Volatility

January 6, 2016

The Elemental Falsity of Genetic Determinism

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Today the establishment “life sciences” tread as epigones the same path of reductionism and mechanism which physics trode in the 19th century, the path which physics debunked and abandoned long ago. Social Darwinism, biological determinism, genetic determinism, sociobiology, this ideological complex never had any scientific validity and was demonstrably false even prior to its full congealment. Francis Crick’s aptly named “Central Dogma” was already known to be false at the time he promulgated it. The same was true of the foundation doctrine of “one gene = one trait”, which together with the Central Dogma comprised the ideological basis of biological determinism. This “science” was falsified in toto and in detail even prior to its full ideological elaboration in the 1970s. It has since continued as the greatest scientific fraud ever perpetrated. It’s not just that determinist theory is completely wrong – almost all of history’s scientific theories were disproven, and almost certainly most of those believed in today will be disproven. It’s that this “theory” has always been known to be wrong by its publicists, and yet they fraudulently go ahead anyway. Crick with his dogma of a one-way information flow from DNA to proteins when it was already known biological information loops back from proteins to DNA is just the most infamous of the countless examples of conscious lies on the part of these charlatan “scientists”.
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In truth biological determinism is just the transcription of Randroid hyper-individualism and the “genius” delusion to the realm of pseudo-science. This junk science gets such a preponderance of funding and fawning mass media publicity because it’s a potent branch of capitalist propaganda.
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Even in basic form, biological determinism is not scientific but religious. The “selfish gene” concept represents an extreme of animist superstition. All thoughts and feelings and aspirations and endeavors of humanity are said to be generated by a godlike homunculus in the gene. This is of course just another version of the vitalist “ghost in the machine”. At least vitalism had the virtue of being holistic in its outlook, and therefore to that extent in accord with bona fide science, which finds all phenomena to be ecological, networked, cooperative. Meanwhile monotheist religion at least posits an omnipotent cosmological deity. But the mysticism of genetic determinism envisions an infinite number of identically “selfish” ant-like deities in the genes. Presumably each selfish gene has to see itself as the one and only “real” gene, with all the others being replicants of itself and acting in obedience to itself. They’re not supposed to be commies, are they? Cooperating selfish genes sounds like a contradiction in terms. How do they agree to combine as chromosomes? It seems to me the truly selfish cells would be the cancerous ones.
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Or maybe the selfish genes aren’t really so selfish and are supposed to form a collective deity, who knows? These cultists are extremely muddled about their science/theology.
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It’s absurd in general to try to find the “cause” of ecological wholes in an arbitrarily chosen cherry-picked element. (Why the gene? Why not the cell, or conversely the DNA itself, or the bases of the DNA, or the atoms that comprise them?) Again, the point is to provide a pseudo-scientific support and justification for the delusional individualists who consider themselves to be “self-made”. Anyone with a shred of rationality or simple common sense knows there’s no such thing as being self-made. From our total prenatal and infant dependency to our ongoing if not always as directly obvious dependency throughout our entire lives, we all remain mostly dependent upon, or in the best cases interdependent and in cooperation with*, the ideas, institutions, and emotional communion with our artificial surroundings. No one is an island, and no one is self-made.
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Of course individualism itself is a fully developed ideology which today’s sociobiologists and biological mechanists needed to have spoon-fed to them by the society they were born into. It’s part of the delusion when the likes of Dawkins and Wilson flatter themselves that they’re colleagues of Descartes or Hobbes, when they’re really nothing but the most derivative, conformist, mediocre epigones.
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Imagine each brick that makes up a building seeing itself as the visionary, architect, and sole creator of the building. But perhaps our reductionists see themselves and their fellow geniuses as keystones, and therefore “better”? But what is a keystone without the other bricks comprising the structure? It’s then no longer a keystone, just a stone like the rest. Only the cooperation of all the bricks can render any one of them a keystone, while without the assembly there’s no such thing as a keystone.
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Nor are buildings with arches and keystones necessary. If arches become too troublesome to maintain, all the necessary and sufficient structures can be built without a single keystone anywhere.
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(We can extend the metaphor. What can the bricks do without the laborers to assemble them? And indeed some of these laborers see themselves as the architects and engineers, though they too would be no such thing without the laborers and the bricks. Here we speak figuratively of the general natural ecology within which the artificial is ensconced as one dependent and perhaps interdependent part. This displaces the individual brick, insofar as it maintains an individualist delusion, even further from this notion that it’s at the center of a universe which spins out only from it.)
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This demonstrates how there’s no such thing as a necessary, let alone superior, individual. Either all human beings are necessary or none. But there can never be a superior individual in any positive sense.
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Unfortunately it is possible for individuals to render themselves inferior in a negative, Socratic sense. When the oracle at Delphi named Socrates the wisest man in Athens he was confused at first, because he didn’t consider himself especially wise. But when he reflected that he at least recognized that his wisdom and knowledge were nothing special, whereas everywhere he looked he saw the pompousness and egotism of those who were just as ignorant and unwise but who labored under delusions of great wisdom and expertise, he realized that at least in this negative sense he was wiser than they. He, unlike they, recognized his limitations and interdependency.
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Similarly, greed, competitiveness, hatefulness, lust to dominate, are parts of human nature, albeit minor parts – all the evidence is that humans are naturally cooperative. But it’s possible artificially to spur and maximize these, especially through malign institutions such as the competitive individualist ideology, including its pseudo-scientific manifestation. By willfully surrendering to the worst elements of human nature, giving these free rein, and trumping up an ideology to justify and proselytize for this sociopathy, there are those who render themselves beneath humanity. Our biological determinists, Social Darwinists, techno-cultists are classic examples.
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This ecological statement is not a manifesto for sameness. That’s just another hackneyed individualist lie. On the contrary it’s they who seek to enforce monoculture everywhere from the crop field to the human soul. On the contrary, we are not bricks but human beings radiating an unlimited brilliance of feelings, ideas, personalities, hopes, aspirations, endeavors, as individuals and in cooperation. The human ecology celebrates this true diversity of the individuals who combine to form the great whole. The ecological philosophy denies only that any of these are better or more important than the others, let alone prior to the ecology. But the kind of mind which, the moment it perceives difference, must posit a hierarchy of better to worse, superior to inferior, is a poisoned mind, the victim and vector of poison.
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For humanity there is no ontological better or worse. We can judge among ourselves according only to ecological reason, ecological science, ecological morality, which are the only real manifestations of these. And all our judgements are encompassed within the greater ecological whole of the Earth, its ecosystems, and its broader sunlit and sun-dependent home.
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*The only true human goal is to cooperate to build societies based on ecological interdependence and then to sustain these human societies. All else is falsehood.
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October 11, 2011

Corporate Tribalism Part 2: Steven Pinker and Sublimated Violence

Filed under: Corporatism, Land Reform, Relocalization — Tags: , , , — Russ @ 3:22 am

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In my first preliminary post on corporate tribalism I described how jurisprudence has tried to define corporate persons as more human than human beings. Another aspect of this anti-human inversion has been the ideological attempt to strip humanity of its naturally cooperative traits and repose these only in elite structures, while smearing humanity as being infected with what’s really the psychopathy of elites. 
 
It was Hobbes, personally traumatized by the English Civil War and wishing to justify the modern State, who gave the classical description of man’s alleged inherent depravity. Without firm, severe rule from above, we were doomed to the “state of nature” where our lives would inevitably be “nasty, brutish, and short”. Today Hobbes is the hero of numerous prominent intellectuals who crusade to represent humanity as naturally wicked, aggressive, destructive, wasteful, deceitful, manipulative, depraved. They’ve enlisted the modern sciences and social sciences, especially genetics, to support the modern neo-Hobbesianism. The direct goal is always to claim that only political elitism, only the State, can organize any kind of constructive endeavor. At least implicitly it’s always a cry of the heart for economic elitism. Only capitalism and especially corporatism can organize any kind of productive endeavor. Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Napoleon Chagnon and others have been prominent in this campaign. The goal is always the same, to render the class war and kleptocracy on a biological/racist basis, but in a pro-capitalist, pro-state way.
 
The latest, much-hyped installment is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. Here the claim is that the level of violence has declined with the rise of the modern state and capitalism. Once again the nasty, brutish primal humanity has to be tamed and put to work by the state, capital, elites. On its face this is absurd. Throughout history elites have always been vastly more violent than peoples, who have generally served as the cannon fodder (military and economic) for the predations, extractions, and wars of these elites. No matter what level of violence one discovers at any place or time, this violence will have been predominantly caused or greatly aggravated by, as anthropologist Brian Ferguson puts it, “the pursuit of practical self-interest by those who actually make the decision.”
 
But if this weren’t self-evident, no problem. Real scholars like Ferguson and David Graeber have assembled the evidence of anthropology which proves that all the tales of the natural greed and violence of humanity are a fraud. On the contrary, the evidence supports the view of people as naturally prone to cooperation. Perhaps not “noble savages”, but inherently likely to prefer cooperation, nonviolent solutions, and limits on material acquisitiveness. In particular, the evidence is that the state and monetary debt have their origins only in violence and have always comprised embodied, sublimated violence. Tribal violence as a rule involved scarcity competition, but this scarcity has seldom been natural. On the contrary, almost all scarcity competition has been over artificial scarcity. Tribes didn’t find themselves at odds over game or grazable land where there wasn’t enough to go around in an absolute sense. Rather, elites sought to monopolize the resource at the expense of both foreign tribes and their own people. These rival elite claims, not to necessity but to hoarded superfluity, have been the usual engine of violence and war. Today in capitalism we have the most complete and fully rationalized ideology and practice of artificial scarcity. This is the scarcity Pinker has dedicated his life to exalting.
 
Meanwhile the “evidence” of Pinker and company, just like that alleged for primal barter, is cherry-picked and largely fabricated. Pinker’s project is to remove all violence from its socioeconomic context. He then divides history into the period of the modern State and all other times. Violence prior to* the state is then dogmatically declared to be “natural”, “anarchic” violence. But there’s no evidence for this natural violence, and plenty for the violence organized by proto-state elites.
 
[*Pinker’s chronology is also eccentric.  His most cited example seems to be this account of public cat-burning:
 

In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davies, “[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized.” Today, such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world.

 
But as many have immediately pointed out, this isn’t an example of pre-state anarchic depravity. On the contrary, 16th century France was a starting point for the modern state, which was just starting to explore its own nature with charming activities like this one.]
 
Pinker’s not here to let the evidence induce truth, but to propagate dogma:
 

The first is that Hobbes got it right. Life in a state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short, not because of a primal thirst for blood but because of the inescapable logic of anarchy. Any beings with a modicum of self-interest may be tempted to invade their neighbors to steal their resources. The resulting fear of attack will tempt the neighbors to strike first in preemptive self-defense, which will in turn tempt the first group to strike against them preemptively, and so on. This danger can be defused by a policy of deterrence—don’t strike first, retaliate if struck—but, to guarantee its credibility, parties must avenge all insults and settle all scores, leading to cycles of bloody vendetta. These tragedies can be averted by a state with a monopoly on violence, because it can inflict disinterested penalties that eliminate the incentives for aggression, thereby defusing anxieties about preemptive attack and obviating the need to maintain a hair-trigger propensity for retaliation.

 
Like Hobbes himself, this is nothing more than myth. Hobbes never thought his “state of nature” had actually existed. On the contrary, he considered this the state of “civilized”, tamed man where not kept brutally in line. Hobbes’ view was similar to the phenomena Graeber documents on the real incidence of barter. Barter as a spot trade is not primeval, but occurs only following the collapse of a money economy. People indoctrinated in the use of money and market exchange will try to replicate their training with whatever’s at hand, however impractical the result. That’s what Hobbes thought would happen where already domesticated man ever had the reins relaxed. He then, as a device, read this special circumstance back into primal humanity. That’s how he derived the “state of nature”. So barter and the Hobbesian state of nature go together, conceptually and in practice. Somalia is a good example of this collapse of state/capitalism. But it has nothing at all to do with natural tribal life.
 
Pinker and his fellow scribblers simply ape their master Hobbes in this procedure. Nietzsche accused every kind of historian, sociologist, scholar of being prone to simply read the present back into the past. Graeber exposes how economists have propagated such a Big Lie. Here we have the “sociobiologist” version. (I did a few searches trying to find anyone else citing Graeber against Pinker but found none. I guess that’s a measure of how Graeber’s findings haven’t yet been widely comprehended.)
 
So we have the twin lies of nasty brutishness and natural scarcity, when in fact there’s only post-state brutishness and artificial scarcity. These are precisely what Pinker and company try to obscure. In the end a hack like Pinker is just plagiarizing Malthus.
 
His thesis also depends upon a monumental accounting fraud worthy of Wall Street. He whitewashes the radical escalation of tyranny and coercion under modern structures through the simple fraud of defining violence as only when a gun is fired, while excluding the infinitude of violence involved in people being driven at gunpoint. That’s the only way today’s academic liars can try to camouflage the overwhelming violence embodied in all state and capitalist structures.
 
But how can any measure of violence be legitimate which doesn’t account for every cent stolen at gunpoint, for example through wage slavery, whether the gun be physically immediate or just threatened for the time being? How can any measure of violence be valid without including on the daily ledger the entire sum of the violence involved in all enclosures and other propertarian thefts, including the ongoing modern land grabs? What other than violence keeps productive human beings off our rightful farmland, forces us to seek “employment”, to accept “unemployed” status, when the bountiful earth exists for us as it always did? Pinker’s job is to elide all this sublimated violence, defining it out of existence. Indeed in this sublimated neoliberal elitist form, what Sheldon Wolin called “inverted totalitarianism”, Pinker exalts violence as the highest form of human existence. He’s the ideologue of sublimated violence.
 
Meanwhile studies also reveal how psychopaths concentrate at the higher levels of coercive hierarchy, since hierarchy is their natural habitat. Contrary to Pinker’s lies, those truly prone to Randian greed and aggression always have a much harder time in cooperative communities. (Meanwhile, contra Pinker’s lies about the greater violence of tribal peoples, what’s your chance of being assaulted and murdered today if you try to live with the same freedom the people of these tribes knew? If you find Pinker’s argument convincing, try to live without command money and in accord with natural usufruct, and see how much violence you bring down upon you. Whatever the primal assault rate, it was vastly less than the 100% guarantee of today.)
 
If there is in fact a “selfish gene” and an innate propensity to violence, it’s to be found concentrated at the higher levels of state and corporate hierarchies. And if this biological difference actually exists, it simply defines those who are aggressively subhuman, who must be regarded and dealt with as nothing but rabid dogs.
 
But ivory tower flunkeys like Pinker try to accomplish an Orwellian inversion. They want to slander the soul of humanity. They want to smear us with the filth of their corporate masters while bestowing the mantle of the “noble” elite upon these gutter gangsters. Pinker defines statism as the measure of nobility and the embodiment of our “better angels”. But this is just a gutter devil calling itself an angel. So he adds blasphemy to injury.
 
This is a (metaphorical?) theology of corporate tribalism, the sublimated satanism of the 1%. If there’s a biological/neurological abyss, it’s between the 99 and the 1. Pinker and the rest of the sociobiologist crew perform their fraudulent inversions and slanders of the 99 on behalf of the 1.
 
This is also meant to disparage the prospects of harmonious, prosperous relocalization. How can we have peace and prosperity without the Leviathan State? But the evidence proves the contrary. As human beings we’re naturally fitted to cooperate and mutually assist. We’re ready to build, live, and work in communities where we credit one another and in that way achieve the general good. Today we also possess something new, a clear democratic philosophy and knowledge, in addition to all the new agronomic knowledge we’ve gathered.
 
Having all this going for us, we need only to purge ourselves of the criminals and parasites. On that day we’ll find sufficient resources and good will to finally live fully as human beings. Dismantling all the structures of embodied violence and getting rid of the practitioners of elitist violence, we’ll finally and truly live in the post-violent world.
 

November 26, 2010

The Seed War (1 of 2)

 

Food sovereignty is a human right. It’s utter nonsense and fraud to even speak of democracy, freedom, or human dignity if people are chronically hungry under conditions of food abundance. Nature and human labor collaborate to produce a great bounty, and yet it disappears. It is stolen. The power structure seeks to artificially generate food scarcity. This has always been the case with food.
 
The situation is far more dire than is the case with mere money. The worst of the banksters’ crimes isn’t the theft of mere money itself, but that they have organized the mass plunder of our very food. This is the starkest metric of how our governments have abdicated sovereignty. They have surrendered control of our food to corporate monopoly rackets, whose only interest and will is to commodify, monopolize, drive us into economic ghettos to dominate and starve us.
 
It’s out of this dire need that there has arisen one of history’s most important movements, the Food Sovereignty movement.
 

Food sovereignty is the RIGHT of peoples, countries, and state unions to define their agricultural and food policy without the “dumping” of agricultural commodities into foreign countries. Food sovereignty organizes food production and consumption according to the needs of local communities, giving priority to production for local consumption. Food sovereignty includes the right to protect and regulate the national agricultural and livestock production and to shield the domestic market from the dumping of agricultural surpluses and low-price imports from other countries. Landless people, peasants, and small farmers must get access to land, water, and seed as well as productive resources and adequate public services. Food sovereignty and sustainability are a higher priority than trade policies.

 
So says La Via Campesina, a pioneer of this movement for human redemption.
 

· The right to food and food sovereignty: NGOs/CSOs affirm that the right to safe, adequate and nutritious food and healthy water is a fundamental human right of individuals and groups and food sovereignty that of peoples and nations, as well as the right of farmers, peasants and fisherfolk to produce food for their own families and their domestic markets. These fundamental human rights have to be respected by international institutions, governments and the economic actors.

 
That’s the words of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty.
 

Our Commitment to the Land
*Translated from a poster that hangs in many MST offices, settlements and encampments throughout Brazil.*

MST Commitments to the Earth and to Life

Human beings are precious, for their intelligence, work and organization can protect and preserve all forms of life.

1. Love and care for the Earth and all natural beings.
2. Always work to improve our understanding of nature and agriculture.
3. Produce food to eliminate hunger. Avoid monoculture and pesticides.
4. Preserve the existing forest and reforest new areas.
5. Take care of the springs, rivers, dams and lakes. Fight against the privatization of water.
6. Beautify the settlements and communities, planting flowers, medicinal herbs, greens, trees…
7. Take care of trash and oppose any practice that contaminates or harms the environment.
8. Practice solidarity and revolt against any injustice, aggression or exploration practiced against a person, the community or nature.
9. Fight against latifundia for all that possess land, bread, studies and freedom.
10. Never sell conquered land. Land is the ultimate commodity for future generations.

 
We must fight to realize this vision of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement.
 
Any contract abdicating food sovereignty is the equivalent of a contract for slavery. Even by our rigged law, this is considered an impossibility. Or let’s consider what the author of The Social Contract, Rousseau himself, has to say about it:
 

If an individual, says Grotius, can alienate his liberty and make himself the slave of a master, why could not a whole people do the same and make itself subject to a king? There are in this passage plenty of ambiguous words which would need explaining; but let us confine ourselves to the word alienate. To alienate is to give or to sell. Now, a man who becomes the slave of another does not give himself; he sells himself, at the least for his subsistence: but for what does a people sell itself? A king is so far from furnishing his subjects with their subsistence that he gets his own only from them; and, according to Rabelais, kings do not live on nothing. Do subjects then give their persons on condition that the king takes their goods also? I fail to see what they have left to preserve.

It will be said that the despot assures his subjects civil tranquillity. Granted; but what do they gain, if the wars his ambition brings down upon them, his insatiable avidity, and the vexatious conduct of his ministers press harder on them than their own dissensions would have done? What do they gain, if the very tranquillity they enjoy is one of their miseries? Tranquillity is found also in dungeons; but is that enough to make them desirable places to live in? The Greeks imprisoned in the cave of the Cyclops lived there very tranquilly, while they were awaiting their turn to be devoured.

To say that a man gives himself gratuitously, is to say what is absurd and inconceivable; such an act is null and illegitimate, from the mere fact that he who does it is out of his mind. To say the same of a whole people is to suppose a people of madmen; and madness creates no right………

To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man, to surrender the rights of humanity and even its duties. For him who renounces everything no indemnity is possible. Such a renunciation is incompatible with man’s nature; to remove all liberty from his will is to remove all morality from his acts. Finally, it is an empty and contradictory convention that sets up, on the one side, absolute authority, and, on the other, unlimited obedience. Is it not clear that we can be under no obligation to a person from whom we have the right to exact everything? Does not this condition alone, in the absence of equivalence or exchange, in itself involve the nullity of the act? For what right can my slave have against me, when all that he has belongs to me, and, his right being mine, this right of mine against myself is a phrase devoid of meaning?……

So, from whatever aspect we regard the question, the right of slavery is null and void, not only as being illegitimate, but also because it is absurd and meaningless. The words slave and right contradict each other, and are mutually exclusive. It will always be equally foolish for a man to say to a man or to a people: “I make with you a convention wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; I shall keep it as long as I like, and you will keep it as long as I like.”

 
(Since the entire passage is relevant and profound to our purpose, I reproduced it whole here.)
 
Along with the land itself, the most important battlefront is the Seed War. The biotech rackets want nothing less than world domination through control of the seed supply. They’re getting lots of help from our corrupt anti-sovereign governments. As one example, take a look at the Food Tyranny bill looming in Congress. The House version, passed in 2009, implicitly clamps the government’s metallic grip onto the life-giving seed:
 

(3) include with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment… and water….

Ah, such a little paragraph, and so much evil packed in it. Notice they mention harvesting, sorting and storage operations? Notice they never mention seeds, but they are precisely what those words cover.

Now, watch how they will be able to easily criminalize seed banking and all holding of seeds. First, to follow how this will be done, you must understand that:

1. There is a small list inside the FDA called “sources of seed contamination” and
2. The FDA has now defined “seed” as food,
3. So seeds can now be controlled through “food safety.”

Those seeds (so far) include:

*seeds eaten raw such as flax, poppy sesame, etc.;
*sprouting seeds such as wheat, beans, alfalfa, most greens, etc.;
*seeds pressed into oils such as corn, sunflower, canola, etc.;
*seeds used as animal feed such as soy ….

That includes most seeds. It may even be all seed, given how they are skilled at ‘new’ definitions.

And what are the “sources of seed contamination” per the FDA? They include only six little items:

*agricultural water;
*manure (but not chemical pesticides or fertilizers);
*harvesting;
*transporting equipment;
*seed cleaning (sorting) equipment; and
*seed storage (storing) facilities.

Did you know that seed cleaning equipment is THE single most critical piece of equipment for sustainable agriculture? It is how we collect organic seed. It is the machinery used after the season, when plants “go to seed,” to separate out (sort) the seeds from the plant material so the farmer can collect (harvest) and then save (put in storage) seed for the next year at little cost. With his own seed, the farmer also stays free of patented, genetically engineered, corporately privatized seeds.

 
This is typical of the governmental assault on seeds on behalf of the corporate pirates. But most of the assault is more oblique and ideological. “Intellectual property” (IP) is one of the key concepts corporations are using to force their version of a command economy upon many sectors which are vulnerable to economic relocalization and detachment from predatory rents. In the case of food, the goal of Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, ADM, Cargill, Tyson, Smithfield, and others is to force us to use only proprietary Terminator seeds. These are seeds which sprout only once as sterile plants.
 
GMOs should not be tolerated regardless.
 
1. They don’t work. They don’t increase yield, contrary to the lies of MSM hacks. They only reinforce monocropping industrial agriculture. Farmers were foolish enough to like this at first. Although they weren’t producing more per acre, what they did produce was cheaper to produce. But this was predictably a false economy. How reliable was faith in Monsanto, that it wouldn’t jack up the price once you were hooked?
 

Mr. Begemann [a Monsanto cadre] said that Monsanto used to introduce new seeds at a price that gave farmers two thirds and Monsanto one third of the extra profits that would come from higher yields or lower pest-control costs. But with SmartStax corn and Roundup Ready 2 soybeans, the company’s pricing aimed for a 50-50 split.

 
2. They don’t work, but they do have tremendous risks. I’ll get to those shortly. First let’s get back to the command economy assault.
 
There are several tactics here:
 
1. Attain an expansive pseudo-legal concept of IP in the first place. This means:
 
  A. Trying to patent the genome itself. This concept is universally rejected by everyone but biotech cadres  and globalization extremists. Even the US government recently backpedaled from this extreme position, its previous default.
 
  B. Patent any synthetic modification of it, and make the legal range of this modification as expansive as possible. This too is invalid. The genome is a creation of nature, and modifications of it are simply tinkerings. (That is, from any “innovation” perspective, the one we’d have to be taking if we’re talking about the alleged validity of IP. I’m not referring to the potential effects, but only how much work a corporation contributed.) The research on this was publicly funded. The USDA developed the Terminator seed.
 
Most crop varieties are the result of thousands of years of breeder selection. All such work is in the public domain. Genetic engineering is just a tweak, in terms of the work done. If somebody changes a light bulb in your house, does he now own your house? That’s basically what the biotech rackets are claiming.
 
For both those reasons – the “innovation” is merely a minor adjustment of public ideas, and the research was public funded – it’s not legitimate to grant patents for GMOs. If the genome belongs to anyone, it belongs to society. As the modification of the genome is a cooperative effort, that definitely belongs to society. All IP in plants is invalid.
 
IP in food is also unacceptable from the points of view of national sovereignty and national security. If a society as a society is unable to control its own food supply, if it’s impotent before either external or internal enemies (and by now who knows which kind of enemy a multinational corporation is), can it be said to exist at all?
 
According to Hobbes himself, such a “sovereign” would have abdicated, and we’d be in the state of nature. Since the corporations want to put us there, and the government is putting us there, why don’t we respond by calling only ourselves the society, let the outlaws be outlawed, and restitute all that’s ours? We worked for it, we paid for it. And the Earth itself provides all the materials.
 
2. Force proprietary seeds upon the producers. The basic plan is to use GMOs as a form of Walmartization, drive out all non-GMO producers, render all alternatives uneconomic, indeed cause the literal extinction of many heirloom varieties, get all farmers hooked, and then jack up the price.
 
A. Market pressure – dumping, lowballing, other anti-competitive practices, the whole fencerow-to-fencerow government propaganda and subsidy policy.
 
B. Globalization adhesion contracts – These allow the “protection” of only GMO varieties, which gives them another monopoly advantage.
 
C. Structural adjustment and “austerity”, the extortion born of the globalist debt-sharecropping system, also force it.
 
D. The seed contracts themselves are also indentures. If not literally crop liens, they impose lots of restrictions extending far into the future for any farmer who chooses not to renew the contract.
 
3. Ban alternatives. For example, I mentioned above the FDA’s definition of “seed” and how the Food Tyranny bill modifies that. In principle, this bill would empower the FDA to ban any particular heirloom seed, or heirloom seeds as such. [Heirloom seeds are those which can be saved to replant the same plant variety. Hybrid seeds are prone to have screwed-up offspring, and are therefore too unreliable for the grower. Therefore hybrid seeds can’t be saved but must be repurchased each year.] We already know they have the corporate corruption motive. The raw milk raids and the FDA’s legal brief in a lawsuit over this demonstrate the intent. This bill seems to provide the opportunity.
 
(Once again, we must always remind ourselves and others, if the health racket mandate is allowed to stand, there will be ZERO constitutional barrier to the government’s mandating any private product upon any flimsy pretext. In this case, the FDA will feel it has added authority to mandate proprietary hybrid or GMO seed purchases. Or for that matter to mandate that food be bought only from approved sellers, like ADM and Kraft, and only at approved retailers like Walmart. If the logic of the health insurance mandate is valid, then that of Orwellian “food safety” sure is.)
 
So there’s how they want to enclose the natural and cooperative food wealth and then force us to buy it back from them in infinite extortion increments. Monopoly is the water torture of civilization itself. Every rent extraction is both an injury and an insult.
 
And in this case it’s literally a threat to our lives. Islamic terrorism is no existential threat to America. But corporate food monopolies are. They constitute a clear and present danger to all the world’s people.
 
This joins the two types of threat, biological/environmental and socioeconomic. What is this IP Sword of the Terrorist Damocles?
 
1. It’s a terrorist assault on biology itself.
 
A. They intentionally seek monoculture, heirloom variety extinction, and all the biodiversity knock-on effects of that. (Monocultured fields are a desert, inhabited mostly by vermin species like rats and cockroaches, and invasive weeds.) And with the total dependency upon synthetic herbicides, we’re seeing the predicted rise of Superweeds. That’s why Monsanto has been paying farmers to use competitors’ herbicides against the Superweeds impervious to Monsanto’s poisons. They’re trying to get everyone to sign legal waivers.
 
B Seed homogenization renders us extremely vulnerable to any kind of economic or ecosystem collapse. (All of industrial agriculture encourages this vulnerability.) Picture the subprime bubble, but instead of trillions in digital “wealth” being vaporized, picture vast amounts of our food failing to be produced because of a superbug, soil collapse, acute oil or natural gas crunch, etc.
 
C. If the Terminator technology escapes, it can have horrific effects.
 

This hybrid is produced only to prevent the germination of anything a farmer might grow in her field. This strips the productive, life giving quality from the earth and turns it over to a research lab. This product will mean much more than massive profits and high food prices. Besides violating the age-old techniques of farming, the engineered seed also poses immediate risks to the environment and entire ecosystem as well. It has already been shown that genetically altered seeds can spread its sterile pollen to other plant species also making them unable to reproduce or otherwise altering the genetic makeup of the species. Molecular biologists reviewing the technology are divided if there is a risk of the Terminator function escaping the genome of the crops into which it has been intentionally incorporated. Many biologists warn that there is a threat of the crops moving into surrounding open pollinated crops or wild, related plants in fields nearby (Shand and Mooney, 1998). There have already been dozens of instances of genetically modified foods creeping into the general food supply and threatening food safety. In the case of the Terminator seed, the means of this “infection” would be by way of pollen from Terminator altered plants. Given nature’s incredible adaptability, and the fact that this technology has never been tested on a large scale, the possibility that the Terminator may spread to surrounding food crops or to the natural environment is a real risk of potentially limitless proportions.

 
This leads to:
 
2. What if they intentionally release Terminators into the ecosystem, as anti-ecological terrorism? Of course, their negligence and the inevitable leaks of any such system have already allowed and will continue to allow this technology to enter the environment.
 
A. This could in theory wipe out non-GMO crops.
 
B. It’s already being used as a tool of persecution.
 
We already know Monsanto’s goal is to achieve world domination through seed domination. As we’ll see in Part 2, even before GMOs, seed hybridization was already recognized as sublimated human genocide. This virtual mass murder, by now very literal, has advanced tremendously. We’re entering upon the final conflict.

March 10, 2010

To Restore the American Spirit

Filed under: American Revolution, Freedom, Relocalization — Tags: , — Russ @ 6:48 am

 

Yesterday (and in many previous posts) I gave a brief overview of the assault on American freedom. This is no longer “creeping” tyranny; it’s at a gallop.
 
When we ponder this we must recall how the Founding Fathers saw these things. They too saw freedom under attack. They responded with heroic action. But this action didn’t just spring from nowhere. it was grounded in a firm freedom principle and a keen perception of the basic power calculus of this world.
 
The Founders’ political philosophy can be summed up as: Freedom is the highest ideal, the core principle which gives value to all others, the reason for living. But freedom is always under assault from power. This is not just because men are greedy and tyrannical, although this is true of many. Rather, power itself, by its very inertia, seeks to engulf and diminish freedom. “Power corrupts”, as Acton was later to say.
 
The Founders knew with John Adams that political power meant dominion of man over man. There was no other way for it to exist. It’s true that some level of such power and such dominion must exist if we’re to have human society. But this power must eternally be kept under rein by eternal vigilance.
 
In his great survey The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution Bernard Bailyn compiles many expressions of this theme.
 

Most commonly the discussion of power centered on its essential characteristic of aggressiveness: its endlessly propulsive tendency to expand itself beyond legitimate boundaries. In expressing this central thought, which explained to them more of politics, past and present, than any other single consideration, the writers of the time outdid themselves in verbal ingenuity. All sorts of metaphors, similes, and analogies were used to express this view of power. The image most commonly used was that of the act of trespassing. Power, it was said over and over again, has “an encroaching nature”; “…if at first it meets with no control it creeps by degrees and quick subdues the whole.” Sometimes the image is of the human hand, “the hand of power”, reaching out to clutch and seize: power is “grasping” and “tenacious” in its nature; “what it seizes it will retain.” Sometimes power is “like the ocean, not easily admitting limits to be fixed in it.” Sometimes it is “like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour.” Sometimes it is motion, desire, and appetite all at once, being “restless, aspiring, and insatiable.” Sometimes it is like “jaws…always opened to devour.” It is everywhere in public life, and everywhere it is threatening, pushing, and grasping; and too often in the end it destroys its benign victim.

 
These could have been direct commentary on the analysis of the power ideology given by Hobbes, that men must be considered nothing but calculating, power-seeking machines. According to Hobbes, freedom for all would simply render society impossible. On the contrary, absolute tyrannical power must be concentrated in a power structure which he called the Leviathan. Hobbes’ motivation in this was to justify authoritarian power. (He had also been personally discombobulated by the civil war and feared any kind of uncertainty or political disorganization whatsoever.)
 
It could also be commentary on the relentless inertia of the growth ideology as enshrined in large-scale capitalism. Growth without grounding, profit without purpose, expansion without expectation, all of it simply “appetite..feeding upon itself”, which must inevitable cannibalize itself – by now we know how literally totalitarian in is. As Arendt put it, growth as a violent principle must simply expand “until there’s nothing left to violate”.
 
These are the forms of the unrelenting assault of power upon freedom. The Founders believed that liberty was the eternal prey always at risk of becoming power’s victim.
 
Liberty, law, right, are self-evident and do not arise out of power. On the contrary the only way power can ever be legitimate is if it’s grounded in right and law and remains under their command.
 
Power on the one hand; liberty and law on the other:
 

The one was brutal, ceaselessly active, and heedless; the other was delicate, passive, and sensitive. The one must be resisted, the other defended, and the two must never be confused. “Right and power”, Richard Bland stated, “have very different meanings, and convey very different ideas”; “power abstracted from right cannot give a just title to dominion”, nor is it possible legitimately, or even logically, to “build right upon power.” When the two are intermingled, when “brutal power” becomes “an irresistible argument of boundless right”, as it did, John Dickinson explained, under the Cromwellian dictatorship, innocence and justice can only sigh and quietly submit.

 
Maybe this all sounds obvious, but it’s not the way the modern world, or modern government, functions. The power command of money and physical violence have nothing to with law and right, and are their nemeses. On the contrary, since right is by definition self-created, then by definition to be rich and physically powerful, and to seek political power based only on these, automatically rules out the right. Such power usurpers are outlaws. By definition money and physical dominion can rule only as tyranny, never as legitimate power. This is what the Founding Fathers believed.
 
Legitimate power derives only from the people, from voluntary political and social concord. To conserve this power so that it enhances and preserves, rather than violates, liberty, requires eternal vigilance. Vigilance and the will to fight were at the core of the American Revolution, and have always been the measure of whether values exist at all.
 
What’s the measure of freedom? Your will to fight for it. Where must we be vigilant? Where must we fight? Unfortunately the front line seems to be everywhere we look. Big banks, health care rackets, Pentagon weapons rackets, Big Ag, and everywhere else. What can we do, beyond protest?
 
For now the real action isn’t in karate but in judo. We can’t directly smash the big structures. But we can evade them and let their weight undermine them, by becoming a coordinated network of small producers,  building community self-reliance, constructing local and regional economies which are as self-sufficient as possible, and which keep locally produced wealth in the community and fight to keep predatory foreign wealth out. Relocalization in all things, economic, social, cultural, and political, is the only road to freedom.
 
So we can transpose the ideals and words of the American Revolution, which we were taught as the great shining event of not only our own but of all human history. We can redeem this often hijacked ideal by restoring it to its rightful place, as the fight against tyranny. Today it’s the corporate tyranny we must fight. Relocalization is the strategy and the desired end goal. Most of our tactics will involve it as well. It’s the age’s embodiment of the freedom principle. To go local is to be free.
 
So we must start with the principle. We Americans must decide who we are. The principle – to be free or to be a slave? And the actions which both define the principle and then follow from it. That defines us all.