The Donald Trump phenomenon can be seen as a white working class revolt against the Republican establishment. That establishment has championed small government, tax breaks for the rich, privatization, and deregulation. The establishment’s only attention to the increasingly impoverished working class—indisputably devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs to globalization—has been to exploit its fears and fan the flames of racism, misogyny, and homophobia. Donald Trump has seized on those fears, while giving short shrift to conservative economic dogma. His rise is driving the Republican establishment nuts.
Trump’s ascent seems to be a sign of America’s descent into the idiocy of celebrity culture, the dumbing down of the American populace. After all, the Republican Party is about to nominate for the presidency a man who mocks the way an opponent eats pancakes. By now we have grown accustomed to Trump’s rambling narcissistic babble and are no longer surprised at its apparent appeal.
Ah, but there is rational political discourse on the other side. Only one part of the American political spectrum has lost its mind. That’s a comforting thought. Trump is ensuring a Democratic victory, and sanity will prevail. Then along comes this news:
Required labeling of so-called genetically modified organisms (GMOs) prevailed in Vermont, home of Bernie Sanders, and may go national. Opposition to GMOs is the equivalent on the left of climate change denial or young earth creationism on the right. The scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs is greater than that on climate change.
No reputable scientific body supports mandatory labeling of GMOs. By now, more than 2000 independent scientific studies have concluded that GMOs are safe. Moreover, GMOs may be the key to vanquishing hunger worldwide.
Leading the fight against GMOs are such scientific luminaries as Gwyneth Paltrow and India’s so-called “eco warrior goddess” Vandana Shiva. Vandana Shiva claims to be a scientist but actually has a degree in philosophy. Her crusade against GMOs has targeted Golden Rice, rice that is genetically modified to contain high levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency, prominent among populations that rely on rice as a staple, is responsible for 1–2 million deaths and 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness annually. Without a shred evidence, Vandana Shiva claims Golden Rice is a hoax. She thinks any attempt to improve the nutritional values of crops is playing God. She has an enthusiastic following in the west.
Americans who buy into the anti-GMO nonsense aren’t anxious working-class Trump supporters who feel the ground slipping from under them. They are privileged, educated, mostly liberal elites who, given their propensity to go on cleansing diets to flush the toxins out of their bodies, seem to have missed the biology class that covered the liver. They welcome immigrants because they look forward to all the organic, gluten-free ethnic restaurants immigrants will start. They aren’t racist, misogynistic, or homophobic; they’re just scientifically illiterate.
Let’s hope Bernie Sanders, who supports mandating GMO labeling, by the way, gets free college tuition on the agenda. Maybe at first it could apply only to science majors. Sanders could take a refresher course himself.