Anti-GMO & Anti-Vax Sentiments Cross Left-wing and Right-wing Lines
I’m not often wrong, but I admit when I make a mistake. I was always aware of pseudoscience littering the internet and permeating our communities. I must admit that I fell for a stereotype of clear-cut pseudoscience camps. Until recently, I thought science-deniers were neatly packaged into two groups as follows:
The right-wing religious pseudo-science pushers
- Climate-change denial
- Evolution denial
- Belief in physical harm caused by abortion
- Statements like Todd Akin’s about pregnancy not resulting from legitimate rape
- Young earth creationism
- Belief that sexual orientation is not innate
The left-wing liberal pseudo-science pushers
- Anti GMO/Genetic modification
- Belief in harm of vaccination
- “Natural-is-better” mentality
- Belief that homeopathy works
- Belief in curing or preventing ailments with “natural”/herbal remedies
I can’t pinpoint why I subscribed to this dichotomous view. Perhaps it came from headlines like, “Are GMOs the Climategate of the Left?” This view changed when Modern Alternative Mama very recently entered my radar. Why? This is a group of very religious, Biblical Christians. Now if you have a moment (I promise it’s worth the “um, what?” factor) go peruse Modern Alternative Mama’s Facebook page. With just a quick glance you’ll find gems like “Fighting the Flu with Essential Oils,” general anti-vaccine propaganda, so-called ionized clay to use as a natural “chemical-free” detoxifying agent, and anti-GMO pro “real food” misinformation. While this is just a small sampling of the plethora of drivel cloaked in credible rhetoric this page touts, these are all beliefs I would have ascribed to the left-wing brand of pseudoscience.
I’ve concluded that all kinds of pseudoscience infiltrate most of society across political and religious lines. So is there a remaining difference? Take again, for example, Modern Alternative Mama. What does the word “alternative” mean? One of the accepted definitions is, “existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or economic system.” It boggles my mind how such people can fly in the face of scientific and medical consensus yet follow the word of the Bible. I’m sure the irony won’t be lost on my readers. Evidence unequivocally shows that vaccines and GMOs are safe. Yet this person’s website claims that herd immunity isn’t a good reason to vaccinate, that consuming GMO food causes cancer, and that she “doesn’t believe” in the institution of modern science. At the same time, she and many of her readers subscribe to the belief system that the Bible holds the tenets by which to live. As I’ve stated, I’m not anti-religion by any means, but the inconsistency in following an ancient doctrine while rejecting thousands of studies on GMO safety and vaccine safety cannot go unquestioned.
Hyprocrisy still abounds with left-wing folks berating conservatives who disbelieve in global warming and then hold “Hell No GMO” signs at rallies. No matter the political or religious affiliation, these anti-science bloggers and activists are not only ill-advised, but reckless and dangerous. Make no qualms, this isn’t just benign drivel. This fear-mongering has tangible effects on consumer habits and political trends. As my readers know, I’m vocal on these topics and I’m not planning on stopping any time soon.
Stay tuned for a list of the top woo offenders to avoid when you’re expecting.
Bush cartoon image credit
Monsanto poster image credit
Kavin, while I don’t have any doubt that anti-GMO and anti-vax views are shared by both liberals and conservatives, I still think it is most prevalent among liberals. That’s just going by my admittedly biased observations. As an example out of a few hundred friends on Facebook, I don’t know if I’ve ever see an anti-GMO post from a conservative friend, but from liberals I see it nearly every day.
I follow a number of GMO pages on Facebook, and when I do see it from someone on the right, I often notice it is more of what i would term an anti-government libertarian type, as opposed to a big business type. So I think it represents, at least currently, a small subset of the right.
I did see *one* poll that suggested it is evenly distributed, but the mere wording of a poll can determine its outcome, so I’ll stick with my observations for now.
I think it would also be worthwhile to differentiate between those who hold an opinion, and those who actively advocate for it politically.
I could be wrong but if you look at where most of the anti-GMO laws are succeeding, 20some which have now found there way onto the books around the country, they are overwhelmingly liberal areas. Similarly, go to an anti-Monsanto march. I’m guessing 80% or more are liberal fighting those evil big corporations.
I would guess that anti-vaccination views are actually most held by conservative religious folks. There are any number of religions that reject some or all medical treatment, and the “power of prayer” is very important to a number of them. That’s why many states have religious exemptions for vaccination laws.
You could be right. It’s actually anti- GMO more than anti-Vax where I notice the strong liberal dominance which is why my post focused mainly on GMO.
Anti-GMO I don’t know about; I do know that there is definitely a vocal group of liberals into that crap, but I don’t know what conservatives think of this stuff.
By which I mean that my observations match yours, but the plural of anecdote is not data. It would be interesting to see a poll on the issue.
I’ve found it to be prevalent among the conspiracy theorist and borderline conspiracy-theorist types that anti-GMO and anti-vaccine runs prevalent.
I should note that my comments above are as a liberal. I’ll also offer another theory. A decent percentage of those on the right are Christian believers. They’ve already found their “truth”. Heck, they don’t even worry about global warming because the bible says only God will destroy the earth.
Liberals on the other hand are less likely to be religious and are more likely to replace Christian ideology with various type of spirituality many of which involve all types of obsession with “natural”. So I think your (original) belief that liberals are more likely to think “natural is better” is true.
I am of course engaging in vast generalizations that don’t always apply. But I think they do a lot of the time.
You both bring up good points. Obviously this piece isn’t at all based on data, just on my observations. But even with anti-vax and anti-GMO, the left wing types tend to be anti-big industry, while right wing are more against government dictating their actions.