If the government is going to save you from yourself, if you go from Point A to Point B in the premise that you are not smart enough to manage your own life, then where does that government benevolence stop? With seat belts? With mandating your light bulb usage or toilet bowl requirements? Where does the long arm of government reach stop and your rights begin?
According to our guest on Off the Grid Radio today, government reach has extended far outside its constitutional boundaries. David Gumpert, the author of The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights, says that the Food and Drug Administration is going after organic dairies and raw milk providers based on no evidence of illness or harmful effects from the natural, organic products they provide.
Off The Grid Radio
Released: July 8, 2011
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Off the Grid News Radio – the radio version, the audio version, the podcast version of offthegridnews.com. I’m Brian Brawdy, as always along with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, how are you this morning?
Bill: Greetings, Brian. I am well, as always – as always – probably because I drank a lot of raw milk when I was growing up. I think I’ve got all the DNA tuned in to where it’s supposed to be at this point in my life. I’m really feeling quite well. Thanks for asking.
Brian: Very cool. It’s odd that you would mention raw milk.
Bill: It is odd.
Brian: Isn’t that odd? It’s amazing. Almost clairvoyant, I would say. I remember growing up as a little boy and spending a lot of time on the farms in Virginia – milk was the big deal – that you had it with breakfast, you had it with lunch, you had it with dinner, you had it warmed before you went to bed. We came across the title of a book – our guest today actually wrote this book – “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights.” I know Bill, right away you perked up and said “that’s an interview we have to have happen.”
Bill: I did because it’s at the forefront of the liberty issue in a lot of reasons. If you grant the premise, Brian, that the government is going to save you – if that’s Premise A in the great debate – then where are the breaks? Where does it end? Because if the government’s going to save you from raw milk or from drugs or from this or that, where does it stop? That really is the quintessential issue here that we’re dealing with. What better to discuss this big issue on, this general principle of liberty, than to dig into some of its instantiations of where liberty’s been breached and broken. I think, Brian, and our guest will tell us, but I think this should be one of those Tenth Amendment things but we’ll dig into that and see how it plays out. I think if you want to introduce our guest we can move on with some great questions.
Brian: Absolutely. Ladies and gentlemen, as I mentioned earlier, the author of “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights.” Make no mistake, it’s a battle – emerging and otherwise. He is also the author and the blog master of a really cool blog – The Complete Patient. He is a journalist and a writer. Say hello to Mr. David Gumpert. David, how are you sir?
David: Great. How are you doing?
Brian: Very good. Thank you so much for hanging out with us on the show. Bill had said in the break going in there’s even something on FOX News this morning, Bill, about how timely this battle is.
Bill: Yeah, there’s an article on FOX, I’m not sure it was on TV, but there was an article on FOX News called “Raw Milk Drinking Returns. Should it?” If you go Google or Google News “raw milk,” you’re going to find that it’s a hot topic and it’s extremely important in the liberty movement because, as I said, it’s at the forefront right now – should the government control what you put in your bodies. If you say yes to that – David, I want to get your feedback on this – but if you say yes to that, where does that lead?
David: That leads to … we don’t know exactly where it leads, but it leads in all kinds of directions that don’t sound very appealing. There’s all kinds of concerns about genetically modified food. It potentially leads toward genetically modified food taking over more and more of the food offerings. It leads, maybe even more significantly, toward a more sanitized food system. In other words, we only can have access to foods that have gone through not only pasteurization but irradiation and various other kinds of cleansing techniques that have the effect, from the point of view of the government, getting rid of pathogens. But from the point of view of us, as people concerned about our food, has the effect of getting rid of the so-called “good bacteria” and the beneficial enzymes that are an important part of many foods. Raw milk is obviously one such food where people are seeking good bacteria and beneficial enzymes and well-structured proteins and good fat. But there are all kinds of other foods where the same thing holds true – vegetables, fruits, meats. You go through the food chain and they’re there.
Bill: It’s one of those things that – I think it’s principial in that if you can drill this down – and the line’s being drawn in raw milk – if you can drill it down here, then we can win some battles in some of these other places. They’re not going to stop with raw milk. I think that’s the point you’re making. On another perspective, what got your dander up to get going? We all have these “coin-drop” moments – what got you interested in this thing to begin with?
David: I began to notice in 2006, following FDA reports – Food and Drug Administration – that they were all of a sudden taking actions involving dairies producing unpasteurized milk. I looked at these things and – I didn’t even realize that people were still drinking unpasteurized milk. I’m a city guy. I grew up in Chicago and lived in New York and Boston. Even though I’m very interested in the food I eat, I never really paid much attention to that. When I saw that the FDA was going after this food and going after producers of this food, I said to myself “if the FDA’s going after it, there’s probably something good there.” There’s something important because they don’t just go after things that are really important to good health; they oftentimes go after things that foster bad health. So I had started looking into it more and found that some of these actions they were taking – raids, as it were, on small dairies producing unpasteurized milk, really were questionable. They were just being done without any signs of illness. In fact, in some cases there were indications that the illness may have come from other foods, even pasteurized milk. There was a case in Michigan where they went after a farmer in October 2006 – a fellow by the name of Richard Hebron – they called it a sting operation. This wasn’t just the FDA but this was the Michigan Department of Agriculture, where they followed this guy around and then the State Troopers and the Department of Agriculture pulled him over when he was delivering unpasteurized milk and other foods to members of a cooperative in Ann Arbor. They pulled him over and pushed him up against the hood and took something like $8,000 worth of his food. No real explanation of why they were doing this except that raw milk is considered hazardous to your health. Well, it turned out, in that particular situation – I tracked it down and did some investigating – the Michigan Department of Agriculture was acting because they thought a family some months earlier had gotten sick from drinking raw milk. It turns out, when I talked to the family, they were pretty sure that the culprit was pasteurized milk that had made one of their kids sick and the husband … they figured it out because the only one that didn’t get sick was the mother and she was the only one who hadn’t consumed the pasteurized milk. She had been waiting for her unpasteurized milk. There are any number of other cases like this where they go after producers of raw milk and there’s no cases of illness around it. We have one going on right now involving an Amish farmer – Dan Allgyer – that’s gotten a lot of publicity lately.
Brian: David, we have to run to a quick commercial break. I want to pick up on that particular farmer. Ladies and gentlemen, one quick commercial break and then we’ll be back with Mr. David Gumpert, here at Off the Grid News.[0:09:39 – 13:57 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid News – the radio version of offthegridnews.com. I’m Brian Brawdy, as always along with Mr. Bill Heid. Today a very special guest, the author of “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights.” We’re talking to Mr. David Gumpert. Bill, before we toss it back to David, when you talk about the emerging battle, I found this article written by Jeremy Roebuck out of the Philadelphia Enquirer and I was going to read a quick paragraph to you. It says “in the pre-dawn fog of an April morning last year, armed federal agents fanned out across darkened Lancaster County pastures in search of contraband. Months of investigation had led to this point. Strong evidence suggested that [the name of the particular farm], a small Amish farm just outside the local area, served as the hub of a large-scale smuggling operation responsible for shipping hundreds of gallons of illicit product across state lines. After sweeping past dozing cattle and roosters waiting to crow, the armed agents finally found what they had come for – dozens of coolers filled with unpasteurized milk.”
Bill: Brian, what’s interesting about that, if you keep reading you’re going to find that a comment down below where one of our friends, Jonathan Emord, who was on the show just a week or so ago, is actually representing Daniel. He’s being treated as if he were a drug lord, it says.
Brian: Isn’t that amazing? We need armed federal agents. I don’t want to get into it now because we have a guest and being an ex-federal agent I’ve always taken an issue with armed federal agents going after farmers, going after people they know that aren’t armed. You want to be an armed federal agent? Go after bad guys. Go after real bad guys, not farmers in the “pre-dawn hours” just so you can grab some gallons of unpasteurized milk. It’s just infuriating. But in any event, you don’t want to hear from me. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello again to Mr. David Gumpert. David …
David: Yes. That is turning into a cause célèbre, I’d say, the situation with Daniel Allgyer. I was involved in a demonstration that was organized in Washington just a couple of weeks ago. That raid resulted in a federal suit in US District Court seeking a permanent injunction barring Allgyer from shipping milk across state lines. Where he has been sending his milk is to groups of consumers, mostly in Maryland, but also in Virginia. There are hundreds of them. They’re pretty upset because what this court action threatens to do is deprive them of their food – of their milk – along with other food. Allgyer doesn’t just produce unpasteurized milk, he produces beef and chicken and eggs and other foods that are produced not only in accordance with organic standards but without, for instance, the animals being fed soy, which is something that a lot of people are concerned about. This court action has threatened to cut off the food supply of some hundreds, maybe even thousands, of consumers. That’s what’s at stake. The consumers are pretty upset so they organized a rally. They asked me to come down and speak. And, as you said, Jonathan Emord was there. He gave a very eloquent talk. Mark McAfee came in from California – he’s the owner of the largest raw dairy in the country. Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation was there. About 450 people were out in front of the Capitol trying to let our representatives and senators know that this is something that people are pretty upset about. It’s a raid on a farmer – it’s pretty upsetting just that that happened – but the ramifications – the ripple effects of this are equally significant.
Bill: Those are ripple effects that you’re going to see in other areas of life. But to go back to Brian’s perspective, I know the Amish are extremely dangerous citizens. Those hats that they wear can kill; those shirts look innocent – I know they’re Kevlar. Why do you think, David, why all of the bravado on this? Why not just knock on a door? Is there something going on beyond this with the SWAT teams, with people dressed in black – are they conditioning us?
David: Yeah, I think there is. I think really there are a few things going on. One is that the US Food and Drug Administration is trying to send a message. So when they do something like this, as you suggest, they aren’t really concerned that this man is armed or that he’s going to somehow call in his compatriots. They want other farmers to see this and they want them to say “holy cow – I don’t want that to happen to me. Maybe I better stop producing unpasteurized milk and other nutrient-dense foods and making them available to people in Maryland and Virginia and New Jersey” and other places that are demanding this food. They want to set an example to other farmers. They also want to set an example to consumers that “we’re out there. We’re watching. You just better behave yourselves. You better not go after this kind of food. You’re taking a risk by going after this food.” It’s a message that’s not unlike the message we get when we go to the airport and go through the security lines. The security there is so tight and the control is so absolute that there’s a message being sent there. I know we’re supposed to keep terrorists out but if you go to other parts of the world the security is not at the level that it is in the US and they still manage to deter the terrorists. But I think we’re increasingly, in this country, our government is trying to send a message and that’s one way they do it.
Bill: Here’s another, what I think is on the insidious side. You have these attacks – and you can tell me when I’m done here how many people have died from drinking raw milk – but if you go to big pharma and you look at Bayer with Trasylol and the bleeding drug – coagulator – that causes kidney damage, you go to Pfizer with Bextra – the COX-2 inhibitor that causes heart attacks. We have untold, documented deaths that these drugs have caused. I guess what I’m saying is, is there a “too big to nail” idea? These guys don’t have legal departments. The Amish don’t send board members to sit on the FDA like Pfizer and Bayer. They’re too big to nail, these big companies, because they have friends at the FDA and they also have board members that travel back and forth from retirement, going from each organization. But what about the poor? What about the middle class? The Amish? Who’s protecting them?
David: You’re correct. I think you could argue that what the government is doing – what the FDA is doing – in going after an Amish farmer is very literally a cheap shot. It’s a cheap shot in a number of ways. One, as you suggested, they don’t have the means to fight back. But there’s something else there and they know this. The Amish, as part of their religious beliefs, are not part of our system. Or let’s put it this way, they try to stay out of our system. Obviously they pay taxes and they obey the laws but their religious beliefs and their religious leadership frowns on them getting involved in court actions and legal actions. Once they do get involved in these legal actions the elders frown on someone like Daniel Allgyer hiring a lawyer. That puts them at a distinct disadvantage in our system. You know, you go to court without a lawyer and you are really asking for even more trouble than even when you go with a lawyer. Because it’s all a club – the lawyers are members of what’s called the Bar and they are all professionals, colleagues, regardless of which side they’re on. You go there without a lawyer and it’s like you’re violating their rules so they come down hard on you. There’s a case in Wisconsin where a fellow, Max Kane, was hauled in for refusing to name – he’s a fellow who delivers raw milk on behalf of consumers from Wisconsin to Chicago – he was hauled in to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and they demanded that he provide the names of his farmers that would supply these consumers. He refused to do that. They held him in contempt of court. He decided he was going to represent himself in court. I was there in the court, just a little over a year ago – the judge came down on him like you wouldn’t believe for not having a lawyer. It was almost like a kangaroo court at that point because the judge pronounced him guilty and his appeal was just rejected. So he may go to jail for this. Long way of saying the government knows this and went after someone like Dan Allgyer intentionally for those reasons.
Brian: David, we’re going to have to run to a quick commercial break. Ladies and gentlemen, join us after this short, little break with Mr. David Gumpert the author of “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights” as soon as we come back.[0:25:21 – 0:29:34 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid Radio. I’m Brian Brawdy, as always along with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, I love your idea of too big to nail.
Bill: It’s a real-life thing. I think that there’s a segment of society that’s vulnerable – small business folks. Once you get to the level where you can have in-house legal representation, I think most agencies at least – it’s not that they leave you alone but there’s a real sense in which … let me give you an example – it’s like the IRS – if they have a choice between auditing someone that doesn’t have any money and auditing a doctor, the rewards benefit in auditing a doctor makes much more sense because they have real expenses associated with the investigative process. So they pick out certain people who are vulnerable on that side. On the other side of it, the agencies say “who can defend themselves and who can’t defend themselves?” What’s interesting about what our guest is saying today – you pick a group in society that can’t really defend themselves or maybe, by their own religious beliefs, don’t want to get an attorney. Then what happens is you have the legal world – you have precedents established – even if they are administrative law precedents, but you have precedents established and a whole new world of law. Remember what Jonathan Emord told us? Most of the laws that govern out behavior in life – 90 percent, Jonathan told us – are administrative law issues. That’s what governs our daily life. So you can think that watching Sarah Palin on FOX News argue with an opponent and if we vote her in this is going to happen or if we vote in Mike Huckabee, or whoever it might be, that that’s going t have a real impact on your life, but that’s not where the action is. Where the action is, is the action where our guest is fighting a battle today. It’s a noble fight but it’s an unheralded fight, in a way, because it’s you’re in a quagmire in quicksand of bureaucracy that you’re fighting and it’s a more difficult battle than doing this very public fight that so many politicians fight.
David: That’s a really good point. There’s an amorphous quality to it. You’re not sure where you are. The other part of it that’s really striking to me is you don’t know who you’re battling against. These people – we talk about the FDA – but who are they? What are their names? I think I know who some of them are but they really do a very crafty job of keeping themselves anonymous.
Brian: And guys, where it is in the news now, everyone’s worked up in elementary schools – we have to do what we can to keep kids from bullying other kids. I’ve said, Bill, as you know, countless times before – you can be a bureaucratic bully. You can be a bully with a badge. So we know that it runs counter to everything in the human being that would make one say “bullying’s OK.” It’s not OK at any level, whether you’re a government bully, a law enforcement bully or a bully in third grade picking a fight with someone smaller than you on the playground. That essence of bullying is the same. You pick on a small farm as opposed to – Bill, as you said – too big to nail, or you’re a bully at a lunch break at a junior high school picking on someone that’s smaller than you. It’s still bullying.
Bill: Without a doubt, it’s bullying. Only at the lunch break that may be bullying for bullying’s sake; I think what we’re talking about here is more insidious because there’s probably some financial gains at the end of it all for folks. There’s consolidation. I want to ask, how many folks, David, have perished that we can document, as a result of drinking raw milk – let’s say, in the last decade – is there data like that? I would imagine that the FDA would say that it’s a lot, I don’t know.
David: The repository of data is the Centers for Disease Control. It’s an agency that works closely with the FDA. The FDA is more the enforcement agency. The CDC puts out data on this and, in fact, they are always putting this data out to the media who are asking about raw milk. One of the things they say in their data is – I think they say since between 1998 and 2008 that there have been some number of illnesses and some number of hospitalizations. Then they say “there have been two deaths.” The “two deaths” is really the most important part of what they’re putting out there because part of what they say, very explicitly, is you can not only get sick from raw milk but you can die. They are suggesting that this is potentially a fatal food. I’ve done some work on this, done some investigating of the data. I found out where those two deaths came from. Those two deaths occurred in – I believe it was 2003, 2004 – one of them occurred in California and one occurred in Texas. It turns out that those deaths were from consumption of a certain kind of soft cheese known as queso fresco – it’s a cheese that is very popular in the Hispanic community. It’s often made from milk that is unpasteurized but that wasn’t intended to be sold unpasteurized. In other words, it’s from a dairy that doesn’t ordinarily sell raw milk but just makes it available to groups of Hispanics that may want to buy 50 or 100 gallons of milk that otherwise would be going to be pasteurized. That milk is different from the milk that, say, Dan Allgyer is producing for his customers, because that milk is intended to be consumed unpasteurized. All the work around raising the animals and actually producing the milk is geared toward making sure that it’s absolutely clean and free of pathogens. The point is, these deaths supposedly from raw milk really happened from illegal cheese produced probably from milk that was intended to be pasteurized. It calls into question what the CDC says – that there were two deaths. Now we have a situation, really, where there weren’t any deaths. If you go back further – I haven’t been able to find any evidence of deaths from raw milk at least since the 1980s. We’re talking about a period of over 20 years in which there hasn’t been a single death from raw milk. When you realize that you say “geez, look what they’re doing.” They’re conducting an undercover investigation. They’re sending armed agents to Dan Allgyer’s farm. They’re going after all kinds of other farmers. You start to wonder what’s really going on here.
Bill: We grew up drinking a lot of milk and my wife’s parents milked and her brothers milk cows. I milked cows when I was a young man. We just drank milk out of the bulk tank. I guess it sounds like a commercial for raw milk, but if you drink milk out of a bulk tank and then you go buy some milk at the store – for those that are listening that have done that they know what I’m talking about – but one tastes like milk and the other doesn’t … it’s like, Brian, we’ve talked about tomatoes – buying tomato at a big box grocery store versus growing your own tomato. One’s designed to exist a long period of time, from farm to market, and to be refrigerated and transported and so forth and genetically programmed to do that. The other tomato goes splat. You have the same kind of thing here. On one hand you have a living thing that not only is great to drink but it also have the enzymes that we’re talking about, that Arden Andersen and some of these folks have talked about before, that may actually be necessary, as we’re finding out, necessary for life itself. It’s an interesting thing that they’ve done this and turned it on its head. I’m not sure – again, we keep asking the question, where’s it all going? I think it just continues to go to the next thing. They lock this down then they go to the next thing and on the next segment I’d like to talk a little bit about that, Brian and David.
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to run to a quick commercial break and then come back for the final segment. I want you to know that you can go to Amazon.com right now, get our guest’s book today, “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights.” I just downloaded the Kindle version right now to have it on my iPad as well. We’re here with Mr. David Gumpert. Come on back, after this short break.[0:39:17 – 0:43:32 break]
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid Radio for the final segment. Here today with Mr. Bill Heid and the author of “The Raw Milk Revolution,” David Gumpert. You know, Bill, as an ex-drug cop, I’m used to going after folks that are trying to sell kilos of ‘x’ – you can fill in the blank – coke, heroin, whatever it is. But now, if I were still in, they could task me with going after kilos of illegal cheese?
Bill: Illegal cheese.
Brian: I don’t even know what 2.2 pounds of illegal cheese …
Bill: You look at the headlines in the news today. Greece is going to file bankruptcy and probably so is Portugal and Italy and Spain and Ireland and on down the line. Our country owes about $15 trillion on budget, probably $100 trillion off budget. We’ll never pay that money back. I could do a Gerald Celente for you here, Brian, and start going into an incredible rant. But what are we worried about? What are we worried about? Illegal cheese. That’s where we want to focus …
Brian: You know, we say all the time “you can’t make this stuff up.”
Bill: That’s where we want to throw our resources. We’re dying, we’re slowly going broke. What we want to do is take what little resources we have and stop these girls from having lemonade stands and stop these – at all costs, the Amish farmers and the Mennonites must be stopped. They must be destroyed.
Brian: David, you’re with us, right? You’re all for the idea that Bill and I wholeheartedly adopt – that you should be reading 12-year-old girls selling lemonade on their front yards and they should be arrested?
David: Oh yeah, there’s all kinds of things like that – church suppers.
Bill: Oh, I forgot to mention that.
David: And PTA bake sales. They’re cracking down on all these things. I think it’s all part of the same problem. But to return to that question of illegal cheese, because it actually is an important issue in terms of what we’re talking about here, I use that term to relate to cheese that is aged 60 days or less. The reason that’s important is under FDA regulations – this has been in effect since the 1940s – cheese sold in the US is supposed to be aged 60 days or more. Cheese that is aged less than that is considered illegal. The raw milk community has been fine with that. That whole matter has become, though, a much bigger issue in the last few years at the same time that the whole raw milk issue has become a big matter because what’s happened is raw milk cheese – the cheese makers, I should say, who are organizing things like the American Cheese Society – they really are very careful to try and abide by the FDA regulation. It isn’t the same kind of situation as with raw milk where it’s being called into question because the government has been allowing it for many years. All of a sudden, last year, the FDA began challenging and doing these kind of raids on cheese makers who were abiding by these rules – in other words, doing the 60 day or more cheese – and doing tests on their cheese-making facilities, looking for pathogens. They actually shut a couple of them down, one in Washington State and one in Missouri. They raised the issue that they may – this is all part of an internal re-assessment of whether the 60-day aging requirement should be allowed to stand. In other words, they are considering getting rid of that 60-day aging requirement because – the reason, they say, is because there’s a question about whether raw-milk cheese aged more than 60 days may be dangerous. I think the real issue here is that raw milk cheese aged more than 60 days has become very popular, just like raw milk has become very popular. You guys referred to the whole industry connection and I think that’s a real factor here. What’s happening is that as raw milk cheese and raw milk itself become more popular, that is a threat to the established dairy industry. They are putting pressure on the FDA to do something about this situation. I think raw milk, in particular, is a threat because when people go to the store to buy milk they don’t just buy milk. In addition to the $5 or $10 they spend on milk they go and they buy butter and they buy cereal and they but fruits and nuts and so on and so forth. All of a sudden they’re spending $100 or $200 in the grocery store. That’s all because of milk which brought them into the store. So milk is a huge item in our food economy. That begins to start to explain why they’re going after Amish farmers.
Bill: Sure, and I think, David, what happens – since I grew up milking cows and I have a lot of friends that used to milk cows – I’ve seen the elimination of the dairy industry here in Northern Illinois. But what happens in a real-life situation, if you’ve got some folks milking cows – and a lot of the guys that I knew were milking 40 to 150 cows or so. One friend had more than 500, but most were small farmers. What happens is, if you have to play by what you see as certain rules and somebody else doesn’t, the challenge then is “why am I doing this?” You can go one of two ways – “I’m going to be a raw milk farmer” or “I’m going to make sure that these guys get hammered so that life continues for me at the profit margins that I need.” I’m not trying to hammer my friends that milk cows, I’m just saying it’s natural.
David: Yeah, and this consolidation of the dairy industry, which I think is where you’re going, is something that’s been going on for an awful long time in this country. If you look at the data, since 1970, we have lost 90 percent of our dairy farms. This is a result of the move toward more factory-type production in an effort to continually lower prices and increase productivity, without any attention to the quality of the food that’s being produced.
Bill: That’s what we heard from – we just talked to Jerry Brunetti, an associate of yours, as well – our focus is on volume. We’re trying to bring economies of scale to bear in every situation. What Brian and I talk a lot about, David, is at what point do you say “I can’t farm that out.” It could be with your kids in public school, it can be your food, but at some point modern man has to come to a realization “I can’t continue to push that division of labor outward further and further” as we pay for foods that don’t help us. Brunetti talked about the race towards starch with respect to grains and how we pay our farmers for starch and not nutritional density. You’ve got the same thing, basically, in milk, do you not?
David: Yes. Yes, you do. I think the bigger issue here I’ve come to appreciate is that if you look at history, going back hundreds and hundreds, even thousands of years, the big problem that the rulers have always faced – or the biggest problem – is that the people don’t have enough to eat. If people don’t have enough to eat they get pretty upset. They tend to get so upset they overthrow their rulers. They have revolutions. The challenge of keeping people’s bellies full has been an age-old problem. We figured out a way in this country to solve that problem, beginning in the 1950s, with what you just described – this move toward economies of scale in food production. The side effect is that we now are producing food that is not only not good for you but oftentimes is bad for you. Now we’ve created health problems. But the government doesn’t care so much about that because so long as people aren’t out in the streets rioting. They’re most concerned that people have full stomachs so that’s why you don’t see any opposition.
Bill: And if people get sick, David, then you simply take care of them, right? You print up money …
David: You take care of them. You put them on drugs and they become paying customers. That’s even better.
Bill: That’s the nanny state. That’s slavery as we talk about. We’ve got a couple of minutes, Brian and David, what can people do? We always like to leave with what can be done. I know Ron Paul has got some legislation. There’s the political side of this and then there’s also the private side, how then shall we live. Do we buy cows and milk our own cows? Is that the ultimate safe way to go at this point?
David: That’s certainly one option but that’s not a good option for a lot of people, especially those living in cities. I think that is certainly – I don’t mean to disparage that option. But the other option is, and I think it may be more immediately applicable, is that people need to stand up and say that they’re not going to take this anymore. We’re beginning to see that. We just had a case over this past weekend in Kentucky where the Louisville Public Health Department came to a drop-off point where people were just about to pick up their raw milk. They served a cease-and-desist order and they quarantined the milk – I think something like 76 half-gallons. People who run the food club that was distributing this milk got the brilliant idea – they said “we’re going to ask people if they’re willing to break the quarantine.” Lo and behold, 40 or 50 people came to pick up their milk. They signed a statement saying that they weren’t abiding by this quarantine and if the Department of Public Health had a concern about that they should call them and they put their phone numbers down. That’s the kind of action that we’re going to have to see. Consumers standing up. They can’t depend on the farmers to take all the heat on this. Consumers need to stand up and say they’re not going to accept this. If enough people stand up, the government can’t put everyone in jail. That’s what we’re going to have to begin to accomplish here.
Bill: You’re suggesting what we would call market-based ways to win this thing.
David: Market-based ways and maybe just plain, old civil disobedience.
Bill: I like what you’re saying.
Bill: One of the problems that we have – and we’re going to over just a hair, Brian, so I want you to know – but we’re sitting around yesterday, Memorial Day, and Brian and I had been gone over the weekend so we both got in. Brian slept in a little bit and I did too. But we had some friends over and my father-in-law said something to me that I thought was really – he hit the nail on the head. He said – I’m making this case that we need to be active like John Adams and Washington and Jefferson. I’m waxing to this effect – he said “you know? I get up in the morning really early and I get done with work really late. Who’s watching out for me?” I thought all those other information-rich intermediaries, lobbyists, they all have people – and I was just in Washington two weeks ago as well – all these folks have people camped out. But we don’t have anybody camped out, us normal people. What’s your guys’ take on that? How do you solve that problem? We don’t have any lobbyists.
David: That’s a good point. We don’t have lobbyists. So what they do is they gravitate – the bureaucrats go to the points of least resistance. They go to what you alluded to earlier – what I would call “easy pickings.” They go and pick on the Amish and they go pick on small farmers, who don’t have paid lobbyists in Washington. I think what we’re going to have to see is some organization here. There’s talk among raw milk producers of organizing a raw milk association. I think there’s going to have to be consumers organizing themselves. The people in Washington have hired John Emord – they have to pay big-time lawyers like him to take their cases because those are the people who are going to get noticed. I hate to – I feel badly saying that because I’m kind of saying “we need to do what the corporations are doing.” It’s really too bad because you like to think that we have a representative government where it’s simply calling your legislators and writing them and letting them know how you feel is enough, but that isn’t enough.
Bill: In this case, I know Representative Paul – Ron Paul – has legislation. They can always call their congressman and suggest that they support that particular initiative. Brian, you got any comments as we close here down?
Brian: I would say, Bill and David, that’s one of the advents of Facebook and of Twitter and some of the social networking sites. You’ve got the guy – what’s his name, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook – announced last week he’s not going to eat meat unless he’s killed the animal himself. So we might not have lobbyists but what we could together is guard against a sense of apathy when we go “you know what? Those are Amish farmers. It’s raw milk. It really doesn’t affect me …” but it takes me back to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” – John Donne’s quote – “don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” I like David’s idea, Bill, of saying we’ve got to get to the point where we say we’re not going to take it anymore. Of course we do it non-violently but we can do it through civil disobedience and protest and the like. That’s going to have to be our law firm, I would think, in the very beginning.
David: We have to assert ourselves because we’re talking about something – what I consider to be a basic human right. To me, for the government to interfere with food that certain people are getting health benefits from – that’s a violation of their basic right as a person, to be able to eat food that they know is especially healthy for them and for their children. I can’t think of anything more important than that.
Brian: I would agree. David, thank you so much. Unfortunately, we’re out of time, but I wanted to go ahead and mentioned again that I just downloaded the Kindle edition of your great book as well. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. David Gumpert has been with us for the full hour. It’s a book you absolutely want to read – “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights.” Bill, anything before we go?
Bill: No. I just suggest read it. I just ordered my copy early this morning as well, Brian.
Brian: Very cool. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so very much for hanging out with us. As always, we learn from what you say to us. As Bill said, we were away this weekend. We want to say a special hello to all the people that joined us in Dallas-Fort Worth and came and said that they were fans of the show. Thank you very much. For those of you that haven’t reached out to us yet, please be sure to email us with your questions, your comments, your critiques, even suggestions for future guests – [email protected] And, of course, speaking of Facebook, you can find us there Facebook.com/offthegridnews. And, as always, follow us on Twitter @offgridnews. On behalf of everyone from Solutions from Science and here at Off the Grid News, you’ve been listening to Mr. David Gumpert, Mr. Bill Heid. I’m Brian Brawdy.