Is the War on Drugs a failure?

 

Is the War on Drugs a failure and with what should we replace it with, if it is?

by Shane Goodrich

The drug war is a fantastic failure, a complete disaster on all fronts. The costs to fight this “War” have been great. Billions of dollars, millions incarcerated over the past 30 plus years and thousands of lives lost from the side effects of the black markets such as overdoes due to lack of knowledge of what person is actually taking, spread of infectious diseases due to sharing of dirty needles, and criminal gangs fighting for drug territory. Let me quickly touch on 3 main reasons I think the drug war is a failure that should be stopped as soon as possible.

The first reason is from a policy outcome perspective. Which Richard Nixon started the war on drugs and when it got ramped up in the 80’s under the Reagan administration the stated purpose of the drug war was to get drugs off the street. To cut off access. I live in Willimantic, CT which has been given the dubious title The Heroin Capital of CT. On the very street that I live there have been multiple major drug raids in the past few years. Only a few blocks away, this year has been another major drug raid on Pearl St. The drugs are still here. They are not going away.

The 2nd reason the drug war is a failure is from a moral perspective. What right does anyone have to say what I or anyone elses puts in their own body? We live in a country founded on concepts of freedom. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If someone is smoking a joint in their own home and bothering no one else why are we wasting time and money to go after them? The idea of getting involved in peaceful activities is absurd.

Lastly I will speak from a harm reduction standpoint. You may not like drugs, you may think drug use in itself is immoral. But the outlawing of drugs just causes more harm, both to those that use drugs and to those that don’t.

During prohibition armed gangs vied for territory and the right to sell black market alcohol. People would get sick on “bathtub gin” and other poorly made alcohol products. The same applies to drug use now. We have gangs fighting over drug territory where innocent people get hurt in the crossfire. People using drugs die of overdoes because of unknown contaminants in what they are taking.

Just say no does not work. It’s akin to abstinence only education. In the real world people have sex and sometimes people want to alter their brain state. Ending the drug war would make drug use safer for users, reduce crime in many neighborhoods and save the country a lot of money. A regulated legal market like in Colorado for Cannabis would be much preferable to what we have now.

-Shane Goodrich, Video Editor and Cohost of Local Liberty

Local Liberty College Chat Segment link for this question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKLImHOD7Sk&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

A New Series: Homesteading , and A Local Seed Starting Schedule for CT

By Brian Saucier
It has been such a nice fall this year that we could probably keep gardening right up until Christmas if so inclined,  or just playing catch up.  I planted my garlic yesterday, a month and a half late, but the garlic shouldn’t mind too much.    The garden soil felt like it does in May, warm and dry.  Also this past week,  the seed catalogs started showing up in the mail,  re-sparking the garden fever that afflicts so many of us!

I learned a great deal over the last 10+ years from the gardening/homesteading community, both online and locally in person.  I am happy to return some of that value back to the community and especially to new gardeners.   I view each individual’s step towards independence (not isolation) as a benefit to both of us.   One area of increased independence that continues to capture my interest and attention is growing food.

If you share my interest in growing some of your own food,  check out Local Liberty’s newest series on YouTube: Homesteading

Homesteading means many things to different people,  and I plan to cover the various ways my family seeks greater independence.    The first 5 episodes in this series offer an intro to the motivations behind homesteading,  and three episodes (parts 3-5) cover the  first basics of vegetable gardening.

Anyone with experience growing vegetables may want to skip right to the chart linked here:Local Seed Starting Schedule- Eastern CT 

This spreadsheet is what I use to plan my garden for the year, developed through 10 years of experimenting with different varieties and different starting times.  I change varieties in and out each year,  this is what I planted in 2015.  I will replant 90% of these because these are what I have found to work well here.

I hope you find this information valuable,  ask away with any questions,  and please do share with me if you have local varieties that work well in CT.

Some tomatoes to look forward to next summer!
Tomato harvest

Should social problems be solved through government activity?

 Should social problems be solved through private actions and interests or through government activity?

by Shane Goodrich

 

Social norms guide our actions. Our view of the world shapes what we think is right and wrong. When it comes to current social issues, for example my personal views regarding things ranging from discrimination of transgender folks to drug addiction I tend to get along quite well with hard leftists, hippies and Bernie Sander supporters. I think everyone should be accorded respect, people should have no problem serving or dealing with the transgendered community and so forth. I want many social ills from racism to drug addiction to go away.

Where I tend to differ with these folks is how I want to get there. I want private action to be the motivating force. It’s difficult to force a belief system on someone. Forcing someone to treat people better often does not work. After the North won the civil war and Slavery was abolished across the nation the personal views of former southern slave owners did not magically change. They did not wake up one day in May of 1865 and think to themselves you know slaves really are people. Blacks and Whites are equal. No we got Jim Crow and the systematic mistreatment of blacks for another 100 plus years.

This leads me to another point, many social ills are caused by government laws in the first place. Slavery was legally sanctioned in the south, afterwards Jim Crow laws abounded in the region. Top-down solutions to social problems only tend to work when government activity is being curtailed. When it was bad laws perpetuating the problems in the first place. The protests of people like Dr. Martin Luther King brought light to the harsh realities of being a black person in the south (or really anywhere in the U.S) at that time. It was this bottom-up approach that helped change hearts and minds.  The government might put its stamp of approval on something and seem to help bring about social change but that tends to be after popular opinion has changed.  Marriage equality is a recent example of this. Until very recently even democrats on the national level were against gay marriage.  But once it become political viable as a position the pols jumped aboard the band wagon. Another similar issue in this regard is drug prohibition.

I think the drug war is a terrible immoral mess and that marijuana prohibition is especially absurd. Until very recently (when the popular opinion on legalization of recreational pot changed in this country) few politicians would advocate for legal weed. But now people are starting to “evolve” on the issue. Politicians are pandering to the masses, but most of them will have been behind the issue, not ahead of it. Social changes happens from the bottom-up not the top-down.

So Before we think about using the government to solve social problems can we at least stop the government from causing social problems in the first place?

Shane Goodrich Co-Host and Video Editor for Local Liberty

 

How Restrictive should Voting Laws be?

How Restrictive should Voting Laws be?

by Shane Goodrich

            In general I have a very grim view of most people’s ability to vote in an informed and capable manner. I never support generalized get out the vote drives. I encourage most people to not vote. On a small scale I don’t think people should have any say in matters they don’t understand.

For example, I am on the board of Directors for The Windham Textile and History Museum. I am new to the board and often abstain from voting on certain topics as I don’t feel qualified to make an informed decision. I also vote in elections and when I go into the voting booth It has been a common occurrence (in some years at least) for me to skip certain races as I just don’t know enough to make an proper decision.

People in general I find are prone to voting regardless of their knowledge of the issues or of those they are voting for if given the chance. In meetings of all kinds’ people less often abstain from voting and more often just go along with the popular view. I recall handing out flyers for Doug Lary running for 3rd Registrar of Voters in Windham in 2014. I had an interesting conversation with one man where I gave my spiel (imagine in your head a really awesome and persuasive tone of voice):

 

….The Democrats and Republicans are guaranteed a registrar. They can’t lose. If Doug “wins” he will just be added as a 3rd registrar. Doug actually needs votes to win, the other people don’t. Voting for Doug will not affect the Democrats or Republicans registrar at all, their seat is secure. Voting for Doug will be a vote for a diversity of voices in politics. For fairness.

 

The man throughout the conversation was on board, “that is not fair” or “that makes senses” he would say in response to my points. I thought I had him, then at the end. “Sir Can I count on your vote?” The answer: “sorry I vote straight line Democrat”

Arrggh! After talking to dozens of people my view of the general voter became even lower than it already was.

So with all this said how restrictive should voting laws be? As least restrictive as possible. Felons should be able to vote, we should be able to vote online, same day registrations should be the norm. You should be able to vote ahead of time. And why should this be the case when I have shown the lack of understanding I think the general populace has regarding politics? Because some of those same people that don’t get politics and make decisions about things they don’t understand will also be the ones to make decisions regarding who is or is not a qualified voter.

We also know from things like Gerrymandering that people in power will manipulate things to stay in power. Look at the Jim Crow south, keeping the black vote out kept many politicians in. We can’t risk that situation arising. As much as it pains me, let the people have their voice, let them vote.

-Shane Goodrich, Co-host and Video Editor of Local Liberty

 

Does it matter where Americans get there news?

Does it matter where Americans get there news?

by Shane Goodrich

Yes it matters, but what matters even more is how one takes the news they are given. Allow me to explain. During the course of the day we are bombarded by a lot of information, people talk about things that are happing in the world, people are telling us what they think is the truth (let’s put aside lying for this short essay), websites, magazines and newspapers are also giving us their view of the what the truth is. We know not all of these sources can be true. How? Because they often contradict each other, the “facts” presented in one place are different than those presented in another. So what matters when it comes to processing the news is making sure we reflect on what we are reading or listening too. What format is the show I am watching? Is it presented as so called “hard news” or is it editorializing? In other words is it an opinion based show like The O’Reilly Factor or is the channel 3 news? Understand what you are watching.

Is it better to have a diversity of sources? Of course it is but practically it may not be possible to always get a good set of sources for any given issue. For example, I try to get my information from a variety of sources. Over the summer I was attempting to get a grasp of the basics of economics. I read four different books on the subject in pursuit of this goal. The books ranged from a more libertarian viewpoint in the case of Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell to hard left in the case of What’s the Economy for Anyway by David K. Batker & John de Graaf. I did this because I wanted to get a balanced view. To get all perspective’s. But realistically this is much too time consuming and tedious for most people. Most people just want to read or watch people they like and tend to agree with. It’s often as much about entertainment as it is education.

So in the end it matters a lot where Americans or anyone else gets their news, it also matters in what context they take that news (watching Bill O’Reilly just for the fun of it is different than basing your political positions on his show) and it matters how many sources people are getting a given idea from. Just remember to think about what you are told, don’t blindly accept the facts.

Shane Goodrich, Co-host and video editor of Local Liberty

Link to Local Liberty video on the same topic here:

How to raise electricity rates while pretending to protect consumers

How to raise electricity rates while pretending to protect consumers

by Ken Mosher

I just received an email from my state representative, Gayle Mulligan, detailing several new laws that took effect on October 1st.  The email highlighted just seven of the new laws, likely out of dozens or hundreds, so one can assume that these are the ones she approves of most.  Some of the seven were fine, either promoting freedom or being neutral, but a few were nothing more than intrusions into our lives via burdensome or nanny-like regulations.

The most shocking (pun intended) of them regarded the available choices for electricity generation rates, by removing choice, of course.  Connecticut has had some of the most expensive electricity in the country for many years.  We currently rank #3; only Hawaii and Alaska have higher rates (http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/204.htm) and we pay 62% more than the national average.  The next higher, Alaska, pays only a tiny bit more than we do.

An article in Forbes magazine claims that since deregulation “wholesale power prices have fallen dramatically…” lowering electricity generation prices over the last ten years (http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/10/13/after-decades-of-doubt-deregulation-delivers-lower-electricity-prices/).  The overall cost of electricity has fallen by a smaller amount because the cost of transmission has skyrocketed.

One sentence in that article stuck out, “To the extent it [the cost of power declining] hasn’t, regulation (not deregulation) is to blame.”  [Ed: even though I quoted that sentence I actually corrected two typos. Inserting [sic] multiple times seemed rude.]

That is, deregulation successfully lowered prices during the last 10 years, but in cases where the price was not lowered as much as the others, regulation was the cause.  The article’s author did not offer any data to back up his statement.

Then along cometh the gift from our state legislatures, a new round of regulation to “protect” us from the evil power companies and the ravages of capitalism.  The problem is that you can’t change economics or human behavior by passing laws any more than you can affect gravity by the same means.

VARIABLE RATE BAN

“After receiving thousands of complaints by electric customers who saw their bill skyrocket through variable rates, Connecticut is now the first in the nation to ban variable rate electric contracts.”

There’s been a tremendous amount of agita among the buyers of electricity since Connecticut deregulated it in 1998, with consumers first able to choose an electricity generation supplier starting in 2000.  CL&P and UI retained ownership of the lines and became known as your delivery supplier.

Note that people are: forgetful, lazy, and stupid, pretty much in that order.  Even though choosing a new generation supplier was incredibly easy, the masses were confused.  It took a very long time for people to switch away from CL&P or UI even though their regulated price was much higher, but eventually the public accepted it.  [Ed: A search for the percentage of customers who have selected an alternate generation supplier turned up only one reference, from 2010, “More than half a million families have switched“.]  But choosing an alternate supplier usually involves a rate that’s valid for a specific period of time; you have to keep track because when the rate period expires your rate might increase.

Now back to the email from my state rep, “After receiving thousands of complaints by electric customers who saw their bill skyrocket through variable rates…”

In theory those thousands of customers made an informed decision to sign up for the variable rate, which was cheaper than the fixed rate, knowing full well that it could be adjusted monthly.  They traded the safety of a higher fixed rate for the uncertainty of a cheaper variable rate.  Then they cried and screamed when their variable rate lived up to its name, it varied!  They were caught by surprise, having been used to paying a low variable rate that had rarely varied. They went from feeling superior for getting the better rate to feeling like they were being cheated when their gamble went against them. That is not the behavior of a well-adjusted adult who is used to both the benefits and repercussions of his actions. That is the behavior of a spoiled, entitled brat who suddenly isn’t getting his way! 

For the vast majority of the time the variable rate customers got the best deal, but then a period of extreme price increases in the cost of wholesale power caused rates to explode higher. Fixed rate customers were protected somewhat, until their agreements expired and they found themselves paying 50% more for power.  The variable rate customers, however, saw a huge price increase immediately, with a doubling of their cost not uncommon.

The result was predictable, they screamed bloody murder because the evil electricity providers were gouging them. It never occurred to them that the supplier was also paying double the rate from the wholesalers.  Every politician immediately rushed to the nearest microphone to make one of the standard, uninformed comments.  Power company CEOs were hauled before committees where legislators lectured them on electricity rates.  Can you, cherished reader, imagine being lectured at by Senator Edith Prague, a woman of dubious intelligence who never had an original thought or spoke a sentence with meaning in her entire career as an elected official?

The spike in prices was short lived.  Lucky fixed rate customers were spared a few months at the beginning but then had to choose between new fixed rates between $0.12 and $0.15 per kilowatthour. Then, after a few months, prices began to fall rapidly, to the point where I’m now paying barely over $0.06 on my fixed rate plan.

In response to the outrage of high electricity prices, an outrage that lasted only a few months and that was entirely beyond the control of any of the generation suppliers. Our Connecticut legislators have cooked up a new regulation that will increase the cost of power in our state. Maybe we can even surpass Alaska to retake the number two spot!  (Wait, that would be a bad thing.) The Hartford Courant even agreed with my assessment in an article on October 5.

For the vast majority of the time, choosing a variable rate resulted in lower prices.  Unfortunately the whining of a small but vocal crowd can catch the attention of our nanny-state legislators, and just like nannies they want the whining to stop. So now they have protected the hardworking citizens of Connecticut from selecting the lowest electricity generation rate possible, the variable rate.

The electricity suppliers are not going to suffer. They will protect their bottom line by offering shorter fixed rate terms to guard against sudden price spikes, or their longer terms will be significantly more expensive.  Look forward to it because soon you’ll have to remember to choose a new supplier every 3 or 4 months.  It already happened to me; i was unable to get a fixed rate term longer than 4 months.

The next time you hear someone complaining about government gridlock and a do-nothing congress, gently remind them how lucky they are to have it.  The converse is a well-oiled machine that turns out thousands and thousands of pages of new laws like the USA PATRIOT act and the TSA.

Ken Mosher, former board of education member from Andover, CT

Is “Pork-Barrel” Politics good for democracy?

Is “Pork-Barrel” Politics good for democracy?

by Shane Goodrich

            I am going to answer this question in the context of modern American politics this will avoid any messy definitional issues with the word democracy. If you want to get elected today in America you more or less have to promise stuff. What that stuff is will vary from town to town and state to state but you have to bring the goods. On a small scale this seems logical, we elect politicians to represent us, to take care of our interests. If the local economy is focused on mining we want to make things better for miners, in our case (congressional district 2 in CT) much of the local economy is tied up in military manufacture (in this case submarines) well let’s hope Joe Courtney can up those orders for the subs, we need the jobs!

This sounds all fine and dandy in theory… except when you think about the country as a whole, where are these orders for submarines coming from? Who is paying for this stuff (helpful hint: American taxpayers)? The law that might help miners in one district may cause harm to other occupations in other districts. The country as a whole may not need more submarines (please let’s stop making so many machines of war and destruction) but here in the 2nd district the EB is important. And that is the fundamental tension at play. A senator or congressman has to appease his voter bloc, notice I say voter bloc here as someone like Joe Courtney does not have to pay much attention to the people who did not vote for him, he has to bring the stuff just for those that got him into office. Great democratic representation right there.

As a whole congress has terrible approval ratings, people laugh at things like the bridge to nowhere, but those laughing at these things tend to be outside the purview of the congressman or senator that got the bridge deal done in the first place. If they live outside your district oh well who cares about them. If they did not vote for you, oh well don’t worry about those folks. So is pork barrel politics good for democracy? I think certainly on the whole if you look at America pork barrel spending is not helping us. Those pork projects that are paid for with federal dollars hurt us all. For the moment it’s difficult to see an end to these kind of shenanigans. Perhaps with more education and understanding of the system things might change in the future or perhaps the underlying system needs changing. But for now the pork will keep on coming.

-Shane Goodrich, Co-host & Video Editor of Local Liberty

 

Do personal liberties matter more than Society’s Perceived needs?

Do personal liberties matter more than Society’s Perceived needs?

by Shane Goodrich

I was thinking of just writing no and calling it a day but that would make a boring article and likely get me an F on this assignment. So let me expand upon my views regarding personal liberties in regards to societies perceived needs.

First off how do we define a society? At its most basic a society is a group of people. More generally a society is a group of people that inhabit some geographical region, a community of people that in some sense however slight have a common bound of some kind. For example in the United States our common bond in living in the geographical area designated The United States. We are a very large group of people that don’t often share much in common with each other. Societies though can scale, for example Sweden with a much lower population than the United States is  a society and a much more homogenous one, most citizens of Sweden share similar cultural values.

One thing all society’s have in common is what they are made of, they are all made of people, individuals that think, feel, and have needs and desires. These question are framed well in my opinion because it states “societies perceived needs”. Perceived is well used here, as society in fact does not have any needs, any want, any motivations. It is not some monolithic entity. Sometimes in cases such as Sweden a large majority of those comprising the society share similar needs and values but still those are just an aggregate, it’s the actual people, the individual members that think and feel, they just happen to think and feel similarly to others in the shared group.

So what am I trying to get out here? I am trying to disabuse the notion of society’s needs. For if society does not have needs, what is left? The individual needs of the people. People’s personal liberties of course matter more than something that in reality does not exist. If people’s personal liberties are protected, each persons. Then as a whole societies “needs” are by default taken care of.

-Shane Goodrich, co-host and video editor of Local Liberty

Check out our video on this topic here:

This entry was posted on September 24, 2015. 5 Comments

How much control should the Federal Government have over the states?

by Shane Goodrich

Distant bureaucrat or less distant bureaucrat that is the question. Or to bring it to Connecticut, Washington or Hartford? How much say should the federal government have over us? I personally am not thrilled with the idea of the people in Hartford making decisions regarding the lives of those of us in my hometown of Willimantic yet I will almost always choose the less distant bureaucrat in cases such as these. Let me explain my reasons for this preference.

I think local rule (or as local as possible) is best at addressing the needs of the people simply by virtue of its leaders generally having a better understanding of the problems of a community when they are closer to or ideally live in that community. I think the founding fathers understood this which is why they created the system of Federalism in the first place, a system that has (some would say had) some inherent respect for local rule. Of course there where limits placed on that local rule, the major example that comes to mind being the Bill of Rights.

To protect the fundamental rights of an individual against the whims and caprices of the masses is one legitimate role I think our federal government can play, something that the federal government had little control over under the Article of Confederation. But this oversight role should be as small as possible. Almost like a veto when a state tries to pass a law infringing on individual rights. We are sorry sir that man does have a right to listen to Justin Bieber, no law no matter how well intentioned can stop the Bieber (well at least in the U.S… Canada on the other hand…).

Before ending this short essay let me reiterate two points. Local rule is better than distant rule but less distant rule is better than more distant rule. So do I want someone in Hartford to have a lot of say in what happens in Willimantic? No not really but I sure as hell don’t want people in Washington having a major say in the affairs of Willimantic or in the affairs of Connecticut. Right now we are seeing a kind of revival of the concept of states rights, this time centered on individual liberty (unlike some less freedom friendly concepts in the past that states have fought for) regarding such issues as the drug war and until recently marriage equality. I personally favor this trend. Let’s let local people decide issues for themselves.

-Shane Goodrich, co-host & video editor of Local Liberty

Sum Of Us vs Monsanto

Sum Of Us vs Monsanto

by Ken Mosher

I was recently the lucky recipient of an email from SumOfUs.org, one of the many Progressive organizations that tries to collect signatures on petitions and collect donations so they can try to acquire more signatures on those petitions. Like the others, they occasionally stumble upon a cause that those with a libertarian bent would also support. That’s surely how I got on their email list. I have a high tolerance for this kind of junk in my inbox because I can delete it very easily and it’s good to keep an eye on what the other side is up to.

Here is what I received (click to see clearer picture):

SumOfUs-Monsanto

As is often the case, I felt compelled to reply, so I did, with a very short note:

There’s absolutely no reason that the “coalition of Mexican farmers and citizens [that] has fought Monsanto to defend their use of native seeds and 8,000-year-old farming tradition” can’t keep growing whatever corn they want using whatever method they want.  Why don’t you go after the terrorist group PETA and leave Monsanto and Bayer alone?

I was quite surprised to receive a reply the next day (click to see clearer picture):

SumOfUs-Monsanto2

Since this had now become a dialogue and I also believed strongly that her “opinion” was based on ignorance and incorrect philosophy, I decided to answer her more fully.

Hi,

I object strongly to this: hyperbole/bad science and the implication that by selling modern corn seed it will somehow ruin 8000 years of corn-growing tradition in Mexico.

You referred to Monsanto’s “pesticide soaked, genetically engineered brand of corn farming,” but there was no evidence at all that Monsanto’s seed contains any pesticide at all (it does not) nor any information about why modern corn is bad to grow. A lot of (either ignorant or evil) people spread the lie that Monsanto’s corn contains Roundup; it does not. It has been modified to be resistant to Roundup so that if a farmer chooses to spray for weeds he doesn’t kill his corn at the same time. It has also been bred for vigor, drought resistance, pest and disease resistance and yield, all of which are good things.

Have you noticed how corn that you buy at the supermarket keeps so well in the refrigerator? 30 years ago that wasn’t true, to experience great corn on the cob it needed to be cooked within hours of being picked. Breeding has produced sugar-enhanced varieties whose sugars convert to starch much slower than older corn varieties. They’ve also been bred for longer ears with more rows of kernels and more ears per stalk. As a farmer which would you prefer, corn stalks that grow one, or maybe two short ears with 10 or 15 rows of kernels or a variety with triple the sugar content and 3 or 4 8″ ears with 25+ rows?

The 8000 year old Mexican tradition is to grow inferior corn at a significantly reduced yield – and that’s without regard to being Roundup resistant. (I’m using “inferior” to mean ears that are short, few rows of kernels, low sugar content which means most people don’t like it as much, and if you don’t eat it within 24 hours of harvest it’s already starchy. It doesn’t mean there aren’t heirloom (open-pollinated) varieties that don’t have excellent or unique flavor.)

Nevertheless, I understand that many people prefer heirloom vegetables for many, many reasons. The availability of seeds and produce of these varieties has exploded in the USA in the last dozen or so years. Every seed catalog has a huge selection of heirloom seeds. There are even entire companies dedicated solely to heirloom vegetables. Every Mexican farmer is free to choose whatever kind of corn he wants to grow. If his customers want heirloom varieties he can grow them and if they want improved corn he can grow that. There’s no reason he can’t grow both, although he’ll have to separate the two because corn is wind pollinated and he wouldn’t want the heirloom varieties being fertilized by GMO varieties. That’s not hard to do because corn pollen is heavy and doesn’t travel very far.

That leads me to some *very* bad behavior by Monsanto that I wholeheartedly condemn. They have previously sued farmers who had corn fields next to Monsanto fields because the farmers’ corn was acquiring Monsanto’s genetic material through natural pollination. That’s ridiculous, and in fact I’d support a suit by the other farmer against Monsanto contaminating their crop. It’s even more egregious because the other farmer had been growing his corn there prior to Monsanto growing their GMO corn next door. That behavior is wrong, unacceptable, immoral, unethical and should not be tolerated. I don’t recall the outcome of the lawsuit(s) but if Monsanto won it was a miscarriage of justice.

I also disagree with Monsanto’s policy of not allowing you to keep some of your harvest to plant next year. Since I’m not familiar with Monsanto’s genetics I don’t know if their corn seed comes true in subsequent generations, but it’s possible that it doesn’t. However, the farmers do sign a contract with Monsanto stating that they will not grow any of the resulting crop and they should abide by the contract if they sign it. I recently read a story of Indian farmers going broke because they couldn’t afford to keep buying Monsanto’s seeds. It’s a ridiculous situation to get yourself into, though, because you know in advance what the requirements are. So according to “the old ways” a farmer might sell 80% of his production and keep 20% to plant the next year. In the “new way” he will sell more produce (healthier, drought resistant, higher yield) and he will sell his entire crop, but he will retain X% of his income as “seed” because he knows he has to buy seed the next year. Either way you need to retain seed in some form; in fact saving seed for the next planting takes higher priority than selling crop for profit.

I recognize that Monsanto and Bayer are both bad citizens sometimes and I believe they should be held accountable for it, held accountable with harsh penalties when warranted. But also realize that both of them (and other breeders and chemical companies) have contributed to a boom in agricultural productivity that has allowed us to feed many more people per acre than was previously achievable. Trying to deprive the inhabitants of 2nd and 3rd world countries of the benefits and advantages that we have developed is cruel; it’s inhumane and only serves to promote hunger and poverty. Is it your belief that those born in less advanced countries should suffer for it? Is it preferable to give them food as alms and keep them reliant upon our generosity for their existence, always with their hand out for their next meal or should we allow them to use modern seed, modern fertilizer and modern weed, pest and disease control methods to grow 10 or 20 times more per acre and therefore thrive by their own effort? I know my answer to that question and it isn’t to keep them dependent upon us.

Sincerely,

Ken Mosher

(About The writer: Ken is a former board of education member in Andover, CT and former candidate for first selectmen for the Libertarian Party in Windham, CT he currently resides in Andover.)