Monday, August 12, 2013

But in a Libertarian society, who would regulate Monsanto?

My Libertarian credentials and activities are now out there to the point that I'm no longer introduced as Whited, the shipping manager, or Whited, the father of The Aggie. 

I'm now Whited, the Libertarian. 

Here's the conversation that comes up about 50% of the time:

Whited: Nice to meet you!

Statist Slave: You too.  Hey, how can you be a Libertarian when they want to let Monsanto poison people and create Godzilla corn and torture puppies? 

Whited: Who told you that? 

Statist Slave: Well, you guys are always in favor of the big corporations, and....

Whited: No, no, no, we're not in favor of the big corporations.  We're pro-free market. 

Statist Slave: But if you have nothing but unfettered capitalism, corporations like Monsanto will continue to steal our Bibles, and dig up the bodies of our ancestors for target practice. 

And so it goes.....

Seriously, here's what works best.  There's lots of confusion out there about "less regulation" and "holding people to account for harming others".  There's almost total ignorance about Public Choice Theory and Regulatory Capture. 

Ask your friend which corporations he fears.  You're going to hear about Monsanto, some military contractors, Wal-Mart, and global multinationals.  That's it.  Not the agricultural subsidy hawgs, the green energy scammers or G.E. 

Ask why they are afraid of these companies.  You're going to hear about corporate oppression, advertising that allows us no choice because we're so susceptible to marketing, underpaid workers, and harm to the environment. 

Take 'em on one at a time.  Monsanto OWNS the FDA.  And the EPA. There's nothing but a very well-lubricated turnstile between those three organizations.   Go here for details.  (This is called "regulatory capture", but taken to the 10th power in this case.  Most government agencies wind up defending their regulated companies from competitors.  In Monsanto's case, the regulators are Monsanto.  Truly amazing) 

Ask what they want the government to do to Monsanto.  They'll state that they want GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) labeled as such.

 (Full Disclosure: I can't stand Monsanto, but it's because of the Monsanto Protection Act, which essentially states that if a GMO crop goes bad or turns out to be dangerous, Uncle Sam is obliged to purchase the crop.  With your money.  That's why I turn up at every Monsanto protest within 50 miles of Cowtown.)   

There are other ways to do this without getting government munchkins and pygmies involved.  Look to the example of Kosher foods.  Underwriters Laboratories.  The same thing could be put in place for GMO's.  But if they think the FDA (also known as Monsanto) is going to require Monsanto (also known as the FDA) to label GMO's, it ain't going to happen. 

We're getting close to the end here.  Hang with me.  At this point, my new friend, who is going to avoid me until he starts making a lot of money and feeling guilty about seeking tax shelters, is getting uncomfortable. 

Ask about Farmer's Markets, and the Locavore movement (eating foods grown with 100 miles).  Are these little guys going to handle all this paperwork and testing and pay for certification?  How about the Mexican dude selling tacos and burritos from a bicycle?  Will he have to be accountable?  Where would you draw the line?  (Of course they can't.  That's why Big Business loves Big Government.  Big Government stops little guys from getting started.) 

Finally, for those who believe in evolution, mention that 150 years ago, an ear of corn was about an inch and a half long.  Wheat grew at about 25% of its present density and yield.  Ditto for rice.  Some of this was achieved through trial and error, some through traditional hybridization methods, some by accident, and some by guys at Monsanto (and State Ag Colleges) saying "Screw it, I'm just gonna alter the DNA."  Where would you draw the line?  In the messy, random process that resulted in the Big Mac you're currently eating, where do we draw the line? 

Do you say "this is a sesame seed bun".   And it's the official sesame seed bun, starting with 2013.  This is a pickle.  The 2013 variety.  This is the DNA of 2013 lettuce.  Or pick your year.  We could say that the heirloom seeds of 1953 are the non-GMO variety.  Or we could try to define the beef patties that were present in The Garden Of Eden, and declare those to be the non-GMO's. 

But the foods are going to be changing, through human action, or through Natural Selection.  The lawyers will be very, very happy.  Monsanto can afford lots and lots of lawyers. 

At this point the Statist Slave will say "THE USA IS THE ONLY 1ST WORLD NATION THAT DOESN'T HAVE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE."  and agree to disagree. 

Keep fighting, people.  Keep fighting.  Later on this week, I'll write about how to alienate yourself by defending Wal-Mart. 


MingoV said...

People who grossly mischaracterize libertarians do not want to be educated. They prefer to spout random collections of illogical and contradictory nonsense. Trying to educate them wastes your time.

In my 40 years of adulthood, the only non-libertarian who had a serious discussion with me about libertarianism was my older daughter.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

People are coming around.
They see what's happening with the drug war, GLBT marriage, and the total, miserable failure of the Keynesian stimulus b.s.

And it helps to be prepared. The Mainstream media will never, ever put the truth out there.