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Starving and Freezing So Others Might Be Hippies

I agreed to roast the corn at this past weekend’s neighborhood holiday block party if my neighbor bought it. Well, actually he offered to buy it because he insisted it be non-GMO.    This was on the eve of the Monsanto march thing, so I roll with it since my job is the same. I can indulge a hippie in this instance and it hurts no one.

Unfortunately, he (claims he) scoured all the usual food outlets and came up empty on the non-GMO corn and showed up with none.  So I had to leave the party and make a last minute run to the corporate-chain-mega-grocer where I usually buy my food, you know, the one that disses unions and hippies alike.

Therein lies the microcosm of the hippie approach to GMO food.  It’s acceptable for you to go without, so they can achieve some larger social ends and do good in their own minds.

We still have starvation in this world not because it’s overpopulated and we can’t produce enough (hippie hot buttons for another day), but because we can’t get food where we need to.  Sadly, most starving people in this world are that way because of their governments.  Most of those are run by central planners.  Look at that famous night time satellite photo of the two Koreas.

But we also lose a lot of agriculture due to disease and drought conditions.  Many parts of the world can’t grow enough food to save their lives.  From findcommonground.com:

  • Growing food with GMOs can result in better-tasting fruits and vegetables that stay fresh longer and are naturally resistant to insects. Plant breeding also results in crops better able to withstand the environmental challenges of drought, disease and insect infestations.
  • By developing special traits in plants, biotechnology allows for more food to be grown in more places using fewer chemicals and fewer natural resources.
  • This increased availability of crops provides significant economic gains to farmers in developing countries.
  • An Iowa State University study shows that without biotechnology, global prices would be nearly 10 percent higher for soybeans and 6 percent higher for corn.
  • Biotechnology also benefits the environment. A Council for Agricultural Science and Technology report says biotech soy, corn and cotton have decreased soil erosion by 90 percent, preserving 37 million tons of topsoil. Biotech crops also provide a 70 percent reduction in herbicide runoff and an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • According to USDA, biotech crops may provide enhanced quality traits such as increased levels of beta-carotene in rice to aid in reducing vitamin A deficiencies and improved oil compositions in canola, soybeans and corn. Crops with the ability to grow in salty soils or to better withstand drought conditions are also in the works.
  • USDA also says research on potatoes, squash, tomatoes and other crops continues in a similar manner to provide resistance to diseases that otherwise are very difficult to control.
  • Growing food with GMOs can result in better-tasting fruits and vegetables that stay fresh longer and are naturally resistant to insects. Plant breeding also results in crops better able to withstand the environmental challenges of drought, disease and insect infestation.

Opponents of GMOs or GE foods wrap themselves in the seeming innocence of labeling. Colorado State University points out:

  • Mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods in the United States has been proposed, but not enacted, at the national, state, and local levels.
  • Those in favor of labeling emphasize consumers’ right to know what’s in their food.
  • Opponents of labeling point out the expense and logistical difficulties of labeling, and the fact that no significant differences have been found between GE and conventional foods.
  • Implementation of mandatory labeling will require resolution of several complex technical issues.

In a word, it’s not impossible to cost effectively impose the kind of disclosure anti-GMO and GE crusades demand.  Like a lot of technological advancement, the cost of compliance and labeling threatens to eat up, so to speak, the benefits of the technology.

Hybridization was the precursor of GMO and has been around as long as humans grew food.  Weaker traits were bred out, while more robust and productive crops were used to create heartier varieties. GMO and GE take that a step further, but it’s still human intervention into the hit or miss of natural selection.  It’s how we feed more people.

The bigger caterwaul against GMO food has little to do with the crops and everything to do with perceived cronyism. The so-called Monsanto Protection Act is  less about labeling as it is giving courts bigger sticks to rule on FDA and environmental issues.  In other words, the same judge that ordered Plan B be sold to 15 year old girls will be given latitude to kill GMO and GE crop production in the absence of any science, but rather in deference to whomever can best and most politically lawyer up. And it’s disappointing to see my libertarian friends adopting the anti-corporate rhetoric of the left, and picking a target and freezing it, e.g., Monsanto.

Opposition to fracking is the other junk science shoe hippies drop.  California still sits on massive oil reserves it won’t tap to their fullest extent either conventionally or via fracking.  Groups like the Center For Biological Diversity want fracking stopped altogether pending “further study,” which is hippie speak for never.  The economic and social booms resulting from fracking across the country are renowned.  And documentaries such as Fracknation have blown the cover off the environmental misinformation spouted as science.  If hippies get their way, California’s only boom will be transfer payments to perpetually unemployed and underemployed residents, and a job and brain drain to states like Texas with no end in sight. We are being talked out of 15 billion barrels of oil and millions of jobs that come with it.  Even Jerry Brown has dollar signs in his eyes over the vast tax revenue.

The one-two punch against GMO food supplies and fracking to acquire more energy resources are hippies’ signature moves.  Frustrate technological advancement, wealth and well-being creation, no matter what the social costs.  Feed the dependency leviathan, not the advances that feed the people. Nurture cronies like solar and electric car manufacturers and high speed train developers, which waste billions and benefit almost nobody, rather than turn loose entrepreneurial inventiveness which costs government nothing and returns unlimited social and economic benefits.

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