Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Libertarian corporate catspaws.

The American Enterprise Institute has published a very successful propaganda piece opposing Michael Pollan that is being widely circulated on the web. But it's not a real argument: it's denialism. Luigi over at Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog noted the black and white framing: that's a good guideline for spotting the propagandistic nature of the article.

As propaganda, you can't trust any provided numbers or anecdotes: the turkey drowning story is an urban myth. His calculations on the amount of table scraps needed for fertilizer make all sorts of ridiculous, inefficient assumptions.

And of course, the techniques that he endorses such as no-till were developed precisely to deal with "agri-intellectual" complaints against loss of topsoil to erosion. And they were developed by "agri-intellectual" researchers at public universities. And it took a whole lot of convincing to get farmers to begin using them.

50 years ago, Hurst would have written a screed against "agri-intellectual" concerns about topsoil loss. He wouldn't have had the vision to dream that solutions could be found, so he would deny the problem, ridicule the identifiers of the problem, and claim it couldn't be solved anyhow. Hurst has that same lack of vision for these newer concerns.

The American Enterprise Institute is a propaganda organ for conservative corporate capitalism. They don't really care about Pollan's book: all they care about is that they can present another
denialist club for bashing liberals and progressives who criticize capitalists for trampling over our health, environment, politics, and culture.

There's a good criticism at The Big Money.

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