Man vs. State: Milk

farmer cow

A Minnesota farmer arrested for selling milk. Raw milk. Such a horrible crime. But wait, he’s been acquitted. What just happened? Why should we even care?

As it turns out, a lot just happened. And we definitely should care, because this incident is a classic case of the struggle of Man vs. State, a struggle we’ll be seeing much more of in the coming years.

First, State accosts Man. Alvin Schlangen did nothing wrong, dangerous, or harmful to society. He did, however, cross the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, a government agency that exists under the presumption that it will keep the people safe through regulating agriculture. Unfortunately, it all boils down to a power struggle. Selling raw milk was criminalized using nonsense health concerns to conceal the real motivation: control. Government agencies exist to exert control and power over the people. The more control they are authorized to exercise, the more power and funding they get. For this very reason they criminalize innocent acts such as the selling of raw milk, the livelihoods and consumer choices of peaceful citizens be damned.

But then, in an inspirational new development, Man counters Sate. The traditional wisdom that laws are for the protection of society is beginning to crumble, and the people are wising up to the reality that nonsense laws like the raw milk ban are nothing more than jack-booted oppression. And now they’ve figured out a tool to defeat oppressive laws: jury nullification. The jury in charge of convicting Schlangen, knowing full well that he was guilty of the law of which he was accused, chose not to convict him. Not on the basis of the written law, as they were supposed to do, but rather on the basis of the moral law. Put another way, the people are finally realizing that the state isn’t on their side.

And really, when a government throws you in jail for fresh cow’s milk, something’s already gone terribly wrong.

(Photo credit: Dennis Jarvis)

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.