The Disdain Factor, Which Decrees That Unhealthy is Healthy; Some Personal News

I’ve been reading the various analyses of the terrible events in Mumbai over the weekend, and realizing that most of the analysts don’t really know what happened or why. But that doesn’t prevent some from venting their hostility on other matters.

An op ed article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by one of the paper’s top editors assesses comments made on CNN by Deepak Chopra, the writer on spirituality. In her initial description, we learn all we need to know about where this editor is heading when she describes him as “… healer, New Age philosopher and digestion guru, advocate of aromatherapy and regular enemas…”

I’m not a huge Deepak Chopra fan. I found a couple of his early books insightful, but kind of lost interest in him the last few years, as he seemed to become increasingly commercial and trendy. Still, the editor has clearly set him up as a straw man for her disdain for those who are different in important areas—not only in how they approach terrorism, but in how they come at health and food.

That disdainful description, got me thinking about Judge John Egan’s decision in the Meadowsweet Dairy case. In particular, how he determined what a “consumer” is by looking it up in various dictionaries, to come up with the scholarly legal conclusion that, well, based on all the definitions, everyone in New York is a consumer, and therefore all New-York-produced food is subject to regulation by the New York Department of Food and Agriculture.

He couldn’t be bothered with the notion that a person who purchases food at a grocery store is different from, say, a food co-op member or farm shareholder who invests and commits to receiving regular food output, or even a person who milks a cow or grows his or her food.

By being unwilling to examine the shades of gray in this case, and by limiting his analysis to dictionary definitions, he was, in effect, saying: “Look, all you had to do was look this stuff up in a dictionary. Even a bunch of twelve-year-olds could have done that.” It would have been difficult to be more disdainful than that.

The message behind such disdain seems to be this: Don’t you people get it? Aromatherapy is snake oil. De-tox is a relic of a bygone era, replaced by allergy medications and fast food.

And you raw milk drinkers are all consumers, no matter how you obtain your milk, and you’re under the control of the state. We’re going to protect you from your childlike craziness, no matter how hard you kick and scream. (And despite the fact that dairy is the least threatening food for illness, per An Observer’s comment and link following my previous post.)

Dave Milano says it well in his comment on my previous post concerning warning signs: “A government-industry alliance has decreed that food coming from unnatural ag practices, which is then deconstituted, reorganized, chemicalized, heated, and otherwise processed, is ‘normal’ and therefore requires no health warnings, while a natural product like raw milk is treated as a virtual poison.”


I’ve wanted to mention a couple of personal items from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions conference in early November. I was honored by the WAPF with an award–its first-ever Integrity in Journalism Award, “for dedication to accurate reporting on raw milk.” I wasn’t able to be present for the actual ceremony because I had to leave for Germany, so I want to say here how truly gratified I am to have been honored in this way.

Second, I announced at the conference to attendees of the panel session I participated in that I am in the process of writing a book about raw milk. I will be trying to make sense of the controversies and battles that have emerged over the last couple of years—not an easy task, as everyone here well knows

This blog, and its participants, will be a big part of the book. I will also be looking for personal testimonials about how raw milk has improved people’s health. I already have a good number of these, which have come from consumers in Michigan, Ohio, and California in connection with legal and legislative battles in those places. Christine Chessen is collecting them for her organization, CREMA, and certainly you can feel free to copy me in anything you do for CREMA. If non-Californians have other examples, I’d welcome them (send to

I’m on a tight schedule—the book is due to be completed this spring, so if my blog postings are a little erratic in their timing…you’ll know why.


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10 Comments on "The Disdain Factor, Which Decrees That Unhealthy is Healthy; Some Personal News"

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Elizabeth McInerney
December 3, 2008 12:55 am

Yea! I have been wondering when you would write a book on raw milk! I can’t wait to read it :-) Go David!

Don Neeper
December 3, 2008 3:39 am

Do you already have a publisher for your book, and hopefully an ‘advance’ to tide you over while writing it? :-)

Don Neeper
December 3, 2008 3:46 am

This is off-topic, vague and sketchy, but apparently the Ohio Department of Agriculture is still hard at work:

"Manna Storehouse, a food co-op in La Grange, providing grass fed beef, lamb, pastured poultry and other Weston A. Price foods was raided yesterday [Monday, Dec. 1st] by SWAT, ODA officials, and local authorities.

The family that runs the co-op tells me they were herded into the living room for 8 hours while the home and business was torn apart. They were not given reason, saying they were under investigation. All of their computers and phones, and customer information were… Read more »

Steve Bemis
December 3, 2008 4:29 am

David, congratulations on the recognition. And here’s a suggestion for another angle to explore in your book:

As we get more and more examples of out-of-proportion enforcement against small farmers, it occurs to me that in addition to ideology, disdain, fear of competition and other helpful analyses offered on this blog, there may be yet another light to shine on the big business/regulatory opposition to raw milk and various other local foods. The motivation I’m thinking of may lie principally with big-ag and its allies (big-chem, big-insurance, big-med and others), although I can feature it being shared… Read more »

Don Neeper
December 3, 2008 6:16 am

This just in:

"Dear Don,

Transparency and engagement are priorities for the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Our success depends on not only opening up a process that has historically been inaccessible to most Americans, but also encouraging citizen participation.

Last week, we took an important step towards these goals by asking the public to participate in a discussion about health care on our website.

The result was fantastic. Started by a question from our Health Policy Team, thousands of comments poured in over a few days. Some people answered the initial question, but others engaged with one another debating… Read more »

Don Wittlinger
December 3, 2008 7:55 pm

According to a Jeffery Smith article it is likely more GMOs coming. Even worse for raw dairy folks he links to a report that the boss behind the raids of peaceful raw dairy farmers in Pa. Monsantos ally to stop rbGH milk labeling in Pa. current Ag. Sec. Dennis Wolff is being considered to be new US Ag. Sec.

The Complete Patient
December 4, 2008 12:11 am

Don, the publisher is Chelsea Green, which publishes extensively on health and food issues, and does pay advances.
Steve, appreciate the suggestions about exploring the bigger causes of the out-of-proportion regulatory and legal actions against small farms. Lots to consider, since so many connections. The media used to avoid irritating the retailers and auto companies because they were such big advertisers; now that treatment is reserved for Big Pharma and food companies. The politicians love these industries as well, for the jobs they create, and the campaign contributions they make. And then there are the cultural biases, per this… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
December 4, 2008 9:59 am

Congrats ! David, on the Integrity in Journalism Award, that speaks volumes about you.

john d
December 5, 2008 7:54 am


Congratulations on being recognized for the integrity of your journalism. There was certainly no mistake there in the selection process. BTW, I look forward to reading your book. I’m sure it will be most insightful. Let me know if there’s any information I can help you with from north of the 49th parallel.

I also wanted to talk a bit about Dan Neeper’s little report on the Manna Storehouse raid. I excerpted part of that comment for a post on the Bovine yesterday and it’s getting an incredible volume of traffic. I think that story has touched a nerve out… Read more »

Blair McMorran
December 5, 2008 2:55 pm

Congratulations and I’m looking forward to your book! Sign me up for 50 copies, more later.
It makes me happy to hear that parts of your wonderful blog, it’s heroes, and its brilliant insightful reader comments will be documented. Never has the like happened.

If you do one thing, put it the consumer’s hands. The consumer can’t let any more blood be shed, any more acres lost – unless we really know what our lazy blind selfish butts are sacrificing. We just won’t survive without real food.