Friday, May 25, 2012

Lese Majesty

A farmer decides, in the wake of the Mad Cow outbreak to conduct tests above and beyond those required by the government in order to advertise that his beef is safer than the national standard. The USDA doesn’t allow him to do so, he cannot conduct his own tests with his own money.

Many consumers are worried, maybe rightly and maybe wrongly, about Genetically Modified Organisms in their food. Seeing that there is a demand, some food producers decided to label their food as "GMO free." The FDA would not allow it, not because the advertisement was false, but because the FDA has decided that GMO foods are safe and this label would cause some to think otherwise.

When the banks were bailed out, it is rumored that some of the banks didn’t need a bailout. They were told that they had to accept a bailout anyway lest the public come to the conclusion that said banks were safer. The government had determined that the bailout would make the unsafe banks as safe as the banks that did not need a bailout. A bank not receiving a bailout would be an indication it was more safe in spite of the government saying all the banks were now safe. Of course this is more of a rumor than a substantiated story.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, private efforts to assist people in New Orleans attempted to operate along side the government efforts. The private rescuers were turned aside prolonging the suffering of some in New Orleans.

When the TSA first launched the BXR and MMW body scanners, it was pointed out repeatedly that these scanners cannot scan inside a body cavity. A news story from Saudi Arabia was presented pointing out that a terrorist there had hidden a bomb in his rectum. Eventually the TSA announced that their searches would be intensified because of the possibility of surgically implanted device. Those who most vociferously criticize the TSA realized this was their response to realizing the presented threat was valid but not being able to acknowledge an idea coming from outside their own organization.

What these all have in common is an effort by the government to forbid doubt of the competence and effectiveness of the government and its actions. It is Lese Majesty in its modern form, where it is wrong to insult the image of the king. This isn’t Sedition, which also should not be considered wrong, but merely the crime of causing people to doubt the goodness of the government. It has died out in most monarchies. In the United States it has returned and is regulated out of existence rather than banned because that would be too obvious.

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