I own a small farm, a berry patch, to be exact, and for the particular type of berry that I grow it is much more profitable to market them as organic. I grow everything organically out of choice. However, to market anything as organic the operation must be certified by the government.
So, of course I must spend hours filling out and filling out and filling out forms. Of course there are fees, filing fees, inspection fees and certification fees. Then there is the time spent with the inspector at the kitchen table talking, not long, only a few hours out of a busy day. If you add up the fees and add in a reasonable estimate of the time, I ended up spending more to become certified than I made selling my “Organic” berries.
I put the word organic in quotation marks not because they aren’t organic. I do it because there is no way the inspector could actually know whether they are or not. He didn’t test the soil. He didn’t test the plants. He didn’t test the berries. He went exclusively by what I told him, what I documented in my field logs, and in the forms I filed.
We actually do grow everything organically, and as I said we do that because of our own desire to grow, eat, and market chemical free food, not because the government tells us we have to do so. However, the process the government follows not only encourages fraud, it makes it possible. Does it seem credible that every farmer everywhere at all times is honest? Does it seem credible that somewhere there may be a farmer who farms using every chemical available and then just lies about it? In the end “Organic” means all the proper forms have been filed, all the fees paid, and the farmer told the inspector what he needed to hear.
Here we have one more victory for government regulations that cost the farmer (read consumer) time and money.
When regulation becomes strangulation economies stumble over the government instituted by the social contract between those governed and those governing. When regulations carry the force of law, when they read like telephone books written in insurance language held upside down, when they multiply like mosquitoes in a swamp, people begin to regard them and the governance they represent as a hindrance instead of a help. Have we reached the point where everyone is guilty and the government merely needs to decide when to pick us up?
In the Declaration of Independence the Founders first told us what beliefs their actions were based upon, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”