It didn't start with Raw Milk

This morning the House of Representatives will vote on The Commons Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (HR 2017), legislation making common sense changes to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s "menu labeling" rules. Campaign for Liberty supports this bill as it will provide relief to many small businesses, such as pizza parlors and grocery stores, from the FDA's onerous menu regulations.

Campaign for Liberty members who want to roll back the nanny state still have time to call their Representative and ask them to vote for HR 2017.

Of course, Campaign for Liberty supports total repeal of all laws and regulations interfering with our ability to make our own choices about what we should eat and drink. This is why we support allowing individuals to drink raw milk and use dietary supplements and other products to improve their health.

In restricting people's choices, the FDA is acting in an old (and dishonorable) tradition. Mental Floss has a list of government attempts to ban that most wonderful of all beverages: coffee. Note the first example listed was a ban on coffee because coffee stimulates "radical thinking and hanging out"...so that's why so many liberty people meet at Starbucks!

As the list makes clear, government officials have always had the urge to regulate us for our own good:


Coffee was banned in Mecca in 1511, as it was believed to stimulate radical thinking and hanging out—the governor thought it might unite his opposition. Java also got a bad rap for its use as a stimulant—some Sufi sects would pass around a bowl of coffee at funerals to stay awake during prayers. (Note to Starbucks: Time for a new size, the Funeral Bowl.)


When coffee arrived in Europe in the 16th century, clergymen pressed for it to be banned and labeled Satanic. But Pope Clement VIII took a taste, declared it delicious, and even quipped that it should be baptized. On the strength of this papal blessing, coffeehouses rapidly sprang up throughout Europe.


After Murad IV claimed the Ottoman throne in 1623, he quickly forbade coffee and set up a system of reasonable penalties. The punishment for a first offense was a beating. Anyone caught with coffee a second time was sewn into a leather bag and thrown into the waters of the Bosporus.


Sweden gave coffee the ax in 1746. The government also banned “coffee paraphernalia”—with cops confiscating cups and dishes. King Gustav III even ordered convicted murderers to drink coffee while doctors monitored how long the cups of joe took to kill them, which was great for convicts and boring for the doctors.


In 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia issued a manifesto claiming beer’s superiority over coffee. He argued that coffee interfered with the country’s beer consumption, apparently hoping a royal statement would make Prussians eager for an eye-opening brew each morning. Frederick’s statement proclaimed, “His Majesty was brought up on beer,” explaining why he thought breakfast drinking was a good idea.


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