Activist Cornucopia Overflows With Bad Ideas

We read this stuff so you don't have to: The most recent issue of The Nation magazine (not a publication known for centrist moderation) features an activist roundtable crammed with people who have made careers out of bashing the food industry. Here's the best of the worst, as a reminder that people like this really do exist. Vandana Shiva took her moment in the limelight to rail against genetically modified (GM) foods, sporting the same ideology that drove her to encourage the Zambian government to withhold donated GM foods grown by American farmers from citizens in danger of starvation. Sociologists Troy Duster and Elizabeth Ransom: "If we as a nation are to alter our eating habits so that we make a notable dent in the coming health crisis around the pandemic of childhood obesity and Type II diabetes, it will be the result of long-term planning that will include going into the schools to change the way we learn about food." Any guess as to who gets to do the "planning"? Anti-capitalist Eric Schlosser: "The modern environmental movement began forty-four years ago when Silent Spring exposed the deceptions behind the idea of 'better living through chemistry.' A similar movement is now gaining momentum on behalf of sustainable agriculture and real food." Of course, the anti-DDT screed Silent Spring helped condemn millions of people to death by malaria. Not a great pedigree for Schlosser's "sustainable" movement. "Slow Food" movement guru Carlo Petrini said: "By producing, distributing, choosing and eating food of real quality we can save the world." Sounds good, right? But recall what lies behind the ideals — this is the same man who said that there are "four engines that we cannot stop that are taking us directly into deaths. These four engines are made up of science, technology, industry, and profit." The forum also features input from such luminaries as Peter Singer, the infanticide defender whose book Animal Liberation inspired the founding of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and opponent of large-scale anything Wendell Berry. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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