After writing a book exposing fifty of Monsanto’s top lies, and after running across the country with my son speaking out against the problems associated with chemical intensive GMO-based agriculture, I’ve changed my mind. I now agree with Tony the GMO-Loving Tiger, GMOs are great!
Just kidding, of course. But I’m intrigued by the people who have switched from an anti to a pro-GMO position. Take Mark Lynas, for example. He claims to have seen the light after starting out as an anti-GMO activist. (Never mind that other anti-GMO activists had never heard of Mark until he announced his conversion.) Now an industry poster child, Lynas travels the world promoting the alleged benefits of genetically modified organisms. How did he and a handful of others make the change? What are their motivations? What are the social costs and benefits?
And if Mr. Lynas can make such a dramatic turnaround, what would it take for me to do the same?
Following is a list of 53 change points that I’d need before I would cross the line to routinely eat and cheerlead for the chemical giants, their GMOs and companion poisons:
1. I’d need to believe that GMOs have never and will never contaminate their natural counterparts.
2. Since that’s not possible, I’d need to believe that pesticide companies have a right to contaminate our biological and cultural heritage with GMOs.
3. I’d need to believe that genetic contamination of native and natural plant and animal varieties benefits farmers, the environment, and human health.
4. I’d need to believe that chemical giants have no moral, ethical, or legal liability to the farmers’ whose crops and livelihoods are destroyed by GMO contamination.
5. I’d need to agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that organic and conventional farmers have no legal recourse or protection from genetic contamination. (http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs122/1104248386985/archive/1116242775724.html)
6. I’d need to believe that small-scale agro ecological family farms and their communities are best relegated to the history books. (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-family-farm-is-being-systematically-wiped-out-of-existence-in-america)
7. I’d need to believe that GMOs really are needed to feed a hungry world. (http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/tenreasons.cfm)
8. I’d need to believe that GMOs should be pushed and promoted onto world markets before long term environmental, animal and human feeding studies have been conducted. In other words, I’d need to believe that the Precautionary Principle is poppycock. (http://www.i-sis.org.uk/prec.php)
9. I’d need to believe that horizontal gene transfer is no different than traditional crossbreeding and hybridization processes.
10. I’d need to believe that turning plants into EPA-registered pesticide-producing factories provides lasting benefits to farmers, consumers, animals, and the environment.
11. I’d need to believe that Roundup resistant GMO crops really are safe for the environment, animals, and human health.
12. I’d need to believe that Roundup is safe. Or if not safe, I’d need to believe that drinking and breathing Roundup, and feeding Roundup-contaminated breast milk to babies is more beneficial than not doing so.
13. I’d need to believe that agrochemical poisons cease to be poisonous when we eat them.
14. I’d need to believe that privatizing seed through patents is ethical, responsible, and in the best interest of farmers, consumers, and the environment.
15. I’d need to believe that farmers have no right or business saving and replanting seeds.
16. I’d need to believe that plant and animal biodiversity is of little value or importance.
17. I’d need to believe that agricultural imperialism that results from GMO patents benefits poor servant farmers more than it benefits chemical company masters.
18. I’d need to believe that monocultures benefit the environment and reduce global warming.
19. I’d need to believe that turning GMO corn into ethanol is ethical and provides sound fiscal and environmental policy.
20. I’d need to believe that it makes sense for the government to burden organic farmers with fees, rules, and bureaucratic nonsense while subsidizing GMO farmers and the chemical companies that own the GMOs with U.S. taxpayer dollars for products that U.S. taxpayers neither need nor want.
21. I’d need to believe that GMOs really do have identifiable consumer benefits.
22. I’d need to believe that GMOs really are substantially equivalent to their natural counterparts. Which means, of course, I’d need to believe they no more merit patent protection than their natural counterparts.
23. I’d need to believe that as government and industry leaders have concluded, U.S. consumers are too stupid to understand GMO food labels.
24. I’d need to believe that labeling GMOs must be avoided at all costs, even if that means subverting the American democratic process as the industry has done in California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, and indeed the entire nation. Why? Because GMOs are a skull and crossbones to the GMO industry. And if the market shrinks and dies, then millions of people will also die because GMOs are necessary to feed a growing world. (See number 7.) (http://www.alternet.org/story/154951/millions_against_monsanto%3A_the_food_fight_of_our_lives?paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark)
25. I’d need to believe that farmers should continue to grow GMOs in spite of the overwhelming consumer rejection of GMOs.
26. I’d need to believe that pollinators are dispensable members of the web of life.
27. I’d need to believe that we’re better off without the birds, fish, and other animals impacted by GMO-based agriculture.
28. I’d need to believe that the animals that refuse to eat GMOs don’t know what’s good for them.
29. I’d need to believe that killing the soil with repeated applications of Roundup and other poisons is the foundation of sound modern agricultural practices.
30. I’d need to believe that super weeds and superbugs are beneficial byproducts of GMO-based agriculture.
31. I’d need to believe that killing super weeds and superbugs with ever more toxic chemicals makes moral, environmental, and fiscal sense.
32. I’d need to believe that good science includes bullying, shaming, belittling, intimidating, and silencing scientists and others who oppose GMOs.
33. I’d need to believe that good GMO related science includes sham research methods that produce sham research results.
34. I’d need to believe that pesticide companies have the right to control the editorial boards of scientific journals.
35. I’d need to believe that industry-influenced scientific journals have the right to retract scientifically sound, unfavorable research.
36. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies have the right to control political figures and processes through bribes, donations, and lawsuits.
37. I’d need to believe that regulation of the GMO industry is best performed directly by the GMO industry or only slightly less directly through the industry/government revolving door.
38. I’d need to believe that chemical companies have the right to control the GMO story spun by the mainstream media.
39. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies have the right to fashion international trade agreements such as the TPP and TAFTA, agreements that are favorable to the GMO industry, agreements that supersede member nations’ rights to govern the industry.
40. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies have the right to enter public schools to indoctrinate our children regarding GMOs.
41. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies and/or farmers have no moral or legal obligation to disclose what, when, and where they spray Roundup and other toxins.
42. I’d need to believe that agrochemical companies and/or farmers have no moral or legal obligation to disclose where their GMO crops are planted.
43. I’d need to believe that it’s good that Monsanto—the same company that produced and profited from PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange—has seized control of much of our food supply.
44. I’d need to believe that parents who choose to feed their kids organic, non-GMO foods are fear-based and irrational, and it’s good that the mainstream media exposes them to public ridicule, name calling, and shame.
45. I’d need to believe that pesticide industry executives routinely feed GMOs and associated poisons to their own children.
46. I’d need to believe that a proper function of the U.S. State department includes the promotion of GMOs around the world.
47. I’d need to believe that the U.S. government and the World Bank have the right to provide aid to developing countries only when those countries agree to accept and promote GMOs.
48. I’d need to believe the U.S. government has the right to destabilize foreign countries such as Ukraine in order to expand the U.S. corporate empire including the Biotechnology Industry with its patented, chemically dependent, genetically modified seeds.
49. I’d need to believe that the U.S. government has the right to use war and foreign occupation to force foreign farmers to use GMOs as it did in Iraq through Paul Bremer’s infamous Order 81.
50. I’d need to believe that doing business with and/or purchasing products containing GMOs is morally defensible.
51. I’d need to believe that Monsanto and the other chemical giants’ place the public good over their bottom line.
52. I’d need to believe that industry executives and scientists are wiser than Mother Nature and/or God.
53. I’d need to believe that the Earth’s seven billion inhabitants should trust Monsanto and gang.
Based on the previous list, the chances that I may one day see the GMO light, fill my pantry and my kids bellies with chemically saturated, pesticide producing GMOs, write a book about Monsanto’s beneficence, and run across the USA with my son to promote the GMO industry is a bit of a long shot.
What would it take for you to become the next Mark Lynas? Or if you currently support GMOs, what would it take for you to follow the lead of one-time pro-GMO scientists such as Arpad Pusztai, Belinda Martineau, Thierry Vrain, Shiv Chopra, Jane Dever, Tyrone Hayes, who, through their scientific research, have concluded that GMOs are not safe? What would it take for you to conclude, as nearly 600 scientists who participated in the International Cartagena Biosafety Protocol concluded, that “the greatest threat to mankind in the new millennium is not nuclear war, but genetic engineering”?
One last thought. Science plays a key role in any discussion regarding GMOs. But history has shown us time and time again that science without ethics and morality is dangerous. Such science has been used and continues to be used to justify human and environmental atrocities. Many of the world’s “elites” (a euphemism for obscenely wealthy sociopaths), trampled and continue to trample ethics and morality by profiting from scientifically created chemical concoctions such as Agent Orange, PCBs, and agrochemical poisons long after those poisons were proven dangerous. The vastness of the wealth of these sociopaths is exceeded only by the vastness of the human and environmental devastation produced by the immoral, unethical and ongoing misuse of such poisons.
Brett Wilcox gave away more than 3,000 free downloads of his book, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie prior to running from coast to American coast with his 15-year old son, David, to promote a GMO Free USA. You can support Brett’s efforts by purchasing his book or by making a donation here.