I recently posted a link on my page “Whiskey and the Morning After” from another page called “The Skeptical Libertarian” that addressed the recent Monsanto hysteria, and promptly received a volley of criticism for it. Some people said I clearly didn’t know anything about Monsanto, but the fact is, I know BS when I see it.
Monsanto is the Darth Vader of evil companies to people from both the far left to the far right, and with good reason. There’s nothing good about any individual or corporation that seeks to crush competition and impose a monopoly on anything, especially something as crucial as the world’s food supply. What I am going to say should NOT be construed as any kind of endorsement of Monsanto or their practices. Are their products deadly? No. Do they have too much lobbying power in government? Of course, but so do many other major companies that use the legislative branch to further their financial interests.
However, the recent hysteria and outrage coming from the anti-GMO crowd in regards to the “Monsanto Protection Act” is not something to be taken seriously. It is nothing more than a strawman, that has been latched onto by the fringes of that movement, then furthered by some bloggers who realized they could get some money and exposure by pushing the conspiracy theory.
Let’s be clear, this was a rider attached to a 6 month budget extension bill and it passed with a veto-proof majority. Even if President Obama had struck down Section 735, which allows farmers to keep previously approved crops in the field during an appeal of a new USDA ruling, his veto would have been overridden–the equivalent of political suicide. If this had been a permanent grant of immunity to a multi-national corporation and not a six month extension of an existing rule that protects farmers, the level of outrage we’ve seen would actually be justified.
I think there’s even more to it though. I recently suggested in an article “Poisoning the tree of progressive activism” that there is an effort to dumb down, divide and destroy the progressive movement. This “Monsanto Protection Act” is nothing more than Section 735 of the budget bill HR 933 but the uninformed response to it is proof to me that my suspicions are correct. This issue was only covered by hack sites like Natural News but rushed to prominence by a number of social media sites as if it was the gospel truth. There are things to be concerned about with Monsanto but repeating false stories and exaggerations does not further the anti-GMO cause. If you want to educate the public, who happens to be almost completely unaware of what Monsanto is about, you need to present facts, not fiction.
It’s a really simple, dirty and ingenious trick if you think about it. Create a fake outrage and blow it up, get the easily spooked to believe it and spread the misinformation. Convince your opponent’s supporters that their leader sold them out and your work is done, with minimal cost or effort on your part. Once that support is eroded, you can ram through legislation that actually gives real and dangerous protections to bad companies like Monsanto and others.
Just because we won in November 2012 doesn’t mean entities like A.L.E.C., the Heritage Foundation and shadow groups funded by the Koch brothers aren’t already working on 2014 and beyond. They’ve learned that their message sucks and no matter how much money they give a candidate, it doesn’t necessarily translate into votes.
So how do they cope with the fact that the demographic that supports them the most is dying off and they can’t convince the younger generation to support them? The strategy is to erode the base on the other side and that’s exactly what they’re doing right now. They’re doing everything to convince us that Obama sold us out and that the change we voted for turned out to be more of the same. They’d even have you believe that the President slipped section 735 in there himself. If you’re bright enough to put the pieces together, it’s pretty easy to see.
If you can’t get people to vote for you, the next best thing is to get the other side not to turn out. That’s their strategy, and that’s what this “Monsanto Protection Act” outrage is all about.
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