Progressive social authoritarian Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been engaged in what progressive social authoritarians love to engage in - controlling choice and thinking and freedom to shape it into their personal world view.
The rationalizations that social authoritarians engage in to force their world view on others is how Bloomberg could say society needed to 'keep perspective' with a straight face when yet another mentally ill person committed murder in December by pushing someone in front of a subway train, though when a mentally ill person shot up a school in Connecticut, he said guns should be banned.
This is the same Mayor Bloomberg who banned food donations to the homeless "because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content." You can feed pigeons, but not actual starving homeless people in NYC - only The State may help people, other people may not.
But it was his efforts to tell people how much soda they could drink that likely did the most good for the future of food freedom - most of the people of New York City are okay with it, they like being told what to do in their homes and how to think, but food freedom in 2012 galvanized a lot of people who care about food but otherwise wouldn't be allies.
The Teamsters are nowhere without big government but they got together with popcorn and theater groups and even Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, to protest the super-nanny government in NYC.
And not just in New York. Farmers and grocery stores don't have much in common with DuPont, for example, but when a huckster lawyer paid by outside corporations tried to get warning labels put on food in California - unless they paid for an organic sticker - a whole bunch of groups came together and showed the public that it was so poorly written it would not protect anyone and just lead to a lot of lawsuits. Californians who ordinarily love to vote for anything that feels left-wing, like sticking it to science, struck it down. Now food corporations that want their customers to know their food has no GMOs simply use the marketing advantage of a 'Contains No GMOs' sticker instead, a much more positive solution for everyone.
And there is no more good news in The Sunshine State. While California's government union employees have basically declared war on its citizens, the politicians actually did something worthy in the cause of food freedom; a 'cottage food' law that allows people working from their homes to be exempt from the second-most oppressive, soul-crushing, business-killing laws in the nation. It's not a free-for-all, raw milk people, you will still get sued if you poison someone - so don't go milking your cat and selling it on the Internet.
Yet raw milk will benefit in 2013 too. While it is incredibly dangerous, it's hard to be in favor of food freedom and advocate banning the stuff. So I don't advocate banning it, I simply contend no one under the age of 18 should be allowed to buy it, nor should parents be allowed to give it to their kids, like alcohol or cigarettes. Mayor Bloomberg wants to tell people they can't smoke in their own homes so I am surprised he is not showing 'leadership' when it comes to the same restrictions on something actually harmful to children, which raw milk certainly and verifiably is. A recent lawsuit means states are likely to ease up on restrictions for raw milk and maybe the greater scrutiny due to a larger market will cause these dairies to be a lot safer than they currently are. It's for the kids, right?
Children aren't waiting for social authoritarian adults to tackle their issues. When the USDA got heavy-handed about starving them in school lunches to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's pseudoscience food beliefs, they openly revolted and it worked and now they don't have to go hungry for her legacy. Actual liberals, not the social authoritarian progressives who create these laws, remembered why we have school lunches at all - for a lot of low-income kids, this may be the best meal they get all day, that is why we subsidize them and give them away for free. And so small-government conservatives, libertarians and pro-government liberals who actually care about kids joined together with a bunch of angry kids to eliminate the government's latest feel-good fallacy and the USDA's new rule was 'modified' - which means gutted but in a way that saves face. See? Food issues galvanized otherwise strange bedfellows.
Here are the practical students of Kansas telling her and the USDA what they think:
Baylen Linnekin at Reason has 10 food freedom victories he wants to note. You won't agree with them all but it doesn't matter - Bloomberg probably wouldn't agree with any of them. It's still a good read and food freedom is still a good idea.
2012: The Year Food Freedom Became A Topic
- Criminalizing Choice Is 'Leading The Way'- When It Is Your Pet Belief
- Raw Milk Is Not A Libertarian Issue- And Republicans Should Not Make It A GOP One
- The 10 Worst Food Regulation Proposals You May Have Missed In 2012
- Food Police Chief Presides Over Hot Dog Eating Contest
- Can Marketing Make You Thinner?