Mary Lou Wesselhoeft doesn’t have to lie about the milk she’s selling. The Florida Department of Agriculture has lost in court. Mary Lou has won.
Ocheesee Creamery sells pasteurized milk without any additives. One of her products is skim milk. Ocheesee sells skim milk without vitamin additives, which is perfectly legal to do. But the Florida government claims that only skim milk with the additives counts as real “skim milk,” the kind you can call skim milk in speech to customers. (Kafka, did you write this horror story? Fess up!)
Give credit to the judge who asked: “Can the state, consistent with the First Amendment, take two words out of the English language and compel its citizens to use those words only as the government says?” The reply of the government’s lawyer? “Yes.”
Mary Lou’s victory is also a victory for all Americans who want to exercise their right to tell the truth about what they’re selling. And it’s a victory for the Institute for Justice, which took up the case on her behalf. At its website, IJ points out how easy it would be to annihilate freedom of speech by letting the government redefine words at will. We’re not free if our freedoms can be arbitrarily defined away by the people in power.
The Institute specializes in defending our rights against senseless government intrusions. Until such laws and regulations are repealed, it seems that the Institute will always have much to do — unfortunately. But, fortunately, it keeps on doing it.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.