"We have deregulated every single aspect of corporate behavior, so that killing people is perfectly legal"


Here's a quote from Michelle Simon, the head of a group called Eat Drink Politics, the author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, and the person who takes credit for the ban on Four Loko, Joose, and similar beverages:

"Thanks to the right wing, we have deregulated every single aspect of corporate behavior, so that killing people is perfectly legal," says Simon. "This idea of the corporate nanny state is complete bullshit and a very privileged way of thinking about philosophical ideas. People are suffering from the overreach of corporations and living in situations where they can't make the same choices as everyone else. To me, it's complete bullshit distraction to say, 'Oh my God, the government is going too far.' Let's worry about that when we get the government to do anything to protect the people."

That quote is in a Washington CityPaper story about Reason columnist Baylen Linnekin, who is the founder of the nonprofit Keep Food Legal (I'm on the board, fyi). So what's up with that?

"If you want to buy a Happy Meal with a horsemeat burger, a can of Four Loko, trans fat fried foie gras, and a side of shark fin soup, I applaud your right to make those choices," says Baylen Linnekin as we sit on his porch in North Bethesda.

The 39-year-old executive director of the nonprofit Keep Food Legal has a decidedly libertarian perspective on food politics. "We want you to have the right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, cook, eat, and drink the food of your own choosing," he says. "We're opposed to subsidies that skew those choices and bans that clear those choices off the board. People are not stupid. They can make their own choices and live with the consequences."

Read the whole story about Linnekin, whose quest for "culinary freedom" is an essential (and tasty) part of an appetite for freedom.

Question: Based on the quotes above, who would you rather have a conversation with? Or a covered-dish potluck?

Contra Simon: As readers of, cough, cough, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, know, deregulation of business is and was hardly a right-wing phenomena. Such Rothbardians, Randians, and Raimondoiacs as Ralph Nader, Ted Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter were the pushers of such dangerous developments such as freeing airlines to compete for business. And the Lactose Tolerance crowd working toward the ability to buy and sell raw milk without raiding Amish farmers aren't exactly Birchers.

But never mind, I don't think Simon is particularly interested in details and nuance. This is no time for semi-informed discussion. After all, teh corporations have finally realized their ultimate legislative business plan: "killing people is perfectly legal."

I think we've all watched enough Quinn-Martin productions to know that the ultimate dream of all businessmen is to kill their customers and competitors. It's the only way that you can make a buck, after all. God, I wish my parents, living in Brooklyn in the 1940s, had bought stock in Murder, Inc. It must be worth hundreds of dollars by now.

Here's Linnekin talking with Kennedy about Four Loko tacos: