"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac". Those of us old enough to remember Henry Kissinger recognize this as one of his more famous quotes. Our day to day lives offer numerous examples of this being true. Nearly every contact you have with someone from the government is an exercise in civility to someone who barely deserves it.
One minor, personal example. I arrived at the Post Office an hour before closing, expecting to stand in a long line waiting to mail my package. As I arrived at the door I thought the office was closed because the lobby was completely empty. I pulled on the door and was surprised to find it open. As I stepped inside I realized there was only one clerk and one customer. I was greatly relieved to think I would be in and out in a reasonable amount of time. Since there was only one customer ahead of me, I walked past the red dispenser that allows you to take a paper tab with a number on it. As I reached the front of the line the clerk turned to me and asked, "Did you take a number?" I was stunned. I pointed out the obvious - "I'm NEXT!". With the glaring eyes and indignation of a prison guard, he pointed at the dispenser and ordered me to "TAKE A NUMBER!" I stood transfixed, unable to believe that this simple protocol was being rigorously enforced, considering the circumstances. I returned to the dispenser under his watchful eye, and walked back with my small paper "license". The clerk did not resume his interaction with the other customer until I had complied with his authority.
Eventually the previous customer walked away from the counter, but I didn't move an inch. When the clerk motioned me forward, I loudly demanded, "CALL MY NUMBER! If I've got to take it, then you have to announce it to the world." I pointed to the large LED display on the wall that displays the last number currently being served. Much to my delight it was nearly a dozen less than the number on my tiny slip of paper. I waited until the clerk pressed the button under the counter often enough to show the number he had forced me to take. If you know me at all, you know that hell would have frozen over before I mailed my package without the proper, "official" recognition built into the system.
My point is to show that even the smallest cog in the government wheel feels they hold sway over some aspect of your life. And they will do their best to exercise it if you allow them to get away with it. From the police officer on the street to the TSA agent groping you at airport security, all of these agents (and agencies) require your tacit approval to act the way they do. The most egregious example I'm aware of happened in Nevada last weekend.
Here's the Reader's Digest version: A farming family invested a great deal of time and money organizing a Farm-to-Fork dinner party on their property. As the elegant catered meal was about to be served, a pompous young woman from the Health Department demanded that they throw all the food in the garbage and cover it with chlorine bleach because - apparently - it was too dangerous to feed to pigs, or put into a compost pile. I know that some of you will not believe this is possible, so I invite you to visit the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund website to read the gritty details for yourselves. Not since the Holocaust have I heard of anyone demanding and expecting - AND GETTING - such undeserved respect.
"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." - Thomas Jefferson
I am thrilled that Monte and Laura Bledsoe and the visitors to Quail Hollow Farm were able to turn lemons into lemonade. This shows they all have a very resilient spirit. But, come on folks! When are you going to grow a pair?! According to the story, a phone call two days before the event informed them that they must fill out paperwork and cough up a costly permit fee. The article says, "Stunned, we immediately complied." Then moments before the meal was served to waiting guests, the agent demanded they dispose of all the food. "I can’t tell you how sick to my stomach I was watching that first dish of Mint Lamb Meatballs hit the bottom of the unsanitized trash can." You don't have to tell me, Laura, because I screamed "NO!" when I read that statement. Later, "to add insult to injury, we were ordered to pour bleach on it." This was already well beyond my personal breaking point. I am absolutely incredulous that anyone would even THINK to comply with such outrageous instructions. Thank goodness the agent didn't demand that everyone get down on all fours and bark like a dog. I suspect it might have sounded like a kennel - or an insane asylum.
People, people, people! Where is your self respect? Are you willing to do ANYTHING a government agent tells you to do? As Samuel Adams said, "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude more than the animating contest of freedom, - go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms..." What farms and consumers need is something more immediate than legal defense funds. They need the courage to tell the tyrannts from any agency to take a long walk off a short pier. As for me, "I WILL NOT COMPLY!"
I know that I, like Samuel Adams in his day, am considered a bit extreme and over the top. Let me point out (once again) that you can't be a little bit pregnant, or a slave only some of the time. There are a number of alternative responses that could have been employed, short of the one that everyone presumes I would resort to. (For the record, I never waste ammunition when an abusive string of vulgar epithets will suffice.) The most obvious choice would be to ask the agent to get off the property, physically assisting that effort if necessary. Then, sit down, enjoy the food, and when the agent returns the next day, simply explain that you don't know what food she is talking about, since there isn't any evidence available for the prosecution. (I'm sure the pigs would gladly eliminate anything the hungry guests were unable to consume.)
Perhaps a more congenial but sinister approach would be to instantly befriend the agent, ignoring anything she had to say while still treating her like family. Offer her a plate of Mint Lamb Meatballs with all of the fixings. It's quite possible she would never be able to resist what sounds like an absolutely delicious meal. I suppose it's possible that she could still write a citation, but then you could insist that she was a willing accomplice all along, and should share the same cell during your incarseration. (Now wouldn't that be a cozy and fitting arrangement?)
I suspect there are other approaches that might have been used. Pretend for a moment that you are about to serve a delicious meal to several dozen guests, and some government agent arrives proclaiming authority over your basic right to eat any food you wish. What would your reaction be, and how would you respond?
[I reserve the right to edit out blatant vulgarities, but in this case, venting your emotion with ad hominem attacks is understandable. Trying to reason with idiots is a waste of time.]