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Murdock: What do liberals want? Control

Modern liberalism has little to do with sticking up for the little guy or comforting the poor. It’s all about telling people what to do — around the clock. Amplifying the efforts of the often busybody Bush administration, Obama has replaced Uncle Sam with a giant millipede whose spindly limbs reach everywhere. There seems to be no detail too minute nor any activity too obscure to escape what today’s liberals crave more than anything else: Control.

- The recently released Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions is to red tape what trailers are to motion pictures. Every six months, via this document, 55 different federal departments, agencies and boards preview their coming attractions. The Energy Department, for instance, is producing 80 new rules, such as: “Energy Conservation Standards for Wine Chillers” and “Test Procedures for Ceiling Fans.” The 182 regulations in the Commerce Department’s pipeline include “Fishing Vessel Capital Construction Fund Procedures,” “Pacific Coast Whiting Fishery for 2014,” and “Red Snapper Allocation.” The Environmental Protection Agency is developing 132 new regulations including “Rulemaking on the Definition of Solid Waste.”

- The EPA dislikes the wood-burning stoves that heat some 12 million U.S. homes. So, it is requiring that new stoves be 80 percent cleaner, a truly fanciful objective. If you live in a rural area — far from the natural-gas grid — good luck warming your house, especially since propane nearly has doubled in price, thanks to the brutal winter.

- A group of parents in Plymouth, Mich., raised some $15,000 in private money and built a new set of bleachers for the local high school’s boys baseball field. The new, stadium-style seats offered comfort and improved sightlines.

“Foul!” yelled the umpires at the U.S. Department of Education. This new, privately financed structure violated Title IX, they complained, since the girls softball field had no such renovations. So, did the bleachercrats from Washington demand similar benches for the girls field? Incredibly, the feds ordered the school to yank out the new seats overlooking the boys field.

- Brewers and ranchers have had a lovely arrangement for decades. The fermented grains that make beer happen settle in barrels, once the good stuff gets poured off. Rather than dump this residue, they sell it to cattle farmers. The cows love this brewing byproduct. It fills their multiple bellies and likely gets them buzzed, to boot.

This symbiosis is just too much for the Food and Drug Administration, which is mulling new ways to force brewers to clean their spent grain before delivering it as livestock feed. The unproven risk that something might go wrong is just way more than the feds can tolerate. So, new regulations threaten to hike costs and frustrate those who bring us suds and steaks.

- Likewise, the FDA has decided that, after centuries of doing so safely, artisanal cheese makers no longer can be trusted to use wood planks to age cheese. The Dairy and Egg Branch of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition fears that the wood planks might let bacteria multiply. Of course, there are good bacteria, without which digestion would be impossible. Some cheeses produce such benign bacteria, which make them delicious. Try explaining that to FDA’s germophobomaniacs. Maybe they should fret instead about hospital infections, which kill some 103,000 Americans annually. Wood-aged cheese cannot claim such a death toll.

- First lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to police government-school cafeterias are backfiring badly. Local-school administrators are pinned down by federal rules that govern caloric intake, whole-grain content and whether “vegetable subgroups” are “dark green, red/orange” or just “starchy.” Consequently, unimpressed kids dump unappetizing food by the ton.

The Chicago Tribune quoted a suburban parent exasperated by Washington, D.C.’s micromismanagement of what kids eat in Wheeling, Ill. — 727 miles away from the White House. Said George Marquez: “The government can’t control everything.”

Alas, Obama & Co. are working feverishly to prove George Marquez wrong.

Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.