Monday, January 4, 2016

Further Considerations About GMOs

As follow up to my post, Go GMOs! Farmaceuticals Coming!, I have responded to many of the comments at a Target Liberty post: Libertarianism and GMOs.



  1. Since there's no "blockquote" function here, and given all the sub-quoting already going on, it's difficult to respond in a way that's easy to follow, but I will respond to one point:

    "Remember, humans are basically in the wild genetically modified amoeba (or something like that)."

    was your original quote. Given your response on this posting, apparently you think we should be consuming humans. Again absurd.

    My original point was that the comparison of humans to GM amoeba is absurd. That trail took millions of years and the "filter by death" an uncountable number of times to arrive at today's humans. GMO organisms have not experienced that filter.

    There are a lot of exciting aspects of GMO. However, there are also some very scary aspects. To ignore the latter is, again, absurd.

    1. I think I get your point and it seems to be valid. Humans have evolved to protect themselves from diseases, which is why colds and flu's are generally not that harmful. However when a new strain comes out that our immune system can't handle or a different type of virus spreads, like Ebola, viruses can be horrendously destructive.
      To illustrate a similar situation, look at the foods we eat. Some people are more able to process "new" foods that humans eat better than others partly depending on how much exposure their ancestors have had to that food.

      I think one of the concerns many people have about these new foods also parallels problems with invasive species. If a new food turns out to harmful for us after we have introduced it, how do we stop it from contaminating the food supply. This is not merely a hypothetical problem. Look at the problem with "killer" bees. That was a strain that was introduced in order to genetically modify the bees that were here to increase honey production. They have been so successful on this continent, that beekeepers often have to kill their hives and/ or get a new queen from a breeder once ( not if anymore) the hive becomes mean from being "Africanized". I am not extremely knowledgeable about the genetic engineering process but even if it is the same as selective breeding, there are still problems that can arise that can cause negative consequences. On a side note, I wonder if the native Americans can charge producers of squash and popcorn fees for using the foods they genetically engineered.

    2. As a long-time reader of RW's site (now two sites), I think RW is making a mistake here. The only Libertarian perspective is that free people can choose to use or not use new products, including GMOs. Anything else goes beyond liberty and into the relm of medicine, evidence, personal choice, motives, values, etc.

    3. Where exactly do I say anything other than people are free to use or not use GMO products?

    4. You wrote "if I had an infant who suffered from lysosomal acid lipase deficiency, I sure as hell would feed the infant the eggs."

    5. I agree with you Harold, as long as those products do not cause harm to others or their property. However, if I could genetically modify a dog so that it is mean and produces rattlesnake venom in its salivary glands, in order to create a new type of guard dog, would you have a problem with me if they got out of my yard, and started breeding with ferrell dogs and wolves?

    6. No, I would not have a problem with your breeding a guard dog that breeds with feral dogs.

      My issue is a webmaster libertarian promoting the use of GMOs that are promoted by a coercive government, and whose value is questioned by other libertarians. Why would RW care whether or not free people use GMOs? Leave it up to free people and free markets to decide the value.

      To put is another way, RW would be victorious only if free people decided freely to use or not use GMOs.

    7. There is nothing wrong with Bob expressing his opinions on his blog. Agree or disagree, but just because other libertarians question the value of something he is in favor of doesn't mean he's wrong. It is probably better to have competing views expressed so that people can see both the pros and cons. There are plenty of good things that have come from and could come from GMO products, but there are also plenty of pitfalls. Why shouldn't a group of people as diverse and thoughtful as libertarians have differing views on something like this?

  2. I'm completely fine with differing views, and with RW expressing his opinion. It is my opinion that once the message drifts away from making free choices to arguing the merits of GMOs, its no longer a message of liberty. Why should RW care if there is a percent of libertarians (or the general population) who is unconvinced?