One day in late spring in the early days of the George W. Bush administration, FDA inspectors visited the headquarters of Sargento cheese in Plymouth, Wisconsin—a routine visit as part of the federal government’s efforts to ensure the safety of the food we eat. The inspectors took samples of cheese to test for bacteria. Sargento conducted tests on cheese from the same lot. A week later, the results from both sets of tests were in—the cheese was bacteria-free. Sargento, having gotten the all-clear from the government, shipped the cheese to stores across the country.

Two months later, however, the FDA called back. There had been a mistake. A subsequent test had found traces of listeria—bacteria that can be fatal if ingested by people with immunodeficiencies. Sargento retested their samples. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture conducted an independent test. The FDA retested, too. The results of the testing confirmed the earlier tests—the cheese was bacteria-free and fine to eat.

But the FDA has a “zero tolerance” policy on listeria and formally recommended that Sargento recall the cheese. Sargento pushed back on the decision, pointing out that multiple tests—internal and governmental, taken before and after the test that found listeria—had found the cheese bacteria-free. The FDA then made the kind of demand that only the government can make: Either you issue a “voluntary” recall or we will order you to do it.

Faced with such a “choice”—Sargento recalled 108,000 pounds of cheese. Word spread quickly. According to an internal study conducted by the company, the recall was reported on 269 local television and radio stations and in more than 200 newspapers. It made the CNN Headline News half-hour loop, triggering a flood of calls from panicked customers so overwhelming that Sargento had to set up a separate call center to handle the volume.

One month after the government forced Sargento to issue a “voluntary” recall, FDA regional director Gary Pierce wrote to Sargento CEO Lou Gentine with an update. The anomalous test was an anomaly for a reason: It was wrong. The test that found listeria was “incorrect,” Pierce explained, noting that the FDA regretted “the difficulties this has caused your company.” The agency quietly removed the recall notice from its website. The FDA’s mistake did not make local TV and radio newsbreaks. It was not featured on the CNN Headline News loop. The cheese had been destroyed. Sargento was left to calculate its losses. The FDA refused to respond to repeated media inquiries about the error.

The kicker: When it was all over, Sargento officials praised the regulators who had just cost them millions in lost profits and future business. “Although there was a lab error in this particular unusual case, we continue to be supportive of FDA’s important role to ensure the wholesomeness of the food supply,” Gentine said in a statement. A company spokesman echoed those sentiments. “It’s a big job they have, and they don’t make this kind of mistake very often.”

Why would a company defend regulators whose mistake caused them so much hardship and whose intimidating tactics cost them millions? “We are regulated by the FDA,” the spokesman said. “Everything we do.”

It’s an attitude that conjures images of the memorable scene from Animal House in which fraternity pledge Kevin Bacon answers each swat to his behind with a call for more punishment. “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”

Such major errors are relatively rare. But the authoritarian conduct of federal government agencies and those who represent them is all too common. The federal agents who threaten to shut down family farms if they find that a migrant worker has provided his employer with fake documents. Officials at the Consumer Product Safety Commission who protect Americans from products far less dangerous than their sofas and their bathtubs. The EPA regulators who have sought to regulate ditches as wetlands. The IRS agents who target political opponents of the administration in power. Career employees at the Department of Education whose expansive interpretation of Title IX leads to restrictions of free speech on campuses across the country. FDA administrators blocking approval of life-saving drugs for fear of bad drugs making it to market. And on and on and on it goes.

Over the past century, these unelected agents of the state have accumulated incalculable unchecked power. They’re unaccountable to voters, intimidating to those they regulate, and often dismissive of legislators who theoretically oversee their work.

This is the administrative state.

When Donald Trump says he wants to dismantle it, conservatives should stand and applaud. So should liberals and independents and anyone who believes that the federal government should be accountable to those whose consent gives it legitimacy.

In 2015, the federal government produced 237 volumes of regulatory code filling nearly 200,000 pages. Federal regulations cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion a year, according to some estimates. These numbers have grown inexorably under Republican and Democratic presidents. Trump says he wants to stop that growth—maybe even reverse it. And according to a report from Zeke Miller at Time magazine, his White House counsel, Don McGahn, has put together a team of lawyers with vast experience in and around the federal bureaucracy to lead the fight.

“Article I is the Congress, Article II is the President. Article III are the courts. And then there’s this administrative state, combining all three,” McGahn told Time. “They make the law, they enforce the law, and then they decide who violates the law, destroying the constitutional separation of powers that was designed to protect individual liberty.”

This is exactly right.

According to Time, McGahn and his team plan to take advantage of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that gives individuals more power to challenge the rulings of federal agencies. “Too often agencies impose penalties without basic due process,” McGahn told Time. “Before imposing a penalty or negative ruling, those accused should get an opportunity to be heard. It is fundamentally unfair to do otherwise.”

There are reasons to be skeptical that Trump can defeat the administrative state—or even succeed in taming it. Power acquired over a century will not be given up easily. And there are now vast bureaucracies and thriving Washington law practices that exist solely to guard the administrative state from the voters whose lives are affected—directly or indirectly—by its decisions.

But even if Trump’s attempt to take on the administrative state fails, it’s worth the effort. Simply by announcing the fight, Trump is telling businesses and individuals bullied by federal bureaucracies that they have a powerful ally if they decide to fight back. And it’s worth fighting.

The war is not over. Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

Let’s do it.