Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are the subject of much debate, particularly as they apply to agriculture. Most Americans consume some form of GMOs, as most corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified.
Proponents of GMOs say that genetically modifying food provides far more abundance and helps to feed hundreds of millions of people in the world who would otherwise lack food.
Opponents or critics of GMOs say that these foods are not healthy and that they should be labeled accordingly. In the U.S., labeling is not required. In addition, some critics think GMOs should be banned completely because they are dangerous to the environment and pollute other crops due to “gene drift”.
For those who defend liberty, the last part about GMOs spreading is probably the most controversial. If it can be proven that GMO pollen is contaminating other areas, then perhaps it should be banned for the violators, as this is an issue of property rights. You should certainly have the right to grow whatever food you want and sell it to whomever you want, but not if you violating the property rights of others. This would be no different than dumping chemicals on your lawn that seep into your neighbor’s ground.
Of course, this is a major political issue. As it seems with so many things, the government pushes things that line their own pockets and puts your health in jeopardy. Monsanto is a giant corporation that sends money to campaigns in exchange for government favors and protection and Monsanto is probably the biggest proponent of GMOs.
In 2012, an amendment was introduced to the 2014 farm bill that sought to clarify states’ rights in determining whether GMO labeling is required. The amendment was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who aren’t exactly known as decentralists.
But the amendment was voted down by 71 senators, including several senators who are thought of as more conservative. Apparently the Constitution means nothing to any of these politicians.
The U.S. Constitution and Agriculture
As with almost everything, the Commerce Clause in the Constitution has been completely turned on its head. While it original intent was to make sure that free trade existed between the states, the politicians in Washington DC use it as an excuse to pass almost any piece of legislation.
Of course, the Congress and the federal government have no business being in the business of agriculture. This isn’t an enumerated power in the Constitution. There should be no such thing as a national farm bill. There should be no Department of Agriculture.
As a libertarian, I am against mandating the labeling of anything. It should be the choice of the seller, which ultimately is dictated by consumer demand. Perhaps more consumers will stop buying food products that aren’t labeled.
At the same time, this is also an issue of states’ rights. While I don’t agree with a law requiring labeling, it should be for each state to decide this. It is none of Washington DC’s business. For this reason, Senators Sanders and Boxer actually had a good amendment that should have been included, even though the whole bill was unconstitutional anyway.
In case you haven’t noticed, the politicians in DC don’t care about the Constitution. They also don’t care about your health. They are collecting donations from Monsanto, so they don’t care, unless they start to get significant backlash from their constituents.
You can’t depend on the government for anything, including protection. Why would they protect you when they are too busy destroying you? For this reason and others, you have to take personal responsibility and look out for yourself and your family.
If you are concerned about GMO foods, then you will have to do some research yourself and avoid foods that you know are likely to contain GMOs. Instead of writing a letter to Congress, write a letter to a food producer or to a grocery store, asking for labeling of GMOs. Perhaps more stores will pick up on this as a niche market to attract customers by keeping a non-GMO section in the store.
If you are going to write your “representative” in Congress, don’t ask for required labeling of GMO foods. Instead request that they stop passing farm bills and to defund the Department of Agriculture.