People often believe we live in a free country where the freedom of speech is respected. It’s not true, the United States censors people all of the time but isn’t as blatant about it as some states. Instead of outright censoring political dissidence the United States uses various laws and procedures claimed to be in place for safety reasons to determine who can and can’t speak as on blogger found out:
The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle.
Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling.”
Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive.
When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.
But this past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog — Diabetes-Warrior.net — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.
Isn’t that a nice little scam to censor speech? First you require anybody practicing dietetics or nutrition to be licensed and then you make the act of providing nutritional “counseling” without said license illegal. Since counseling is a pretty good catch-all term that can be applied to any advocacy you can effectively prevent individuals from speaking about a topic unless they’re approved by the state.