I think we have two extremes here and I will attempt here to take a
more measured approach.
When Mark refers to "a violation of property rights and human rights.
It should and will be litigated like tobacco and bullets", he's making
a valid point but the analogy is somewhat premature. Tobacco has been
proven to contain a large number of known carcinogens and other
harmful substances and offers absolutely NO redeeming social value,
while bullets do what they are intended to do: Kill and/or maim. With
the first it's a fairly clear cut case (it's still legal for adults
with full use of their faculties to commit slow suicide via this
means, but it's gotten a lot harder and more costly for anyone to
foist damage on third parties), and with the second it's a matter of
who's using them against who, under what circumstances and the legal
rights (and the ability to defend those rights) of the respective
But when we talk about toxic pesticides, we're discussing what is
still the current convention, and one with a number of claimed
redeeming social values. However, the situation is changing, and
changing ever-more rapidly. As ecologically sane alternatives to toxic
pesticides become increasingly available and the use of them more
common, the preference of the public for foods produced via these
means is also increasing, logarithmically.
Incidentally, another of the hidden foibles of OFPA is the certainty
of elevating (or maintaining elevated) the cost of "organically"
produced food stuffs. (Could this have been intentional)?
But as economies of scales are reached and biologically based
technologies continue to mature, the costs for ecologically sane
agriculture will continue to lower, relative to those of
"conventional" (i.e. toxic) agricultural practices, given that
ecologically sane agriculture benefits far more easily than does
"conventional" agricultural from new knowledge relating to biological
systems approaches (since agriculture itself has never ceased to be
wholly biological phenomena, at bottom, and can more easily
incorporate and take advantage of these discoveries).
The point is that it's just a matter of time before the greater public
at large (and the legislation generated indirectly through their
elected representatives) perceives toxic pesticides as unnecessarily
damaging elements with no redeeming social value and at that point,
the perception of those who recognize and resent the danger that these
toxic substances represent will meet little resistance. (Not that long
ago, smoking was freely permitted in elevators).
As things stand, although it's just a matter of time, it will require
both quantifying the damage on the one hand and the clear dominance of
alternative technologies on the other, before becoming the order of
the day. For now, current EPA, FDA & USDA regulations will determine
where liabilities do and don't lie, but those too can be subject to
litigation and where clear and wanton damage can be proven, large
settlements may well be result from it.
In short, liability depends to a large degree on the alternatives
available, the need for and degree of the damage done, in addition to
proving the existence of the damage. In any case, precedents need to
be set and class action suits may well prove viable in the near term.
Unlike the long establish practice of toxic pesticide use, the
needless and exploitatively motivated introduction of GMOs into the
environment at large is meeting an unanticipated resistance
facilitated by modern and economic communications media, just as TV
exposure put an end to war no stupider or more useless than other
before it, 2 or 3 decades ago.
But before any of you veterans jump on my cage for saying that, let me
make it clear that I was ALWAYS willing and able to go do my share for
my country. Yes sir, I said, count me in. Just put a gun in Nixon's
hands and I'll follow, close behind him. (Which reminds me, that this
was the war that invented the word "fragging"). On the other hand, we
could wait until "the enemy" really represents a threat to the nations
integrity (rather than to the economic interests of just a few US fat
cats); and that was how it wound up, with the government deciding that
I was best left in reserve, as a secret weapon. (I'll bet some of you
think I'm kidding).
But I digress.
Nothing new follows below.
Monday, November 01, 1999, 11:06:12 AM, you wrote:
mr> Mark: You said
mr> "Maybe I wasn't clear. If a corporation puts something into my
mr> body that is not invited it is a violation of property rights and
mr> human rights. It should and will be litigated like tobacco and
mr> bullets. "
mr> Go ahead, and while you are at it sue all industries that have even the
mr> slightest emissions into the air or water, regardless of how well they
mr> conform to existing laws. Go after state and federal road programs too,
mr> especially in the areas where seams of Chattanooga shale have been
mr> exposed (natural radiation source). Lets back the EPA when they find
mr> the most miniscule traces of carcinogens (remember saccarin), regardless
mr> of whether they really pose an identifiable seriouse health risk.
mr> Farmers should be sued en mass since they contribute soil erosion
mr> pollution to the water and air no matter how conscientious they are.
mr> Your argument reminds me of the wildly disproportional response to the
mr> unfounded Alar scare. A lot of good people were hurt by the media's
mr> irresponsible "reporting" of a danger that never was.
mr> I'm sorry, but while I agree that we should find those things that
mr> truely pose a health threat and either stop or mitigate the problem, I
mr> have little patience with those that believe in a fairy tale environment
mr> that is all pure and good, or that finds enviromental boogymen hiding
mr> under the bed every night.
mr> Son of Richard
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Douglas Hinds, Dir. Gral. - CeDeCoR, A.C.
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural, Asociacion Civil
(Center for Rural and Community Development, a non-profit organization)
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