It’s comforting to know the police in L.A. are focusing their resources on dangerous criminals. Here’s the opening of a Los Angeles Times story about a recent police raid:
With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts.
Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid’s target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.
Yup, guns drawn and everything. Apparently the police were warned about the extreme violence that breaks out when hemp-clad owners of organic-food stores are facing arrest. I heard one cop who raided an organic joint required a small band-aid on his nose after an angry employee threw a sandal at him.
You can see some footage of the raid as well as some interesting discussion in this video:
Since this incident involves governments and regulations, I’m gong to step up on my political soapbox for moment. You’ve been warned.
I agree with Mr. Hemminger that the big agri-business corporations push for these regulations to shut down independent suppliers and limit our choices. But what Mr. Hemminger didn’t mention is that the real problem here isn’t corporate power; it’s government power. Without government, corporate power is pretty limited.
A few years ago, I watched a stupid left-wing documentary that compared corporations to sociopaths. As an example, the filmmakers showed how a company that builds water systems moved into a small country and then (according to their narrative) made it illegal for people to collect their own water. This prompted me to scream at the TV, “How the @#$% can a corporation make anything illegal?! Corporations can’t pass laws! The @#$%ing government passed the law! The @#$%ing government enforced the law!”
The filmmakers’ preferred solution, naturally, was to turn water collection over to “the people” … in other words, the government — the same government that already proved itself corrupt by making it illegal for citizens to collect water. Yeah, that’ll make a difference.
The same principle applies in this case. It doesn’t matter if evil executives at MegaMilk, Inc. want to shut down raw-milk producers; without government, they can’t do it.
The bigger the government, the more opportunity there is for corruption, because corruption is the bastard child of government power. Power gives you something to sell. Has a corporation ever tried to bribe you? Your grandmother? Your best friend? Of course not, because you don’t have the power to do anything for them — such as outlaw their competition and call it a “health and safety” regulation. But get yourself appointed to a regulations-writing committee and suddenly your phone will never stop ringing.
It’s not a matter of just convincing the regulators to write the “correct” laws. If they have the power to outlaw products you don’t like, they also have the power to outlaw products you do like. The reality of the situation is that MegaMilk will always be able to offer them a sweeter deal than you or I can. The solution is to take away their power to regulate which products supposedly free adults in a supposedly free country can buy, period. Until we wise up and do that, we’d better get used to scenes like this one.
But in the meantime, I have an idea for how we can make these onerous regulations work in our favor:
Prohibition made The Mafia. Yes, organized crime existed before, but it was Prohibition that made previously small-time gangsters rich and powerful. Legal or illegal, people wanted liquor and were willing to pay for it. So when our government made it illegal for Anheuser Busch and Johnny Walker to take money from drinkers, Al Capone took it instead. He and the other gangsters soon became wealthy enough to hire their own armies and bribe the police to look the other way. (After all, the police had the power to shut them down and were therefore worth corrupting.)
So, here’s what we do: we need to make raw milk incredibly popular, albeit in an underground sort of way. At social gatherings, we can slide up next to the movers and shakers and offer them a hip-flask of the stuff. Raw milk is irresistibly delicious, so we know they’ll want more. After they’re hooked and spread the word, we can open a few Milkeasys in the big cities, complete with milk taps, jazz bands, and a nice selection of raw-milk cheeses.
Once raw milk becomes the new bootleg liquor, today’s small-time producers will become the new Milk Mafia. Newspapers will run scandalous stories about the crimes and extravagant lifestyles of Joey “Milk Moustache” Bambano and Harold “Baby Burp” Nelson. There might even be a shootout or two in Chicago, with raw milk flying everywhere.
Oh, sure, the government will put together a special task force of G-men to harass the new milk lords, but their successes will probably be limited to a few P.R. stunts … the G-men taking an axe to some confiscated jugs of raw milk, that sort of thing. (Let’s just hope they don’t poison the milk and kill a few thousand unsuspecting drinkers, like they did with liquor in the 1930s … yes, our government actually did that.)
The point is, the Milk Mafia will make sure we get our raw milk. Everyone will know who the local supplier is. (Okay, buddy, just walk over to that door, tap on the sliding window and say “Cream rises to the top.”) Eventually, raw-milk farmers will be rich enough to bribe the politicians and police to look the other way. We might even learn a few cops are drinking the stuff when no one’s looking.
Best of all, the Milk Mafia will have the money to recruit some armed thugs as enforcers. That way, when the police decide to kick down a door and bust someone for selling raw milk, they’ll actually need those guns.