One of the issues rolling around regarding the anti-gmo movement is whether they are anti-science. The issue has been bandied about on various blogs and columns and in the Twittersphere. After all, the movement isn’t against all science, just the science that disagrees with their worldview, and that worldview seems to be corporations + science = bad.
I happened to stumble across a Reason Magazine article from 2001 which might help decide the issue. It is written by Ronald Bailey and titled Rebels Against the Future. Witnessing the birth of the global anti-technology movement.
Bailey starts off by quoting Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project.
“Major anti-technology movements will be active in the U.S. and elsewhere by 2030.”
Much to Bailey’s credit, he saw that future was now, or then, as they case may be.
Bailey attended the 2000 International Forum on Globalization’s Teach-In on Technology and Globalization held at Hunter College in New York City. What he came away with foreshadows the rise of the anti-gmo movement. It was at this confab that various mossbacked 60s activist groups and their young fellow travelers made their case against the future.
If it’s new, they hate it. What they fear and loathe most is biotechnology, but now some are beginning to train their sights on nanotechnology as well… Whenever one of speakers revealed shocking truths about corporations (always invoked simply as they), the audience would murmur in horrified dismay: “They can move genes between species!” or “They are patenting genes!” or “They have 1,200 nanotech patents!” It seems that few of the attendees had bothered to read a paper for the past few years, so all this was news to them. “Progressives” they may call themselves, but they certainly haven’t been keeping up with progress. (my emphasis)
It is now 13 years later and that mindset resonates with too many progressives.
The goal of the Teach-In, according to conference organizer and IFG head Jerry Mander (best known for his book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television), is to “bring together the protest movement born in Seattle with the leading critics of technologies, Luddites if you will.” (my emphasis)
And what is it about technology that scares them?
“…technology’s symbiotic relationship with corporate power,” according to Mander. He doesn’t much care for the Internet because he thinks “it’s facilitating the greatest centralization of unregulated corporate power in history.” Besides the Internet, “now we have biotechnology and its younger sibling nanotechnology, which can potentially redesign nature from the atomic level up,” declared Mander. “With these technologies, nothing will be outside of corporate control. They will achieve the full realization of a bionic society.”
There it is. Corporations, the boogeyman of the left.
Now we all know that corporations are not good citizens and are only in it for the money. But to fight against progress and science because of the paranoid idea that corporations might misuse it is worse than misguided. It’s stupid.
Bailey also quotes Pat Mooney, (hopefully, no relation) head of the Canadian Rural Advancement Foundation International
“Although it’s a long way off, they are moving toward creating nano-assemblers that could manufacture anything,” explained Mooney. “You could take materials from sewage, air, water, anything to build what you want.” He added, “Just read the White House press release from January 23 last year. It promises that nanotechnology could clean up the environment, end hunger, cure disease, and extend life. It’s scary.” (again my emphasis)
I’ve said this before but I’m sill trying to figure out when the dumbass, Luddite hippie ethos merged with progressive thought?
There’s more nuttiness. You have to read the whole article. Rebels Against the Future