North Carolinian Steve Cooksey had gone through an intense personal journey he wanted to share with the world. He had been obese, diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, and almost keeled over, but emerged from his near-death experience to adopt a simple, “Caveman” or paleo diet of meat, nuts, and veggies along with exercise. He lost a lot of weight, felt great and healthy, and wanted to share with the world, so he started a blog, wherein he dispensed advice about food and fitness. Recipes, grocery lists, general advice.
The state of North Carolina declared this illegal “counseling and assessing” without a license provided by the state. For three years, he has been fighting for the right to blog without a license. The Carolina Journal broke this story of unnecessary government intervention in 2012. (Full disclosure: My dad works there.)
CHARLOTTE (AP) — A North Carolina blogger who writes about nutrition said Friday he feels vindicated in his long-running free speech fight with a state agency over his online posts.
Steve Cooksey sued the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition three years ago after it tried to censor his blog. The agency said it had received a complaint that he provided “nutrition care services” without a license.
But the board this month adopted new guidelines allowing people to give ordinary diet advice without a government license. In return, Cooksey dropped his First Amendment rights lawsuit.
Cooksey said that means his blog will again advocate eating the low-carbohydrate, meat-and-vegetables diet that he says helped save his life.
“I’m happy and excited. This case has helped raise awareness of nutritional guidelines and the battles we have with government intervention,” he said.
As with most occupational licensing requirements, they’re most important to the members of the industry who are already licensed, and are often used to prevent the success of upstarts in said industry. Just last week, I pointed to a Colorado case just like this, in which an employee of a licensed state yoga chain is also a regulator imposing licensing requirements on yoga studios.
Cooksey’s win is a win for all those who value his advice and the increasing number of stay-at-home entrepreneurs who are finding ever-more interesting services to offer willing customers without the blessing of the state. Thanks, free market!
The Institute for Justice represented Cooksey. Their video on his struggle is great: