The editor’s opinion from Marketplace, Northeast Wisconsin’s business magazine. (Obligatory disclaimer: Most hyperlinks go to outside sites, and we’re not responsible for their content. And like fresh watermelon, peaches, pineapple, grapefruit, tomatoes and sweet corn, hyperlinks can go bad after a while.)

August 18, 2008

Prince Charles: “Let them eat cake”

Why, one might ask, did our Founding Fathers fight for independence from Great Britain?

One reason is so that we would not be the subjects of twits like His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. As he waits … and waits … and waits to succeed Queen Elizabeth atop the United Kingdom, he feels free to enlighten us commoners about the dangers of genetically modified foods, as reported in the London Daily Telegraph:

In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting an experiment with nature which had gone “seriously wrong.”

The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth’s soil by scientists’ research.

He accused firms of conducting a “gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong.

“Why else are we facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?”

Relying on “gigantic corporations” for food, he said, would result in “absolute disaster.

“That would be the absolute destruction of everything … and the classic way of ensuring there is no food in the future,” he said.

“What we should be talking about is food security not food production — that is what matters and that is what people will not understand.

“And if they think its somehow going to work because they are going to have one form of clever genetic engineering after another then again count me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time.” …

In the interview the Prince, who has an organic farm on his Highgrove estate, held out the hope of the British agricultural system encouraging more and more family run co-operative farms.

When challenged over whether he was trying to turn back the clock, he said: “I think not. I’m terribly sorry. It’s not going backwards. It is actually recognising that we are with nature, not against it. We have gone working against nature for too long.”

Let’s see here. Our planet, whose population is growing (except in Europe), has starving people. There is also an effort to replace oil imported from the Middle East with ethanol from corn or other plant sources. Genetically modified plants have never been proven to harm nature or people. (Our sample size: 8.5 million farmers on more than 100 million acres of cropland in 21 countries, as of 2006.) In fact their genetic modifications can eliminate or reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. Modifications can increase cold and drought resistance. Modifications can also increase the nutritional value of crops.

I’d be curious about what Charles considers to be “working against nature.” Irrigation? Fertilizer? Insecticides and herbicides? Hybrid crops? Use of tractors and combines? Metal silos? Lights? Electricity?

It’s not clear if Charles is really as ignorant or as insensitive to the problems of the world outside Clarence House as this makes him appear, or if he’s been listening to Jeremy Rifkin too much. (Bonnie Prince Charlie says we have, as of now, 15 months to reverse global climate change, assuming global warming is actually occurring.) It’s pathetic to see one of the world’s (alleged) leaders succumbing to superstition over science, similar to opponents of nuclear power. It’s also pathetic to see the next leader of the country and kingdom that produced Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, William Wilberforce, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher become vaguely socialist. That, or he’s channeling his inner Marie Antoinette.


Anonymous said...

prince charles says we have 100 months to prevent climate change not 15 as stated in the article.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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