Friday, November 01, 2013

Hell no GMO will never go

A product comes along - maybe a process is a better word - a process comes along that solves a number of problems plaguing modern man, huge problems, and instead of rejoicing and singing its praises the reactionary left cooks up a boogieman and riles the masses into a frenzy.

Once again the pro-science crowd who revels in accusing their religious and conservative opponents of being knuckle-dragging luddites ignore the facts, ignore the actual science and promulgate lies to further an anti-human agenda. GMO derangement rivals climate change hysteria for the pinnacle of all manufactured doomsday scenario's.

Just as the concept of global warming has caused the average person to change his or her behavior (as well as lightening his or her wallet) the reactionary left has succeeded in turning the advantaged class against a literal miracle that would help the world's disadvantaged in a most profound way.

GMO food and GMO crops have already changed the world for the better. Not one person has been poisoned, not one stream has been polluted, not one bird has fallen from the sky because of GMO. It may surprise you that every respected scientific organization that has studied GM crops including such institutions as the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization, and others have found GM crops both safe for humans for and the environment. Yes, it's impossible to prove anything is completely without risk, it's worth noting that none of these organizations is in the tank for big agribusiness, yet they all agree that there’s simply no evidence that it’s dangerous to eat genetically modified foods. Notoriously skeptical science-oriented publications including Nature and Scientific American have also concluded there’s just no evidence that GMOs are bad for us.

So why the hysteria. Frankly, excellent marketing by the same types who brought you two terms of Barack Obama, the tar and feathering of the Tea Party and conservatism in general. While both sides cherry-pick evidence to support the positions they expound, the left slathers on the pure emotion of scare tactics that seem to work every time.

So successful have been the scare mongers that entire continents have banned GMO's. Ignoring actual benefits that could save millions from malnutrition and death the scare tactics are having an effect on the very nations and regions that could benefit the most. GMO's offer the farmer, any farmer, a cost benefit by reducing chemical usage, fuel usage and potentially larger yields due to less loss to insects. There is also the benefit to the poorly nourished by the injection of nutrients - such as vitamin A into rice - grown in regions where the deficiencies have a profound impact on the poor.

It would seem that with 7 billion humans to feed with a couple billion of them going hungry day after day that the benefits of GM food would outweigh the bull horn people. But it doesn't look that way. I think there a couple of reasons for this that have nothing to do with rational arguments. First, it is very hard to get the masses to rally around big -business. Pop culture in the West has made big-business literally toxic, deserved or not. And yes sometimes it is deserved. I will not stand up for some of the practices of agri-giant Monsanto. They use blackmail tactics and lawyers to gain and maintain market share in a way that would make the mafia's protection racket look like a boy scout jamboree. Business does what business can get away with and Monsanto and the other giant agri-business players have the best politicians money can buy. It doesn't necessarily mean their products are dangerous.

Secondly, many nations and regions see big agri-business as an extension of the United States. Cutting off your nose to spite your face is a long held tradition when it comes to protecting the home town team from being swallowed or crushed. American business can be a bit of a bull in a China shop so to speak. It still doesn't mean their motives beyond making profit are purposely destructive. That makes no business sense at all.

Finally, just like with "Climate Change" my belief is that the leftists have a far more sinister set of motives than any evil corporation that has ever existed. The anti-GMO crowd rather than being out to protect humanity from evil is bent of the reduction of the human population by orders of magnitude from today's numbers. GMO has the potential of allowing us to feed the world, pulling billions out of mere subsistence to thriving abundance - just as a warmer world is better for the survival of human beings than a colder one.

I don't think GMO foods or crops will go away anymore than nuclear energy did with a similar onslaught. However, poor safety practices in places like Chernobyl and Fukushima give the doomsayers ammunition, and rightly so. GM products have to be tested and studied with extreme vigilance - and that is the sliver lining provided by the rabid opposition.

Put that GMO tobacco in your pipe and smoke it!


PS: I have no stock (that I know of) in any agri-business. It's not that I trust big business all that much, I just distrust leftists that much more


Timothy Birdnow said...

Agreed! The Liberals are worried that EEEVVilll corporations are going to own the biosphere with this - a ridiculous idea, for certain.

I do have two concerns about GMO's:

1.Sterile seeds may lead to a loss of genetic diversity in organisms that provide for our benefit. For instance, we may lose many of the old-line varietals of fruits such as tomatoes or apples or grapes. Sadly, this happens whether we use GMO's or not, but that could accelerate the process.

2.Sterile seeds mean greater control of the population by government, since it then becomes difficult to feed onesself from his own land. Saving seed from one season to the next offered a food security that will be missing with these modified crops.

3.The biggest fear is in the mixing of human and animal DNA. Now, some people fear the creation of an intelligent hedgehog or whatnot which is silly, but there is a real concern. All species have a plethora of diseases that are evolved specifically to infect that organism. mixing human DNA with animal DNA may lead to the creation of new predator diseases that feed on human beings. Imagine a version of, say, Feline Leukemia that infects humans. It could be cause by the purest of motives - say the development of a pancreas that can be used to assist a human diabetic. Mix human DNA into a cat, then cut the pancreas out and insert it in a human (where, thanks to the DNA splicing it will not be rejected.) Works great till the guy comes down with Feline Leukemia. Then it spreads to the general population.

So, there are causes for concern but the Libs have, as usual, overblown them.