make the choice both at the ballot box and the grocery till but the problem – it seems to the Furious Foodie – is that both extremes, have only one interest at heart. Theirs.

And if recent events are anything to go by, they’ll protect their interests any way they can – if necessary by mobilizing police forces which would be better employed doing what their various mottos say they do: ‘Protect and Serve,’ for one.

So the food outrages pile up: ‘organic’ becomes redefined so that comestibles that are as far from organic as an M&M is from an insecticide-free pea qualify for the organic label. ‘Cage free’ can simply mean an open cage door in a sealed barn, and a chicken too freaked to venture out onto the concrete floor. Ketchup becomes a vegetable. And ‘raw milk’ becomes Osama bin Laden’s second cousin. On and on.

Personally, I don’t care who eats M&Ms, who seeks out the cheapest battery-farmed chickens, who travels 50 miles for a home-grown rutabaga or who eats deep-fried butter four times a week. That’s their choice. Their freedom.

But I do care what I eat and so I have a well-known two word phrase for all these self-serving, self-interested autocrats, whether governmental or corporate, liberal or conservative, who are telling me what to buy, cook and eat. The phrase is “GET OUT!”

As in Get Out Of My Life.

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Photo credit Jessica Reeder via Creative Commons License.