Something Stuck in Your Grill?


Have you or are you still planning to grill this summer? Are you potentially plotting to hand-mold beef patties and simmer them while knocking back a few cold ones? Or are you thinking of throwing some Nathan’s on the barbie for your kids’ lunch (and some chorizo brats for yourself)? Perhaps your wife is picking up a discounted porterhouse from Sam’s Club, and you’re going to sear that slab of steer to perfection?

Well, you need to be aware of this small fact: YOU COULD DIE. Or at least be badly maimed, your duodenum painfully quilled. The CDC issued a warning about potential grill-brush strands inadvertently making their way into food over a decade ago. And have you, conscientious reader, heeded our bureaucratic killjoys’ admonition?

Well, I haven’t, and the only IBS I’ve suffered from grilling over the years has been from housing too many andouille sausages bathed in spicy mustard.

Maybe I’ve been lucky. Addison Del Mastro, proprietor of the invaluable “The Deleted Scenes” Substack, thinks differently. He wants wire grill brushes banned. “I find it sort of strange that a product which can injure you simply in the course of normal use is sold everywhere,” he writes. The very concept of caveat emptor “doesn’t really make any sense to” him.

Del Mastro has long argued against what Walker Percy termed “angelism,” that is the “excessive abstraction of the self from itself.” He takes a realistically conservative view of matters, resisting over-intellectualization. In one sense, he takes a Kirkian tact in thinking, to quote Michael Warren Davis, “there is no better reason to outlaw something than the fact that it is simply evil.” Or in this case, harmful.

Banning steel-tined grill brushes should be a no-brainer, Del Mastro argues, as “the government, doctors, and even a lot of grilling enthusiasts warn against using them.” He further abstracts the dilemma, asking: “Why do consumers have a duty to look out for their health and safety, while corporations have no corresponding duty not to bring a dangerous product to market?”

The notion that corporations “have no corresponding duty” to not sell dangerously lethal goods is belied by the incalculable regulations forced upon businesses to make their wares as safe as possible. Is Del Mastro unaware of the worry-wart regulators at the Consumer Product Safety Commission? The agency’s banning Kinder Chocolate Eggs because kids can possibly choke on the toy inside? Its attempted prohibition of buckyballs? The countless Fisher-Price toy recalls?

I remember not long after our first daughter was born, we were gifted a kind of light-up push-cart thingamajig that was immediately recalled because some kid, somewhere walked down a flight of steps while holding it. But can’t that happen with any toy, or with anything? A child could take a flying leap down some stairs chasing a dust mote. Should microscopic particles be banned too?

The U.S. government commands duty to the consumer on the part of companies—a fact most Americans appreciate. In many cases, the obligation goes further than the legal mandate: consider extended car warranties, no-question return policies, and Amazon basically eating the cost of anything sent back for a refund.

The thick blanket of pro-consumer regulations imposed on corporations doesn’t let the consumer off the hook, however. It’s kind of like GPS: Yes, you can mindlessly follow Waze directions to get to point B, but the guide app won’t stop a deer from running out in front of your vehicle. Vigilance is still required.

But is it worth dying on a libertarian hill just for the right to bristle clean a grill grate? Probably not. Where Del Mastro errs isn’t in questioning the allowance of a market for potential small-intestine slicers. It’s his instinctual trust in “the experts” to get consumer welfare right.

It’s 2023—two years or so, depending on your counting or neurosis, past the COVID pandemic. And while we emerged bruised and battered, and maybe even illiterate, from the ordeal, we did better off compared body-count percentage wise to the 1918 Spanish flu contagion. Through it all, we were forced to endure the indignities of lying, obfuscation, contradictory dictates, speech censorship, and an overall atmosphere of incompetence.

The six-foot separation rule was arbitrary; masks never effectively “stopped the spread”; the mRNA vaccines don’t prevent transmission; there was never any risk for mass virus diffusion outdoors; children were not in any real immunological danger.

Worse, from the outset, we were assured by Dr. Fauci and his gene-splicing henchmen that the virus originated naturally—some wild tale of a pangolin eating a bat, then getting cooked and devoured by an unsuspecting Chinese rare-animal nibbler. More so, the supposedly started at a wet market next to the Wuhan Institute of Virology—a lab where coronavirus testing was ongoing.

Everyone, from the highest branches of government, to the most august of news outlets, to social media censors, insisted on that “proximal origin” narrative in the face of sheer common sense. The widespread story massaging resembled the Chinese Communist Party’s “united front” strategy. John Stewart, no stranger to farce, nearly suffered a brain aneurysm, explaining the absurdity to NPC Stephen Colbert.

Now the switch is flipped. Fauci acknowledges the lab-leak theory was always plausible. The Department of Energy says a lab slip-up is the most likely origin. Zuckerberg’s minions no longer zap your account for speaking the obvious.

The Orwellian about-face is brazen and shameless. And it’s from these mendacious experts we’re supposed to entrust our safety? Our sprawling nanny-state apparatus is afflicted by regulatory capture and ideological zealotry. Even the once-trusted food pyramid is a lobbyist confection.

A pattern of lies out from Washington governing class should make any concerned citizen think twice about dictates from on high. Or for reflexively demanding a ban.

Do your due diligence and simply check your grill plate yourself before firing up the Weber for a BBQ.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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