Biotechnology

Washington Post Calls Out "Anti-GMO Fundamentalists"

|

Killer Tomatoes

Last month, a bunch of idiots, I mean, voters in two Oregon counties banned farmers from planting modern biotech crops on their own land. Various other states are considering ballot initiatives that would require foods made using ingredients from biotech crops be labelled as such. Here's a hint to the superstitious: a huge proportion of America's corn and soy crop are genetically enhanced. So since practically all processed foods in the U.S. contain either corn sugar or soy oil and meal or both, make your food purchase decisions by simply looking on the labels for those ingredients.

The Washington Post's editorial board published a superb opinion piece today denouncing the anti-scientific asininity of the Oregon voters:

GENETICALLY MODIFIED crops have increased the productivity and improved the lives of farmers — and the people who depend on them — all over the world. Now, they are banned in two counties in Oregon.

Voters in two Oregon counties have chosen to outlaw the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the productive Rogue Valley. They are not the only ones going in the wrong direction. Several places in California, Hawaii, Maine and Washington state also have bans in place, though the Oregon counties are the first in which GMOs had been actively cultivated…

There is no mainstream scientific evidence showing that foods containing GMOs are any more or less harmful for people to consume than anything else in the supermarket, despite decades of development and use. If that doesn't convince some people, they have the option of simply buying food bearing the "organic" label. There is no need for the government to stigmatize products with a label that suggests the potential for harm. Outright bans, meanwhile, are even worse than gratuitous labeling…

The application of current biotechnological tools to agriculture offers a wide array of benefits , benefits that are only beginning to be seen. There is the potential to create crops that are easier to grow, better for the environment and more nutrient-rich. Smart genetic modification is one important tool available to sustain the world's growing multitudes. Making good on that promise will require both an openness to the technology and serious investment in GMOs within wealthy countries. The prospect of helping to feed the starving and improve the lives of people across the planet should not be nipped because of the self-indulgent fretting of first-world activists…

…there is nothing reasonable about anti-GMO fundamentalism. Voters and their representatives should worry less about "Frankenfood" and more about the vast global challenges that genetically modified crops can help address.

See also my article, "The Top Five Lies About Biotech Crops."

NEXT: Shadow Economy Booms as People Flee Red Tape and Poverty in Developing Countries

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I suspect you’re going to see genetically modified crops sold on Amazon soon. FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    1. http://www.glowingplant.com/store

      Mine should be arriving this fall.

        1. Come to think of it, I may have actually read about it on Reason.

          1. Yup. Ron’s the one that told us about it.

            https://reason.com/blog/2013/10…..the-horror

  2. 6-5-4-3-2-1-0…
    MONSANTO!

    1. Monsanto is to agriculture as ___ is to political speech

  3. Party of SCIENCE, your table is ready.

  4. …make your food purchase decisions by simply looking on the labels for those ingredients.

    This isn’t about me. Sure, as an unemployed, nose-boned, upside-down-cross face tattooed Portland transplant, I have options when I shop for produce. But not everyone is so lucky.

    1. “Because of my privilege I’m aware of the harm of GMOs cause, but people without white privilege are too stupid to know that haven’t been taught how evil the white man’s impact on the natural world is”

  5. I hate these people with the fire of a thousand suns.

    They are summoning a new dark ages with the power of their ignorance.

    1. “Bring out your organic dead!”

      1. You’ll make fine fertilizer some day, my boy.

    2. You mean with the power of democracy, right?

      1. It’s so depressing that those two things tend to go together.

  6. Of course the progressives who claim the mantle of science and yet routinely act as the most vociferous Luddites I’ve ever seen where safe GMOs are concerned also fail to understand that genetic engineering has been a staple of humanity’s agricultural cultivation since the very beginnings of agrarian man. Selective breeding IS a form of genetic engineering.

    1. Cross-breeding isn’t putting starfish anus pucker genes into tomatoes!

    2. Somebody bred all of the punctuation out of your comment.

      1. Punctuation is a tool of the patriarchy. Check your damn privilege, Hugh.

  7. Making good on that promise will require both an openness to the technology and serious investment in GMOs within wealthy countries.

    Actually, freedom and the profit motive are all that are needed.

  8. Appropos…A good friend of mine is a VP for a local coffee roaster/company. They have completely bought into the whole “anti-GMO, organic, wind-powered energy” propaganda, and have also bought into OMG!!1! Six companies control 82% of the food brands!!

    To their credit, they’ve rejected the fair-trade nonsense, but not for a lack of trying, I’m sure. All of this matters not to me, they make damn fine coffees and it’s better than anything you can buy at any major store. But, that they have to signal all of this suburbo-yuppie bullshit for a business model is just so. fucking. tiresome.

    Bully that some people see value in this and which gets their cockles all a-twittering, but fucking hell. JUST MAKE GOOD COFFEE.

    1. Coffee’s for closers.

      1. Congratulations, you get the steak knives.

    2. Food is a lot like music and movies, in that if you want the best, you often to have to ignore the baggage that comes with it.

  9. Oh, Oregon.. sigh.

    /kicks pebble into the Willamette River.

  10. What about the hipster dumpster-divers? Will they agitate for labels on restaurant dumpsters to warn them of the potential GMO content of their free range second hand meals?

    1. My favorite are the ones that eat rotting meat, shit themselves, and then claim it is cleansing. I forget where I read about it, but it was something else.

  11. Voters in two Oregon counties have chosen to outlaw the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the productive Rogue Valley.

    How is this not a taking?

    Oh, that’s right, I forgot. Democracy is the sunshine that sanitizes every petty tyrant’s actions into puppies and butterflies.

    1. My copy of the social contract says it sanitizes into rainbow’s and unicorn farts.

      1. Heretic.

  12. There is no need for the government to stigmatize products with a label that suggests the potential for harm.

    Indeed: In June 2010, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy reclassified marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug.

  13. The thing is, humans are innately wired to be paranoid about food.
    The disgust instinct way overrides every sort of rational processing.
    You can tell a devout Muslim that he has eaten pork, and he will get physicially, psychosomatically ill.

    And all sorts of stupid irrational stuff is built upon the disgust instinct. Racism, for instance. Think about how southern whites would be grossed out at the idea of shaking hands with or sharing a drinking fountain with a black person. Same thing here.

    That why I hate the anti-GMO crowd so much. They are playing upon some of humanity’s worst instincts. They are just like racists. All that is going on in their brains is the stupid, short-circuiting ick-factor. And they manipulate other with that and lie and fan hysteria.

    If a technology can be lynched by a mob, that is effectively what is happening to GMOs.

    1. Considering they’re actively fighting against things that would actually help poor brown people in developing countries all the while talking condescendingly to them, they aren’t “just like racists”, they’re honest to god ones.

    2. It’s a stretch to say racism is based on the disgust instinct. I doubt Jim Crow Southern whites would have enjoyed the thought of drinking the spit of another white person, either.

      1. It’s not purely based on the disgust instinct, but it employs the disgust instinct to reinforce itself.
        A lot of stuff works that way.

        The Nazi’s used to compare Jews to rodents – rodents carry disease. The Hutus compared the Tutsis to cockroaches when they were inciting genocide against them.

        Disease metaphors have a nasty history because they employ the disgust instinct to override rational thought. It’s one of the easiest ways to whip stupid people into a hysterical frenzy.

        1. You know who else compared people he didn’t like to cockroaches?

          1. The Orkin Man?

        2. It’s not purely based on the disgust instinct, but it employs the disgust instinct to reinforce itself.

          It employs many instincts, yes. The rodent comparisons only appeared once Jews were already denigrated for unrelated reasons. Previously you stated that racism was “built on” disgust which is not quite defensible.

          I guess libertarians who label government workers as “parasites” are comparable to white supremacists and Nazis too?

          1. I would definitely avoid comparisons that invoke disgust. That’s my preference.

          2. [I guess libertarians who label government workers as “parasites” are comparable to white supremacists and Nazis too?]

            What do you have against Truth In Labeling?

    3. Please don’t engage in stereotyping of southern whites.

      1. I should have said some 50s era southern whites. I don’t doubt that southern whites are far less racist today than they were 70 years ago.

        1. Dat’s right. No racists up north, are there?

    4. Right! Because only Southern whites have ever been disgusted by another race.

      BRB, gotta tell Farrakhan you’re not buying his act.

  14. Farmers in the Oregon derp counties should really just ignore the vote results.

    1. Yeah, what are the derpsters going to do about it — *Invade the farmers’ land*?!

      1. This is what the 2A is for. They’ll get to ‘organically’ fertilize the land.

        1. Tell that to Cliven Bundy.

  15. We’ve secretly replace their regular GMO kitty litter with organic non-GMO kitty litter. Let’s see what happens.

    1. The Onion is kicking itself for not having made this up a few years earlier.

      Clearly an Office of Kitty Litter Standards and Enforcement is needed at the NRC.

  16. Of course GMO food is MUCH worse than food loaded with preservatives, or maybe not.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.