Factory Farming: Who are the Real Statists Here?

by Kevin Carson
Factory Farming: Who are the Real Statists Here?

In the mainstream libertarian movement, accusations of “statism” typically focus on a fairly predictable set of targets. Anyone who complains of racism, sexism or other social justice issues, the economic exploitation of workers or degradation of the environment is reflexively accused of statism on the assumption that exploitation, injustice and pollution could only be problems for people who hate freedom.

This is perhaps nowhere as true as with factory farming and genetically modified crops. For example, Ron Bailey at Reason regularly defends these things against organic farming and sustainable agriculture advocates, and other supposedly “statist” enemies on the Left.

But in fact it’s hard to be more statist than the agribusiness interests themselves. The so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” — actually a rider attached to a farm bill last year — provides that unless and until the Secretary of Agriculture makes a regulatory decree against Monsanto’s genetically modified crops, courts will be prohibited from issuing injunctions against the planting and distribution of such crops based on tort litigation against them. Companies like Monsanto regularly, repeatedly and consistently push to prohibit food producers or grocers from advertising products as GMO-free, on the grounds that such advertising amounts to disparagement of genetically modified crops by implication, when — according to the industry — “sound science” shows that GMO crops are just as safe as non-GMO ones (a claim, by the way, that Bailey parrots in virtually every article he writes on GMOs).

But guess what? Since the passage of the Monsanto Protection Act, a new study by ProfitPro (“2012 Corn Comparison Report”) has found that chlorides, formaldehyde and glyphosate — substances not found in natural corn — are present in genetically modified corn. Glyphosate, in particular, is found in GMO corn at 13 parts per million. The EPA limits glyphosate in drinking water to 0.7 ppm, and exposure at 0.1 ppm has caused organ damage in some lab animals. Glyphosate, a strong organic phosphate chelator, immobilizes positively charged minerals like manganese, cobalt, iron, zinc and copper, which are vital for normal growth and development of crops, and strips them of nutrients — which perhaps explains why non-GMO corn has 437 times the calcium, 56 times the magnesium and seven times the manganese of GMO corn. That Monsanto Protection Act just might come in handy.

As if this weren’t enough, Monsanto’s business model depends on strong patent monopolies, which it enforces in the most thuggish ways imaginable — namely, accusing farmers adjoining GMO crops of “piracy” if their crops are contaminated by Monsanto’s proprietary pollen. If anyone is entitled to legal damages, it would be the farmers whose crops are contaminated by Monsanto’s poison. But of course the USDA — which amounts to an executive committee of corporate agribusiness, staffed by political appointees who came through a revolving door from Monsanto, Cargill and ADM — doesn’t see things that way.

Meanwhile, agribusiness interests in a dozen states are pushing so-called “Ag Gag” bills that would criminalize whistleblowing and undercover investigation of animal cruelty in factory farming operations.

On top of everything else, consider that the biggest agribusiness operations are either situated on stolen land (like the big farms in California, many of which were haciendas occupied by politically favored Anglo settlers after the Mexican war), or are enormous concerns actually paid for holding most of their land out of use (like the biggest cereal farms in the Midwest and Plains). And the big California agribusiness interests depend on subsidized irrigation water from all those dams the Army Corps of Engineers likes to build.

Throw all this together, and we see that corporate agribusiness is a virtual creature of the state, and depends on the state on a daily basis not only for its profits, but its continued existence. So it turns out that the real enemies of the free market are not all those anti-GMO activists, but the agribusiness interests themselves. Perhaps that’s why former Archer Daniels Midland CEO Dwayne Andreas said “The competitor is our friend. The customer is our enemy.”


  1. “”stolen land” in California.

    At this point Thomas will appear to declare that Kevin has not said what he has said (not just this time – but a thousand times before).

    It it was not the war of 1848, it would be the war of 1066 – and even if an English estate was older than that, Kevin would simply find some other excuse (for excuses is all his writings are) – excuse for his hatred of anyone who has more than him.

    “No Paul Kevin is used against government subsidies for farming” – not true, he would just as opposed to large scale farming in New Zealand (where farming is not subsidised) as in the United States (where farming also did not use to be subsidised), and would find some excuse to support the stealing of the farms.

    Black Flag “anarchists” (or “mutualists” or whatever…….) claim to be fundamentally different to Red Flag Marxists – yet both the followers of the Black Flag and the followers of the Red Flag happily cooperate, in everything from the “Occupy” movement, to the Chicago Teacher Union.

    Both hate “the capitalists” (i.e. people who actually achieve things that benefit mankind), the belief system of both is based upon envy.

  2. Even tho’ I was in mild agreement with a C4S’r in the lost post’s comments, I am very sick of Carson’s leftist crap in general. However, wrong tho’ Carson may be (about almost everything) about big business being entirely the creature of the state–Monsanto are not good guys. I don’t know if GMO is harmful–but at this time, I don’t think we know enough about genes to be fucking about with them in the glad-handed manner that Monsanto is. And they are a judge-sucking gang of litigious turds who are overjoyed to use scummy govt courts to fill their pockets at everyone else’s expense. A creature of corporate socialism indeed.

  3. Yes Mr Ecks – just because “Russia Today” and “Al Jazeera” attack Monsanto (almost every day) does not automatically make Monsanto good guys (the enemy of my enemy is NOT always my friend).

    That is why I concentrated on the “land theft” rubbish – and Kevin really has (in the past) gone back as far as 1066 (and-all-that….) to find excuses to attack anyone who has more stuff (such as more land) than him.

    Indeed when I produced an example of an estate in Staffordshire that went back BEFORE the Norman Conquest (I noticed it because it had just gone bankrupt – the family has survived everything, conquest, war, the Black Death…. but the they could not survive trying to go into the theme park business….) there were just more excuses about how this land was really stolen as well.

    In reality most land has changed hand multiple times – and even many “old aristocratic families” do not really go back to the Norman Conquest (if they have “French” names they are sometimes adopted one – “now I own the …… estate I had better not be Mr Smith anymore, otherwise people will remember my grandfather actually was a blacksmith” that sort of snobbery).

    Demanding that the only “just title” is land that has NEVER changed hands violently (a century of peaceful possession does not matter to Kevin – if he can find evidence that a cave man was hit over the head by another cave man in the year ten thousand B.C………….) is like demanding that people be born with without sin.

    “For Jesus to be born without sin Mary must have been born without sin”.

    Right you are then lads – and for Mary to be born without sin, her mother must have been born without sin, and so on………

    All the way back to Eve………

    Hat tip to Thomas Aquinas for the example.

    Of course for Jesus to be without sin does NOT depend on Mary.

    Just as a farmer in (for example) New Zealand is the legitimate owner of his land – even if his great grandfather shot some people in the middle of the 19th century. People who were trying to shoot the said great grand father – when they were not trying to take the heads of members of rival tribes.

    Winston Peters (the head of the New Zealand Party) has a better grasp of “noble” traditional native culture (how it was not noble at all) than guilt ridden white idiots.

  4. “…real enemies of the free market are not all those anti-GMO activists, but the agribusiness interests themselves.” Because corporations are often backed and indulged by the State. Like the nuclear energy plants most could NOT exist without taxpayers money seeping or pouring into them.

    jan Sent using Hushma

  5. Actually nuclear power has been undermined by the spiders’ web of regulations (the terrible costs of these regulations) that the state has imposed – regulations that do NOT improve safety (quite the contrary).

    First regulate something so much that it can not exist without subsidies – and then say it could not exist without you. That is the way of the state – not just in nuclear power, but in farming also.

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