I listen to a podcast call History of English, and it is great. In a recent episode, the host was talking about food words. One of the words was garbage, which first appeared in the written record in 1379. It mean, basically, the unpleasant innards of birds. You could eat it, but you probably wouldn’t.
Or, at least, you wouldn’t eat it except on purpose. But, apparently, you would eat it if you thought you were eating something else. And, further, apparently, in London, by the time 1379 rolled around, enough people were eating garbage pies passed off as pasties that an ordinance was adopted to prohibit that sort of thing.
It could be pricey to do be a purveyor of garbage pasties. The first offense could cost you a fine of 6 shillings, 8 pence, maybe jail time too. Second garbage pasty? Cough up 13 shillings, 4 pence, and maybe jail time. Third time? Twenty shillings, and maybe jail time.
So, when you hear from someone who thinks government regulation is a bad idea, remember this. For more than 600 years it has been illegal to sell chicken guts baked in dough, because lying about selling chicken guts baked in dough is a thing people will do.
Words on a page won’t stop someone from lying about things, but holding liars accountable for causing harm to the community with their lies is how we draw the line between civilization and the outer darkness.