Would You Believe It?
By Patrick F. Cannon
I’m always amazed that some people persist in hanging on to ideas and concepts that have been proven false again and again. For such people, the scientific method and even simple common sense must not be allowed to intrude.
My son-in-law Boyd reminded me of one recently in the AM Update he sends to his clients and friends every week day (he’s in the securities business, but in addition to market information and advice, he provides his readers with great recipes, and progress reports on his garden. Let me know if you’d like to be added to his distribution list). He pointed out the persistence of Marxist ideas despite their failure every time misguided souls trot them out. In my own lifetime, I need only mention Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and most of the countries of Eastern Europe, who finally escaped the baleful influence of Russia beginning in 1989.
I could also mention Great Britain, whose foray into “democratic socialism” after World War II resulted in a stagnant and even dying economy, only saved in the 70s and 80s by the free market ideas of the hated Margaret Thatcher. Even now, although she lost power in 1990 and died in 2013, Thatcher is still widely detested by the intellectual and creative classes in the UK, who appear to long for a return to state socialism, even though the unemployment rate in the UK is at 4.3 percent, compared to the rest of Europe at about 7.3 percent.
In this country, despite an even lower unemployment rate, the political science and history faculties of many of our universities are full of Marxist theorists who feel the creed deserves one more chance, as if practice makes perfect. Thus we have Bernie Sanders; and, yes, the hordes of students who shout down those who disagree with the party line. Really, it doesn’t take much to go from Marxist to Stalinist.
To change the subject only slightly, regular readers will know of my disgust at the increasing prevalence of the “Non GMO” labeling of food products. In case you don’t know, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Put simply, these are seed strains designed to resist damaging insects, require less water and be more productive. Good stuff, right? Not to the loony “environmentalists” who claim that GMOs are somehow a plot to destroy the planet, despite numerous studies over many years that have found no ill effects from the use of GMOs.
Ever suspicious of anything that is developed in the United States, the European Union has actually banned GMOs, claiming their long term effects are unknown, disregarding all evidence to the contrary. And to their shame, many food producers are pandering to the science deniers by labeling their packages with the crackpot approved “Non GMO” label.
In case you’re not aware of the fact, the agricultural scientists of the United States have helped farmers around the world increase crop yields, while reducing the need for chemicals and irrigation. The world’s population is now approximately 7.3 billion and growing; yet, actual hunger is almost always the result of political upheaval, not lack of food. And although “organic” farming may be a desirable ideal, it can only feed those who can afford its high prices. Oh, and by the way, its benefits in actual nutrition have proven to be largely negligible.
And please don’t get me started on the folks who get their news and opinions from Fox and MSNBC. They are the greatest argument I know for immediately getting a subscription – either print or digital – to a reputable newspaper. Keep in mind that what many call “fake news” is just news they don’t want to hear.
Copyright 2018, Patrick F. Cannon