If you go to Reason.com, the leading libertarian news site, you will find some troll-like commentary aimed at those voting yes on Prop 37 in California.
There are five sides of this debate that and people may fall into multiple categories, making this tough for some:
A Libertarian Philosophy that says no to any government regulation:
This is the Reason.com category. This is how their response should have gone:
The Prop 37 vote in California is a typical overreach of government. Despite a multitude of monstrosities committed by Monsanto and other GMO companies in the past to leverage the state to their benefits and then overpower organic farmers in the name of science and commerce, Prop 37 would in essence be fighting evil (government) with evil (government). This is what government does, allows companies to patent seeds and then years later gets hailed as a savior for bringing those same companies down. We will not fall for it.
A Consumer that wants a measure of protection from GMO foods when it’s tough to research:
These people just want to know and really don’t want to research things on their own.
A human who never wants to think about scientific research when eating foods:
This person looks at this as an issue for humanity, human health and the eco systems.
A Person who works for or benefits in some way from GMO companies:
There are tremendous financial implications at play here so GMO advocates are popping out from under the woodwork.
A Person who works for or benefits in some way from Organic companies:
Same deal, opposite foot. Organic farmers are looking for a victory and this could be it.
Government regulations will rarely be effective in driving the economy and the health of the public forward. That is one truth that helps the “No” movement. Here are some more Reason.com won’t talk about:
GMO comapnies are leveraging the government to patent their seeds and farm animals
Michael Taylor, senior adviser for the FDA
Raw Milk under attack
And on and on…
The government has been on the side of GMO/Pesticide companies since the beginning. The organic (real food) movement has existed despite decisions made in court rooms, not because of it. Prop 37 in California could be a major victory, despite the wave of corporate momentum against it.
Without the Historical Perspective, Objection is Understandable
Recent articles published by Rense.com fail to mention anything in historical context and instead dive straight into the “science” and “free choice” arguments, the latter of which is understood. Failure to mention any of the past autrocities by companies like Monsanto and making it sound like Organic has is bullying the government is unreasonable, or without reason.
They also make the common error in creating a false paradigm which states: consumers may actually prefer GMO over organic (real food).
Here is a quote by Ronald Bailey, a science correspondent at Reason magazine and author of Liberation Biology (Prometheus):
The Proposition 37 petition asserts that “genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable, and they can lead to adverse health or environmental consequences.” All of these claims, quoted from the findings and declarations section of the initiative, are solidly contradicted by the scientific consensus regarding biotech crops.
Any adverse health consequences? After reviewing all the scientific evidence, the NAS report concluded, “To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.” In 2003, the International Council for Science (ICSU) representing 111 national academies of science and 29 scientific unions issued a report declaring, “Currently available genetically modified foods are safe to eat.” The ICSU pointedly added, “There is no evidence of any ill effects from the consumption of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.” With regard to eating foods made from biotech crops, the World Health Organization flatly states, “No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.
Bailey then goes on to discuss the piling on by the Democratic party and environmentalist groups like Greenpeace (Plus folks like Bill Maher). This is a valid point but he concludes without mention of how this would be the first major victory within the government realm for the natural food movement, nor is there a mention of the devious tactics used by GMO companies. He also fails to mention the ‘grassroots’ momentum against GMO’s compared to the corporate lobbying efforts by GMO giants.
For those who oppose GMO, the more people talk about science maniplating their foods, no matter the results, the less they want to eat it. So talking about scientific research is not something people want to hear about when they eat. It is not appetizing. Apparently the author is one of those rare birds who does not think this way.
He includes a disclosure:
I sold the few shares of Monsanto stock I bought with my own money years ago. As far as I know, I own no shares in any agricultural biotech company. Finally, I generally eat organic foods only when I am served them by others, e.g., by friends and at restaurants. They usually taste OK.
Let’s all just assume the author is not a health nut. In addition, let’s all assume he loves to troll natural food enthusiasts and that he prefers food that is not real, for whatever reason that could be.
Attorney Baylen Linnekin followed up later with a “neutral” article of his own. He sates:
The nonprofit I lead, Keep Food Legal, neither advocates in favor of nor against GMOs (consistent with our advocacy of food choice, rather than food choices). So I’m neither here to extol the virtues of GMOs nor to damn their evils.
But on the issue of mandatory GMO labeling, I view Prop 37 as needless meddling in consumer choice and an unconstitutional intrusion into both the economic rights of food sellers and the FDA’s authority in the area of food labeling.
Baylen’s view here makes sense without knowing the past. For him to make these statements without mentioning food patents, lobbyists and the rest is an indication that this lawyer’s nonprofit organization is suspect.
Both of the articles make some solid points but there is a clear agenda at play. If you have a problem with government involvement in food then it makes no sense to forget to discuss government involvement in the domination seen by GMO companies in the food market. Are we to believe both authors just forgot to mention that?
When reading proposition 37, like all government regulation, it is cringe worthy. Plus, it does not even cover half of the foods that it should, if you think labeling should be mandatory. That is a point that is valid and should be recognized by all.
But when you watch clips like the one below, it is Reason.com that becomes cringeworthy and that is unfortunate. This is not to hate on trolls because many bloggers get sucked into that marketing ploy, it’s the way the information was presented that shows a core disconnect that goes beyond free markets and Prop 37.