NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

Another lost American freedom

ER cookie and Jell-O mold

A woman interested in buying my ER cookie and Jell-O® mold recently wrote to me. My response details the loss of yet another freedom:

I might be able to give you one, but I almost certainly cannot sell you one because I think the FDA requires that products sold that contact food be approved as safe. That's not a bad idea (it's a good one, in fact), but I suppose it restricts a freedom that you and I ought to have as Americans.

I vacuum-formed the ER cookie and Jell-O molds from milk jug-type plastic, just much thicker. I am considerably more picky about food safety than the FDA (over 90% of what they deem as safe I deem as toxic junk I refuse to put in my body), so I should be able to sell the mold to you. However, unless I am mistaken, I think food contact products must be FDA approved, which means testing, money, red tape, and time I just don't have.

Most people simply ignore this (probable) requirement and go on their merry way, but the FDA does, in conjunction with other federal and state authorities, raid the homes and businesses of people and corporations who run afoul of one of their zillion and one laws and regulations. When they conduct a raid (whether for food-related or other reasons), they go in with loaded guns pointed at people and conduct themselves in a way that's bound to overly escalate tensions, making their itchy trigger fingers too likely to send bullets into people who really don't deserve to die.

If you think I'm exaggerating, consider what happened to Donald Scott, a 62-year-old multimillionaire and heir to the Scott Paper fortune. He lived adjacent to federal park lands on 250 acres of breathtakingly beautiful property the government wanted. He refused to sell it, so the government concocted an excuse to raid his home, using weapons to threaten his wife. He heard her screaming, “Don't shoot me, don't kill me!” and rushed to defend her. He was shot three times and killed. I could give several more similar examples, including a case of “the authorities” raiding the wrong home, assaulting a young black honors student when they were supposed to be after three WHITE prostitutes, and then charging the student with a crime because she resisted being beaten up. Wouldn't you? (I detailed this case and related ones in another article, Police behaving badly.)

With 70,000 pages of new federal laws and regulations per year in a slow year and even more when federal politicians and bureaucrats are busy, I can't feasibly read all of that to determine if selling or even giving a mold to you is safe. To determine that, I'd also need to read the millions of pages of existing federal laws and regulations in addition to those in my state and yours. Practically speaking, this is an impossibility. Yet the FDA turns a blind eye to big corporations who sell us unquestionably harmful (and junky) products made in China and elsewhere. Go figure.

I wouldn't make you read this diatribe unless there might be something in it for you. In this case, that something is an ER cookie and Jell-O mold. Consider it an early Christmas present. That's what you want. What I want is to know that giving it is legally safe. If you contact the FDA and obtain their written approval, I'll give the mold to you. Deal?

She responded and thanked me for explaining the issue, but apparently thought that requesting FDA approval would be a waste of time. She is probably correct.

I wrote to them years ago about an unrelated matter and never received a response. They're too busy to respond to people trying to comply with laws and regulations, but always find the time to strap on their guns and round up federal, state, and local reinforcements to raid the businesses and homes of people who they think have broken some rule. Isn't it funny how they act like tough guys when they go after little guys but act like perfect gentleman when they deal with big corporations? That's typical of bullies.

I don't intend to imply that the FDA, police, and government are bad. Large bureaucracies are bound to have bad apples, many middling ones, and some shining stars. Our government and agencies within it have all of the above, but considering the gold we give them and the deference we give laws we often loathe, we should get fewer bad apples and bad attitudes and more respect as taxpayers doing our best to comply with the mountain of laws and regulations heaped upon us.

Related topics

Police behaving badly

Notes:

  1. IRS singling out of 'Tea Party' being investigated
    Excerpt: “An investigation of the Internal Revenue Service was launched on Friday after a senior IRS official publicly apologized for subjecting conservative political groups to "inappropriate" scrutiny.”
    Comment: Big Government = Big Thug. Power usually creates an urge to use it, and our government just can't help scratching that itch.
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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