Good points! Here's more.
Saturday, March 25, 2000, 10:08:29 AM, you wrote in response to Loren
Muldowney's note regarding "a kid being a "drug dealer" legally for
giving tylenol to another kid y getting expelled from school, etc.:
BA> Anbody else see the close similarity to the "natural vs.
BA> synthetic" discussion in organic agriculture?
What I see is another instance of inappropriate action taken on the
part of the (supposedly) responsible authorities. Just like OFPA.
BA> Focusing on materials instead of healthy system management gets us in
BA> trouble, as in---
Any bits and pieces approach instead of a comprehensive (&
comprehending) overview is bound to fail.
BA> a) Ban all drugs in school because it is easier than actually
BA> thinking about differences of degree.
To me, since years back, a drug ( substance subject to abuse, as
distinct from a medication) is a drug precisely because of it's
analogous nature in relation to a number of neurotransmitters native
human physiology. The result being that sensations are stimulated
which normally spring from objective input. In other words, the person
drugged experiences things that seem (to him) to be "happening", but
aren't. That's what makes a drug a drug: it makes you think what
isn't real. But then, I tend to think things through a bit more than
the average responsible authority.
But to get back to banning all drugs in school, how about starting
with ritilin (spelling?).
BA> b) Ban nearly all synthetics in organic agriculture for the same
Organic agriculture is simply a phase in a larger process that's far
from over. It's been an important phase but may be close to having
served it's purpose (if the world is now ready for the next and more
In any case, a consensus must be reached, and achieving that can get
interesting (as a founder of OCIA must surely have observed - it's
assemblies are America's Ejido).
BA> c) Encourage RU-486 instead of teaching healthy management (meaning
BA> restraint) of one's sexuality.
But that takes thought, and a society predicated on producing good
consumers doesn't give priority to that. It needs reaction, not
BA> d) Try to control guns instead of facing the social problems that
BA> arise when you live based on *feelings.* [did you know, BTW, that
BA> a 5-yr old was recently murdered (ie, not accidentally) by a 6-yr
BA> old using a BB gun?]
It must have been a rather powerful bb gun. But the driving force is
the culture (starting with the media, but an economic model that
provides incentives to vested interests that lesion the public
good in so many fields can't be ignored). Still, this too depends
on who are elected to public office and what they do when they get
BA> e) Ban all GMOs instead of learning to apply wisdom.
You yourself see a need (and therefore a place) for GMOs in
agriculture (as distinct from the biomedical remediation of
genetically based - or treatable, pathologies)?
BA> f) Push for campaign finance "reform" instead of addressing the
BA> problem of pervasive bias in most media.
And how would that be addressed, except within the current legal
system (slander laws etc.)? Freedom of Speech is a basic right. (Years
ago, Mexico's govt. used to control the paper supply available to the
press. But Proceso's been around for a long time now - over 20 years,
and has attacked the govt since it's inception).
BA> g) Take the cap off farm subsidies and "emergency" aid, rather than
BA> raise questions about the persistently sloppy management of many farms,
BA> to say nothing of externalised costs.
A level juridical playing field is required in order for alternative
agricultural production systems to compete with those that pass on
environmental costs to future generations and degrade the current
quality of life for all.
BA> I could easily get to z) here and still have more to go. My point is
BA> that these are all part of the same tapestry, and attempting to view
BA> any of them in isolation is likely to be unproductive.
BA> My *interpretation* of the pattern I see (in agriculture as well
BA> as in the social framework of which it remains a part) is that we
BA> are confronted by a contemporary cultural ethos that embodies
BA> three elemental approaches...
BA> Feelings over-ride reason
This stems from a lack of available, detailed information and the lack
of a culture that foments getting down to the bottom of things (so
that the research required for the first doesn't get funded, due to
BA> There are no absolutes (which of course is an absolute, in itself, and
BA> a classic example of self-contradictory thinking)
There don't have to be absolutes more absolute than absolute enough.
(And that statement's just profound enough).
BA> Focus on treating symptoms, instead of trying to understand the
BA> underlying problem (because we want to *feel* like we're doing
BA> something, right away)
On target. But arriving at a consensus (or enough of a consensus) is
required. The scope of the consensus depends on what you want to do.
BA> I suspect that until our cultural ethos arrives at a point of greater
BA> consistency and balance, we'll continue in this Kafka-esque phase where
BA> we see things like draconian zero-tolerance policies in schools;
Simply a fancy name for a stupid policy that could be changed
tomorrow, of the effort is made. (Do it, Loren - call press
conferences, get interviewed, build a coalition - if you think it's
worth it and have the time).
BA> farmers subsidised to remove trees while their neighbours are
BA> subsidised to *plant* trees;
Sounds like some trees are thought to be more desirable in certain
situations than others. (Hard to say without more info).
BA> absolutely bizarre and contradictory laws (as in California, where
BA> a 17-yr old needs written permission from her parent(s) to have
BA> her ears pierced, while a 12-yr old can get an abortion and the
BA> parents are not even notified);
California is far out, and there may be a beauty to a lot of it. But
anything can be bought or sold, and nothing is permanent or sacred.
When I lived in Arizona, we'd hope it would fall into the ocean, so we
could get to the beach quicker.
BA> and organic certification programs declaring that there is an
BA> important difference between "synthetic" and "natural" forms of
BA> potassium sulphate.
I reckon the program and it's value is best left to the criteria of
those adhering to it, either as offer-ants or buyer-ants (as you
mentioned, using the example of Kosher). One thing's for sure:
Diversity will prevail (anyway).
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