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Government was never intended to save people from their own decisions. The duty of government is to protect citizens from criminals, foreign invaders and those who would intentionally harm “we the people.”
It is not the duty of government to protect people from themselves. When individuals give government the power to solve personal problems, they also yield their freedom and dignity. We as a society need to return to a proper balance between personal responsibility and the legitimate role of government. Individuals are ultimately responsible for governing themselves and for the consequences of their decisions. Abraham Lincoln once stated that, “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves;” while Ronald Reagan said that “government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”
Amos Miller is a farmer. Amos has been farming for more than 30 years, and his farm has been in his family for more than 100 years. Amos happens to live in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t really matter, as Amos is no different than any other farmer, of which we have plenty here in our little corner of Alabama in Coosa County.
What matters here is what our federal government is presently doing to Mr. Miller, as they are setting a precedent for what we may see here in central Alabama, as yet another alphabet agency that according to our United States Constitution shouldn’t even exist, grants itself the authority to over reach into your personal life. Despite zero complaints for almost a decade now, Amos Miller has been fined $250,000 and is being threatened with jail.
Our United States is a federal republic. A republic is defined where the supreme power is vested upon the citizenry that is entitled to vote for its representatives and officers responsible to them. A republic is defined not by how power is projected, but by the limits to power.
In a republic the constitution limits how the government can exercise its powers. Our U.S. Constitution includes a list of enumerated powers, and nowhere in that list does the United States government have the authority to create bureaucracies to infringe upon the solitude of peaceful citizens in order to protect them from themselves.
While technically “legal” as the numerous agencies created by our government were done so in the form of a congressional bill, they are none the less still unconstitutional, as congress was not given that authority by the writers of our constitution, and our congress has not amended our constitution in order to exercise that level of authority, most likely because an amendment to the constitution would have to be ratified, ultimately by the individual voting citizenry, something that would likely fail should it ever be attempted.
Nowhere in our constitution is the Department of Agriculture listed as an approved agency of our federal government, and that goes for the ATF, CIA, DEA, DHS, DOJ, FBI, FEMA, ICE, NSA, TSA, and several other agencies, as well.
Amos Miller’s Organic Farm is located in a place called Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania (yes, that is really the name of his hometown.).
Miller happens to be Amish, and he prefers to do things the old-fashioned way. He does not use electricity, fertilizer, or gasoline. The Amish people simply wish to “live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18) and “to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (I Thessalonians 4:11).
Miller’s Organic Farm is the primary producer for a private club that Amos Miller created. Members can skip all of the middlemen, and their markups in prices, and buy produce directly from his farm, things like 100% raw grass-fed and finished cow’s milk and dairy products, pastured meats and eggs, and other real farm foods.
Miller’s offers to their members food that is chemical free, GMO free, soy free, antibiotic free, and hormone free. However, because it is a private club, their products are only available to their members who pay a one-time, non-recurring $35 membership fee.
The reputation of Miller’s Farm has grown over the years, and their private buyers club currently boasts approximately 4,000 members.
“They use it as a medicine,” Miller said in a 2021 interview. “It’s very healing to the body.”
According to one of his customers, “They’re good people. …Their place is very clean, and their produce is excellent.”
In recent years, however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has alleged that Miller’s Organic Farm was failing to comply with federal farming regulations. Going back to 2014, two listeriosis illnesses occurred that were traced back to raw milk sold by Miller’s Organic Farm.
The infected people purchased Miller’s products knowing that the food was not USDA inspected, and they chose to consume his products anyway. “Their body, their choice.” Both had to be hospitalized, and one unfortunately would die from the illness.
The USDA has since been trying to bring the farm into compliance with federal regulations, but it’s been a long hard series of court battles, in part because Miller has been, by his own admission, less than fully cooperative with the government.
In March of this year, a federal judge ordered the Miller farm to cease and desist all meat sales and authorized armed U.S. marshals to use “reasonable force” to gain access to Miller’s farm so that a court expert could inspect it. The expert – accompanied by the armed marshals – took an inventory of all Miller’s meat, and federal inspectors are now returning every few months to make sure Miller hasn’t sold any of it.
Amos Miller is Amish. Most of Amos Miller’s customers are from his Amish community. The Amish are some of the most community-oriented people out there. They know their neighbors almost as well as their family, and they are always ready to lend a hand when someone in the community is in need.
While the Amish do have strict social customs, the key is that they only enforce those customs among themselves, on their own property. The Amish never seek to impose those values on others by force. They “mind their own business,” and if someone doesn’t want to participate, they are simply ostracized and left alone.
Herein lies the lesson we can learn from the Amish: you don’t have to mind other people’s business. In fact, minding other people’s business when they don’t want you to is actually tyrannical.
Forcing your neighbors to live a certain way or make certain choices is about the most un-American thing you can do. And yet, that’s exactly what the government does when it passes laws which are ultimately enforced with intimidation and threats of violence by any of its unconstitutional alphabet agencies.
It’s great that we want to look out for our neighbors, and we should absolutely warn people about risks they might be exposing themselves to, but this doesn’t give government the right to dictate the appropriate level of risk that citizens may assume.
The key to building a healthy civilized society is to allow people to make their own choices, even if we may disagree with their decisions. The Amish may be decades behind us when it comes to technology, but they are decades ahead of us in living out that principle.
The issue here for us as citizens is not about food safety. The issue at hand is the liberty for people to make up their own minds, exercise control over their own bodies, and spend their money where and when and to whom they want. For without freedom, how do we ensure liberty?