Eat Mr. Ed and be free…

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Kerry Howley's bold stance in favor of eating horses yesterday reminds me of what I still think is the central text of libertarianism.

No, it's nothing by Ayn Rand or Karl Popper or F.A. Hayek. (For me the greatest freedom of all is the freedom to eschew 400,000-page books.) It's Ted Brown's gone-but-not-forgotten argument against California's 1998 ballot initiative Proposition 6, an anti-horsemeat bill that was supported by the Horse Whisperer himself (second item down the page). While dutifully trudging through my voter info booklet, I came across something I hadn't seen before: an argument that spoke about a ridiculous initiative in the ridiculous language it deserved. Thanks to the good citizens at smartvoter.org, Brown's equinophobic cri de coeur has been preserved for the ages:

If horsemeat is outlawed, only outlaws will eat horsemeat! People have the right to eat horsemeat if they choose. Horses would still be killed for dog food. Violators would be felons, taking up scarce prison space. Just say neigh to nutty, unconstitutional proposals by wealthy socialites with nothing better to do.

It wasn't just that I agreed precisely with the argument (though I did), but that seeing Brown identified as the "libertarian" made me think there might be something agreeable in this philosophy—until then I had figured "libertarianism" sounded too much like "liberalism" and must be something I wouldn't like. And of course, Brown's 51-word manifesto was a great libertarian text in the truest sense of all: It was a total failure; Prop 6 passed with flying colors.

So here's to you, Ted! We'll never share a leg-of-Barbaro roast in this open-air prison we call the Golden State. But someday I'll eat a kangaroo steak or chocolate-covered praying mantis in your honor!

NEXT: Shoring Up Gitmo's Precious "Actual Terrorist" Reserves

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  1. I own and ride a horse, who is a dear pet to me.

    There are days, however, when I would cheerfully make him ponyburger.

    As an omnivorous species, we eat just about every sort of plant or animal or the products therefrom.

    Getting weepy about horses does not make sense.

  2. I sometimes wonder if the LP wouldn’t do better simply lampooning political nonsense as Ted Brown did? And much like H&R does regularly. Sometimes candidates take things too seriously – it’s time to stick a harpoon into puffed up statists, safety nazis, busy bodies, levelers,
    and the like.

  3. Creech,
    For the time being we are stuck with a “democracy,” so we are stuck with the mentality of the hoi polloi as our Overlord. Therefore, even if you throw a harpoon, it’s doubtful hoi polloi would get the point.

    But, regarding what’s for dinner:
    The book about the Lewis and Clark expedition by Stephen Ambrose details their culinary preferences.
    Eating horse would have been high on the hog after polishing off all their candles.
    Here’s an irony: Lewis brought his dog on the expedition. Clark brought his slave.
    Lewis was the one who developed a taste for dog meat, so much so, that even bitterroot-eating native Amurikuns mocked him, almost causing violence. (A young native Amurikun threw a puppy upside Lewis as an insult.)

  4. Good evening, sir, welcome to La Maison de Cheval. I will be your waiter. Allow me to tell you what the specials will be this evening.

    We have a very fine Shank of Secretariat in gravy.

    I would highly recommend the Seabiscuit with white wine and, of course, biscuits.

    There is a very succulent Belmont Burger. In its former life, that burger didn’t run very fast, but it will make up for it now by speeding right down to your stomach in a flood of deliciousness.

  5. Will they outlaw glue next?

  6. Under its respectable former management, The Harvard Faculty Club had a menu featuring the Grand Prix of Surf and Turf : horse _and_ whale steaks.

  7. But, regarding what’s for dinner:
    The book about the Lewis and Clark expedition by Stephen Ambrose details their culinary preferences.
    Eating horse would have been high on the hog after polishing off all their candles.
    Here’s an irony: Lewis brought his dog on the expedition. Clark brought his slave.
    Lewis was the one who developed a taste for dog meat, so much so, that even bitterroot-eating native Amurikuns mocked him, almost causing violence.
    (A young native Amurikun threw a puppy upside Lewis as an insult.)

    Comment by: Ruthless at September 6, 2006 08:24 PM

    I hate to think what Clark developed a taste for.

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