Monday, November 22, 2010

Update on "Outlawing gardens"

My Nov. 18 piece "U.S. Senate bill seeks restriction on personal gardens" has done unbelievable things to my hit count. However, my standards are higher than that. While I do not always research thoroughly (and sometimes not enough), I do try to check the accuracy of what I write -- at least to confirm that there is a bill currently in the Congress that is cited by my source.

However, it appears that my piece might have inspired a reaction greater than what the facts justify. A writer to the Hoptown Hall Forum cited, which I generally consider to be a reliable source. Snopes finds that claims that S.510 would outlaw gardening and saving seeds to be "mostly false."

So I read the official summary of S.510. Farms and restaurants are specifically exempted from the inspection provisions of the bill, so Snopes is correct in saying that the bill will not outlaw gardening or saving seeds. It does not appear to mandate the use of chemicals.

However, there is no question that the bill would erect a vast bureaucracy to regulate food, which given the Executive's penchant for creating its own law; would likely have led to absurdities like the ones we have been concerned about.

But Snopes (properly) ignores the most essential point. No matter how broad or limited the powers S.510 would grant to the new Food Administration, it is still an unconstitutional intrusion on the rights of states to regulate what is mostly intrastate commerce.

The bill has not been acted upon since December 2009, and I suggest that the lame-duck session of Congress has bigger fish to fry in its last few days. But pressing for its defeat is still very much in order for any liberty-loving activist.

Go ahead and plan your 2011 garden. You're going to need it.

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