Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Commerce of Fragrance: Politics Obtrudes

The current congress has re-introduced a thoroughly bad bill that seeks to over-regulate and impede the ability of American companies and individual citizens to make and sell their own perfume creations. Not surprisingly, H.R. 2359, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, has caused an uproar in the smelly blogosphere. Anya McCoy of the Natural Perfumers Guild has been sounding the alarm, as has Robert Tisserand, who says the bill “is over-reaching, unworkable and unnecessary.” In a post at PersonalCareTruth he gives ten cogent reasons why you should not support it.

I applaud those who are standing up to this Nanny State effort to regulate to death perfumes and cosmetics. Here at FirstNerve, I have not been shy in calling out those who want to control what you eat, where you can smoke, what you can drive, what fragrance you wear, and what you must strap onto your head when you ride a bicycle. No doubt I strike some readers as a bit cranky, but a little bit of cranky—along with eternal vigilance—is the price of freedom.

In the spirit of calling out the nannies, I took a closer look at the members of congress behind the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011. The bill was introduced by Rep. Janice Schakowsky and has twelve co-sponsors, listed below. I also provide their 2010 voting ratings as compiled by the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action. The ADA rates each member of congress from 0 to 100% based on 20 key votes. A 100% rating makes the legislator an “ADA Hero” and proudly identifies them as among the most liberal members of congress.
H.R. 2359, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011


Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D, IL-9] 95%

Rep. Tammy Baldwin [D, WI-2] 100%
Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1] 85%
Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D, OR-3] 100 %
Rep. Judy Chu [D, CA-32] 100%
Rep. Diana DeGette [D, CO-1] 95%
Rep. Barney Frank [D, MA-4] 100%
Rep. Luis GutiƩrrez [D, IL-4] 90%
Rep. Barbara Lee [D, CA-9] 95%
Rep. Edward Markey [D, MA-7] 100%
Rep. James Moran [D, VA-8] 100%
Rep. D. Wasserman Schultz [D, FL-20] 90%
Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D, CA-6] 100%
So who are the nannies in this case? They are all Democrats. They are also among the most liberal or, if you prefer, the most progressive members of the House: seven of them are “ADA Heroes.”

Nannyism has a face, and it’s not the face of mean, old conservatives who want to starve poor children and de-fund cowboy poetry festivals. The face of Nannyism is the condescending smile of people who are smarter than you, who know better than you how your business should run and whether, indeed, your business deserves to keep running. The sponsors of H.R. 2359 are not just misinformed about the facts of cosmetic and fragrance safety; they are philosophically at odds with the practical concerns of small business owners, and they have an expansive view of the federal government’s role in our daily lives.

They need to be set straight.

Call the bill’s sponsors—phone numbers are at this link. Members of Congress no longer have direct email addresses; if you live in the district of one of the bill’s sponsors, send a message via the web form at this link.


AnyasGardenPerfumes said...

Avery, thank you so much for this link-rich, funny skewer of the faces of Nannyism. After years of blogging about the FDA Globalization Act (many of the same players) and other EU and FDA-fueled attacks on our small businesses, veiled as protection, I burned out. I realized I didn't have enough political savvy to really be at the forefront of the opposition.

Thankfully, folks such as yourself are there to take up the cause. I'll be linking to this in my next blog, which will quote Donna Marie Johnson and Robert Tisserand, both of whom I deeply admire for their ability to read the dreadful proposed laws and succinctly pull out the main points to educate us on how it will hurt our small businesses, some of which, I am sure, are cowboy poetry festivals ;-)

PS the next Guild project, due to launch Oct. 1st is a turbo-charged version of Outlaw Perfume. SCA 2011 be damned.

Unknown said...

You tell 'em Avery! I agree with every word.

Guerilla Perfumer said...

I agree with your points about nannyism Avery but I would also like to see your ire targeted at the NGO’s that are feeding this stinking fodder to the porcine with power. All suinae constantly want to be sated and the ones you list believe that the general population wants this bill, they loving their loyal subjects by giving them what they want! The fact is the so called ‘consumer groups’ will say anything to create a fracas as disruption is the only way they can maintain the revenue stream. These types of lobbyist are only in it for their own existence and expansion of ego. They are definitely not in it for the good of the people, for safety or health. If they were they would inform themselves of the scientific facts and act accordingly. I clearly jest about the politicians only acting on the behalf of their constituents; they too are trying to increase their public reputation with grandstanding tactics. Much the same as a D celebrity nudeing up or causing a fight to keep his or her photo in the glossy magazines.

Avery Gilbert said...


None of us being full-time lobbyists, we have to do what we can as citizens to push back against regulatory overreach and the limitless expansion of federal involvement into every corner of our personal and commercial lives.

Johnson and Tisserand pick apart the absurdities and contradictions in the proposed law; I shine a light on the politics. And you rock the whole show with Outlaw Perfume. Good arguments and political savvy all count, but showmanship and ability to catch the public's attention might just be the critical element.

Avery Gilbert said...


OK! (I'll stop there so as not to risk my 100% approval rating . . .)

Avery Gilbert said...

Guerilla Perfumer:

I agree. Do-gooder groups sustain themselves by driving their contributors into a lather about impending catastrophe and by demonizing critics. The environmentalist lobby is a good example. When Bjorn Lomborg pointed out that we have, in fact, made a lot of progress toward cleaner water, cleaner air, and cleaner cars, the environmental groups went into DefCon 4 and tried to drive him out of his university position. They can't tolerate an admission of progress because it undercuts their perpetual doomsday fundraising scenario.

I try to push back here at FirstNerve. I did everything but tell the David Suzuki Foundation in so many words to take its phony anti-fragrance crusade and shove it. If you have any other bogus groups in mind let me know--I'm always looking for material!

Guerilla Perfumer said...

Ah yes I forgot about your erudite blog about that particular noisy old bike. As for new targets, maybe you should ride together with Robert Tisserand in opposition to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (SFCS) and Environmental Working Group (EWG) ah la the Cisco Kid and Poncho. (I won’t say who should play who….)