The Happy Slave

This is my surrender to the Powers that Be, who wish we all were just happy little slaves, tooling along without a care in the world, doing what our better-educated masters tell us to do, not daring to step out of line. I'm so bad at surrender...

Location: Indianapolis, United States

I'm an old-fashioned Get-out-of-my-face-atarian. So long as the gubmint left me alone, I had no problems with it. Gubmint wants to run my life, so I'm doing something about it. (Not just blogging, either.)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Color the Federal Government "Fascist"

Okay, here's a new one for the record books, and one that will really get all the hardcore political cultists in a tizzy. There is this meat packer, Creekstone Farms. Now, Creekstone Farms does some business with Asian markets. In a free-market country, there's no problem with that, right? To keep their Asian customers happy, Creekstone Farms wants to voluntarily test all their carcasses for mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). From my Libertarian standpoint, this is just hunky-dory. To add or maintain value to their product, a producer is choosing to have this product certified. This should bother nobody--at least nobody who isn't a lunatic or a screaming fascist, right?

So, of course, this means that the US government is bothered by it. The jackbooted thugs of the USDA have decreed that Creekstone must not implement such testing of its products. (Okay, jackboots probably aren't worn by the vast majority of USDA employees, and they're just "pencil-necked busybodies", but I have so wanted to say "jackbooted thugs", lately.) This is nothing but flat-out fascist meddling. A manufacture desires to pay for extra safety certification of its product. The nanny state prohibits it. Think about that. The USDA is prohibiting a company from voluntarily certifying its products at a level higher than the government-required minimum.

The megacorporate meatpackers agree with the USDA. There should not be testing on all carcasses. However, until now, their argument was that there should not be mandatory testing on all carcasses. Now, the argument is that voluntary testing should be prohibited. Why would the USDA do this? It's the Golden Rule--he with the gold makes the rules. Megacorporate meatpackers have relied on the basic fungibility of meat on the US market. "Fungibility" means that one piece of meat at a given USDA grade is pretty much interchangeable with any other piece of meat at a given USDA grade. For the most part, our food supply is fungible--at least if you look at the outlets of the megacorporate meatpackers and their megacorporate food retail outlets.

I had no personal problem with this so long as there was still choice around for those of us who wanted to pay for it. That's how a free market works. Quality is encouraged by the possibility of profit. However, we are abandoning the free market in the USA and replacing it with a plutocratic alliance of megacorporation and government. This alliance does not, under any circumstances, want some upstart company with a product that might be perceived as superior to the run-of-the-mill plutocrats' mass-market swill. It will use its power to squash any attempt to beat the system, if it is permitted to.

If we let this stand, what will happen next? If it really is illegal in this country for a meatpacker to certify its products at a higher leven than the government minimum requirement, what other standards of excellence will become illegal. We might laugh at the following prospect: Private schools prohibited from certifying their educational outcomes as superior to those of government-run schools. Sound ridiculous? It used to be "ridiculous" when opponents of "tobacco lawsuits" said that the next step would be for fat people to sue McDonalds--that would never happen in a million years, right?