"Mad cow" disease

Brian Carnell briand at carnell.com
Sat Apr 6 01:28:42 MST 1996

At 08:10 AM 4/5/96 -0500,  lnp3 at merhaba.cc.columbia.edu wrote:
>This is the opening paragraph in an article I wrote on "Neo-Luddism
>and the Unabomber" that is on the Marxism archives:
>The "second contradiction" between society and nature as described by
>Jim O'Connor and other eco-socialists will emerge more and more as a
>central issue as we slouch toward the 21st century. The new, populist
>resurgence in the USA can be understood in terms of the political
>economy of the "second contradiction". Rwanda's civil war must be
>understood against the backdrop of a 50% drop in grain yield through
>the 1960's.

And what do you think explains this drop in grain yield?

>The NY Times reported today, "In 1989, a British committee concluded
>that inclusion of animal protein from sheep afflicted with scrapple in
>commercial cattle feed was the source of the mad cow disease." In other
>words, the cause of the disease, which can cause brain damage to
>human beings who eat the tainted meat, stems from violence to ecology.
>Cattle must eat grain, not other animals. The appearance of this disease
>in some respects mirrors the outbreak of Ebola in Africa. Damage to the
>rain forest environment for a variety of reasons has spawned new and
>deadly viruses.

Ah, I see.  Not only do Marxists not understand economic forces, but they
also fail to understand the environment.

Are you seriously implying that Mad Cow disease is the result of damage to
the rain forest?  On Ebola the evidence is clearly against you.  Given what
little we know about Ebola, it is likely Ebola has existed for a long time
(much like AIDS), and only recently 'emerged' to affect human populations in
ways we could measure (both diseases may have affected similar population
groups before, but since we would not have been able to measure that, this
would be mere speculation).

The cause of the Ebola disease and any other human disease is a little thing
called biological evolution.  Organisms adapt to take advantage of the
environment they find themselves in.  Regardless of the sort of environment,
organisms harmful to humans will emerge -- one place that definitely does
*not* follow the utopian Marxist nonsense is natural selection.  Or perhaps
you believe that the 'correct' economic system would cause diseases such as
influenza or staph. to simply stop mutating?

Lastly, the concept of "violence against nature" is simply a meaningless
term.  Like all other organisms, human beings interact with their
environment in a variety of ways.  We take in and consume some resources,
expel other resources as waste products (waste products to us, but resources
to others), and generally participate in our (granted rather privileged in
some ways) spot in the ecosystem.  But it is wrong to distinguish between
human beings and the one hand and the ecosystem on the other.  The ecosystem
*includes* our actions.  This animistic notion of ecology is a problematic
holdover from New Age nonsense and leftist ideology.

Brian Carnell
briand at carnell.com

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