Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee voted against Senate Amendment 965, the GMO Label Law amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill, which will likely be voted on in the Senate on June 4.
Quoting from the text of the GMO Law amendment,
“To permit States to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient.”
The amendment to the 2013 farm bill failed 71-27, with pro civil liberties Senators Paul, Cruz, and Lee voting nay. Despite calls for apology from the Senators and massive protest against genetically modified foods, the 3 Senators known for their support of Liberty have not wavered in their stance on GMO Laws.
And rightly so.
For pro health freedom Senators, it would be a surrender on principle and regressive to deliver more power to the government in efforts to get certain foods labeled or increase health awareness. It is that same government that uses that power to spend billions of American’s dollars to bailout, subsidize, and monopolize the agriculture industry at the sacrifice of smaller businesses, farms, and customers.
As a perfect example of the Libertarian GMO law position, in 2012, Senator Rand Paul not only voted against the GMO Labels amendment, 2310, but also voted “Nay” on S. 3240, Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012. This should be noted-that there was a nay vote on the overall bill by Rand-signaling discomfort with the presence of a Federal Farm Bill, one of the powers most definitely not granted to the Federal government by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
To speak on Rand’s principles, the critics of his actions and that of Cruz and Lee, in this case, seem to ignore what I have seen few other Senators do on the floor , attempt to end the FDA police state powers, stand against gun tyranny in the wake of a crisis, expose and stand against the use of drones to kill Americans, and so on.
How can people be so naive and trusting in delivering an additional authority to government?
Before further discussion on the legality and logic of the bill and amendment itself, GMO Labeling should be explained. GMO Labels, or genetically modified organism labels, would label foods that have had their genetic makeup altered by having specific genes added to create a desired characteristic, such as antibiotic-resistant or pesticide-producing genes.
Crops that carry antibiotic-resistant genes, consumed by various species of nature and eventually, humans, and genes that allow crops to self-produce pesticide, eventually consumed by nature and humans, should raise concern. And researching and acting to construct a diet around and storage of REAL and NUTRITIOUS food is wise, and even wiser nowadays given the presence of GMO foods in the system and the threat that GMO foods create for the entire farming and food industry.
But is the correct response to companies, like Monsanto, who own and advance genetic modification through sustaining and enlarging BIG government, more legislation? Is GMO Label legislation the answer, when it is the legislators themselves who have assisted Monsanto and companies like it get to where they are?
The wiser choice, which I believe Rand Paul sees, is a more grassroots and free market approach that pressures companies themselves to request and require GMO Labels from other companies. Companies like Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, rely on a specific customer base to yield a profit and stay in business. If that specific customer base, and their capital, start to disappear, or start to become frustrated with the company, it forces the respective company to solve the problem and change their business practice, or face failure.
If grocery stores were forced, by the vote of their customers through their own respective capital, to take action on genetic modification, they would do so efficiently, quickly, and without the risk that comes with legislation and increased and centralized authority. This would require informed customers, identifying genetically modified foods without labels, and actively avoiding them and purchasing organic or non-gmo varieties. But, eventually, food suppliers could be forced to label their foods to get into certain grocery stores, or grocery stores themselves could ban specific types of food altogether.
The market is the great equalizer in the sense that it delivers authority to the individual purchasing, to dictate exactly what he or she needs, wants, and requires, and to seek out satisfaction for those needs and wants from a plethora of choices ever competing against each other to best serve the individual customer. The government is the great un-equalizer, in the sense that it assumes authority over others and their discussions and interactions, and acting as the monopoly on force, uses resources take n from certain groups to punish certain groups and award certain groups.
As I hope you have inferred this far, I believe the problem of GMO labels is one of philosophy, in that even if there were to be a GMO Labeling law, and Genetically modified foods were labeled, what would stop customers from continuing to purchase those exact foods without even paying attention to the label? There are already nutrition labels and ingredient lists on most foods, yet people continue to choose fattening foods over healthier ones.
And do not take this as a stand-down of support for GMO identification or even nutrition labels, because I will openly declare that I support these two measures even more than those who seek to enforce them through government, which always self-destructs. I just seek to enforce these measures and ideas through the voluntary interactions of individuals, who because of voluntary interaction, will be forced to research and prepare best for themselves.
I just see philosophy as a better regulator than a legislator. Only knowledge of a greater benefit from not consuming GMOs than the benefit of consuming GMOs will create the effort large enough to empower organic or real foods over genetically modified foods.
GMO Label legislation will not replace an individual’s thirst for knowledge, or an individual’s ambition to improve themselves. GMO Labels legislation will not create the shift in the market-resultant of a shift in philosophy-necessary to empower organics or non-GMO over GMO.
A label will not help an individual realize that he should best-watch out for himself, that he should pay most attention to his own money, and that he should take care of and take pride in his own property, his body. A label will not mold members of groups to stand up as individuals, to take responsibility for themselves and their actions, and thus be liable for all consequences and rewards.
What is the solution then?
Eat REAL FOOD. Do your best to practice what you preach, to research and prepare, and to inform and help. You can put effort in to convince 10 of your friends of the philosophy that guides your way of eating, or notify them and others of what GMOs are and why they should ask their local grocer to label them.