|Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt's peaceful non-compliance|
exposes the violence inherent in government regulations.
Photo from the Bovine.
The ruling went on to state that, “lifestyle choices as to food or substances to be consumed do not attract Charter protection.” That’s right. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a document that purports to protect the most fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians, doesn’t cover a person’s freedom to choose what to eat.
Ontario’s milk law, as it is written, banning milk sales outside of the monopolized Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) quota system, is covered by a thin veil of false legitimacy which seeks to mask threats against independent dairy producers with incentives for those who will voluntarily participate in their monopoly, and to disguise a system of coercive force as voluntary and contractual.
Michael Schmidt’s case is an outstanding example of how peaceful non-compliance can help lift the veil of false legitimacy and shine light on the truly nefarious nature of government regulation. Since the early 1990s, Michael Schmidt has steadfastly refused to bow to threats of force made against him by the state, with regards to his dairy operation.
Schmidt’s peaceful non-compliance begins with his decision not to apply for a quota from the DFO. Here is where the force of the government first peeks out from beneath the thin veil. With his refusal to attain quota status; instead opting to operate independently, the government begins to claim that he is liable for thousands of dollars in fines. Of course, Schmidt never voluntarily signed a contract with the DFO or any other person or organization, which could have created such liability.
The real impact of Michael Schmidt’s non-compliance comes with his refusal to pay the government-imposed fines for violation of regulations to which he never agreed, pertaining to the private property of himself and his associates. It seems that Michael Schmidt understands that a payment of a fine resulting from non-compliance with a given government regulation would stand as a practical admission of guilt, and would grant legitimacy to a coercive regulatory system.
As his appeals are denied, and fines increased, it will be Schmidt’s continuing refusal to submit that will see him ultimately victorious in this David vs. Goliath tale. Michael Schmidt, the peaceful Ontario dairy farmer is a modern-day Hank Rearden of agriculture, refusing to grant moral sanction to those aggressing against him.
“If you fine me, you will have to seize my property to collect the fine—I will not volunteer to pay it. If you believe that you have the right to force me—use your guns openly. I will not help you to disguise the nature of your action.”
-Hank Rearden, Atlas Shrugged
If Schmidt’s battle at the Supreme Court proves legally unsuccessful, and he continues to refuse to pay the fines, he will have succeeded.
With government imposed fines left unpaid, he could be dragged to a jail cell in handcuffs, as he has stated he is prepared to do, exposing the ultimately violent nature of the legislation in question. Conversely, the government might opt to protect its image and avoid the raw violence of kidnapping a peaceful man, dropping the fines against Schmidt, and proving unenforceable, laws that seek to inhibit voluntary interactions among free people. This would hopefully lead to a groundswell of peaceful non-compliance in food freedom and other areas of regulated life.