For days, I have been trying to make sense of this story of several thousand migrants from Central America descending on the U.S. How the president is sending 5,000 soldiers to the border with Mexico, no, make that 15,000, to protect us from the “invaders.” How the invaders may look harmless enough, but they are being financed by George Soros/the Democrats (take your pick) and are bringing with them terrible diseases that will sicken untold numbers of Americans. It sounds so familiar in its eeriness—the unseen mortal threat that will injure and kill us unless we mobilize and somehow repel them before they…..destroy us all.
Where have I heard that story before? I just figured it out—I have heard it many times from Sally Fallon Morrell, the head of the Weston A. Price Foundation, during her slide presentations about the benefits of raw milk. During her presentation, she tells the story about how the American media in the 1940s—most notably a cover story in the May 1945 Coronet magazine about Crossroads, USA, entitled “Raw Milk Can KILL You”— created fear and hysteria about raw milk by falsely claiming that one in four people in the town had died from undulant fever spread by tainted raw milk. The only defense, in this narrative, was to reject raw milk and go with pasteurized milk.
In this narrative, raw milk is the barbaric outside invader preying on the innocent citizens of an ordinary American town. The implication is clear: unless raw milk is successfully repelled, many more “Crossroads, USA” will come to pass, with many thousands more deaths.
The only problem with this narrative—in particular, the story about Crossroads, USA, presented in Coronet—was that the story was false. There was no such outbreak attributed to raw milk in any American town.
Of course, once the story was published, there was no pulling it back. It showed up some months later in Readers Digest, with millions of readers, and the hysteria about raw milk was out there in full force. Before that decade was out, Michigan had become the first state in the country to ban raw milk sales, and during the 1950s and 1960s, many other states would join in banning raw milk or else severely limiting its availability.
The scapegoating of raw milk, and the farmers who produce it and distribute it, has continued on and off over the last decade. When they are targeted periodically, with searches, shutdowns of their farms, and even criminal charges, the narrative is much the same as in early years: These people care only about making huge profits on raw milk and have no concern that their product is so unsafe it could kill you.
The situation with regard to the migrants is similar. There has been little or no documentation about any threats they pose. From all we can tell, these caravans are organized locally so individuals don’t have to make the dangerous trek north alone. The migrants are fleeing terribly threatening conditions, including threats to their personal safety from ruthless gangs, and seeking asylum in the U.S., which is a legal means of entry.
From everything we can tell, the hysteria about the migrant caravan is a political stunt, meant to rile up voter insecurity and fear so as to increase votes for the president’s party, much as the mass media articles of the mid-1940s were a corporate stunt, designed to increase sales of pasteurized milk and so foster the interests of big dairy processors.
What’s surprising to me is to see how easily many raw milk advocates have fallen for the appeal to fear and hysteria, no questions asked, in their posts and comments on Facebook. Strange, for people who’ve been targets, to so easily target other unfortunates.
And here’s a prediction: The migrant story will quickly fade away, and the soldiers return to their bases, once the election is over.