With deep historic ties to the US, the gang here at Stately Prick Manor has watched with increasing dismay as America – and specifically the once-great engine of freedom, creativity, and prosperity (funny how these things tend to go together) known as California – has slid into a torpor of slowly-hardening statism. Which is why I am happy to see the sparks of liberty have not been fully extinguished with one San Francisco restaurant exploiting a loophole to allow it to continue to serve foie gras, recently banned in California, at its Bastille Day dinner:
Housed in a converted infantry barracks on a former U.S. Army base, the Presidio Social Club never attracted much attention from San Francisco’s avid gourmets — until Saturday night.
That’s when foie gras lovers descended on the restaurant to have their first taste of the delicacy since California imposed a ban on July 1.
Animal rights activists fought for the law because they detest the way foie gras is made: farmers force-feed ducks or geese to fatten their livers. Some fans of traditional French cuisine find the ban just as hard to swallow.
The restaurant owner, Ray Tang, and its general manager, Maureen Donegan, reasoned that the restaurant can legally ignore state law because the Presidio, now managed mostly as a national park, has remained federal property even after being decommissioned by the Army. Businesses on federal property must adhere to federal regulations, which trump state ones, they say.
Of course, “activists” are urging officials to shut the loophole, because G-d forbid people should be allowed to eat what they want. Three cheers for Tang and Donegan, and to hell with all those who would use the law to enforce their own middle-class morality. Conditions at any factory farm would be far worse than your typical foie gras operation, but foie is an easy target because it’s expensive and people enjoy it. Much harder to rally a class war when your target is bland skinless chicken breasts.
To coin a phrase, if you think the government should stay out of your bedroom but peek in your fridge, you might be a liberal.
It also says something that an American restaurant is using the French national day rather than the 4th of July as the hook for their delicious act of rebellion.