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Sunday, September 30, 2018

The "Organic" Craze: Why Pay More?

Friends, I'm no nutritionist, but I don't buy organic foods, as a rule, because many studies have shown that there is no great advantage to doing so...and, as always, I'm skeptical of conventional wisdom when it comes to genetically-modified crops, pesticides, etc.  I recommend to you this article, because it discusses how misleading the claims of organic farmers and merchandisers can be.  I was particularly impressed by the argument that, if organic farms produce smaller yields, but use the same amount of land, water, and other resources as conventional farms, then in what sense is organic agriculture "sustainable"?  Actually, it's the opposite of sustainable -- it's wasteful!  So much of what we see on the eco-left isn't driven by reason or evidence, however, but by unthinking prejudice and blind self-satisfaction.  Again, I don't claim great expertise on these matters, but, for now, I'll stick to the genetically-enhanced, pesticide-rich foods that have gotten me this far in life...


  1. Dr. Waddy: Good points and plausibly supported. I think there is a syndrome, which reaches beyond the snooty disdain expressed for food raised by modern conventional methods, at work:

    If I want to experience true miracles (and that is just what they are) anytime, I freely walk into a big supermarket or I turn on my labor free central heat at the first hint of autumnal chill. But oh how loath some are to admit how very, very much better off we are for these blessings( they should try living hard and rough and see how it wears you down) and to accept the unprecedented well being these developments have brought us. Why? Because they often, naively and without consequence, pay undeserved honor to those who would deconstruct this good fortune because, well, just because. I mean people like Al Gore, who would ban the automobile but not his ample collection or his capacious mansion for that matter.

    I tried organic gardening and it was fascinating but if I'd had to live off it I would have starved. So too, history tells us, have unwilling multitudes who had no alternative. Yeah, I like to get some good venison or wild turkey because of the good things they've been eating. But I am unendingly grateful, especially as an increasingly comfort loving senior at 71, to live in a time of such widespread prosperity and I know that it is the product of modern farming and energy production. I would wish upon those who disdain this incredible luck a visit from the Ghost of the English Past - 100 some years ago. Central heating was rare (it was inconceivable to Eliza Doolittle). The British Army had often to reject young recruits, even during WWI, for weakness caused by chronic malnutrition. And that was Great Britain, one of the most advanced of nations. They ought to have an audience with George III, as he gathers his voluminous robes about him and consumes his beef and his beef and his boiled beef, with his no doubt diseased and painful teeth. Or they can talk with me;I lived without electricity for eight years ( I emphasize livED and am glad it is a memory). If some people want to stick to "organic" products I'm glad they have the freedom to do so; just, please, don't interfere with my preferences, as many of them would if they could.

  2. Jack, your last point is an especially intriguing one. How many leftists would MANDATE organic foods, if they had half a chance? How many would ban "junk foods," or criminalize single family homes and mandate efficiency apartments, or require all automobiles to run on vegetable oil? Of course, most leftists are mere dreamers, but some of them actually acquire political and bureaucratic power to enforce their flights of fancy. When they do, it seems to me, it's usually a strange admixture of air-headed idealism and craven profit-seeking that motivates them -- after all, a lot of people are getting rich on "green" technologies and products.

    I could prattle on, but what were the circumstances under which you did without electricity? It seems to me that electrical power was less essential before we all became psychologically dependent on our various "media players" (from radio and tv to the modern smartphone), but still...

  3. Dr. Waddy: We found, in 1985,a cabin in the middle of the extensive acreage we had sought to ensure our privacy. But it had no utilities. We were young and adventurous and we took it on. It was far more difficult than we had imagined. The gas lights were quite dim and I had to carry in 30 gallons of water from a stream each day. It got easier as the years went on but it never was easy. We are, perhaps, more sharply attuned to the advantages we derive from modern technology and to the debilitating and sometimes (frankly )terrifying realities imposed by the absence of them.

  4. Dr. Waddy: To the first part of your reply: I think you describe a process observable in all places unlucky enough to have come under leftist domination. Russian Marxists, prior to their acquisition of complete power, had used their fevered, purely intellectual congresses as the soul/sole tests of the validity of the policies they favored (one is reminded of '60's American leftists in their smoky dorm rooms, dreaming of the "execution of 20 million patriots and the establishment of reeducation camps in the southwest") The Bolsheviks had no experience of practical administration and their catastrophic misguidance reflected that fault. They never did learn to run a country because they repressed all dissent. And of course, their affirmation to themselves of material wealth was a story repeated ad nauseum everywhere in the leftist damned world. We must expect the same from the American left should it ascend to the irresistable sway which it must have to force its ways on the real America, though it does have extensive administrative experience in the American academy and the Federal and several of the states' governmental bureaucracies (eg. emphatically , New York).

    Hillary yesterday emoted with a breezy assurance belied by her increasing marginalization (Hillary Stassen perhaps? We early boomers know about Harold's pathetic decline from contenderhood to pathos in the '60's)about the "dismissable" faction which sent her back to affluent Westchester in 2016. How much more do we have to hear?

  5. Jack, I sincerely hope Hillary NEVER shuts her trap! She's good for business, so to speak...

    My my, a cabin in the woods. That's a dream for many, but as you point out a dream can easily become a nightmare. I applaud you for trying the experiment, though, and as you say it has given you a deep appreciation for the merits of modern technology. That's all to the good.

  6. Dr. Waddy: I should have said we early boomers witnessed Harold Stassen's futility. Many other people know about it. The cabin experience convinced me that suicide was a probably a major cause of death on the frontier ( a historian agreed with me on this). We never contemplated it but when we were back there with our little kids during a blizzard we got hints of the terror, especially for people who got there, realized they couldn't hack it but couldn't go back, must have felt. Our incredible luck at living in this time should be a humbling thought.

  7. Absolutely! Humility, I fear, is a virtue that most Americans abandoned in those frontier days -- or maybe a little later circa 1968 -- but I'm glad to know a good man who still clings to it...