This was written in reply to a guest editorial in August 2015 Alberni News:
The guest editorial by Jim MacGregor is a excellent example of how incorrect ideas are held by so very many well-educated people in our society, the final couple of paragraphs implying the authors’s distorted moral view of the nature and development in general. His call to stop genetically modifying food and ‘leave nature alone’ shows us just how distorted his thinking process is. Sadly, he’s not alone.
Consistent with the popular, modern viewpoint, many people either irrationally conclude there is a point in recent human history where development or modification of nature should end or they simplistically believe that anything that was around before their birth is natural. The most serious incorrectly held view being the, ‘freeze further change’ ideal.
Maybe I view human history from a somewhat different perspective than most people. I maintain that we humans embarked on the development path when the first human being chipped a sharper edge on a stone, effectively creating a more useful tool. A few of his fellow travelers on the earth saw what he had done, observed how it would benefit their own lives, copied it and some thousands of years later, here we are in a modern, industrial and mechanized society, an incredible distance from the pointed stone in that gloomy cave.
Probably some folks would have liked to complained about changing nature even back then, but thankfully they had to at least wait until we finally learned to speak.
To consider change in the proper perspective, today’s peaches, pears, cherries, apples are a far cry from what was originally found in nature. In fact, today there is no valid excuse for sloppy thinking about ‘natural’ origins of fruit, of pets, of livestock as the internet will give us all those answers. Wheat, rice and corn are all decedent from grasses. Through selective breeding, those greatly modified grasses today feed some 7 billion people. And consider that your friend, the dog, originated as a wolf thousands of years ago, and now, selective breeding gives us hundreds of canine variations showing little resemblance to their distant ancestors.
We need to keep in mind how this happened. The modifications of nature that surround us are there because a significant number of our ancestors saw shortcomings and worked to change things. The vast number of their neighbors viewed those changes positively and adopted them for the purpose of improving their own lives. Yet today so very few people realize how bleak life would be if the got their way, if they brought an end to our modifications of the natural world.
To now say, ‘we should resist change’ carries a dangerous component. Shoulds are moral words and while I have no problem with someone saying, ‘I will not change’, the phrase, ‘you should not change is far to close to ‘you may not change’ for my liking.
Here we arrive at my moral position, I want freedom from force and I want to control my own life. I respect that others have the right to live their own lives, though I am flummoxed by the many people happy to place their fate in another’s control. I happen to resent interference in my life, wanting freedom and willing to assume full responsibility for my actions and willing to support of my own life.
I want to peacefully live out my years in a developed, mechanized, industrial society, with citizen not fearful of every change.
And so it is that I poke my keyboard into a variety of things but pretty well every thing I write about will challenge the loss of some bit of freedom, stolen from individuals. We now live in a collectivist society that smothers initiative and stifles inventive solutions to problems. Usually an accounting rather than an engineering solution is proposed. Cut rather than produce in a better way.
I write, not because I intent to make enemies but rather to seek allies. The problems of this world won’t be solved unless all rational voices publicly question the popularly-held, irrational ideas that are in actual fact, destroying our industrial world. We live comfortably because we use the man-made. We forget that nature is not kind to man without those modifications, brought to us by the hands and minds of past generations of geniuses.
There are so very many baseless claims that we tend to accept without thought. We’re told the world is being destroyed while human life span increases. We’re told industry kills but if we look at those place where human life is short and miserable, it is where there is no industry. We’re told we are running out of resources and we are…because we funded innumerable activist lobby groups that oppose any and all development.
And so, I see nothing but contradictions in Mr MacGregor’s editorial and I truly think the fact that so few individuals in the news business think clearly, is one of our great tragedies and probably the greatest cause of society’s woes. We can be misled in our youth be unthinking parents and teachers but as adults it is the media and of course ultimately, books, that influence our thinking. Regrettably, those who buy ink by the barrel often spend more time talking than thinking.