There was a time when the American people fell all over themselves to insert the Government into every part of their lives. That time, the era when Americans grew the span and reach of Government, hasn’t ended. It’ll end someday. Math never loses. I’m hoping it’s peaceful and gradual but there’s no way of knowing that. The only real truth is that math never loses.
The reasons for expanded Government change. Here are a few; “for the environment”, “for the children”, “global warming”, “war on drugs”, “terrorism”. There are others. Pick your poison. Usually there’s one reason. I’m not saying the stated reason has anything to do with the actual reason, only that supporters tend to pick one reason and go with it. Sometimes they can’t pull it off with one reason so they toss out another. I call that a “two fer”
Multiple justifications for doing something you want to do are just plain amusing. It reminds me of a kid explaining why a cookie is a good idea for breakfast.
My favorite “two fer” is the craptacular 55 MPH speed limit, which terrorized my childhood almost as much as Tab and the AMC Gremlin. Maybe it was even a three-fer. They certainly threw things at the wall trying to find something that would stick. First it was “foreign dependency on oil”, then it was “55 saves lives”, finally it was “for the environment”. In the end they gave up… after they’d demonstrated the use of Federal highway monies to expand Federal control. Slick!
Today I present an event that started out as a two-fer. An expansion of power which is both “for the environment” and “war on terrorism” right from the start. It’s about vegetable seeds. (And you thought gardening was boring.)
Here’s the Cliff Notes version:
A library in Pennsylvania started a seed library. You “check out seeds”, grow them (they’re obviously better gardeners than me), and at the end of the season you “return” new seeds. Try as I might, I can’t quite find a way to think that’s evil, stupid, or Satanic. Actually it seems pretty logical. Possibly a bit boring. Probably cheap too.
Did you notice the one thing I didn’t mention? The government. As far as I can tell it’s a shoestring budget deal and implemented by people who really care about tomato seeds. That’s a problem. No money means no government. Can’t have that.
“the library system received a letter from the state Department of Agriculture telling them they were in violation of the Seed Act of 2004.”
Better shut down the rebellious carrot growing hoodlums before they… before they what? Mulch?
“the agriculture department handled the investigation — sending a high-ranking official and lawyers”
Billable hours to defend against rogue turnips!
“there is also a concern about seeds that may be mislabeled (purposefully or accidentally), the growth of invasive plant species, cross-pollination and poisonous plants.”
Reason number one; “it’s for the environment”.
“commissioner Barbara Cross noted that such seed libraries on a large scale could very well pose a danger”
It’s a good one… wait for it…
“Agri-terrorism is a very, very real scenario”
Yes! Reason number two is “terrorism”. Oh man that’s awesome. I mean I’ve been fed all sorts of lines but the idea of Hamas setting down their RPG’s and coming to Pennsylvania to muck up a row of lettuce in some person’s garden is star spangled poofery.
So there you have it. You can gather seeds from your garden. You can replant them, carry them around, give them to friends, sprinkle them on your cereal, snort them, or plant them in some other state under an assumed name while wearing pantyhose at midnight. But you can never ever loan seeds in a library… if you do that, the terrorists have won and also nature will die.
One last note. As far as I can tell this is the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture? It sounds like Pennsylvania is bravely thwarting terrorist cells and defending Gaia while neighboring Ohio and New Jersey (the garden state!) are probably nothing but a smoking crater filled with corpses clutching mutant tomatoes. I think (though haven’t verified) that they’re invoking a Federal law. This means… wait for it… we need Federal oversight in that and all other 49 states. You’re not soft on terrorism are you? Bwa ha ha ha ha….
Got it? Good. There will be a test.
P.S. In the interest of understanding I’ll admit there really are risks associated with seeds. In the interest of fairness I’ll also admit that my corn field croaked. Even so the problem is an absence of scale. All things have risk. Ebola is wandering around Africa, teenagers can vote, and old people drive RVs. A seed library is not low hanging fruit of the risks one encounters in a free world. If you see gardeners sharing seeds and think terrorist; you need to spend some time in Afghanistan. Also, when the zombie apocalypse comes I want the seed bank people on my side!