Free Markets, Free People

Cupcake policing

I think George Will is on to something:

In physics, a unified field theory is an attempt to explain with a single hypothesis the behavior of several fields. Its political corollary is the Cupcake Postulate, which explains everything , from Missouri to Iraq, concerning Americans’ comprehensive withdrawal of confidence from government at all levels and all areas of activity.

Washington’s response to the menace of school bake sales illustrates progressivism’s ratchet: The federal government subsidizes school lunches, so it must control the lunches’ contents, which validates regulation of what it calls “competitive foods,” such as vending machine snacks. Hence the need to close the bake sale loophole, through which sugary cupcakes might sneak: Foods sold at fundraising bake sales must, with some exceptions, conform to federal standards.

What has this to do with police, from Ferguson, Mo., to your home town, toting marksman rifles, fighting knives, grenade launchers and other combat gear? Swollen government has a shriveled brain: By printing and borrowing money, government avoids thinking about its proper scope and actual competence. So it smears mine-resistant armored vehicles and other military marvels across 435 congressional districts because it can.

Examples?  Will provides plenty of them.

Here’s the point though:

A cupcake-policing government will find unending excuses for flexing its muscles as it minutely monitors our behavior in order to improve it …

“Improve” should be in scare quotes, because the deeper the medling, the more it “minutely monitors our behavior”, the less it improves it and the more it interferes with it.

But … that’s the state of being now in the US.

Nick Gillespie at Hit and Run agrees with Will but issues this warning:

He’s right that confidence in government is plummeting mostly because of the simultaneously stupid and overreaching actions of politicians, administrators, and bureaucrats at all levels. Recognizing such a reality may be the beginning of (libertarian) wisdom, but as I’ve written before, it also carries a very serious potential risk. Counterintuitively, distrust in government may lead to calls for more government.

And that’s one of the reasons we suffer Leviathan today.  Many of our “problems” in the past have had their roots in government interference or over-reach.  The real problem is we petition government for relief and government’s answer is always more government.

Here’s a clue: when you ask government to fix any problem it will always answer with more government, regulations, laws, whatever – nature of the beast.  Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned to look to government for relief from all our problems. The end-state of that is always more government control and less citizen control.  And here we are.


A major ray of hope—indeed, the beam of sunshine that’s warming up this libertarian moment—is really the ways in which people are creating workarounds that simply bypass government whenever possible. Taxi regulations screw consumers? Create Uber. Public-school educators are unresponsive? Create your own curriculum or even your own school. Can’t sell unpasteurized milk products? Create a buyers club. Major parties won’t listen? Create the Tea Party. And on and on.

As Matt Welch and I discussed at length in The Declaration of Independents, workarounds are a great thing and easier to pull off than ever, but they have serious limitations (witness foreign policy, Ferguson, the drug war, and so much more). It’s well past time that we start insisting on a limited, trustworthy government that is actually competent and restrained at the few things that it should be doing. That will not only reduce the desire for more government, it will free up even more time and resources for the free-range experiments in living that will actually make the world better, more interesting, and more prosperous.

Btw, I disagree this is necessarily a “libertarian moment” (although like the “Tea Party”, I see the liberals loading up the rhetorical guns to shoot down anything that might take flight suggesting it).  However, what Gillespie talks about above is where this sentiment that has grown tremendously over the past 6 years (surprise, huh?) needs to be herded.  Whether that’s possible or not will tell us all how “libertarian” the moment has been.

Until then, enjoy your cupcakes.


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58 Responses to Cupcake policing

  • And remember – the cupcakes just keep getting more and more expensive to pay for.

  • OK you bunch of libertarian “cupcakes”! It’s time to quit shooting fish in a barrel, preaching to the choir, ………. and start supporting EVERY Republican Senate candidate! The only way we can survive Obama’s 2nd term is if we can remove Harry Reid from as the Senate Majority Leader! Regular Americans are sick of bad news. Start spreading POSITAVE news that will make people want to vote Republican! All this divisive bullsh*t doesn’t work! If you gentlemen would try to get the Maine dipstick’s vote (oops), then independent voters (like me) might be moved to try to save our country! The Senate will override Obamas veto’s rather than commit political suicide. You bunch of literati need to use your talents to PERSUADE including you SHARK! Just sayin…..

    • Not only “NO”, but “HELL NO!!!”
      We need actual conservatives in place.
      As I said during the Romney campaign… If we elect someone whose government healthcare plan was in fact the basis for Obamacare, what have we won? Not a thing.

      We elect people who deserve to be elected, else we sit on our hands.

      By the way, have you noticed Will has gotten far more libertarian the last few years? Too bad it took Obama to do it.

      • blockquote cite=”We need actual conservatives in place.” (Boy, I miss those controls for QUOTE, BOLD, etc)

        Well, while you’re waiting for “actual conservative” enjoy the Democrat majority in the Senate and Harry Reid as Majority Leader.

        blockquote cite=”As I said during the Romney campaign… If we elect someone whose government healthcare plan was in fact the basis for Obamacare, what have we won? Not a thing.”

        Yeah, we really WON, didn’t we!

        • enjoy them?
          so, give the RINOS power and they do the same thing the Democrats would, just a shade more slowly. Think beyond team, and start thinking principle.

          • Whoever has the majority sets the committees. Doesn’t matter of they’re RINOs or libertarians.

            Or Democrats.

            And remember that politicians are a reflection of the voters, not the other way around.

    • You lost me at “every Republican Senate candidate” 🙂

    • Let me see if I understand you correctly. YOU are allowed to be ‘independent’, but the rest of us have to suck it up and support Republicans we disagree with so that YOU can brag how it ain’t your fault.

      • I’m quite content to see Pres Hillary rather than empower a bunch of water down copies

      • That’s hot the nomination and election process works and how the majority parties get to handle thing.

        Welcome to reality (both REALITY reality and political reality).

        It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

  • “However, what Gillespie talks about above is where this sentiment that has grown tremendously over the past 6 years (surprise, huh?) needs to be herded. ”
    Straight up question, McQ… Did you mean “herded” or “heeded”. Either is swell, although “herding” seems like a left-handed way of putting “leading” in the context of this post. Some of us are mule-ish, and we don’t drive as well as we lead.

  • Announcement just coming out of the White House:  “In response to the current “Cupcake” controversy, the White House announced today that a special “Sprinkle Czar” will be appointed for the express purpose of ensuring cupcakes are available to any and all who desire them, with particular emphasis on minority and low income constituencies.  Let it not be said that this administration does not do everything in its power to ensure the fair and equitable availability of cupcakes for all.  And we are proud to announce that Professor Scott Erb of the University of Somewhere in Maine has been nominated for the special post of Sprinkle Czar.”

  • It is important to remember that the school lunch program was started by the War Department in response to the poor quality of World War I draftees.
    There was nothing magnanimous about it’s beginnings. It was to aid the government, not the draftees.

  • About the armored vehicles, the appeal is that you have places where if you send in the police and they use force to defend themselves their lives will be made a living hell ever after. Makes them hesitant. An armored vehicle helps give a sense of security without relying on force. Likely cheaper than the ensuing lawsuits. Every place I’ve seen them reported has a place that offers such a scenario.

    • I guess the same argument could be made about SWAT teams being used to serve warrants for arrest on non-violent crimes.

      • I’d be in favor of trying a system of grading a prospective warrant service situation for possible danger. College dorm…send plainclothes or uniforms when you know the kid will be in bed…like on a Friday when they have a morning class. No threat.
        East LA when you know a coven of pit-bulls is home, the guy is out of Chino nine months, and the non-violent crime is ID theft…one thousand counts… Send in SWAT.

      • In about one-forth of service of warrants on non-violent offenders, they turn violent.

        Like…drawing guns, etc.

        For example: a while back you reported about the case in Phoenix where Sheriff Joe Arapio used an armored vehicle to arrest the fellow for “Dog Fighting”, not realizing that the Arizona Repugnant…I mean Republic, CONVENIENTLY left out that the fellow has a large cache of guns AND had declared he would not be taken alive.

        Imagine that!!

      • The issue is that SWAT teams have made numerous mistakes. These add up until we take notice. No mistakes, no complaints, no news.

        If they were held accountable through firings or lawsuits, they would probably institute best practices and procedures that would severely tamp down on dog shootings and no-knock raids on the wrong address, but since they are government employees and unionized, they don’t have to worry so much, so the cycle of mistakes continue.

      • I missed the spot where the armored vehicle drove into a house to serve a warrant.

        Being inside armor is not the same a paramilitary force trained to take control of a situation with any means necessary including drawn semi autos or auto. Not even freaking close.

    • That’s great as long as they don’t have to get out of those armored vehicles to do any actual police work. I guess they can just use water cannon or machine guns from inside the vehicles.

      • If they are driving into a situation where the armor actually helps, are they more likely to feel they have to resort to firearms from trying to pull up in crown vic or the armored vehicle?

  • I agree with grading –

    But in this example you gave – Why SWAT? Because of the Pit-Bulls? Because he was in Chino at one point?
    If they didn’t have military gear, what would then be their alternative? Maybe watching the guy and picking him up when he goes to WaffleHouse?

    I think we’re using having the gear as a reason to use the gear instead of exploring alternatives that we’d be forced to explore otherwise.

    • How long do you wait until he gets hungry?

      • heh – most of us get hungry every 5 to six hours or so, right? But he may have a stash of taquitos in the freezer.
        How long is it worth to wait so we don’t lose a cop in the process because we didn’t get our tank from Uncle Sam?
        How long is it worth it to wait so we don’t shoot someone that doesn’t deserve it and have to fill out the paper work and have a Ferguson style riot?
        A lot of these cases – how long did we wait from when we suspected till we broke down the door at 2 AM? Was today special that we HAD to go today when we’ve already waited 2 weeks?
        One thing that still sticks in my mind about Koresh and Waco was the comment by the local constabulary they think they could have served him the warrant when he came in to town shopping instead of the show of force.

        • …or he has his chika do the waffle runs. Or he calls for Mr. Domino’s.
          Have you heard that the armored vehicles in Ferguson took bullet hits?
          You know how many live rounds were fired by LEOs in Ferguson during the rioting and looting. O. Zip. Nada. ничто.

          • No, I hadn’t heard the vehicles took hits.
            Pardon my skepticism, not impossible, but skeptical.
            We’ve heard all kinds of stories from Ferguson. And again the question has to be asked, did having tanks inspire an idiot to take a shot at it that they otherwise wouldn’t have taken?
            My next question is a more serious one – I don’t recall a lot of armor at the Trayvon protests – was it there? I’m not being a smart ass I honestly can’t recall, largely because I didn’t watch.
            was there the same armored presence?

          • You DID NOT call a Brinks truck with a light bar a “TANK”. Not you.
            Good flucking grief…

          • “Have you heard that the armored vehicles in Ferguson took bullet hits?”

            That’s the only thing that took hits? All those police and their unarmored vehicles around and only the armored vehicles(plural?) took hits?

            Color me very, very skeptical.

          • I bet the brits would have thought a Brinks truck with a couple of maxims in sponsons or a turret would qualify as a more than respectable armoured car.
            Having had my ‘fun’ however, I point out I am not bound by any particular prohibition to be 100% accurate about what did or did not appear in Fergueson. No, NO tanks appeared. I however would not want to be tasked with taking out the mere Brinks truck with tools I have on hand. It was an expression. I’m grateful they are not farming out tanks, and aside from parking crippled tanks in front of the VFW post I doubt uncle is or will be handing tanks out to anyone.

            Merely more of my hyperbole consulor :). My apologies.

          • the vehicle in question was a BEARCAT – and CAT stands for “C”ounter “A”ttack “T”ruck. With a light bar.
            whatever ya calls em, I doesn’t much like em on my streets under control of the police.

        • How long is it worth it to wait so we don’t shoot someone that doesn’t deserve it and have to fill out the paper work and have a Ferguson style riot?

          That has nothing to do with equipment; it has everything to do with policies and procedures.

          And what are you inferring about Ferguson?

          • Again, yes and no – The way I see it, if you don’t have the weapons in hand to rush you won’t rush. So if the police don’t have SAWs and grenades and APC’s they don’t have the option of launching a military class raid. That means they’ll be forced to use methods other than room clearing, flash, bang, ‘Police police! everybody down!’
            I’m not trying to infer anything about Ferguson specifically, unless we’re talking about the weapons parade after whatever happened happened. Looking at what I wrote, I can see why you ask. The intended idea there is – raid on wrong house, at zero-dark-thirty, dead ‘innocent’ person, community reacts as they are in Ferguson. The only tie in to Ferguson there is the subsequent unrest in the community, otherwise I’m not saying it’s at all the same, at all.
            What I am trying to say is I think there is a tendency to use the gear BECAUSE they have it, not necessarily because it is their only option to preserve general safety both for suspects and the police. If they don’t have the gear to raid, they have to do their jobs in some other less military appearing way.

    • Looker, if you take the suspected thug down, you still are faced with going in to collect evidence at his residence. If he ain’t back with the waffles in 10, his vatos know what to do, right, esse…???

    • “If they didn’t have military gear…”
      What “military gear”? They use about the same gear cops all over the Western world use.

      • Right, the MRAP’s were designed to be used by police forces?
        the rest can be taken without any intended snarky sarcasm though. Consider it stream of consciousness (as much as I’m ever conscious….)
        The automatic weapons issue we know – long time in use. I’m not happy about it, but it’s certainly long ago over being a ‘new’ trend.
        “Dressing up as soldiers”, well, I guess the body armor and helmets would look silly over police uniforms or 2 piece suits. And…armor is armor, why should it look different for police forces than military forces other than not being digital camo or forest camo. That would be neither economical or really very sane, and a lot of the armor I’ve seen has POLICE or SWAT written on it in large friendly letters.
        Close combat house clearing tactics? No again, why should the police develop methods for dealing with armed and dangerous individuals that drastically vary from the military ones when the military ones keep our troops alive…except for shooting anything in a room that moves of course. Winkling a couple of shotgun armed thugs out of a room shouldn’t be a roll your own method if you know ones that mean they don’t get you and you do get them.
        So from what I can see, we’re down to using ‘tanks’ and when the tactics and ‘complaints’ I’ve described above should or should not be employed.
        I think the principle here is the increased frequency of use, and going back to a previous discussion, the poor recon that leads to innocent or non-violent civilian criminal offenders getting their tickets punched at the pearly gates. How many of these possibly violent people are really going to square off against the police in a gun battle they KNOW they can’t win just by virtue of ‘city of’ versus Pedro, Juan and Esteban armed with pistols they hold sideways to shoot?
        Are we buying into the liberal hype that the country is chock full of automatic weapons and the thugs are just exercising restraint until the police show up, at which point the thugs will have the .50’s hit the cops and pin them down while 3 automatic rifle squads leapfrog over them like the movies?
        As far as the vatos, LEOs didn’t go to the house dressed like they were hitting Aachen because they were worried about the evidence shooting at them. They were dressed to deal with Esse and the Vatos. I only want them busting down doors armed like the 3rd Army when they’re expecting they will have to USE the armaments.
        The evidence issue translates to me (I don’t want to say you SAID it) as they can justify the gear and tactics because they want to blitz the place to gather evidence, and in order to overrun it, they have to go in fast and hard and maybe kill some folks while defending themselves – doesn’t that sound a little backsideways? The evidence is used to convict the people we may have to blow into the next county….well, after we’ve gathered it we’ll know if the force we employed was justified? Not every warrant is served against the warehouse full of ruthless Colombian dudes with machine guns. Am I being obtuse or isn’t that kind of the implication here?

        • Well…
          The only part of that I feel I need to deal with is “evidence”. You have a different quantum (HEH!) of evidence needed to CONVICT on a criminal charge than the one you need for a search warrant.
          Yes. You DO. And the vatos don’t want you to have that. Do they?
          And I’ll go back to the use of flash-bangs. They are INTENDED to reduce casualties. To suppress resistance and a gun fight. They SEEM to do that very well, and with a remarkable cost/benefit ratio. That is, of course, debatable, but let’s use facts instead of emotion.

          • I know that suspicion of and actual evidence of, are waaaaayyyyy different – but again, massive force to gather evidence is still a bit backwards for me. I guess because I’m thinking when I issue an arrest warrant I already have enough evidence to issue the warrant. If they find MORE evidence after the arrest, wooo hoooo! I don’t like the idea “we think we might be able to arrest him and make it stick if we can just break down his door and look around his house at 2:00 AM your honor”.
            I avoided the grenade thing – so here I will say a LOUD flashy bangy thing that usually only stuns is better than a fragmentation thingie that is meant to fill one full of holes. Again, I’m sticking with the presumption that it’s an improvement over older methods that have been used in the past.
            NO method of disabling people is 100% safe all the time. It’s a bitchy reality thing.

          • Yes, I talked myself out of the idea the gear is strictly military or new in use (except for the plethora of armor and I don’t mean body armor)
            addressing the evidence –
            Really though – yes, because it seems like we’re using the SWAT tactics more to ensure preservation and acquisition of evidence or am I seeing this wrong?
            So that’s a good place to discuss.

          • Well, one way to look at this evidence thing is this…
            To obtain a legal, valid search warrant you need probable cause you articulate to a court, which includes evidence, that a crime has been or is in process of being committed.
            To convict someone, you need enough evidence to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a crime was committed or was in process of being committed.
            Ergo, if you, Mr. LEO, DO NOT enter the property with the intent that you will AND BETTER find the evidence you expect, you are really only harassing someone. Put another way, if I obtain a search warrant on valid probable cause, I MUST expect to find evidence to support a conviction. Not I MUST find it. I MUST expect to find it.

    • “Maybe watching the guy and picking him up when he goes to WaffleHouse?”

      But that is just boring old police work! They want action and toys and excitement, not reruns of old cop shows where they actually do stakeouts and such.

      • …or it has to do with really boring stuff like manpower availability, budgets…stuff like that.
        Maybe some combination is not outside the realm of possibility…

        • I don’t know, seems like not shooting stuff up and getting sued would be cheaper in the long run maybe.

        • If you have the manpower & resources to employ a swat team you have the manpower & resources to do it the right way. And who knows, actually observing the location/person might even uncover more useful information than some statement from a confidential informant of dubious credibility.

          • I hate to say it, but ‘watch and learn’ is actually a good idea in police work.

          • Really? Got some numbers to go with those ASSumptions?
            My inclination is to think PDs operate rationally. You know, like you would. But I don’t impute motives to others that I find alien in myself.

          • What are we got make of the abuses/mistakes then? Fictional accounts?

            I don’t think they’re evil, so when they really screw the pooch, and they have, are they just reckless? Something where people are auto armed and busting down doors, the Correct to screwup ratio needs to be 99.999 to .001.
            I realize we normally are ONLY hearing about the colossal screw ups. I have no clue how many ‘normal’ SWAT raids take place.

  • And I meant to ask in general – Did you see the cupcake policy for TSA now is to let illegal aliens fly if they present their little ‘promise to appear’ papers for court?
    Do I want to know why illegals aliens are flying around the country unescorted by some official? As if they were on some friggin holiday?
    We don’t want to make it hard on the dears now do we! Perhaps we should institute a national lottery by adult social security number to ‘voluntarily’ host them for Sunday brunch too.

  • How libertarian can we be if we elected Baracky 2x?

    The free sh-t coalition that controls 1/2 the country sure isn’t libertarian and neither are the illegals they’re going to amnesty