I am very much pro-GMO. I think GMO represents a revolutionary type of science that has the potential to serve humanity and the globe. But, right now, it does not. Like all scientific tools at our disposal, it exists in the context of human civilization — a most inequitable system. Consider the words of Peter Kropotkin from his 1880 essay, An Appeal to the Young about science and its potential to improve our lot as a species:
But then, if you are really thinking about humanity, if you look to the good of mankind in your studies, a formidable question arises before you; for, however little you may have of the critical spirit, you must at once note that in our society of today science is only an appendage to luxury, which serves to render life pleasanter for the few, but remains absolutely inaccessible to the bulk of mankind.
More than a century has passed since science laid down sound propositions as to the origins of the universe, but how many have mastered them or possess the really scientific spirit of criticism? A few thousands at the outside, who are lost in the midst of hundreds of millions still steeped in prejudices and superstitions worthy of savages, who are consequently ever ready to serve as puppets for religious impostors.
Or, to go a step further, let us glance at what science has done to establish rational foundations for physical and moral health. Science tells us how we ought to live in order to preserve the health of our own bodies, how to maintain in good conditions of existence the crowded masses of our population. But does not all the vast amount of work done in these two directions remain a dead letter in our books? We know it does. And why? Because science today exists only for a handful of privileged persons, because social inequality which divides society into two classes — the wage-slaves and the grabbers of capital-renders all its teachings as to the conditions of a rational existence only the bitterest irony to nine-tenths of mankind.
GMO follows this pattern. When Monsanto commercializes GMO corn and soy and distributes it around the globe to farmers far and wide, do you think it is for your or my benefit? Do you think it is to help the “nine-tenths of mankind” mentioned by Kropotkin?
GMO corn and GMO soy exist for the purpose of enhancing the tolerance of these crops to herbicides. Specifically, they were first commercialized as Roundup-Ready Corn and Roundup-Ready Soybeans, Roundup, of course, being Monsanto’s most sucessful line of herbicides (since Agent Orange?).
In other words, the two most-cultivated GMO crops in the United States are modified specifically so that they can be subjected to greater quantities of herbicide (a toxin). They are not modified to make the crops taste better or be more nutritious or prevent cancer or save the world; they are modified to enable the use of more herbicides. It is hardly a coincidence that the same company that wants you to buy and eat GMO corn and soy also wants you to buy and spray Roundup.
Yeah, but why give a shit?
Fair question. Herbicides let farmers eliminate weeds, and corporations and the public health entities they pay off keep telling us they’re perfectly safe. So, what’s the big deal?
Enter the latest public health apocalypse:
The meta-study cited in the above clip offers no explanation as to why the epidemic decline in sperm counts uncovered by researchers has happened, but is this really a big unknown, or has the research that suggests this been available for years?
A study from 2003 suggests it has. A study from Harvard in 2015 found a similar correlation between pesticides and sperm counts. Also in 2015, the Mayo Clinic listed both herbicides and pesticides among the environmental factors that cause low sperm counts.
If you have any interest in seeing the human species continue, you might consider where you stand on GMO. Not GMO in principle, but GMO in practice. Do you trust corporations that push poisonous products and tell us “they’re perfectly safe,” or do you trust scientists and medical professionals who employ the scientific method to study these chemicals and tell us “probably not.”
I trust the scientific method and inductive logic. They work; they have led to the development of GMOs and myriad other seemingly miraculous developments. But, the technologies they create, as Kropotkin observed, do not always work to everyone’s benefit. In the hands of a sociopathic entity bent on profit no matter what, it isn’t a stretch to imagine the products of human ingenuity being used indiscriminately. It’s not even a stretch to imagine technologies getting strong enough to pose a threat to our entire species if they aren’t kept in check by social growth to stem the tide of corporate greed.
Until some GMO soybean or corn product comes onto that market that actually helps me and other normal people, and doesn’t just poison me with higher levels of exposure to herbicides and other toxins, let alone the farmers and laborers who work with them and are subjected to even higher doses, just so Monsanto can bank a few more bucks, I will be avoiding them whenever possible. Show me some corn or soybeans that taste better or are more nutritious, and you’ll have my attention.