As an adult, have you ever been forced to eat or drink anything against your will?  Have you ever been coerced into eating a bacon cheeseburger and a mountain of fries? Have you ever been compelled to drink one more beer than you should? What you put into your mouth is a matter of your choice. Yet, the government is increasingly telling you what you can’t eat or drink. Increasingly, the government is treating you like an idiot.

For example, in April of 2011, armed federal agents raided the farm of Dan Allgyer. His crime? Selling milk. But this was not ordinary milk. It was raw, unpasteurized milk. Milk as it comes out of a cow. At the time, a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said:

It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed.

A more honest statement would be: It is the FDA’s position that you are an idiot if you consume raw milk, and anyone who sells it to you will be thrown in jail.

Allgyer is not the only victim of the FDA’s paternalistic insistence on preventing you from eating and drinking what you want. In August, federal agents arrested the operators of Rawsome Foods, a health food co-operative in California. These arrests, as well as the raid on Allgyer’s farm, followed year-long investigations. Which means, a portion of the massive federal deficit is being incurred for the purpose of preventing us from consuming the foods and beverages of our choice.

While individuals from across the political spectrum have decried these intrusions into the lives of citizens, few have questioned the premise underlying these raids. Most have denounced the FDA as going “too far,” yet they have failed to define “too far.” They accept government regulations and controls on individuals and businesses and object only when that power seems to be abused. The fact is, all regulations and controls are an abuse of the moral right of each individual to live as he chooses, so long as he respects the mutual rights of others.

For example, most Americans believe that regulation of the financial industry is necessary to protect consumers from unscrupulous banks, stock brokers, and mortgage companies. They believe that controls and restrictions should be imposed on drug companies or the public will be exposed to dangerous medicines. They agree that government must intervene in the affairs of individuals in order to promote the “public interest.” In principle, they accept they accept government prohibitions and mandates, and can only quibble over the details.

You have the right to take the actions that you judge to be best for your life. This includes: investing in any stock you deem worthy, taking any medicine you decide would be beneficial, and drinking raw milk. It means taking any action that you think appropriate, as long as you respect the rights of others to do the same. Just as others–including government–may not morally interfere with your freedom to act as you judge best, you may not morally interfere with the freedom of others to act as they judge best.

Every government regulation, control, and restriction violates this right. Every prohibition and mandate compels you to act contrary to your judgment. Every government intervention is founded on the premise that you are not wise enough or rational enough to know what is best for your life. That is the premise that must be rejected and not only in regard to what we can eat and drink. It must be rejected in every realm of life.

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Brian Phillips has been actively defending individual rights for the past twenty-five years. He has successfully helped defeat attempts to implement zoning in Houston, Texas, and Hobbs, New Mexico. His writing has appeared in The Freeman, Reason, The Orange County Register, The Houston Chronicle, The Objective Standard, Capitalism Magazine, and dozens of other publications. He is the author of Individual Rights and Government Wrongs

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