Link: The Most Controversial Tree in the World

Tending an ecosystem is hard. With all the interconnections it’s impossible to do just one thing. We should absolutely be skeptical of calls to engineer the environment from the top down, but we should also recognize that we’ve already been unintentionally doing so.

To me, the linked article raises interesting questions about the sort of common law restrictions on GMO that seem reasonable. Default infertility seems like an efficient Coasian compromise for industrial GMO. But the case of the American chestnut seems like an exciting opportunity to reverse an ecological tragedy.

This case seems like a good polar opposite to Jurassic Park on the spectrum of GMO threat/promise.

Are GMOs Bad For Me?

I am vaguely perceiving that there is a battle brewing someplace about labeling food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It happened in California before. The initiative lost by referendum.

Of course, I am almost always in favor of more information for the public (even when it’s likely to be used for mischief). However, I can’t avoid wondering why sellers of food products don’t just do it on their own to gain a marketing advantage over their competitors. Not getting an answer to this question, I am wondering whether this is not just another case of a minority using the power of the state to impose its views (by force) on the indifferent majority. Keep in mind that this is what the word “law” means: If you break it, you expose yourself to official violence.

I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with GMOs. I only know that they (one?) allowed for a reduced use of pesticides. This has to be a good thing because exposure to large amounts of pesticides is bad for the health of producers and handlers. (I doubt today’s pesticides cause much harm to consumers but I always wash fruits and salad components.) I invited a local libertarian who addressed the topic on Facebook to write an essay for this blog explaining the answer. That was only a couple of days ago. He has not responded. I repeat the invite, to anyone.

What am I supposed to do, I, simple citizen and consumer not especially well equipped to ascertain if GMOs are a threat or not to my beloved? As I keep telling you, fortunately, I don’t necessarily have to go to graduate school yet three or four more years to get an idea. Instead, I look at the proponents I know.

In my area, the people who fight GMOs are mostly (but not only) foofoo heads who overlap a great deal, I think, with those who cancel erotically promising dates on the basis of astrology. They are largely the same people who advocate policy which, taken together, would take us back to what Karl Marx called, “the idiocy of village life,” with a life expectancy hovering around thirty five and a 30% infant mortality They, themselves, wouldn’t survive there more five weeks or less, by the way, because they are too coddled, too self-indulgent, and not alert enough. The wolves about which they keep crying now and here really lived then on the outskirts of such villages. They would gobble up anti-GMOist for a snack.

All the same, I keep an open mind. Anyone who wants to post a comment on GMOs can be sure it will not be censored or modified in any way. I will also consider with great interest any essay on this topic for this blog. Anyone can also send me reading assignments. I will post them but I will not read them unless the sender explains clearly why I should, beginning with the source. (See the standards I apply here)