Steve Cooksey Sues the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition in Federal Court: 1st Amendment; Free Speech

While controversy rages in my Paleo circles owing to individual values, choices, assessments, allegiances, bias—and who you’d rather get drunk with—let’s take time away from the window breakers (ref: Bastiat) to highlight and celebrate someone who has never done anything but try to help average folks who don’t read PubMed or medical journals, and don’t really care much whether the science is all in, good or bad.

Their lives are at stake. They care mostly about themselves. And, because they need to.

So while some choose to pinch pimples amongst largely like minded folks, others choose to spend their limited time finding values and helpful information here and there, test it on themselves and—where it pans out, here and there—pass it on.

…I first blogged about my friend Steve Cooksey way back in 2009. More recently, I did what turned into 3 posts about his problems with the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition:

That’s the background for those who want to dig deep. Those, however, who insist the science has to be in before they can eat breakfast in the morning, may be disappointed: Steve is a straightforward, smart guy who really, honest to God, helps people. Does it include a little “bad science” here and there, or up-for-grabs science? Maybe. Could be.

America is messy. That was the point.

Y’see, Americans who really get the sprit of the ethic of the thing, kinda grok that everyone lies, everyone effs up, everyone behaves at times in a manner that would not be considered their best. America is about being willing to take the risk in dealing with whomever you want—even if you make a non-optimal choice.

Whatarewe? Idiots? Go ahead. Fool my stupid ass. Teach me a lesson! Let’s see how well I do next time. “Idiot” ought to be contextual in time. It usually is, and that’s America Underground. The story underneath the story.

…I contend that Steve, even if not perfect always, is a counter to average idiocy, as are many other individuals in myriad ways. However, who is to arbitrate that sort of complexity? Or, is it way too complex when freedom to speak is a value at stake…and then, shouldn’t everyone just be left to figure it out for themselves? I’m not a fan of the state—as everyone who who reads me knows—but the 1st amendment is Darwinian in terms of information. And I’m a fan of Darwin; and more importantly, what that means in the long view. And I think: you ought to be too. That’s my advice—while still legal to give it.

And so, yes, Steve is suing the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition in Federal Court, backed by a bunch of really bright Constitutional lawyers at the Institute for Justice, led by the well spoken Jeff Rowes. Thanks to Steve, Bob Ewing at The Primal Challenge (and Director of communications at IJ), and of course Jeff, for giving me the opportunity to have the scoop on this story a full day and a couple hours ahead of the official announcement and press conference.

Can the government throw you in jail for offering advice on the Internet about what food people should buy at the grocery store?

That is exactly the claim made by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition. In December 2011, diabetic blogger Steve Cooksey started a Dear Abby-style advice column on his popular blog ( to answer reader questions. One month later, the State Board informed Steve that he could not give readers advice on diet, whether for free or for compensation, because doing so constituted the unlicensed, and thus criminal, practice of dietetics. The State Board also told Steve that his private emails and telephone calls with readers and friends were illegal, as was his paid life-coaching service. The State Board went through Steve’s writings with a red pen, indicating what he may and may not say without a government-issued license.

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. North Carolina can no more force Steve to become a licensed dietitian than it could require Dear Abby to become a licensed psychologist.

That is why on May 30, 2012, Steve Cooksey joined the Institute for Justice in filing a major free speech lawsuit against the State Board in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division. This lawsuit seeks to answer one of the most important unresolved questions in First Amendment law: When does the government’s power to license occupations trump free speech?

But I’ll get to the well spoken Jeff in a minute. In the meantime, this Englishman somehow makes a good narrator for all things caveman.

That’s pretty damn clever.

  • Here’s the IJ page for the case launch.
  • And the pre-litigation background info.
  • The Press Release. I’ll post a link to the actual filed complaint when I get it.

Finally, I got Jeff Rowes on Skype a few days back to get a lead attorney take on this whole case, what it means in the large, and did a bit of devil’s advocacy. Take a look.

See also this IJ video on the explosion in occupational licensing in the US.

For Justice. For advancement. For celebrating and lauding values. For rationally accounting for error that everyone’s susceptible to. For dumping those who fake notoriety by being squeaking pips.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Tim on May 29, 2012 at 08:05

    Great post Richard!!! Awesome Steve for fighting it!!! I am currently writing a book report for my certification process, on this book. Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners by Dr. Lawrence Wilson!!! Everything described in the video with the attorney is discussed in this book. One thing to look at is the often forgotten Ninth Amendment!! It directly correlates with this case. I recommend anyone who looks to do this as a profession, or just to protect themselves read this book! You can find it here on Amazon. KEEP FIGHTING!!

  2. Jscott on May 29, 2012 at 06:48

    This will be a game worth watching.

  3. Rob Beyerlein on May 29, 2012 at 07:01

    I will be very interested to see how this whole thing plays out. The idiocy of the whole thing to me is that personal trainers and diet coaches do what Steve is doing, only difference being they charge for it. If he loses his case, does this mean that anyone who is not a registered dietician is banned from providing nutritional counseling in the state of North Carolina.

    • Joseph on May 29, 2012 at 07:15

      Lying is fine, as long as you have your permit and are prepared to charge money for your lies.

      (Maybe Cooksey should take a religious angle: his unique, personal religion allows for certain dietary practices and permits evangelism. We wouldn’t want to be guilty of religious persecution, would we? If people can carry giant signs saying things like “God hates fags!”, why can’t Cooksey talk about his diet? America is nuts.)

    • Mick Hamblen on May 29, 2012 at 16:27

      Steve was charging for it. That’s what got him in trouble

      • Jasen on May 30, 2012 at 14:45

        That’s the point. If I as a free individual want to pay someone to give me advice that’s my business. If the avice is flawed and I get sick or die it’s on me. I don’t see where the gubmint has any role in the equation.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 15:31

        Well, we’ve come to the pont where because of voting, elections and general masturbation of forcing everyone to live at the expense of everyone else, we actually are getting everything we deserve.

        Personally, I love it all. I want to see everyone get everything they deserve, good and hard,

  4. Melissa on May 29, 2012 at 07:06

    I like that IJ doesn’t discriminate. They have been a major player in trying to stop government oppression of food trucks (which mainly serve the opposite of paleo food, but is a low-capital business model that some paleo devotees in other cities with more freedom have adopted) in Chicago and other cities. The T-rex in the video is such an apt metaphor! We might remember it as we think about people like Lustig who want to try the harness the T-rex to enforce what he believes is healthy eating. But it cannot be tamed…

    • John on May 29, 2012 at 08:42


      If the last thirty years have proved anything, it’s that goverment pressure can change how people eat.

      But suddenly you’re a Libertarian? Yeah, right. You and Evelyn are quite a pair. When a male gets more eyeballs than you, your entire life becomes about his destruction. Plenty of cover stories and misdirection, sure. But your first comment back on FTA weeks after you got taught some manners, and what was it that drew you? Libertarianism? Please.

      For you, the payload is your knife in some male’s back. It always is.

      You fool no one, Melissa. Jealousy is what gets you out of bed in the morning.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 08:47


        I want to point out that Melissa and I have been having very cordial email exchanges pretty much since that skirmish. She has been extremely helpful in shooting me links, attempting to persuade me to her point of view on a few things and in some measure, it has.

        I appreciate a great deal that she goes to the trouble.

      • John on May 29, 2012 at 09:04

        Ok, got it.

        I’d just noticed that Lustig was in the kill zone this week. And the serial assassinations kind of piss me off.

        Especially because the victims have more skin in the game than just installing a copy of WordPress.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 09:36

        I posted a link to a critique of Lustig in my last post. I think that’s a valuable way to go about things. I have a post planned on Lustig hopefully later this week. M has been very helpful to point me to things to consider.

      • John on May 29, 2012 at 09:45

        I’ll bet.

  5. Kate Ground on May 29, 2012 at 07:36

    Right on! Go Steve. At the dawn of time, man learned what to eat what not to eat by experience. If Frok ate from a certain bush….and died….Grok learned “don’t eat from that bush”. Should Grok have eaten it anyway because Frok didn’t have a license? Science, schmience. I am sick of this government intervention shit. Don’t tell me how to eat, how to educate, how to raise my kids, what to wear, how to vote (or not). Speaking of which, do all those horrible political columnists and ad writers have to get licenses? I’ve given homeschooling advice for 25 years. Guess I’m going to jail. Again I say: Grow up.

    • Lute Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 10:06

      Where’s the “Like” button?

      • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 10:11

        At the bottom of the post, as always. 30-something likes so far.

      • Jeremy Voluntaryist on May 29, 2012 at 13:01

        Where’s the “like” button for individual posts? I think, without putting words in Lute’s mouth, was the question.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 13:13

        Oh, no I don’t have thumb up/down stuff for individual comments. I considered it a while back, actually. I concluded it’s too easy. If you want to like or dislike a comment, then you have to go to the effort to write a comment.

      • jofjltncb6 on May 29, 2012 at 14:33

        I dislike this comment.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 14:34

        Laf. Good shot.

      • Jscott on May 29, 2012 at 14:50

        I like his dislike of this comment.

      • Kate Ground on May 29, 2012 at 15:28

        Jojltncb6 you stole my line.

  6. Jscott on May 29, 2012 at 08:04

    This post could develop another killer comment thread. This could develop into an argument about Heuristics verses expertly combed data. Quantified self verses Qualified expert.

    I prefer both and verses either or.

    But what is the fun in that?

  7. rob on May 29, 2012 at 08:18

    Will be interesting to see the complaint to see what relief is sought. The State Board can’t do anything by itself, has to refer the matter to the state attorney for enforcement, so Steve isn’t being prosecuted for anything. Guess he is asking for the statute to be ruled unconstitutional … other than that what is there to ask for? In injunction against the State Board or declaratory relief that the Board has to leave him alone? It’s a heck of a complicated statute and I can see how it could violate the constitution.

    Overall it’s just another case of turf protection by an industry, something called “Dietetics.” Wtf is “dietetics”? These people don’t even have much of an education why are they entitled to protect their turf? Maybe they have a B.S. degree, some of the might have a Masters, big deal.

  8. LadySadie on May 29, 2012 at 08:26

    This is a wonderful development, best of luck to Steve, and our Right to Free Speech!!!

    (Also, thanks to all the horrible criminals that offered their opinions a while back about my hungry newly paleo kids. It’s all working out great, I just hope no one goes to jail for helping us out!)

  9. Kris on May 29, 2012 at 09:22

    This is an awesome post!

    I’m looking forward to see how this turns out, Steve saved his own life, and now many others using the advice he is recommending. If he had followed the dietitians advice, he’d probably still be sick, obese and drug-dependant.

    Recommending high-carb to diabetics is a crime against humanity (see definition below).

    “are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.”

    Free Speech FTW!

  10. Betsey Ford Allen on May 29, 2012 at 09:46

    Love it!! and am thrilled for my neighbor Steve. Also really glad he has you on his side! You rock!

    Just want to share this Richard. I have a new nutritionist here in Charlotte, she hinted to me that they are also looking into going after Personal Trainers that are advertising nutritional counseling. Illegal here in NC with out a license!
    She told me that it is illegal for anyone whom is not licensed in NC to give ANY NC resident nutritional advice. AND she said when I gave my neighbor the book Primal Blueprint to read in response to his recent T2 diagnosis, I was breaking the law. Now that is messed up.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 10:10

      People love their laws, don’t they? Bet she told you that with a certain twinkle in her eyes.

  11. Sean on May 29, 2012 at 11:10

    Just watched the video, Jeff Rowes comes across as being quite knowledgeable and understanding of civil liberties in general–pathetic how rarefied this has become (paging President Obama). Interesting that they filed in Federal court because this is a Constitutional issue, although given the current state of the Constitution I wouldn’t bet even money on their winning what ought to be a slam-dunk case.

    I’d like to see this case become a cause célèbre but that’s not going to happen, because Steve was pushing a ‘fad diet’. Fuck you mainstream media dronebots.

  12. Jenn R. on May 29, 2012 at 12:43

    Thanks for the heads up on this Richard. Steve’s site was my gateway into the paleo/primal world early last year after my husband was diagnosed with diabetes. I’m following this with great interest, personally and professionaly – since I work in the legal field.

  13. marie on May 29, 2012 at 13:33

    We’re an awfully big country at over 300million and the argument has been made frequently that the bigger the country the bigger the government, the more removed/distant from it’s citizens and so the less representative and more abusive. Certainly when we look at the few other countries as big or bigger, they either don’t work at all for large swaths of their citizens or work badly (huge poverty-stricken underclasses , open fraud and abuse at the top, daily struggle for survival for the majority, and even extreme political oppression in some cases).
    But but….in this case it’s the relatively ‘local’, that is State, regulations that are the problem and in a relatively small state no less.
    So, to play a strong Devil’s advocate: How did North Carolinians let these kind of laws be passed, were they asleep? And if they were, don’t they deserve the government they get -Darwinian? (same for any states with draconian occupation licensing). And how ironic is it that Federal courts and the Federal constitutional law are what are being called on to save the day? Is there a role for Federal government beyond defense, to actually protect our civil liberties?!?
    Devil’s advocacy can be interesting, I’m hoping….

    • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 13:37

      Dietitian licensing has been adopted in 47 states.

    • Jscott on May 29, 2012 at 15:18

      Time to wakie wakie hand off snakey!

      Falling asleep is an apt description. It is also true that the further the politician is from the person they SERVE (since when did politicians become “leaders?”) the more likely they are to act as if they nave no skin in the game (Taleb, Anti-Fragile). So, we have people who prefer to not be hassled with the details of life and outsourcing those to government. In some sense, I suppose it does serve us right.

      This happens so little in small organisations, tribes, and businesses and so often in large cities, corporations and large governments. Nature has a way of punishing such erections: elimination.

    • AndrewS on May 31, 2012 at 13:14

      This is an interesting point I’d like to see discussed more. For example, Maryland is losing employers to Virginia. Is it better to hasten Maryland to a crisis, or to try to rescue Maryland from its own damn idiocy? One could counter with “Michigan” — ie, a state can flush itself down the toilet for decades.

  14. marie on May 29, 2012 at 13:49

    States. If the Federal courts and laws were being used to overturn some other State law, wouldn’t that be causing a shit-storm for “state rights” ?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 14:29

      No, not in the context of the US Constitution which is what this case is about, which was in the video interview, specifically,, which almost no one has watched, so now I get to spend even more time than it took to put that together. See also the last link provided on the explosion of occupational licensing, much of which touches on 1st or other amendment issues. IJ wants federal dismantlement.

      • Kate Ground on May 29, 2012 at 14:46

        I watched. Mr. Rowes is a very smart man. Give me a constitutional lawyer anytime. This is a big deal. It could have ramifications across the inter web if Steve loses. That’s a duh! But if there was a way we lowly peons could help out? Like SOPA and PIPA.
        One must remember that North Carolinians aren’t the brightest sheep in the flock. Most don’t know what Paleolithic means. Sorry, I lived in South Carolina and my dad lived near Raleigh.
        well…..experience. My guess is they don’t know what their state government does. I’m sure most sheep in all 47 states don’t know of any regulatory laws. I didn’t even know dieticians had to be licensed. Anything for a buck

      • marie on May 29, 2012 at 16:23

        Of course I watched them Richard, and even looked up IJ institute, to find it similarly financed as Cato institute. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly applaud your efforts to bring the problem to light and to support Steve, I just wonder at it being used as a rallying front for this political group.

      • marie on May 29, 2012 at 19:28

        “IJ wants Federal dismantlement”. But uses the Federal system to try to uphold the Constitution, when it suits them. This is at the heart of the fundamental inconsistency in their approach that I was getting at above.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 20:22

        They want disarmament of regulatory agents.

      • Sean on May 29, 2012 at 21:38

        There’s no inconsistency at all.

        The US Constitution enumerates negative rights (except for the commerce clause which has been twisted into use as a justification for all sorts of Federal intervention). States can do whatever they want as long as they don’t infringe on these negative rights–including, in this case, the 1st Amendment.

        Using the federal courts to enforce Constitutional rights is not inconsistent with wanting states to have the right to do whatever they want as long as they don’t infringe upon the individual liberties of the Constitution.

        They don’t want to uphold the Constitution ‘when it suits them’. They want it always to be upheld. Always.

        Now one can argue about the interpretation of the Constitution, whether the commerce clause justifies massive federal regulation, if Roe v Wade violates the 14th Amendment, etc, and that’s what’s happening here. Does Cooksey have the right to free speech when he tells people what he thinks is a healthy diet? Or can NC squash that free speech because it creates an immediately harmful impact (such as shouting fire in a crowded theater) or perhaps because it is considered fraudulent?

      • marie on May 29, 2012 at 22:31

        I see, so they do think the Federal government has the role of protecting our constitutional civil rights and freedoms. That’s interesting.

      • Sean on May 30, 2012 at 03:28

        I think most minarchist libertarians like myself, and most of the people who write for Cato think that the ONLY rôle of the Federal government is to protect constitutional freedoms, enforce the rule of law (in coöperation with the states) and defense.

        IJ is doing some great work. They are also currently defending some elderly hotel owners that George Will wrote about.
        And they defended Jim Roos in a free speechcase that went all the way to the US Supreme Court.

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 09:50

        Thank you Sean, I hoped this could get interesting.
        O.k., so are you saying that despite the common funding sources and common elements of ideology of Cato and IJ with the shrill and often contradictory political group, the tea-party, I should separate them?
        I say ‘contradictory’ from the timing of mounting a lower-taxes offensive when we have the lowest taxes in 35 years or news reports of, for example, protest signs proclaiming “get your government hands off my Medicare” (who was managing their medicare up to now?) or…you know, wiccans.
        Yes, of course these things are enormously biasing and I know intellectually that it can’t be fair to color all with one brush, but see my problem? How do I get my mind around this? Especially with that funding background…I mean, I see a correlation such as that of a ‘respectable’ Intelligent Design institute and creationists education politics. Yet, I like the monarchist concepts. Help?

      • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 10:11

        “with the shrill and often contradictory political group, the tea-party”

        Shill and contradictory political group? Well, that’s a first.

      • Sean on May 30, 2012 at 11:26

        Heh, minarchist==minimal anarchist. Monarchist == hurray for Obama Luis IV.

        I don’t know much about the Tea Party but I gather it’s been mainstreamed/captured from its small-government grassroots. But it did start out as a genuine grassroots party AFAIK. Obviously, people who claim to want small government but can’t stand for any Medicare reform are no better than people on the right who want to cut ‘defense’ spending but consider everything else holy. But that’s all a non sequitur

        “when we have the lowest taxes in 35 years”

        So taxes in the US are currently lower than they’ve at any time since 1977. I’m calling bullshit. Do you have a reasonable citation for that? Regardless of the current taxes raised, the fact is that government spending is at an all time high and this bill is going to have to be paid eventually, even if it is by debasing the hell out of the currency. I have a mild suggestion (that’s not even libertarian), how about returning to the spending levels of the 90s? But any sort of actual ‘austerity’ is greeted by the clutching of millions of pearls on both sides of the spectrum but especially the left.

        I’m not sure what you are eluding to with the ‘common funding sources’, do you mean the evil Kochtopus?

        Perhaps it would be better to actually read some articles from Cato and IJ and look at what they do rather than worry about some conspiracy funding them? I don’t know what you would need to get your mind around. The fact that Cato is not the Tea Party?

        Cato has been around for quite a while, a good place to start is to read some articles from long time Cato fellow, PJ O’Rourke. Like this and this, both come from long before there was a Tea Party.

        But what it really boils down to is thinking for yourself. Like the attacks against Good Calories, Bad Calories or Robert Lustig, do you really want to take someone else’s word for it?

      • Sean on May 30, 2012 at 11:29

        “Luis IV”

        Or Louis XIV ;)

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 11:52

        laf. I wasn’t distinguishing them from other parties of course, you know my leanings :-) I was only trying to distinguish them from those Rational institutes I mentioned.

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 11:53

        Ugh, we’re out of thread nesting again. Above was response to Richard.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 11:55

        Yep, Sean, I was mystified by Marie’s reference as well.

        Funding? Really? For all I know, some vegans bought my book. So, I’m funded by vegans.

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 12:33

        “monarchists” -lol, my phone’s autofill seems hopelessly antediluvian!
        “do you really want to take someone else’s word for it?”.
        No, just looking for leads to follow, and I follow all of them no matter where they come from or where they point.
        But since you’re seem rather forceful here you should know that I don’t know about a Kochtopus (lol ) and I actually like PJ O’Rourke’s writing style, but I do have a conceptual issue :
        while taking regulations off the back of small business certainly is a great idea, by removing regs you’re removing them from all business and so my question is, what is proposed to hold-back the colluding of big interests which historically has invariably happened and procedurally seems inevitable given the powerful motive of constantly increasing profits. NOTHING WRONG with the profit motive of course, in fact it’s beneficial, when the market is Free but the bigger any companies get – or in the past any land owners, nobility, kings, ‘robber-barons’, telecoms, universities (!), any type of wealth-producers apparently) the more they thwart market forces by colluding with each other. And even when there’s no collusion, any monopoly twists the market too all by itself. I haven’t seen a solution to this problem without regulations.Have I missed it? Any pointers would be useful.
        Meanwhile, I do see how very much any large corporation (or large finance company, large energy companies etc) can circumvent market forces if there’s an absence of regulations.
        None of the market twisting would work without the existence of government, btw, so I tend to lean even further to pacifist anarchy rather ‘libertarianism’. Though there of course there’s the issue of “how do we transition to it from This current structure without getting shot” -still, people are actively working on this.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 12:46

        “what is proposed to hold-back the colluding of big interests which historically has invariably happened and procedurally seems inevitable given the powerful motive of constantly increasing profits.”

        That’s easy, and the answer is already in your comment, preceding.

        I’ll answer with a question, designed to get you to think.

        Why are there “big businesses.?”

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 16:53

        Richard, “…and the answer is already in your comment, preceding.”.
        Indeed, so I must be a really Terrible writer because I thought I made it clear, the only way these “big businesses” or price-fixing or monopolies etc. grow in the first place is because there is a concentrated power source that controls the legislative and legal system and it’s Enforcement, a.k.a. a Government.
        So let’s take that quoted piece in context, o.k.? We were discussing libertarians so I was asking how libertarians propose to solve that problem. You know that neither libertarians nor the better-defined minarchists advocate NO government, so what I’m asking is quite valid.

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 17:17

        Richard, “…some vegans bought my book.” Not an apt analogy, vegans didn’t provide the Founding money for your blog :
        BUT IT DOESN”T MATTER WHO IT IS (Yes, I’m emphasizing in capitals, I have no symbols on this device for HTML..) it could be the Wright brothers or the Grimm brothers or… the point of looking at the connections was to look at their larger context.
        I was trying to see if anyone had More information about these groups’ beliefs and background, but I guess not and apparently I’ve ticked-off Sean now.
        I didn’t realize these brothers were such a sensitive issue -yes, I’ve gone online and figured out why. There’s a real animosity between ‘liberal groups’ and these guys.
        Oh well, Politics always messes things up, and just when it was getting interesting…sigh.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 17:31

        “how libertarians propose to solve that problem.”

        With force, or without force?

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 17:32


      • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 17:33

        “and apparently I’ve ticked-off Sean now.”

        He’s a cunt who whores himself out for guest blogging gigs, so consider the source.

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 17:37

        laf. Well, this cunt hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but with my Terrible writing skills maybe that’s a good thing.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 18:16

        Libertarians who want to “solve problems” first ought to learn to mind their own business unless it’s their business. If by force, then they’re just pissy Democrats and Republicans, enamored of a new label for themselves.

      • Sean on May 31, 2012 at 06:41

        Marie writes at 17:17 Pacific Standard Time

        “and apparently I’ve ticked-off Sean now.”

        Naw, it’s just that that’s like 1 in the morning here. I try to avoid the internet in the evenings. Much less in the middle of the night.

        There’s a lot of things at issue and I’m not sure I have the energy to address them all.

        First of all Richard is an anarcho-capitolist, I’m a minarchist. What that boils down to is that Richard believes in first principles when it comes to politics and I don’t.

        We’ve had a few polite exchanges on the subject.

        To make a long story short, I don’t buy into the first principles argument when it comes to ethics, politics or philosophy in general. This means that I approve of some use of government or collective force. What it boils down to in reality is that I’d just like to see the Constitution enforced in a meaningful manner–and then we can talk about first principles.

        As far as collusion between big business and government, I take the standard libertarian line that the solution is a lot less government. Before I called myself a libertarian I called myself a classical liberal, thanks to many years of reading the Economist back when it was a decent magazine.

        I’ve no panacea, but if enough people become aware of the broken window fallacy and basic economics then it seems possible that enough people will stop voting for these idiots. If the number of people who receive largesse from the government are less than the number of people who pay revenue then that’s less likely to happen.

        I don’t agree with a few classic liberal arguments, such as monopolies can’t exist or are optimally efficient in a free market.

      • marie on May 31, 2012 at 08:38

        Sean, sure, just take my questions at face value, o.k.? Don’t assume. I’ve no political allegiance – allegiances generally trigger my spidey sense :-) – now personal loyalty, that’s another matter.
        “..if the number of people who receive largesse from the government are less than the number of people who pay revenue…” …then government, the State, collapses. The State’s ‘support’ is a main means of control/allegiance-generation (in the absence of overt violence, which is the other government-sustaining option).

      • Oystein on June 3, 2012 at 13:46

        The tea party was never a genuine grass roots organization, it was *always* a Dick Amey Astroturf organization planned and executed from day one with massive Koch funding.

  15. LadySadie on May 30, 2012 at 06:06

    If this is any indication of where our free speech is headed, Steve, and the rest of us are all in deep doo-doo:

    Believe in the Bible or not, this Pastor was sentenced to two years for teaching parents that children should be spanked. He never actually spanked a child, just said that the Bible says that tyis type of discipline is correct. He can never have a leadership role in any church again, and can’t communicate with members of his former congregation for 6 years after his sentence.

    In case you are tempted to think that this is all about religious free speech, it’s not…take a look about 1/2 way down the article in the link provided and see what the new standard is that has been proposed in New York. (It’s in a text box, so you can find it easily.)

  16. Leslie on May 29, 2012 at 19:10

    “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Cornelius Tacitus (55-117 A.D.)

    • marie on May 29, 2012 at 19:33

      +1 !
      plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
      (the more things change, the more they stay the same.)

      • Richard Nikoley on May 29, 2012 at 20:26

        Where there are laws, there will be criminals.

        Couldn’t find the citation quickly, but someone said that once. Could have been Solzhenitsyn.

      • marie on May 29, 2012 at 21:03

        I know what you mean but I can’t get it either, so close…

        Meanwhile, further along the same reasoning, and much older :

        The more laws and restrictions there are,
        The poorer people become.
        – Lao Tsu, Tao Teh Ching

      • D on May 29, 2012 at 21:13

        Braccae illae virides cum subucula rosea et tunica Caledonia-quam elenganter concinnatur!

        Those green pants go so well with that pink shirt and the plaid jacket.

      • marie on May 30, 2012 at 18:28

        Lol – Neque hoc non sequitur….

  17. Jay Jay on May 29, 2012 at 19:32

    In today’s world, anybody can shut ANYBODY down.

    Pretty serious free speech squelching going on here.

    Sorry that it takes some reading to get up to speed on this one. I’ve been involved in this fight since 2010.

    I can’t believe how it has progressed to this.

    Very similar to what is happening in NC though.

    If people want to shut you up, they can. At least for a couple years.

  18. Censorship « Café Moi on May 30, 2012 at 06:15

    […] Should You Need the Government’s Permission to Work? Interview with IFJ Blog: Blog: Free The Animal   Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  19. […] right to free speech. I learnt all about Steve’s situation and this recent turn of events via this post from US-based blogger Richard Nikoley. This blog post includes an interview (below) between Richard […]

  20. David brown on May 30, 2012 at 07:05

    I recommend these two articles:
    What has government done to our health?
    Justin Stoneman: America: A Big, Fat, Stupid Nation

    Excerpt from the Stoneman article:

    The ADA (American Dietetic Association) has complete monopoly on dietary advice. To keep the bubble airtight, the full might of the law has even been implemented. Kim Jong-il would be proud of the attention to detail. Staggeringly, in 46 out of 50 States, the message the authorities want you to have is protected. The law determines who is able to provide you with nutritional advice. The Commission on Dietetic Registration is the credentializing agency for the ADA. A practicing dietician not registered with the ADA or CDR is liable to face prosecution in over 90% of the country.

    With that in mind, who precisely is ‘sponsoring’ the ADA and the nutritional advice you receive? My friends, it is a beautiful army. Partners (recent and current — and their latest annual revenue figures): Coca Cola (revenue $31.4 billion), GlaxoSmithKline (revenue $42.5 billion), Hershey’s (revenue $5.3 billion), Unilever (revenue $55.8 billion), Aramark (revenue: $12.3 billion). There are even some ‘premier sponsors’: Mars (revenue: $30 billion), PepsiCo (revenue $44.3 billion), Truvia sweetener (revenue of parent company Cargill: $116.6 billion), Kellogg’s ($12.7 billion).
    ADA ‘sponsors’ have combined revenues of over $400 billion.

    Why are these gargantuan companies — whose only intention is to make money, not make you healthy — allowed to fund the ADA? The ADA themselves can perhaps assist us. On their own website (in the section where they are trying to seduce corporate America), they offer a helping hand:

    Why Become an ADA Sponsor? As ADA past president Martin Yadrick stated in a 2008 US News & World Report article: “We think it’s important for us to be at the same table with food companies because of the positive influence that we can have on them.”

    But, Martin, darling, they are paying you to be at their table. You are publicly telling America that you are somehow the one wearing the trousers in the relationship? My headline must be correct — even the ADA seem to think that America is stupid.

    • Sean on May 30, 2012 at 08:11

      The problem with the HuffPo article is that, like everything TEAM BLUE, it’s all about the evul corporashuns.

      “The ADA (American Dietetic Association) has complete monopoly on dietary advice.”

      Yes, a monopoly enforced by whom? That’s all glossed over because it’s really all about the evils of rampant capitalism.

      “Your commercially sponsored weight loss advice is making you gain weight. It would be laughable, a comic irony, if the consequences were not so tragic. From diabetes to obesity to cancer to heart disease, the price being paid for corporate profit is in lives.”

      If only those evul corporations didn’t brainwash us for fun and profit everything would be wonderful.

      The TEAM BLUE shill author mentions ag subsidies exactly zero times. Kim Jong-Il would be proud of the ADA because of the….corporate profits. Corporations equal North Korea. Keep on drinking the kool-aid, Dave.

      • David brown on May 31, 2012 at 04:56

        Sean, I’d say it’s more about ignorance than malicious intent. Corporations always do what it takes to protect the supply chain. In the case of the ADA, corporations have taken over the education of RDs to a degree you can hardly imagine. For example, ever hear of the International Food Information Council Foundation? Here’s what it says about itself:

        “Incorporated as a public education foundation in 1991 and based in Washington, DC, the International Food Information Council Foundation is independent and not-for-profit. We do not lobby or further any political, partisan, or corporate interest. We bring together, work with, and provide information to consumers, health and nutrition officials, educators, government officials, and food, beverage, and agriculture industry professionals. We have established partnerships with a wide range of credible professional organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions to advance the public understanding of key issues. For example, we have a long-standing relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion as part of the Dietary Guidelines Alliance, a public-private partnership focused on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPlate Food Guidance System. Recognizing the global nature of food safety, nutrition and health issues, the Foundation extends its mission internationally. We share education materials with an independent network of Food Information Organizations and partners from around the world. We also serve as a news media resource. We provide science-based information to the media and refer journalists to our 350 independent, credentialed experts on a variety of nutrition, food, and safety topics…We believe in the importance of educating health and nutrition professionals. We regularly host Continuing Professional Education (CPE) programs which are offered in person and via Web cast, and have developed a series of Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the American Dietetic Association, CPE-approved learning modules on a variety of subjects.”

        Of course there’s no need to lobby politicians. The IFICF shapes consensus of scientific, political, and public opinion using every sort of educational device imaginable. So most of America’s 70,000 dietitians naively allow themselves to be manipulated. Same holds for politicians and their constituents. It’s not the blind leading the blind. It’s the mis-informed leading the ignorant.

      • Sean on May 31, 2012 at 07:10

        Dave, I’d say it’s more about being a TEAM BLUE shill and quoting walls of text rather than critical thinking.

        Lose the team mentality we can talk.

      • David brown on May 31, 2012 at 23:04

        Sean, I’ve been studying nutritional controversies for more than three decades. I’m a lay researcher with no connections to any political or commercial entity. And I have absolutely no idea as to what TEAM BLUE shill refers to. I’m all about providing people with information about the saturated fat controversy and the omega-6 hazard. For example:

      • AndrewS on May 31, 2012 at 13:33

        I think what Sean is trying to say is:

        When a Congresscritter and a Corporashun get a hotel room together, the critter still has $500 on the dresser afterwards. The corp wasn’t the only one in the bed.

        Without critters to try (and allowed) to enshrine their John’s demands into law, it wouldn’t really matter what the Johns are asking for.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 31, 2012 at 14:13


        It’s a lib thing going way back. Prostitutes exist because there are Johns willing to pay. It’s silly to go after prostitutes, because you just make room in the market with each one taken down.

        But everyone starts with a premise: strong government is good.

        Strong government=money=for sale

        So, basically, in the end, it comes down to admonishing Johns to police themselves and lock up as many prostitutes as it can.

        And they oblige. They lock up the old, ugly ones.

  21. rob on May 30, 2012 at 08:31

    The Dieticians will try to get the suit tossed on a technicality, standing or ripeness, because the last thing they want is for a court to rule on the Constitutionality of the statute. If they lose in North Carolina they will face suits in every other state where they have pulled this stunt.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 08:50

      It’s a federal lawsuit, rob. While it’s filed in NC, it’s in a fed district court. If they win and NC doesn’t appeal, then the precedent will apply to NC and all other states in that district, if I’m remembering my civics correctly. If it does go to progressively higher courts and Steve prevails, then it brings progressively more states into susceptibility to the precedent, making it easier to challenge similar laws in those states.

  22. Richard F on May 30, 2012 at 12:25

    Will NC’s board also decide to ask Dr. Oz to stop doling out the very same advice on his TV show or will they stop airing those segments on their networks? After all, he’s a surgeon and is not an RD or licensed nutritionist and therefore, has no legal ground to offer any dietary advice in the state of North Carolina (or by their logic, anywhere else).

    Or will they go into every CrossFit box and big box gym and ask all the PTs to show their dietary licenses or be fined for giving out dietary advice which they do every single day, just the same way thousands of other trainers do across the nation everyday.

    I have full confidence that IJ will make it clear to federal judges that this is not about dietary advice at all and it’s not about licensure, it’s about who’s paying whose pay checks and then using the auspice of a “board of licensure” to enforce the views of those with the money.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 12:39


      We could only pray to God, Santa and Easter Bunnies or whomever else might be listening that that is exactly what NC and other states want to do.

      • Oystein on June 3, 2012 at 13:58

        I would put up with a lot if it meant getting Oz off the air.

  23. C2U on May 30, 2012 at 12:54

    Licensing in this country is total bullshit. You have to be licensed to even do things like cut hair. CUT FUCKING HAIR! Are you kidding me?

    Just another way to milk the population for fees and create more government.

  24. Mick Hamblen on May 30, 2012 at 18:49

    If I’m flying in a jet I want a licensed pilot at the control. If I’m having surgery I want a licensed surgeon opening me up. The problem with licensed dietitians is that most of the info that they are dispensing comes from the USDA which seems to be owned and operated by Monsanto and other big ag companies. I would like to see what the licensing exam looks like.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2012 at 19:31

      Licensed by whom?

      • Mick Hamblen on May 31, 2012 at 04:38

        A group of their peers. I wouldn’t expect a surgeon running a test on a pilot and yes I think their should be some govmint standard. A bit of a anarchist are you Richard?

      • Richard Nikoley on May 31, 2012 at 13:21

        “A group of their peers.”

        Good. But without getting into the infinite regression of who licenses the peers, peers of peers, etc., why should there be a “government standard?”

        What’s wrong with a rational standard, and everyone is on their own?

        At the end of the day, this is always about human animals fighting to stay locked up in the zoo, to have all decisions made for them, and to live in ignorant bliss that they’re safe because someone they voted for promised to keep them safe.

      • Richard Nikoley on May 31, 2012 at 13:23

        “A bit of a anarchist are you Richard? ”

        Ha, 20 years and counting. Atheist too. Go figure.

        On the other hand, I’m a pure anarchist. I have zero designs for anyone else’s life, and no utopia to sell. Life’s a mess. I like it that way and I’m willing to take my chances.

        But I am forward looking an benevolent. I’m taking my chances for the children (get it?). :)

  25. Paul on May 31, 2012 at 05:55

    Richard, keep the Video Interviews coming! I enjoy them and you seem so calm than in some of your rantings :D

  26. Vince on June 1, 2012 at 10:15

    I have worked in the health and wellness industry for several years now, I make a living helping people with diabetes and other chronic diseases with nutritional and lifestyle advice, during these years I have taken my share of insults and prejudice comments from some of the local dieticians, I’m not “painting them all with the same brush” for I think I would just be as closed minded for thinking this as those (dieticians) of who are not open to the Paleo or any other nutritional philosophies that offer a sound and healthy alternative to the US food pyramid or the Canadian food guide as the only way to eat!

    In the beginning it really frustrated me for some reason, but now I could not care less! There are so many people that need guidance and help with their nutritional choices that it’s a waste of time to worry about what is being said.

    But in Steve Cooksey’s situation, this is something altogether different!

    I will following this very closely! and offer good luck in this fight Steve!!

  27. Time to boycott dietitians? « The Low-Carb Curmudgeon on July 10, 2012 at 19:48

    […] American Dietetic Association’s true motivations in committing such first-world atrocities as attempting to shut down (and succeeding in censoring) diabetic Paleo blogger Steve Cooksey. tl;dr version*: the American Dietetics Association is more interested in protecting and even […]

  28. Dr Shirley Mcilvenny on August 15, 2012 at 19:43

    Hi Steve
    After having read of your troubles, I would like to invite you to join our Food Coach Institute. I am a family doctor and I run nutrition training program promoting the same nutritional advice – a moderate paleo, low inflammation diet for high cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure.

    This is a government certified course and fills a gap in the training between dieticians and other health practitioners, personal trainers etc. Our graduates obtain prof indemnity to give nutrition advice. Please contact me for further info, regards Shirley

  29. Media Coverage Of Steve | on March 9, 2016 at 14:37

    […] This is notable because Richard Nikoley ( was an early mentor. He wrote a series of post about the case […]

  30. […] regulator scheme, he got The Institute for Justice to pony up for an initiatory lawsuit and I got two hours to break the story before the press release. He won: Laf Laf Laf. The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition Gets Itself […]

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