The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Golden Rice, Green Idiocy

800px-Golden_Rice

On August 8th, 400 protesters ripped out seedlings of a new genetically modified plant called golden rice at a testing ground in the Philippines. Genes from bacteria and corn have been added to the rice to make it a source of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness and weakens the immune system, contributing to 2 million deaths every year. (Golden rice is being developed by a non-profit organization, not Monsanto.) As the Philippine government prepares to rule on whether or not to allow farmers to grow the wonder-crop, the anti-GMO movement is digging itself in for a fight. The New York Times reports:

If the rice gains the Philippine government’s approval, it will cost no more than other rice for poor farmers, who will be free to save seeds and replant them, Dr. Barry said. It has no known allergens or toxins, and the new proteins produced by the rice have been shown to break down quickly in simulated gastric fluid, as required by World Health Organization guidelines.

But the facts haven’t deterred the misinformed from campaigning against the technology. Greenpeace flatly rejects any and all biotech advances in agriculture, a Luddite and ludicrous position that is distorting the public debate:

“There’s so much misinformation floating around about G.M.O.’s that is taken as fact by people,” said Michael D. Purugganan, a professor of genomics and biology and the dean for science at New York University, who sought to calm health-risk concerns in a primer on GMA News Online, a media outlet in the Philippines: “The genes they inserted to make the vitamin are not some weird manufactured material,” he wrote, “but are also found in squash, carrots and melons.”…

“A lot of the criticism of G.M.O.’s in the Western world suffers from a lack of understanding of how really dire the situation is in developing countries,” he said.

With golden rice, we have a real, cost-effective way to safely provide millions of people with healthier food. The anti-GMO crowd is doing its best Marie Antoinette impression, saying the world’s poor should get the vitamin A this new rice provides by eating more fruits and vegetables. A well-balanced diet is a luxury many can’t afford. Cheap, nutrient-rich golden rice can save lives.

[Golden rice image courtesy of the International Rice Research Institute]

Published on August 26, 2013 2:00 pm
  • Honk

    N-fix, too. Ahh, technology.

  • ljgude

    I think for profit corporations are one of humankind’s greatest inventions, but I want to see Monsanto defenestrated. I am absolutely delighted to see biotech done properly and its fruits made freely available to farmers- the rightful custodians of the genetic inheritance of our foodstuffs. The Greens? Pfui!

  • JoeKlip

    The poor peasants don’t need golden rice. They need to eat more arugula and kobe beef.

  • Diggsc

    There’s one thing that animates the Greens. “Death to others in the human race”. That’s it. If Greens would kill themselves first, I’d actually believe that they believe what they say. But like Al Gore, who lives in a 10,000sq ft SEASIDE mansion, they don’t really believe what they say. They are watermelons…Green on the outside, Red on the inside.

  • Terenc Blakely

    Greens have always been at heart a nihilistic cult that looks for ways to make humanity miserable. I would wager that if presented with a means to kill off 90% or more humanity in an environmentally sensitive manner, most of the hard core greenies would jump at it. As long as their complicity would be secret of course.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      And as long as they or their friends weren’t one of the ’90%’.

    • https://www.facebook.com/ritchietheriveter Ritchie The Riveter

      Read Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six … it is the very scenario you describe. Though the greens get theirs in the end, in a particularly appropriate way.

  • ChuckFinley

    Not content with the million dead from malaria every year because they banned DDT, the Greens want children to go blind as well.

    I wish that Greens would find a less destructive religion. Maybe they could worship Moloch or practice the Aztec religion and perform human sacrifice. They would probably have a lower body count.

    • SDN

      Go by Gosnell’s or any other “aborttoir” and see they’re way ahead of you.

  • teapartydoc

    The Philippines have to import rice because of the regime of price controls and subsidies that result in artificial shortages that are the natural result of such policies. Apparently no one there has read the history of the Corn Laws in England.