Day: November 6, 2019

Elizabeth Warren Outraged by Social Media Bans She Champions

In a tweet she published on Tuesday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted Twitter’s new ad policy that won’t approve any political advertising.

The problem with Sen. Warren’s outrage is that she herself is a champion of breaking up social media networks as an end goal, and restricting political advertising in the meantime.

Therefore, when such policies are then implemented by social networks as a way to placate political interests and ensure good relationships with lawmakers, shouldn’t that be celebrated?

It seems Warren is upset that the policy affects more people than those she intended.

Here is a good lesson in advocating public policies and regulations that affect real people: they actually affect, and sometimes harm, real people.

Because regulations are rules that impact everyone and considering that these regulations are promoted as part of a candidate’s platform, it doesn’t take much to understand that ordinary groups, charities, and organizations will actually end up getting penalized. Noble intentions are great, but the actual impact is what matters.

This is something we’ve discussed before, and we’d advocate against.

The Consumer Choice Center, the consumer organization I work for, now won’t be allowed to make ads because Twitter’s algorithms consider our content “political advertising,” even though we do not endorse candidates. We discuss ideas and advocate for ideas that promote consumer choice.

Bans on political advertising, as promoted by Warren, are effectively an attempt to regulate speech, albeit in the private sphere. And not just the speech of the fossil fuel companies or political candidates from parties she deplores.

It also affects environmental groups, pro-LGBT groups, political clubs, NGOs, and everyday civil society organizations like ours.

Let that be a warning to those who promote tech regulation that stifles speech. It won’t just be speech that you don’t like that will end up censored, but all political speech. That’s bad for ordinary social media users, and it’s bad for well-meaning organizations who are just trying to spread a message.

For more, check out this Consumer Choice Center poll that shows that 77% of Americans believe government should not interfere with newer tech-enabled businesses where possible to ensure consumers have the greatest possible choice of services.

Embracing GM is a great way to tackle climate change

Labour’s pledge to ban private jets over their environmental impact may be pure electoral politics, but it’s also a timely reminder to think about the best approach to tackling climate change and environmental breakdown.

There are two main ways to respond to an emergency situation: set off alarm bells in an effort to neutralise the danger quickly, or take a step back to properly assess the issue without giving in to emotional pressure.

In the case of climate change, the former approach has clearly taken over. The likes of Extinction Rebellion warn of imminent doom, and Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez predicts the end of the world in little over a decade. Their ‘solutions’, such as trying to decarbonise the entire British economy in a little over five years, also reek of alarmism.

Climate change alarmism has been immensely successful in promoting all sorts of bans, dietary restrictions, and taxes. These measures are far from being a panacea, especially in the long run. Moreover, in order to achieve the desired outcomes, they need to be applied consistently and at all levels of government. It is for this reason that they’re doomed to fail: there will always be free-riders, those who would find a way to stick to their meat-full diet or avoid paying taxes.

Beyond this kind of alarmism, one of the most effective ways to fight climate change is through innovation in agriculture.

Organic farming is appealing because it’s “natural” and therefore, associated with higher food safety, but it can potentially do more harm than good if we choose to stick to it. In 2017, researchers at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture in Switzerland estimated that if the world chose to fully convert to organic agriculture, we would need between 16 and 81% more land to feed the planet.

Over-reliance on limited natural resources, as in the case of organic farming, is significantly more dangerous than taxes. The world’s population is growing, and we need food. Promoting organic promises to provide less of it just at the time we need it most.

The good news is that unleashing the potential of genetic engineering, far from a ‘Frankenstein’ technology, is a powerful weapon in the fight against environmental breakdown. With the help of genome editing, we would be able to decrease our dependence on natural resources and minimise the use of both fertilisers and pesticides. Creating drought and heat-tolerant crops would reduce the need to deforest wild areas to free up more land for agricultural purposes. And we could help tackle overfishing by replacing fish oil with EPA/DHA canola (omega-3 fatty acids).

The benefits of genetic engineering are astounding, but they are very often dismissed because of unproven food safety claims and risks associated with altering the face of agriculture. Scientists have repeatedly rejected the idea that gene-edited foods are less safe than those grown conventionally. The real issue, it seems, is human resistance to change, coupled with ill-informed, unscientific scare stories.

The human cost of this resistance to change can be staggering. Take golden rice: a new book estimates that millions of people have died or gone blind unnecessarily because they were denied access to this miraculous food by a combination of over-zealous regulation and misguided anti-GM campaigning.

This is nothing new, of course. Throughout history, people have been sceptical, or even fearful, of innovation. And yet, it has persisted against all odds and improved our lives in once unimaginable ways. We should stand up to the alarmists and give genetic engineering a chance to feed the world – and help save the planet.

For more facts on Health and Science, check our other articles here.

The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 

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