Friday, May 10, 2013

Problems With Genetic Engineering & Genetically Modified Organisms (A Basic Overview Of The Issues)

Public Relations & Political Influence

The controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms has persisted as the agricultural biotech industry has continued to promote its creations around the world. Unfortunately, many people still do not understand the issues relating to genetic engineering and the products of that process. The ignorance surrounding this subject can largely be credited to the PR efforts of corporate agribusiness. These PR efforts have been so successful that at this point in time it can very difficult to engage in honest civil discussion about the issues related to genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms.

A popular accusation used against the opponents of GMO technology is that they are the “climate change deniers of the left.” This dismissive accusation, while quite cleverly crafted, entirely misses the substance and reality of the issues at hand. For one thing, it serves to inaccurately classify the opponents of GMO technology as leftists. This serves to marginalize them along the arbitrary lines of a left/right political dichotomy and casts the issue in a political light which is largely irrelevant. But suffice it say that it's not just leftists who oppose this technology. The next attribute of this phrase, equating them to “climate change deniers,” also serves to create another false parallel which can potentially serve to divide people. People on the right side of the political spectrum don't want to be seen as sympathizing with an issue of “the left” and informed people of any political persuasion do not want to be equated with any sort of climate change denial. But the reality of this accusation is that it obfuscates the real issues at hand.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writing, Ideology & Mass Communication In Techno-Industrial Society

Originality, accuracy, and clarity can be hard things to measure in terms of the written word. Originality is always bound to some degree with the familiar. Accuracy, while sometimes easier to assess, is rarely complete and can still lead us to faulty conclusions. Clarity is largely dependent upon the ability of any readers to comprehend, relate to, and think reasonably about whatever is being presented to them. These three aspects comprise but a general shortlist of problems a writer may face when trying to compose something of worth and interest to the broader reading public.

Underlying political and ideological tendencies, which are engrained in the general public, further serve to restrict a writers ability to find and captivate an audience. The promotion of certain ideas, right or wrong, can even be dangerous to writers who promote them. People have been burnt at the stake and put before firing squads because of their ideas.

More commonly problematic is simply the inability of writers to adequately reach a receptive audience. On the simplest level this could sometimes be due to a writers limited access to a suitable medium. However, even having access to modern tools of mass communication does not guarantee that the message being produced will reach a broad or receptive audience. The reasons for this are many.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

9/11 Conspiracies: For The Sake Of Full Disclosure

Many people who have spoken with me in regard to the 9/11/2001 attack are well aware that I am often perturbed and disgusted by many of the more outlandish conspiracy theories associated with the events of that day. I've also commented in many forums about the subject for the purposes of debunking the wilder theories. However... my disdain for the wilder theories, and my belief that the operation itself was in fact carried out by Islamic fundamentalist commandos, is not to suggest that I don't believe in any possible complicity on behalf of any particular members of any government.

Someone recently called me into question about this in regard to an old blog post (which I had actually written [as a Myspace post] before I started this blog in 2006). Since I did add that post to my blog, and because I try to stand behind what I've submitted herein, I now feel obliged to take some time to clarify my position.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Capitalism ≠ Anarchism

In recent years a ridiculous notion has been promoted in the United States. It's the idea that the philosophy of anarchism is compatible with the principles of capitalism. Proponents of this proposed ideological merger call themselves anarcho-capitalists, market anarchists, or agorists. And while anarchists around the globe may not believe in the seriousness of those proposing the merger of these philosophies, I remind them that the proponents we are talking about are primarily people within the borders of the United States of America. This is the same land that has also concocted the notion of “national anarchism” which promotes racial segregation. These are concepts from “the land of the free” – where more people are imprisoned in total numbers (and per capita) than in any other nation. So, as absurd as it is, I assure you that the idea of “anarcho-capitalism” is a real thing.