At the beginning of the modern environmental movement, Ayn Rand published Return of the Primitive, which contained an essay by Peter Schwartz titled "The Anti- Industrial Revolution." In it, he warned that the new movement's agenda was anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-human. At the time, he didn't get a lot of attention from the mainstream media or the public. Environmentalists were often able to produce arguments that sounded reasonable, while doing good deeds like saving whales and making the air and water cleaner.It's a religion, and one that brooks no heresy, no matter how illogical the dogma. And Moore's example of engineered cotton (and corn and rice) is just one example of the environmental movement twisting logic -- in this case arguing, in essence, in favor of traditional fertilizer-and-pesticide farming.
But now the chickens have come home to roost. The environmentalists' campaign against biotechnology in general, and genetic engineering in particular, has clearly exposed their intellectual and moral bankruptcy. By adopting a zero tolerance policy toward a technology with so many potential benefits for humankind and the environment, they have lived up to Schwartz's predictions. They have alienated themselves from scientists, intellectuals, and internationalists. It seems inevitable that the media and the public will, in time, see the insanity of their position. As my friend Klaus Ammann likes to hope, "maybe biotech will be the Waterloo for Greenpeace and their allies." Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking.
As Bjorn Lomborg has said -- and we've discussed previously -- the amount of money the Kyoto treaty would cost the industrialized world (in exchange for what amounts to a small reduction in greenhouse gases) could buy modernized water treatment for most of sub-saharan Africa. Which do you think is the better use of resourses? You'd be surprised -- maybe not -- what environmentalists might call you for answering that honestly.
(Link via A&LD.)