A feature in yesterday’s New York Times on a debate over GMOs in Hawaii casts the idiocy and hypocrisy of the modern green movement on the issue in stark relief. The piece follows the “lonely quest” of Hawaii County councilman Greggor Ilagan to winnow out the truth from the emotionally charged distortions surrounding the debate.
The NYT piece chronicles Ilagan’s attempt to make an educated decision on a bill introduced last May that would ban GMOs on the island. For anyone curious about the GMO debate, it’s worth reading the whole thing. But here’s the quick and dirty summary: our best scientific understanding of genetically modified crops suggests that they’re just as safe as their non-modified counterparts.
This is a point we’ve seen plenty of evidence for recently, with one prominent anti-GMO study being retracted for poor methodology, while another meta-study largely exonerated the technology that, oh, by the way, can better feed our world’s growing masses than many non-genetically modified crops.
But in Hawaii, the emotional convictions of the left—those who typically arm themselves with scientific research to push their policies, especially when it comes to climate change—trumped the facts of the case, and the ban was passed last month (though our intrepid councilman Ilagan voted against it). The NYT reports on the schism between greens and the scientific community:
Scientists, who have come to rely on liberals in political battles over stem-cell research, climate change and the teaching of evolution, have been dismayed to find themselves at odds with their traditional allies on this issue. Some compare the hostility to G.M.O.s to the rejection of climate-change science, except with liberal opponents instead of conservative ones.
“These are my people, they’re lefties, I’m with them on almost everything,” said Michael Shintaku, a plant pathologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, who testified several times against the bill. “It hurts.”
The anti-GMO crowd, which has been coined the “climate deniers of the left,” is maybe the best example of how poorly conceived the modern environmental movement really is. Not only is it dead set on pushing forward idealistic (and as we’ve seen time and time again, unworkable) policies, it’s also incapable of grounding such pie-in-the-sky dreams in any kind of consistent reasoning. Scientific consensus is a mantle to be worn when it’s time to fearmonger about climate change (though consensus on that issue is fragmenting of late) and discarded when the facts don’t align with internal biases.
It’s a sham, it’s a shame, and the earth deserves better.