Be wary when government knows best
My wife and I have been married for almost 36 years! To this day she is still my best sounding board, and a lot of what happens on Rightside Radio comes from her input as well. We agree on most everything, except one thing: she likes so-called almond milk, and I just find that to be repulsive.
Almond milk? There ain’t no udders on an almond! Me personally, I prefer good ol’ moo juice, the natural result of cows being milked by our friends in the dairy business. Just good ol’ milk milk. Almond milk is a charlatan’s product in my view. Some kind of hippy Pacific northwest vegan nonsense. Well, except that my lovely wife who’s as conservative as anyone I know drinks it every day.
But here’s the thing — she and I both clearly know what it is. We see the packaging that calls it “milk,” but we know it’s not milk per se. All God’s children know that almond milk comes from mashing up nuts and making nut juice. In fact, I would warrant that the vast majority of almond sippers across the whole wide world know that almond milk (despite its name) comes from almonds and not from cows that ate a bunch of almonds.
But in an ever-increasing need to justify their existence it appears that bureaucrats in the federal government have determined that Americans need their help understanding what lurks in those almond milk cartons. You guessed it. There is consideration underway now in the halls of government to literally ban the use of the word “milk” in any product that does not come from cows. The FDA is considering regulatory action because ostensibly no one can figure it out on their own.
Fears in government circles are that such a misnaming could cause widespread deception. Whole segments of modern society could crumble under the myth of almond milk. Innocent people could perish under the mistaken premise that almonds have infused the nectar of cows! It is therefore imperative in the minds of bureaucrats that action be taken to defeat the frightening fraud of the nut pushers who perpetrate this greatest and most dangerous of hoaxes upon a gullible and unprotected society: to wit, the crisis of almond milk being confused for milk milk.
Once the almond growers who have been at odds with the greater good have been quelled, I’m sure that government will turn next to address those rascally soy farmers and their so-called “soy milk.” Coconut milk perpetrators, you’re next.
Sarcasm aside, when a government becomes so bloated that it has to make up reasons to justify its own existence then we have let government run amok. The almond milk crisis is living proof that we have let government bloat itself at our expense, and it literally has to look around for the next thing to do because it must justify its reasons for being so big.
Now, I know and believe that there is a proper role for government. Our foundational documents outline it clearly: to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility. But tell me where “almond milk” falls into that list.
When government becomes so big that it begins to establish itself as the entity that knows what you need whether you know it or not on every detail of common living, then we have crossed over into dangerous territory. But we are seeing that play out before our very eyes right now and on multiple fronts.
Just in the last few days, Governor Gavin Newsom of California went into what was an obviously well air-conditioned studio wearing a fleece jacket to tell his citizens that they must turn their thermostats up to 78 degrees to save the planet. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t turning up his own thermostat as evidenced by the fleece. Nothing new here from Newsom. He is the same governor that has been extolling environmental policies and green energy solutions that have now put his state’s economy in jeopardy.
Warnings of rolling blackouts are being broadcast in the Golden State. Why? Because the California power grid cannot sustain current demand. The power grid that has been gerrymandered into its current configuration to chase green energy policies because big California government knows best.
The same green energy government-knows-best policies have mandated that 100% of the vehicles sold in California will be electric by 2035, with phased milestones between now and then. So the grid that can’t keep the lights on is going to be ready for millions of vehicles to plug in daily to upcharge their batteries? Right.
But they’re not wrong, you are. Government knows best. it’s not a question of any errancy in government policy. The real problem lies in the fact that you won’t turn your thermostat up to 78 degrees and sit around sweating in your underwear and sticking to your furniture. They are government. They know things and they will help you to understand that they only want to make your life better, albeit in their way.
There’s an old saying that a government big enough to grant you freedoms is also a government big enough to take them away. I would suggest also that a government big enough to create a problem and then tell you that you have to do your part to create the solution which by necessity means conforming your behavior to the government’s desired endstate …. well, you get my meaning.
Government can declare your business nonessential and shut it down.
Government can change election laws by fiat and then tell you not to question it.
Government can mandate a shot or you lose your job.
Government can tell you at what temperature you should keep your home.
Government can tell you what kind of vehicle you must drive.
We cannot just sit idly by and say nothing. Big government is getting bigger by the day. Does it have some role? Certainly! Essential services are still essential. But we are not dummies - we can tell almond milk doesn’t come from cows. We can also tell when certain policies are driving us into ruin.
What California is experiencing right now is the political attitude that only government knows right and wrong. Their misguided notion is that only government knows how best to accomplish the necessities of modern living and that the people that big government serves are just too poor of heart, and depleted in intellect, to know what’s good for them.
Yeah, well, tell that to the vast number of California businesses and citizens who have left the state for greener and free-er pastures. There is a reason why one of the most beautiful and resource-rich states in our great nation is hemorrhaging people, and it's not because the ocean views aren’t wonderful. California just lost a seat in Congress because its government kept telling the good people of California that the average citizen can’t make sound decisions without government telling them what to do. And so the people have left, and the lights are being turned out, and the thermostats are being turned up to 78 while the governor wears a fleece jacket.
Foolishness like that means that almond milk will soon be labeled as almond juice.
Phil Williams is a former State Senator, retired Army Colonel and combat veteran, and a practicing Attorney. He has served with the leadership of the Alabama Policy Institute and currently hosts the conservative news/talk show Rightside Radio M-F 2-5 pm on multiple channels throughout north Alabama. (WVNN 92.5FM/770AM-Huntsville/Athens; WXJC 101.FM and WYDE 850AM – Birmingham/Cullman) His column appears every Monday in 1819 News.
To contact Phil or request him for a speaking engagement, go to www.rightsideradio.org. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.