How much of that is the result of over-generalizing GMOS to include the most likely safe (modifying for taste with same-species genes) with the legitimately scary (modifying for herbicide and pesticide resistance)?
Probably very little. I haven't heard anyone freaking out about modifying with same species genes. And still, it doesn't matter, because there is still no justification for making it mandatory to hide their inclusion in the food supply from the public. The differentiation of harmless GMO's from potentially harmful ones is frankly an industry function if they want to sell stuff. Let them lobby the public.
All too true, except that through grafting and seed selection for preferred characteristics of fruit and vegetables, as well as productivity, farmers and vintners have been organically "modifying the genes" of plants for thousands of years... not to mention "genetic modification" through cross breeding in animal husbandry. Two sentences really, but what the hell.
Transparency seems imperative. In general, I do not trust the scientific community to make good decisions about what should be investigated. I feel they often favor research that furthers their own singular interests and often do not have the bigger picture (possible ramifications) in mind. I am very uneasy about some of the possible applications. Others simply just shortcut the hybridization process. In nature, it's variety that helps ensure survival. Monocultures can be- and have been- destroyed.
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I guess that all the conservative "free market," "invisible hand" and "governmental non-interference" stuff doesn't matter when conservatives are trying to advance the interests of Big Business. When government helps Big Business, the right-wing drops all their rhetoric and violates all their cardinal principles. When government hurts Big Business, then the right wing adopts and utilizes all that rhetoric.
At the end of the day, for many people and interests, ideology/philosophy take a back-seat to self-interest. Beliefs are advanced and discarded by any given group, based on whether it advances their interests at any given time. This is why, in many ways, philosophy and ideology are not totally representative of what certain actors will really do on the national or global stage.
It reminds me of John C. Calhoun, Antebellum southerners and their concern with "states rights," which was a sham. They only invoked it when the North criticised slavery in the south or territories. When the South wanted to interfere in the domestic political, economic and legal systems of NYC, Boston, Rochester or Philadelphia, in order to enforce Fugitive Slave Laws, southerners, not coincidentally, tried not to draw attention to the fact that such actions violated northern state's rights.
Ideology/religion/beliefs---they do matter. But many people cherry pick those aspects of their own ideology that they will follow, based on their self-interest.
As when the United States proclaims a love for democracy and a desire to spread democracy across the world, only to support a dictator in Latin America or the Middle East.
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Honest Observation, and
not Generalize or Snub.
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My own opinions on GMOs evolved from labeling is fine to differentiating between 'safe' GMOs and the 'scary' ones to learning of genetic drift and corporate seizing and suing and aggressively pushing bills to stop regions from being given the space to grow non-GMO crops only -- and that is when I began to understand that *unless the corporations are stopped from their practices,* then no GMO product is safe.
**If** the corporations are legally hog-tied, and individual towns/counties/states/governments have and keep the right to refuse GMO crops grown in their region - and farmers are not sued if their non-GMO crops are contaminated, but rather the corporation is sued for contaminating the non-GMO crop - then much of the 'freaking out' - a nice phrase for minimizing, I prefer, much of the 'loud voices around the globe with strong and valid concerns' would cease.
As for natural selection vs hybrid seeds vs GMO seeds, it's not the same, and is one of the pro-GMO points that just isn't fact as it seems on the surface.
Personally, outside of the evidences cropping up on so many levels, there is also so much unknown about the future - and food is what keeps all of us alive = and plants are the basis of almost all food, including beef, poultry, dairy.
Allowing GMO crops free reign - rather than sensible, contained, regions, even - is rather like letting the planet become a possible plant Jurassic Park.
Now I'm off to look at puppies, play with kittens, make daisy chains and sing kumbaya or something ; )
...I guess the opposite of Jurassic Park, really, where the plants eventually fail and/or are nothing like the parent plant without the nutrients we need or the vitality to grow well.
That evidence is already 'cropping' up. (I live with a punster. it's contagious.)
Why do I say this is a prime example of conservative hypocrisy? Easy.
Conservatives always say that, rather than rely on the government decide winners and losers, profits and losses in the economic sphere, that progressives should trust in the efficiency of the free market. They say that if a business truly is peddling an unsafe or dangerous product, that the "invisible hand" will penalize said company, and will reward the company that produces and markets the safer product. If the safer product is more costly, the conservative will say that the market gets to determine what utility rating the public places on safety, whether they are willing to incur a greater cost for safer cars, food, toys, etc...or whether they desire cheapness and affordability more than safety. The conservative says that the consumer should be armed with the facts so that he/she can make an informed economic choice. And that such a set-up ensures the maximization of all goods and the minimization of all bads in an economic system.
So, many progressive farmers, healthy living advocates and small businessfolk made a conscious decision to compete against large agribusiness through the forum of the marketplace. These folks created sustainable farms that produced healthy, organic products. They marketed them in key businesses and markets. And their idea took-off. The free-market actually WAS starting to favor organic food. The prices were gradually starting to come down, such that it was no longer a luxury afforded to the affluent. Big Agribusiness took note, and started to market their own organic products. Wal-Mart and Target started to sell some organic, non GMO products in a limited amount. The progressives utilized the market and the market responded in the progressives' direction.
But the Agribusiness folks didn't like this, because the healthy-food business didn't produce the sort of profits that big, corporate agribusiness desired. Organic and healthy foods are sustainable. They are also profitable, if done right. But not as profitable as other ways, which are not sustainable and cause far more damage to the environment, the soil, consumers and the like. Not happy with the lower rates of return, Big Business decided to alter the definition of "organic," as Anna Herrington notes. They have also now resorted to erasing the distinction between GM food, and non GM food, through recourse to the government.
This is why the myth of the free-hand is but a myth. In reality, hands aren't free or anarchic. The real world isn't like the Adams Family. Hands don't freely wander the landscape as moral arbiters. Rather, hands are connected to arms and bodies and they are governed by heads and brains. And if somebody with influence whispers in the ear of the person controlling the hand, the hand may be influenced as to what it chooses or presents to the consuming citizen public.
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