Baylen Linnekin: Debating Food Policy Requires Agreeing on Some Norms


Farmers Market
Public Domain

When it comes to food policy, many advocates write pointedly and passionately on topics they care about. And they reach vastly different conclusions. A problem? No way. It's the bedrock of discourse. But undergirding discourse is the need for opposing parties to agree to some norms. In the scientific setting, that includes reference to peer-reviewed science. In the legal realm, that includes referencing legal scholars and experts. Whether in science or in law, it also includes acknowledging those who think differently and (if need be) explaining why you've reached the conclusions you have.

Don't like those norms? That's fine. Everyone is and should be free to play by different rules. It's just that, writes Baylen Linnekin, their opinions should matter less. As the saying goes, everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.