Monanto shill = intellectually bankrupt.

It used to be “Monsanto Shill”was an exclusive club. Now it seems that anyone who doesn’t see GMOs as the worst thing to happen since Justin Bieber are on the payroll.

It’s really an intellectually bankrupt accusation. Just go to any comment board, including this one and you see it. I did a quick search in quote for “Monsanto shill” and got 14,000 results. Then you have the gumbo variations such as “Do you or [insert name here] work for Monsanto?”

It’s really sad because this is my tribe. They can’t respond with a cogent argument.

I’ve been taken to task by people who say, “Well it’s worst on the right.” It may very well be, but the fact it exists at all on the left is embarrassing.

A recent piece on Politico, written by Tara Haelle, who is described as a freelance science journalist sums it up very succinctly. The title of the piece hits the nail on the head: Democrats Have a Problem With Science, Too. We shouldn’t let them off the hook just because Republicans are worse.”

It is a well written piece and touches not just on the GMO issue but evolution and vaccines.

She hits the nail on the head when she writes

But such cries of false equivalence miss the point. The issue isn’t whether the Democrats are anti-science enough to match the anti-science lunacy of Republicans. The point is that any science denialism exists on the left at all. If there is grime in my bathroom and grime in my kitchen, I don’t stand there and contemplate which one has more filth; my house won’t be clean until I have scoured both.

I feel less like a pig in the wilderness after reading that. She continues

As one of those who claims science denialism is more egregious among Republicans than among Democrats, the journalist Chris Mooney has argued that the small amount of anti-science views found on the left does not drive policy. But digging a little deeper reveals plenty of bills that ignore the scientific consensus. Sure, they are mostly at the state level. But then, so are the Republicans’ bills pushing creationism into schools.

Now, this is why I hate Haelle, because  I didn’t think of that. 

It’s a good piece and you should check it out. But don’t read the comment section. The majority of the comments have nothing to do with the content and point of the article.


6 thoughts on “Monanto shill = intellectually bankrupt.”

  1. It was a good piece. And the parallel to creationism textbook labels has certainly struck me in the past.

    And this is what bugs me about the Kahan analysis that shows that GMO isn’t polarized the same way as climate along party lines. That is not the point. I don’t dispute that there are also conservatives who have religious/purity issues with food. The point is that Dems think they are on the side of the angels (so to speak) on science, and it’s the hypocrisy of their about-face on GMOs and alt-med that’s most irritating.

  2. Yes! It is very disheartening to talk to people who usually have rational ideas and will discuss them with facts pros and con … until you mention the “M” word and then, well, you must be on Monsanto’s payroll! There are a couple of other topics like that … vaccines yes, and fish farms (aquaponics is changing that) and microwaves (they turn your guts into plastic!).

  3. I find being called a Monsanto shill a badge of honor. When someone calls you a shill, it means they can’t defend their position. It’s an ad hominem argument.

    Hell, I wish Monsanto WOULD pay me off. That would be awesome.

    1. Dick,
      I totally agree. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that for people who use this “Pharma Shill Gambit” (to quote Orac), WHO you are and WHO you work for are more important than any data or logic supporting your argument. Truth is, the folks doing plant biotech come from all points on the political spectrum…from complete bohemians to gun toting 2nd amendment types. (I like to think I’m slightly to the left of dead center!!) The one thing we have in common is our ability to set aside what we think of someone at a personal level and take their abilities as a scientist seriously. (Sorry, Mike Adams, you needn’t apply). Those who fall back on the shill argument simply can’t (or won’t) do this.

  4. I hate that my political beliefs put me in the company of so many wackos. The one issue I have is the anti science on the left is not harmless. Anti Vax really does seem to be both sides but the anti GMO is much more common on the Left and it is harmful. How many companies or researchers have decided to do something different instead of working on a higher yielding rice strain? This could rise millions out of poverty in Asia by giving farmers a surplus to sell. Look at the Euros buying African crop lands like its going out of business because they are not getting Americas (both N and S) yields from the major crops. Or to use a real world example golden rice that has its fields trashed while hundreds of thousands of kids go blind or die.

    These people are not liberals they just hate corporations and like gay people. They are not the decedents of the enlightment.

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