On Soviet Sausages and American Apple Pies

In the former Soviet Union there was one commodity, along with vodka, that was ubiquitous—that  commodity was cheap, low-quality, very fatty sausage. Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables were rarely found in the state run stores; but at the end of a queue, sausages were usually available for purchase. Now mind you, even by sausage standards these were extraordinarily low quality and, in truth, not fit for human consumption. But the Soviet citizen—their bellies full and their minds distracted by alcohol—had little understanding that they did not have to live a life of such degradation.

A little history of socialism can make you appreciate the cornucopia of food that is available in the United States. Perhaps some homemade apple pie? Maybe not.  As the Wall Street Journal reports,

On the first Friday of Lent, an elderly female parishioner of St. Cecilia Catholic Church began unwrapping pies at the church. That’s when the trouble started.

A state inspector, there for an annual checkup on the church’s kitchen, spied the desserts. After it was determined that the pies were home-baked, the inspector decreed they couldn’t be sold.

“Everyone was devastated,” says Josie Reed, a 69-year-old former teacher known for her pumpkin and berry pies.

Sold for $1 a slice, homemade pies have always been part of the Lenten fish-fry dinners at St. Cecilia’s, located in this tiny city near Pittsburgh. Similar dinners are held in church basements and other venues across the country this time of year.

After a state crackdown forbidding the sale of homemade pies, members of St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Rochester, Pa., proceeded with their annual Lenten fish fries anyway. The pie flap helped draw healthy crowds.

The problem is the pies are illegal in Pennsylvania. Under the state’s food-safety code, facilities that provide food at four or more events in a year require at least a temporary eating and drinking license, and food has to be prepared in a state-inspected kitchen.

Make no mistake, very little of our food supply is inspected; one can only wonder why this crackdown now. Instead of harassing church kitchens, perhaps the Pennsylvania inspectors might look for contaminated Chinese food ingredients that are alarmingly ubiquitous in our food supply.

Remember Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi? If Seinfeld had a “Pie Nazi” character he would say, “No homemade pies for you! Instead go to the supermarket where you can get a pie with little fruit but with bleached flour, high fructose corn syrup, dough conditioners, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial colors and artificial flavors.” Homemade pies may have 5 or 6 ingredients; the next time you are in the supermarket, read the label on a pie. You may find close to 20 to 30 ingredients.

In his essay The Rush Towards Socialism – and How To Stop It Thomas DiLorenzo recently wrote:

The administration’s main agenda is an explosion of federal spending and debt so large and outrageous that America will soon exceed Sweden in the proportion of the economy that is controlled by government – if it hasn’t already. That’s just for starters. They also want to sharply increase taxes on the most productive and hardest-working people in society; increase the capital gains tax to deter private investment; expand the welfare state; spend trillions on pure, pork barrel spending in a massive vote-buying spree; set all corporate compensation levels by governmental fiat; tax away the wealth of unpopular business people (only starting with those AIG executives); regulate and control all risk taking by private entrepreneurs; enforce a civilian draft to create a modern-day, American version of the Hitler Youth (See Rahm Emanuel’s creepy, Stalinist-sounding book entitled The Plan); nationalize entire industries, starting with the capital markets (they understand that there can be no capitalism without private capital markets); and double, triple, and quadruple the number of “regulators” who already regulate all aspects of human life in America.

In the United States, as we collectively rush to give up our freedom in exchange for perceived security, we too may experience the degradation and deprivation of relying on government to meet our basic needs.

State run food stores are not yet on our horizon, but neither was much of the government intervention that we have seen a few years ago. We may stand online for sausages yet. And for you socialists living in “sophisticated” urban centers, let me lower your expectations now—the bureaucrats will not be providing you free sushi in state run food stores.

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4 Responses to On Soviet Sausages and American Apple Pies

  1. alarob says:

    One reason I don’t dread Soviet-style planned economies in the U.S. is that Americans are constantly on the lookout for absurd excesses like the story from the pie sale.

    My concern is about infringements on our liberty from another direction: the concentration of fortunes in a few hands, with a corresponding concentration of political power. This is already well under way, and I wish Libertarians (as a whole) were more wary of it.

  2. Alarob,

    Americans may be disgusted by the absurd excesses, yet we keep voting in politicians who give us more of the same. You know the story of the frog placed in cold water in the pot and then the heat is gradually increased. The frog doesn’t jump out when he can.

    I agree with your fear of political power being concentrated in the hands of (I never thought I would say this) America’s oligarchs. Of course the more socialism the more opportunity there is for earning profits the political way.

  3. James D. says:

    Wasn’t it Jefferson who said that “A government large enough to give you everything you need (as if that were possible) is large enough to take everything you have”?

  4. Bob G. says:

    Elaborating on the frog in the pot analogy a little more, many Americans do not understand just how much of THEIR earnings (see definition of private property and related rights) are actually paid to the local, state and federal government on an overall basis.

    Its an interesting scam when the politicians can claim “budget cuts” when in fact the actual spending is literally more than the prior year! Even the debate is not honest… but as long as Americans believe the ludicrous mantra that they will be taken care of by the government, the standard of living will continue to fall.

    To think that the same government legislators have solutions to the problems that they were largerly repsonsible for is absurd and only makes the day reckonong more painful.This goes for Republican and Democrats as they have both lost their way.

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