Luke’s Log- Anti-GMO People and Anti-Vaccinators Sound the Same
Republicans just went a step too far in advocating family rights over public responsibility. Such big names as Chris Christie and Rand Paul came out recently supporting parents’ rights to not have their child vaccinated, according to The Hill. And the sad thing is, the argument for familial autonomy over the health of children makes sense, so much sense- it’s just being misused in a potentially dangerous setting.
That’s like parents insisting that they be able to choose how their kids are educated (a perfectly reasonable proposition, especially given the diversity of education options available today) and then insisting on homeschooling them a curriculum of marshmallow-eating, cinderblock-breaking, and dinosaur role-playing (a far less reasonable proposition.) Parents should have authority and command over the lives of their children, as it’s just the natural order of things and, moreover, the foundation of a strong society and of solid citizens. But that authority and command must be reasonable, lest it lead to the excesses that some paranoid parents and politicians take it to today in the Vaccination “debate.” From a purely utilitarian and preventative perspective, vaccines are necessary for the broader health of society. For the sake of public health, the wild-eyed paranoia of a minority of people who do not understand modern science should not be protected as a right.
Additionally, for the sake of public health, the wild-eyed paranoia of another minority of people who do not understand modern science should not be protected as a right, either.
I’m not talking about climate deniers here- more on them in later posts. No, I’m talking about the kind of person who calls GMO’s “Frankenfood” and who harbors suspicions that the megacorporation Monsanto has secret plans to poison our food and kill us all. I’m talking about green anti-GMO activists.
The issue hasn’t been very big recently, but it’s only a matter of time before it rears its ugly head again. And when it does, thousands of good-natured, well-meaning people will share Facebook statuses about how concerned they are that eating genetically-modified organisms might be dangerous to the health of their great-grandchildren. Thousands of people will be concerned that a technological breakthrough that has the chance to improve the lives of millions around the globe will in fact poison them and their unborn families yet to come. Thousands will take a principled stance against Man’s unwise reckoning with nature, and thousands will be very sure of themselves in doing so. Sound familiar? The AntiVacs do it too.
Both GMOs and vaccinations have been with us for a long, long time; in fact, GMOs have been with us for far longer. We’ve been genetically modifying organisms since we first started crossing grains together into bigger grains. In the 21st Century, we’re just doing it a lot more quickly and directly, by splicing genes into organisms that never had them before. Kinda scary to think about but, when you consider it, basically the same thing. These GMOs could feed thousands, millions more people, on far less land than current non-GMO crops are produced on. They could eliminate the need for dangerous fertilizers. They could be raised for a fraction of the cost. There is, indeed, a good environmental argument against them- that they might become potentially destructive invasive species- but that is a problem that local environments tend to adapt themselves to after long enough. After all, after the Spaniards lost a herd of horses somewhere in New Mexico territory in the vague 16th Century, horses became an invasive species fully integrated within the North American ecosystem, and what would the American West be today without its herds of wild horses? Don’t answer that.
But I digress- the point is, technological change is scary, particularly in its social and political manifestations, but if managed properly it can be a true blessing to the happiness of Mankind. I think there was a really cute commercial about that, actually.
Those arcadian anti-vaccers and anti-GMO types have no idea of the world they’re trying to make posterity miss out on.