While I oppose most gun control proposals, there is one group of Americans
I do believe should be disarmed: federal agents. The use of force by federal
agents to enforce unjust and unconstitutional laws is one of the major, albeit
overlooked, threats to liberty. Too often Americans are victimized by government
force simply for engaging in commercial transactions disproved of by Congress
and the federal bureaucracy.
For example, the offices of Rawesome Foods in Venice, California, have been
repeatedly raided by armed federal and state agents, and Rawesome's founder,
65-year old James Stewart, has been imprisoned. What heinous crime justified
this action? Rawesome sold unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheese to willing
customers - in a state where raw milk is legal! You cannot even drink milk
from a cow without a federal permit!
This is hardly the only case of federal agents using force against those who
would dare meet consumer demand for raw milk. In 2011 armed agents of the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided the business of Pennsylvanian Amish
farmer Dan Allgyer. Federal agents wasted a whole year and who knows how many
millions of our tax dollars posing as customers in order to stop Allgyer from
selling his raw milk to willing customers.
The use of force against individuals making choices not approved of by the
political elite does not just stop with raw milk. The Natural News website
has documented numerous accounts of federal persecution, including armed raids,
of health food stores and alternative medical practitioners.
Federal bureaucrats are also using force to crack down on the makers of gold
coins for fear that people may use these coins as an alternative to the Federal
Reserve's fiat currency. Bernard von NotHaus, the founder of Liberty Dollars,
is currently awaiting sentencing on federal counterfeiting charges -- even
though Mr. von NotHaus took steps to ensure his coins where not used as "legal
Yet, the federal government was so concerned over the possibility that Mr.
von NotHaus's customers might use his coins in regular day-to-day commerce
they actually labeled Mr. von NotHaus a "terrorist."
These type of police state tactics used against, among others, raw milk producers,
alternative health providers, and gold coin dealers is justified by the paternalistic
attitude common in Washington, D.C. A member of Congress actually once told
me that, "The people need these types of laws because they do not know what
is good for them." This mindset fuels the growth of the nanny state and inevitably
leads to what C.S. Lewis said may be the worst from of tyranny "...a tyranny
exercised for the good of its victims."
All Americans, even if they do not believe it is a wise choice to drink raw
milk or use gold coins, should be concerned about the use of force to limit
our choices. This is because there is no limiting principle to the idea that
the government force is justified if used "for our own good." Today it is
those who sell raw milk who are being victimized by government force, tomorrow
it could be those who sell soda pop or Styrofoam cups. Therefore, all Americans
should speak out against these injustices.