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Evil, thy name is Mary

The Nevada Health Department attacked a private farm and forced the destruction of a feast of friends. I can not comprehend how people can sink to this depth. I used to think much more highly of Nevada, but it appears the rot is setting in even there…

Something is going to break. Americans are not going to put up with this crap much longer.

33 comments to Evil, thy name is Mary

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Dale, the best solution is to add some Mary to your party preparations. Whilst she doesn’t look appetising, i think the (four-legged) pigs would help you get rid of the evidence! You’re not killing people, you’re culling vermin!
    If that doesn’t work, work harder on those spaceship designs! For immediate use!

  • Roue le Jour

    Indeed, Dale,something is going to break. The state is merely getting its retaliation in first.

  • Mendicant

    The Monsanto Stazi seem to be getting around, eh?

  • Devilbunny

    I’m no fan of the state overreaching, but these people charged for the “guests” to come eat their food. Places that do this are called “restaurants”, and they have to comply with state health regulations. The fact that the investigator went well beyond normal standards… is reprehensible, but not per se insane.

  • Dale Amon

    I fail to see how that is any excuse whatever for their actions. Do not give evil the benefit of the doubt. Just call it by name. No quarter.

  • Steve

    Meh. Americans are as tame as anyone else, for all their bluster.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Dale, bureaucrats are Vogons- not evil, just petty-minded to an incredible degree. They wouldn’t even save their own grandmother from being eaten by beasts, unless all the forms had been signed correctly! Stupid conformity is not evil, but it should still be stamped out!

  • Dale Amon

    Nuke: I’m not going to giver them the fig leaf that they are only following orders. It is time we looked them in the eye and told them they are moral and ethical individuals who are personally responsible for their actions.

    No quarter.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    But they are accountable- to the government! Is this getting a lot of publicity? Are you making your politicians’ lives as uncomfortable as possible by constantly lobbying them about this? Is this how the laws were meant to be implemented? Isn’t this how the political system is supposed to work, in America?

  • bobby b

    Just in the interest of fair play:

    Periodically, a farm or a processor or a packer will have a problem with sanitation, leading to an outbreak – sometimes very small and localized, sometimes quite serious and widespread – of food poisoning.

    People get sick, and some die. The ones who die are usually the elderly, or the very young – meaning, the most heart-rending of possible victims.

    And then we see weeks – months, sometimes – of recriminations about how our food inspection system has failed, we hear about every failing of the USDA or the state health departments or inspection departments, we televise Congressional hearings into how such tragic failures happen . . . .

    Had this been a huge gathering of the clan for an extended family feast – or even a huge gathering of friends – then I think there would have been no trouble. But this was basically an advertised commercial event, put on by people intimately familiar with the ongoing tension between the “organic” food movement and our food inspection infrastructure.

    Myself, I like to buy and eat a wide variety of foods from many different sources, from local foods to foods from across my state and country, to foods from outside of our country – but I don’t have time to aquaint myself personally with the people who supply my local stores with those foods – which is what I would have to do if we didn’t have a fairly rigid set of food regulations and an inspection regime to uphold them.

    We can argue that we ought to have a choice in the matter – that these people should have been able to knowingly choose to eat uninspected foods that were handled in ways not in conformance with regulations – but setting up systems with well-meaning opt-out exceptions usually results in poorer people buying the cheaper foods that are cheaper only because they’ve been opted out of the somewhat costly regulations and the inspection regime.

    So, imagine the outrage when we all watch the video showing the poor single mom with her four little kids going to the grocery store and having to choose between the expensive but inspected, safely-handled hamburger and lettuce for her kids, or the cheaper hamburger from a cow that might have been healthy (or not), or the lettuce that might not be coated with insecticides or botulism, hopefully, maybe . . .

    Any system that allows one to opt out of some protection usually devolves to one in which the protection can be had only for extra cost, which might fit in well with a pure market theory, but which runs counter to some very basic notions of societal guardianship that we’ve all historically embraced. The loss of freedom that these people in the video have suffered is the price our society has chosen to pay in order to protect everyone’s foods equally and appropriately.

    And, no, I don’t work for any governmental body, and I generally favor a smaller rather than a larger government footprint. But I have butchered cows, and worked on shrimp boats, and harvested crops, and cooked in restaurants, and I know how easily our foodstuffs can become deadly.

  • thefrollickingmole

    I lived and worked on shearing teams for nearly a decade in my younger years. Id estimate I saughtered around a shhep for every working day.
    That sheep would be hung overnight to set (temp could be well over 30 degrees) before cutting up in the morning. I would then be chucked in an icebox and eaten within a day or 2.

    Around 15 blokes on the team, number of food poisoning cases in that entire time….?
    Ive chucked out carcases with obvious problems (cancer/wormy), but besides that no special precautions.

    Part of the “problem” is people having absolutely no resistance to what are common germs. I literally lived with pigs as a kid, never got sick.

    Yes food standards are a necessary evil, but Id love to see some figures of fresh kill to plate vs killed and stored to plate statistics.
    Its the long chain between kill/process and eating which makes hygene such a massive issue.

  • Gareth

    I have no great problem with health inspectors inspecting premises they are legally allowed to. However…

    From the Southern Nevada Health District Food Establishment Regulations:

    15-303.11 Exemptions

    In accordance with NRS 446.870, the following FOOD ESTABLISHMENTs are exempt from obtaining a PERMIT:

    (A) Any PERSON that prepares FOOD in a private home and gives it away free of charge or for consideration of any kind unless it is given to a PERMITted FOOD ESTABLISHMENT.

    Why wouldn’t this exemption apply?

    It sounds like they were bounced into buying a permit they didn’t need and fell foul of the requirements of that permit.

  • Another example(Link), Federal Government this time, not state,

  • frankania

    I would not have hidden this activity; I would have told the guests to come and see–take photos–show shock and awe at the storm-troopers destroying food.

  • Surellin

    Tar. Feathers. Repeat as necessary.

  • Jerry

    Until these petty minded bureaucrats ( who will RUN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE if they can get away with it ) start paying PERSONALLY this will continue and get worse !!

    Suing the city/town/commission/entity does NOTHING except pass the cost onto the taxpayers !!

    These ‘enforcers’ need to pay PERSONALLY – how or what method is up to the reader’s imagination – but I can think of several ways.

    As others have said, there is little immunity built up over time anymore ( my God, the guests have left – we have to BOIL all of little Johnny’s toys and scrub down the ENTIRE house with disinfectant !!! ).

    In addition, more and more, because of government promises and government propaganda of ‘you NEED this protection’, people want a EVERYTHING COMPLETELY SAFE.
    My God people, LIFE isn’t safe !!

    Start by getting the lawyers out of it. Use a ‘loser pays’ system which will eliminate a LOT of frivolous lawsuits ! ( Gee, I’m sorry you got sick and threw up your dinner but that discomfort ISN’T WORTH EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS !!!!!!!! )

    We are ‘protecting’ ourselves to death.

    These are zealots that need to be stopped.

    As for the ‘permit’. Just ANOTHER way for government to get their hand on more of YOUR money. NOTHING else.

  • Dale Amon

    Libertarians have to learn to think politically. I mean hardball politics. An event like this must be used to cause maximal damage to statists, put them in a terrible (and deserved) light and bring their entire enterprise into disrepute.

    At the same time, another group, which came out of an old 60’s counter-culture framework, has been taught an object lesson and we should be prepared to bring them into *our* fold. I have nothing against organic food. I probably occasionally eat some of it along with my GM modified snacks… but we are for liberty, *real* diversity, and freedom to live your life as you see fit.

    So. No quarter. I want the people responsible for this and their entire enterprise to come out of this with the maximum possible loss of respect. I’d like Mary to have people turn their backs on her when she walks into a store and to refuse to server her in stores and restaurants (M’am, we don’t like your kind around heah)…

  • Sigivald

    I think we need an equivalent of Godwin’s law for The Modern Devil*, Monsanto.

    Thanks for bringing that up, Mendicant. That really helped.

    Because plainly Monsanto had something to do with this. It just has to have…

    (And I am partially with Devilbunny – not that “charging for the food” means the State is justified in ridiculous interference, but that it was not “a feast of friends” – it was a commercial endeavor.

    That doesn’t make it Right, but it’s important to not jump on the Food-Activist bandwagon of pretending that it’s not commerce.

    [I say food-activist bandwagon because I’ve seen this pattern before; a commercial endeavor to sell Special Food is characterized as non-commercial. Probably, I think, this is because their target audience are the sort of Leftists who despise commerce and profit in and of themselves, but that’s just a guess.

    And I don’t accuse Mr. Amon of consciously following such an agenda, naturally – but don’t take their implications for granted! Recognize free and honest commerce as such, and call it such, even if the people involved want to pretend it’s “guests” rather than “customers”.

    The two are somewhat interchangeable in the food service business, but I’m not sure the euphemism is actually beneficial.]

    And “private” is the only kind of farm, since there aren’t any public ones to speak of.)

    (* Seriously, the things people try to tell me about The Uniquely Evil Monsanto are ridiculous. Food tyranny!)

  • David Gillies

    Jerry is right. Unless and until agents of the State are afraid, personally, to act in this fashion there will be no redress. The problem is that they mostly enjoy state immunity so pursuing them via the legal system is very difficult. Another facet is that so many of these regulations derive from statutory instruments – essentially extra-legal fiat. The democratic disconnect is appalling. The real danger is that an inability to curtail these stormtroopers via civilised means will mean people will resort to other forms of resistance.

  • Alisa

    And what if it is commercial, Sigivald? If anything, Devilbunny’s comment only goes to show that the fence-posts strategy is working extremely well.

  • Martin

    Is it time to start shooting yet?

  • Devilbunny

    I’m not sure what the “fence-posts strategy” is, Alisa, so I’d welcome enlightenment.

    This was a commercial event put on at a commercial farm – not a dinner of friends, nor someone selling cakes out of their home. In a proper world, people should be able to take the risks themselves and understand that these foods may, actually, not have been properly prepared and stored. And yes, I’d be perfectly happy to have something like the Kosher marks system, where private organizations certify the cleanliness of food-service establishments with their own mark.

    Unless a lot more people become much more libertarian, though, campaigning against food safety laws is politically insane.

  • Jordan

    “Any system that allows one to opt out of some protection usually devolves to one in which the protection can be had only for extra cost”

    That protection can only be had at extra cost, regardless of whether it’s voluntary or not.

  • Martin

    Shaking off the shackles these bureaucrats refexively try to impose is an obligation we owe to suceeding generatrions . Don’t bother applying to the bureaucracy to redress your grievences.
    When the the balloon goes up be ready to fight.

  • Dale Amon

    The biggest enemy of this kind of bueauscum is publicity and puncturing their veil of anonymity. Mary Oakes is now a globally known name. For the rest of her life google searches will tell anyone who looks that she is not a nice person, not the sort of person you want to associate with.

    So long as you live with in a reasonably civilized state and are fighting a reasonably (not necessarily totally) civilized enemy, you can destroy them by putting it right in their face how immoral their actions are.

    There may be some here who do not like Ghandi. I am not one of them. I think the way he defeated the British is very much worth studying. You can find similar tactics used in the ways that European Jews entered Palestine even though forbidden to do so. Try reading ‘Exodus’ or watching the movie.

    You can use emotional jiu-jutsu to allow your enemy to destroy themselves by forcing them into situations where the difference between their own actions and what they believe are their values sicken and disgust them to the point at which they begin to refuse orders.

    Violence is a bad route to take and it should only happen when you and your friends and loved ones truly have your lives at risk.

    I consider the point at which things turn to violence as the point of total failure. There will be no good outcome from it. Even a victory would lead to something very different than some imagine. Remember the French Revolution and Madame Guillotine. She was a very hungry bitch, just as happy to terminate yesterdays ally as the enemy of the day before that.

  • Lee Moore

    I read this Mary story yesterday, and having nothing to add to other comments, moved on. But I happen to be reading Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty at present and this afternoon came across this passage towards the end of Chapter 7 (having to do with the interaction of liberty and democracy), which seems pretty relevant :

    “The individual has little reason to fear any general laws which the majority may pass, but he has much reason to fear the rulers it may put over him to implement its directions. It is not the powers which democratic assemblies can effectively wield but the powers they hand over to the administrators charged with the achievement of particular goals that constitute the danger to individual freedom today*. Having agreed that the majority should prescribe rules which we will obey in pursuit of our individual aims, we find ourselves more and more subjected to the orders and arbitrary will of its agents.”

    * today = 1960. Not much change since then, or, I suppose since Shakespeare mentioned the insolence of office.

  • I miss Andrew Breitbart. What fun he would have had with this.

  • Kristopher

    This food was not given away.

    The organic farmer running the feast charged his customers to attend, which means he fell into the same trap that all restaurants in the state are in.

    His notion of making his business a private club would have worked if he had done that in the first place.

    Yes, I agree that health inspections of commercial restaurants by the state are a rights infringement, and should be replaced by private underwriters … but we are not there yet.

  • Laird

    Kristopher, that might justify shutting down the meal, but not destroying the food with bleach (thus rendering it a toxic hazard, not even usable as compost). Someone should report Mary to the EPA and the state DEP.

    The promoters should have insisted that a warrant be presented, and that the police be called to supervise the actions. I suspect that the operators were so flustered they didn’t even think about their 4th Amendment rights. Simply demanding a warrant would have stopped the whole debacle in its tracks.

  • Roue le Jour

    This story highlights an interesting difference between law enforcement and, for want of a better term, regulation enforcement. If you report the theft of a pencil the police will tell you to bugger off because they have bigger criminals to deal with, i.e. more important things to do. But regulations are for the most part scrupulously observed. Consequently regulation enforcers really don’t have anything better to do. They have to treat every peppercorn case as serious to justify their own existence.

  • Alisa


    The problem is, they will outlaw almost everything while enforcing very little. Imprisonment by stealth. People will not know they are encircled until it is too late – like putting in all these very deep, robust fence-posts with no fence panels. All seems open. One day you will wake up and the panels are in, you are trapped and they can decide what law they wish to impose to nail whomsoever they desire.

    Posted by TimC at April 30, 2007 02:53 PM

  • John K

    Was the American Revolution pointless? The American colonies were governed with a far lighter touch by King George than the government Americans have created for themselves. The USA is now very little different from a standard European social democratic welfare state.

  • bobby b

    “If you report the theft of a pencil the police will tell you to bugger off because they have bigger criminals to deal with, i.e. more important things to do. But regulations are for the most part scrupulously observed.”

    No surprise here.

    The theft of your pencil hurts . . . you.

    But a regulatory violation anywhere offends and disrespects each and every bureaucrat who derives power from regulations.

    (And my experience has been that pointing out to them that “hey, it’s not a problem, no one respected you before this” rarely gives them the calming sense of proportion that you are trying to convey to them.)