GMOs: Is the Jury In?

As per listener request, I am digging into the issue of GMOs on this week’s show but remain unconvinced GMOs have been proven harmful. That isn’t to say we should not avoid genetically modified food, I’m just looking for proof they’re bad for us. My guess is, we won’t know until an entire generation is raised on them, then of course, any potential damage will have been done and the methods entrenched.

There are real issues to address in the here and now, however. Specifically, the federal government should not be preparing to pass a law that would trump state laws and not allow states to handle this issue as they see fit. This would be the worst possible outcome for an issue for which the science is inconclusive or longitudinal studies of GMO consumers over a lifetime have not had time to be completed.

Here are a couple of studies I’ve found: This is the french study that claims GMOs cause cancer in rats. This is a widely criticized study and the results will have to be duplicated before I will accept it. (Not that wide criticism scares me, but a second study is always called for anyway.)

Here is a study of studies that says no harm found:

I personally think big corporations like Monsanto and other Big Ag wouldn’t exist in a free market – that they trade favors with government to leverage its coercive power at our expense. Indeed it does appear that the labeling battle et al is being fought by both sides for economic interests without regard to broader concerns, so I’m not defending either side, but I would like to know if the science is conclusive, because so far it seems to me that it isn’t!

What do you think? Please let me know on facebook or twitter, right here in the comments section, or Sunday on the show (404-872-0750 or 800 WSB TALK).

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11 Responses to GMOs: Is the Jury In?

  1. Bob Holbrook says:

    I think that we do not know enough about genetics to play with it right now.

    This article: shows that there are hidden connections in DNA that could backfire on us.

    I am believer in geeky stuff, but did you ever take that test that the first instruction was to read the rest of the instructions first and the last instruction was to ignore anything after the first instruction? We haven’t finished the first instruction yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great answer, Bob! I absolutely positively failed that test – I remember distinctly in Mrs. Berta’s 7th grade class! Thanks for the link 🙂

  2. sharon says:

    The point is that we should know what we are eating and make the decision to take the risk or not. Monsanto and the likes do not want us to know what we are eating an here lies the problem. the fact they want to hide it makes me suspicious. We are probably eating GMO products all the time w/out any knowledge and that’s wrong.

  3. margie says:

    We don’t know enough to know the long-term health ramifications of genetic tampering. There just isn’t enough science yet one way or the other. Maybe they’re safe. Maybe they’re not. Until we know, I would like to opt for avoiding GMO in favor of non GMO. It’s hard to do when companies like Monsanto are fighting the labeling laws that would enable us to choose to avoid their products if we wish. They have the money to buy the lawmakers (as well as the scientists), and the lawmakers have way more power over us than they should.

  4. Gregory says:

    I’m going to leave the hysteria to others, and mention something I was surprised not to hear during the show. It seems a false premise to think that the free market is unable to inform the consumer concerning product risks. Competition, when unfettered by government, would make sure that rival companies checked each other’s stuff. Let’s say company A is making lead toys. Company B is also making lead toys, but wants to gain ground on company A’s market share. Voila! B now markets safe toys, and identifies A’s as unsafe. Government might claim that it could prevent any unsafe toys from being in the marketplace, but the truth is, they do a terrible job of that, and when they do anything at all, it destroys freedom of choice.
    I always check myself when the anti-business crowd is on my side.

    • austrogirl says:

      I wish you had called in with that wonderful point! It always serves us well to go back to the touchstone of libertarian thought: free market solutions.

      • hugh says:

        Gregory and Monica,
        I think I’m starting to better understand libertarians. While we (libertarians and paleo or traditional conservatives/constitutionalists) share much in common, there are very grave points of difference (think “immigration” and related). But to this point Gregory makes and Monica supports, it appears you both think we are in some kind of perfect economic or market world where one of the manufacturers can easily switch gears, do the right thing, expose the other, and pick up all the marbles. I certainly don’t think so. I think we are in some sort of Monopoly Game where you have a concentration of powers and the government and media all working together to stymie the people. We do see the people raising their voices, organizing, etc., but the array of powers they face is immense. And to work against the elites is dangerous business! Yes the people have the numbers, but can they overcome the obstacles?! And back to the libertarian thought process: appears to me it is highly theoretical and not sufficiently pragmatic to allow for other influences, many of which are not economic in nature, but nevertheless, they can have most major impact. My two cents.

  5. austrogirl says:

    Hi Hugh,

    I’m glad you brought this up because you got exactly to the point of why Gregory was surprised I didn’t mention it and why I actually didn’t mention it but wished I did. So here’s the long form on my reasoning:

    After seeing that the American Experiment failed – that is, coercive, monopoly government cannot limit itself no matter what restrictions are put upon it – I gave up hope for just government, but quickly I found that there was a next step…an ordered society that does not rely on a coercive territorial monopoly. This is the theory of anarcho-capitalism espoused by Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. I don’t think we’re getting this anytime soon, so I set my sights on “the thousand year plan” – like an ancient Greek envisioning an American Experiment. But of course even the thousand year plan requires cultivation, so I continue to pursue the truth and exchange ideas. I could do a thousand podcasts on these ideas and I think they would all serve to get people to better understand liberty, justice, natural law and the harder-to-recognize truth that capitalist society is self-ordering. I believe there would be value in that; however, terrestrial radio is not the same as a podcast, and the engaged people of this country want to try to salvage the American Experiment. For that reason, I also try to figure out what’s going on in the here and now and share my insights into these things. Hence I address practical issues on the air, but I try to remember to make a point of the principles that inform my views so listeners have a better understanding of where I’m coming from and where I’m trying to go.

    So there you have my views from 60,000 feet and 5,000 feet; now for the view from 30,000 feet…

    I agree with you about the power. As a matter of fact, I believe that the American Experiment was deliberately scuttled by the same forces against whom our Founders fought the American Revolution. We didn’t start with a clean slate here, not only because there was a native population, but also because England believed (and some powerful modern elements like Cecil Rhodes continued to believe) that America belonged to the English establishment. This concept is delved into in Carroll Quigley‘s Tragedy & Hope, A History of the World in Our Time, and his shorter work The Anglo-American Establishment. Having recognized this dynamic, I began to wonder if perhaps the American Experiment might have worked if not targeted by the existing empire at the time; then I wondered if there will always be a vengeful or voracious empire and thus no hope on Earth for another American Experiment or anarcho-capitalist one.

    But I have not yet abandoned hope. The theories you imply to be a waste of time are actually essential for people to see so they can begin to focus “through the board” (as they say in karate) and develop a reflex to apply the natural law consistently rather than to puzzle through each issue like a one-off battle with its own strategy and tactics. In addition to helping arm the remnant with well-defined principles, I also try to fight the power by attempting to reveal its machinations and goals, because I believe that this power, as they all do, relies on the consent of the people, and if the true nature of the current power is exposed it will lose support and will wither or collapse. When it does, I want my “theories” of free markets, liberty and justice, to be waiting intact in the hearts and minds of the people who courageously faced down the enemy so they can replace it with something much more worthy of noble man.

    Finally, I refuse to play by the rules of the game established by these elitist usurpers, not only because I refuse to compromise my ideals, but also because I believe the tactical approach you recommend is hopeless. If a critical mass of people don’t see what the power elite is really up to, we will never defeat them no matter what trends you reverse. You mention immigration, but “Colonel” House & Woodrow Wilson began our destruction–and FDR packed the Court to finish it off (with no voter rebuke)–long before the 1965 Immigration Act.

    …But that is the subject for another post!
    Monica 🙂

  6. hugh says:

    Monica, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond at length to my comment. Unfortunately I only have a few moments now to respond due to some unexpected events. So just a comment or two from me. No, I do not believe it to be a waste of time to explore many of the concepts you espouse. My only beef would be that you don’t give proper weight to some of the other issues that impact the big picture. As you know, I’m quite ignorant re Hoppe, etc. So with that understanding I visited Wikipedia to see what they said about Hoppe. And lo and behold, a paragraph was devoted to Hoppe re his views on “immigration”. Very interesting, to say the least, and his views show that he appreciated the importance of maintaining the culture, intelligence, race (pro-European) etc, as I do. That’s one of the key points I have been emphasizing. Here’s the extract:

    Views on immigration (Wikipedia extract on Hoppe)
    An anarchist who favors abolishing the nation-state, Hoppe believes that as long as states exist, they should impose some restrictions on immigration. Hoppe has equated free immigration to “forced integration” which violates the rights of native peoples, since if land were privately owned, immigration would not be unhindered but would only occur with the consent of private property owners.[28] Hoppe’s Mises Institute colleague Walter Block has characterized Hoppe as an “anti-open immigration activist” who argues that, though all public property is “stolen” by the state from taxpayers, “the state compounds the injustice when it allows immigrants to use [public] property, thus further “invading” the private property rights of the original owners.”[29] However, Block rejects Hoppe’s views as incompatible with libertarianism. Employing a reductio ad absurdum argument, he argued that Hoppe’s logic implies that flagrantly unlibertarian laws such as regulations on prostitution and drug use “could be defended on the basis that many tax-paying property owners would not want such behavior on their own private property”.[citation needed]
    In terms of specific immigration restrictions, Hoppe argued that an appropriate policy will require immigrants to the United States to display proficiency in English in addition to “superior (above-average) intellectual performance and character structure as well as a compatible system of values”.[30] These requirements will, he argued, result in a “systematic pro-European immigration bias”. Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation opined that the immigration test Hoppe advocated would probably be prejudiced against Latin American immigrants to the United States.[31]

    • austrogirl says:

      Hugh! I thought you knew about Hoppe because clicking through the links on the piece you sent me about Rand Paul led to some articles that explored the split views on immigration among extreme libertarians, including HHH. I am aware of and understand Hoppe’s views on the subject. Immigration, like abortion, is a competing rights issue, so Libertarians can disagree on how to address it in different circumstances. Hoppe’s ideal society, however, is a borderless one since anarcho-capitalism negates nationalism. His view includes the observation that freedom of association would lead to subgroups with cultures of their own, which he argues is true multiculturalism, unlike what passes under that name today. I’m fine with certain objective standards regardless of the impact, just as I want firemen to be able to drag 150lbs even if it means fewer women get the job, but I don’t want to put the cart before the horse and prejudice the process against individuals from one place or another if they could live up to the standard of understanding and supporting our Constitution.

      • hugh says:

        Sorry about the delay in responding back to you. I have been “out of pocket” for several days. But before my response, let me just say how impressed I was with your show today and your analysis of Obama’s speech on the supposed changes to the NSA processes. I so distrust our government that I had not taken the time to listen to or read his speech; I had just assumed it was a garbage bag full of lies and dismissed it. I found your analysis very instructive as it laid out how dangerous the specifics are re this “perfect surveillance”! It drives me nuts how friends of mine, very bright and with advanced degrees, still maintain a modicum of trust in our government, thinking that they wouldn’t do some of the things they do. And as an aside, I loved your expression “false flags lead to real wars”. So true!

        Re your response to me about Hoppe, libertarians, and the split views on “immigration”: I had obviously not opened all the embedded links in the article I sent you, thus was not aware of the differing views within the libertarian community. I was very impressed with the Rand Paul article, and as I personally have met, read, and listened to Jared Taylor on numerous occasions, I sent the article on to you. As I’ve noted to you before, I strongly believe multiculturalism is a failed concept, a nation destroyer, as it flies in the face of human nature and how we are “wired”. You note that Hoppe believed his concept of subgroups forming based on cultures of their own was his version of true multiculturalism, versus what we have today. I still think we are looking at unity, not diversity, as the binder for a successful community. Hoppe did not believe in the nation state, it just appears he believed in a smaller community unit, but a unit that is unified, as a machine, where all pull together successfully in the same direction, not pulling in scattered directions, in chaos.

        Congratulations on your additional hour of broadcast time! But you still need more time! Looking forward to next week’s show, though if you only have a shortened time, would prefer you move the immigration topic to when you have a full three hours to flesh out the topic and allow ample time for caller input (such as from those pesky paleo’s!). My two cents again.

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