A Paleo Blogger who suffered from Diabetes and created a blog to discuss the issue and his success with the Paleo Diet received an order from the North Carolina Board of Dietitians and Nutrition to cease and desist from exercising his Natural and Constitutional right to Free Speech.
Steve Cooksey, who is now being defended by the Institute for Justice, started DiabetesWarrior Dot Net as a method of communicating about himself and nutritional information and opinions with others. His blog experienced success in attracting a sizable amount of readers, and he was recently invited to speak at a Conference on January 12, 2012, where he voiced his opinions, which do not agree with mainstream notions and opinion.
[Short video on Paleo Blogger Steve Cooksey's Case for Free Speech]
Shortly after the Conference, possibly after someone at the Conference “took offense” to his statements and reported him to the
Government North Carolina board of dietitians and nutrition, Mr. Cooksey received a call from the Director of the Board dictating the following [Source]:
- “She stated that I, as a non-licensed person could provide NO dietary or nutritional advice… period. It makes no difference if I am giving the advice away or if it’s for a fee”
- “She also stated that having a ‘diabetes menu’ and or ‘diabetes meal plan’ was the equivalent of providing nutritional advice and was against the regulations:
- “She stated that the full “complaint board” would review my site and provide a written review of the investigation, hopefully by the end of this month, January. She added that even IF convicted, it would only be a misdemeanor but typically these cases end without litigation, if the person agrees to change their behaviors or websites”
Part of the official review took aim at portions of his blog in which he told readers that loading up on carbohydrate and sugar wasn’t a good idea. According to the board, telling an individual who has Diabetes that the government-recommended diet of 250 grams + of carbohydrate a day isn’t the best idea, and that a Paleo Diet, based on meats, vegetables, and fruits could be better, requires a license, permission, and approval.
Additionally, the board took issue with sections of his blog in which he answered questions asked by readers, because apparently, the minute someone asks a question in an online conversation, the opposing person with an answer is considered “counseling”, and you need a license for that.
Not that I would ever attempt to censor the average pro-carbohydrate pro-sugar pro-grains blogger, but I wonder how busy the NC Board must be issuing threats, dictates, and demands to the thousands regurgitating the information put out in the Government Food Guide Pyramid. Of course, who they chose to censor doesn’t really matter. If it wasn’t a Paleo Blogger, and instead a Grain fanatic, the infraction would still be of the same class, assuming the Board or the Government have the right to silence an individual’s speech and supersede what is clearly outlined in the First Amendment of the Constitution for the United States.
Thankfully, as mentioned above, the Institute of Justice, a Pro-Liberty litigation organization, has decided to defend Steve Cooksey, and together, they have filed a major Free Speech Lawsuit against the NC State Board in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Nevada.
“But the First Amendment does not allow the government to ban people from sharing ordinary advice about diet, or scrub the Internet—from blogs to Facebook to Twitter—of speech the government does not like” Institute for Justice [Source]
I will surely report back on and pay close attention to Paleo Blogger Steve Cooksey, and although many of us know we are protected by our Rights in this case, a major precedent will be set in the area of Free Speech and occupational license by the end of this case. I do not see a District Judge attempting to define the line where Free Speech ends and Licensed speech begins; let us hope I am right.
You can donate to the Institute for Justice, who is defending Mr. Cooksey and Free Speech, HERE.