I know, from the time I’ve spent looking for housing here, that if you have a dog, you are more likely to find a dead body, D B Cooper’s money, and bigfoot than you are to find a place to live in Humboldt County. If you’ve ever wondered why so many homeless people have dogs, that’s why. Unless you own your own home, in Humboldt County, you have a choice between having a landlord, and having a dog. Having had a few landlords, I can understand why a lot of people would prefer to have a dog.
Some people, however, NEED their dogs, and everyone needs a place to live. I got this letter from a homeless reader recently, and it should remind people of the kind of people our housing shortage really hurts.
Hi, my name is Lori and my wife Kate and I are new here in this area. Kate is a disabled veteran–she served two tours in Iraq as an Army medic. On her last tour, she was severely injured and then eventually medically discharged from the military. As she recovered back in the US, she dealt with PTSD and was unable to leave her house for months. She then got a Great Dane named Chief who would become her service dog and save her life.
With Chief, Kate was able to go back to school and finish her bachelors degree, then she went to nursing school and graduated with her RN. Chief passed away young, just before Kate graduated from nursing school. Luckily, Kate had Ozzy, our other Great Dane who became her next service dog. With Ozzy’s help, Kate was able to begin her career as an ICU nurse. In the meantime, we rescued another Great Dane named Gilbert, who would then start training to be her service dog (to take over for Ozzy when Ozzy was on break).
Kate blossomed with the help of these two amazing dogs. Kate was deemed disabled enough that she does not technically have to work, she could be collecting a check from taxpayers every month. Instead, she busted her butt and worked hard in a career field that would enable her to give back to society instead of being dependent. Almost 2 years ago, Kate decided to take a job as a travel nurse. We’ve been traveling the country since then with her two service dogs and we’ve had wonderful adventures with them. Kate worked in Crescent City last winter and we both fell in love with the North Coast. We decided we wanted to put down roots here, so when an opportunity came for Kate to work at Mad River Community Hospital, we were elated.
We decided to come to Humboldt County and were hopeful that we could get involved in the community here and stay for a long time. Kate loves her work at Mad River–from her supervisors to her coworkers to the folks she serves–Mad River has been her favorite place out of all the hospitals she’s traveled to. Sadly, we have been unable to find housing here in Humboldt due to Kate’s service dogs and we are officially HOMELESS as of this week.
We’ve stayed in an Airbnb and a VRBO, but we must be out of our VRBO (which is costing us just under $5,000/month) on Thursday as it’s booked with vacationers for the rest of the summer. We’ve spent weeks calling, emailing, answering every ad on Craigslist, even trying to find a clean used camper to live in while we are here. We have been turned down on the phone and in person by multiple landlords here because of the service dogs. Even when they meet us and see the Disabled Veteran license plates on our car, they’ve still illegally turned us down.
We’ve been turned down for housing because of “new carpet” and “new furniture” and just because landlords prefer not to rent to people with dogs—even a disabled veteran who depends on her dogs for functioning in daily life. Landlords here don’t seem to care that it’s illegal to turn away someone because of their service dog. We do understand that there are many people who try to pass off untrained animals as service animals, but we are not those people and we have proof. I’ve reached out to some veterans organizations in the area and I had a great conversation with Ryan from North Coast Veterans Resource Center, who says that this is a HUGE problem in Humboldt County and there are many disabled veterans suffering because local landlords are illegally refusing legitimate service dogs.
I think this would make a good story and speaking out about these issues might help others in the same situation. Maybe drawing some attention to our plight would help us find some housing as well. Kate earns a solid middle-class income, so we shouldn’t be HOMELESS, but we sure are, thanks to the slumlords of Humboldt County.
Sincerely, Lori Ann
Thank you Kate for your service, and for bringing your talents to the Lost Coast. Thank you Lori Ann for sharing your story, and thanks to Ozzy and Gilbert for making it all possible. To be a good story, it needs a happy ending. As it stands, it’s an important story, that reminds us of the continuing crisis that our Board of Supervisors refuses to address because greedy landlords pull their strings. I wonder how many of those landlord’s lives Kate has saved since she started working at Mad River Hospital. Welcome to the Lost Coast, Kate, Lori Ann Ozzy and Gilbert. I hope you find your “Happily ever after” home, soon.
One of the things I despise most about the War on Drugs is the people you have to associate with to find weed on the black market. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life hanging out with people I would have rather not known, in order to buy pot. When I was in high school, I used to get weed from a guy who lived in a run down farmhouse behind a gas station. He seemed like a cool guy, and I wanted to like him. I thought the colorful bantam chickens that ran around the yard, and that he cared for, made him more endearing.
At the time, I thought cock fighting was as arcane and anachronistic as bear-baiting. Then, one time, I visited his place, and he made me wait, to watch him spar two roosters. He put the two roosters on the ground in the corner of the barn. They immediately became aggressive and attacked each other in a flurry of feathers and kicks. Within a couple of minutes, one of the roosters had punctured the other rooster’s lung with a kick of his hind foot spur. The injured rooster coughed and spat blood.
The guy separated the two birds before the injured bird died, but not before killing my buzz, and my appetite. This was the only guy I knew who sold weed at the time. The last time I visited him, he had the ugliest dog I had ever seen, chained to a tree in the front yard. The dog barked ferociously. He told me it was a “pit bull.” I had never seen one before. I hoped I would never see one again. By this time, he still sold weed, but was more into coke, and he was the first person to offer to sell me cocaine.
After high school, I got my own place, a room, in Akron OH, near Akron U, and started my first cannabis garden. I’ve mostly grown my own weed ever since, but, like most people, I’ve had to move several times, or for other reasons found it impractical to grow at times.
For a while, I bought weed from an older biker in Akron. His place was almost a drive-through. You had to get out of your car and go knock on the door, but once you stepped inside it was strictly business. You told him what you wanted, gave him your money, and he pointed you towards a microwave oven, in which sat a bowl of quarter-ounce bags of weed.
I wanted to like the guy, because he had weed, but his priorities were all wrong, from my perspective. He had a brand new big TV, front and center, but only a shitty stereo, in the corner, and no good records. Artwork on the wall featured almost naked, unnaturally top-heavy women posing on unnaturally clean machines. This, despite the fact that he shared the home with his wife and school age daughter. It seemed like a pitiful situation to me. He had a brand new Harley, while I walked to work to my job as a busboy, and I gave him at least a quarter of my weekly earnings for a while. Still, I felt sorry for the guy.
There was a time when I got weed from gaunt, hollow, hard-looking man who visited my home. He would invariably arrive wearing a long-sleeve flannel shirt, unbuttoned, and would use one hand to hold the bottom of the T-shirt he wore underneath, up, forming a pouch over his sunken belly. He’d come in, look around furtively, sit down, and then open up that pouch into his lap, revealing a jumble of prescription bottles, plastic baggies and cash.
He always seemed disorganized and paranoid, and tried to up-sell me on narcotics and coke. He told me how fun they were. I never felt tempted. He seemed to like those drugs himself, and to me, he did not look well, and he did not seem fun. I remember being eager for him to leave. He seemed to think the cops were after him, and I sure didn’t want them to find him in my place.
Then, for a little while, I got weed from a guy who lived with his wife and three kids, in a two-bedroom apartment in a subsidized housing project. We hung out in one of the bedrooms, which had been converted into a sick, hip-hop recording studio fully decorated in Gangsta. One room, packed full of high-tech gadgets and dripping with bling, abject poverty crying in the next room. It creeped me out.
Not everyone I got weed from was that bad, but those are the memorable ones. Mostly, the pot dealers I knew were simply more acquisitive, materialistic and conventional than I am. They like weighing things on scales, and measure values in grams, ounces and pounds. I feel silly performing weird religious rites over a commodity, so I hardly ever weigh the pot I grow and I value other things, like character, hard work, and creative originality more than stuff.
To be fair, I did, for a little while, get weed from a delightful, and inspiring guy I knew in Boston. I don’t consider him a drug dealer, because I had to give him money, up-front, before he could go and get weed for me. He was a classically trained musician, who had played oboe in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra for a while. When I knew him, he made his living by busking in the Boston T, playing dixieland jazz on the saxophone.
He was an old guy, when I knew him, but I found him delightful company, and we always had plenty to talk about. He was spry, witty, and animated, and loved to paint. He always impressed me with his sensitivity, intelligence, and compassion. He was a fantastic player who loved what he did. Still is, and does, I hope. His band occasionally played fancy shindigs for the Boston elite. “Squares” he called them, really. He’s the kind of guy that made marijuana famous, and he’s as good as it gets on the black market.
I bought California sinsemilla from all of these people. This is what the black market looks like, and if you grow weed, these are your distributors. It’s ugly, and it’s dangerous, and it’s not exactly the kind of place you want your kids to hang out. There is nothing cool about being a drug dealer, and most of the drug dealers I have known, have not been very cool people. We need safe access to marijuana at prices that put the black market out of business. It’s time to legalize marijuana and end this creepshow once and for all.
Kevin Hoover, Editor of the Mad River Union, shared a sad story on KHSU this past Thursday. He told us about a homeless Arcatan, who’s name escapes me, who has had a series of dogs, all named “Mr. Nobody.” Horrified observers spotted this person leading a very unhappy Mr. Nobody around the Arcata Plaza. According to Mr. Hoovers account, Mr. Nobody had been outfitted with a large, heavy pack, and the rather small dog struggled visibly, and eventually collapsed under the weight of it.
Police arrested the man, who has a history of animal abuse in Humboldt County. Apparently none of his dogs have fared much better than his most recent Mr. Nobody. This time, many hope, the man will be forbidden from ever having a dog again. Sad story, right?
Of course everyone sympathizes with the poor overburdened dog. “How could anyone abuse a poor defenseless animal like that?” you might ask. Some might even suggest that the man be subjected to the same kind of cruelty that he inflicted on the poor dog. They would publicly parade him around the plaza carrying an impossibly heavy load, until he collapses under the weight of it, all the while enduring the jeers of disgusted townspeople. Personally, I suspect the man has already been punished enough.
I certainly don’t condone the man’s behavior. No one should ever treat an animal like that, but I’ve seen how we treat homeless people here in Humboldt County, and it’s sickening. How many times has this guy been asked to “move along,” reminding him that he’s not welcome anywhere. How many times have people called him a “bum,” a “scumbag,” a “plazoid” or worse? How many times have the cops harassed him, woken him up, or forcibly evicted him from his camp? How many times has he been cuffed, booked, and locked in a jail cell? If it’s never happened to you, I can assure you that it is a thoroughly humiliating, degrading, and wrenching experience. How many times has he heard himself and his community talked about as objects, in the third person, to be removed, or disposed of, or as a blight to be excised and cauterized?
That’s just the abuse that we heap on all homeless people, institutionally, just for trying to survive. We know that all of those things have happened to him, but we can also assume that he learned abusive behavior early, at the hands of a parent, step-parent, older sibling, neighborhood bully or in an institution. Abuse is probably all he knows, and clearly, he knows it well. In one sense, I kind of admire the visual poetry of the image he created. As a work of art, it was brilliant.
I mean, how did he make that pack heavy enough that passersby couldn’t help but notice the dog’s distress, but not so heavy that the dog couldn’t make it to the Plaza without collapsing before being seen. And the dog’s name, Mr. Nobody, how perfect, civilized dehumanization, simple, direct, elegant, that doesn’t happen by accident.
I can only imagine the scene. This guy, pulling on a leash, attached by the neck to the beleaguered, wobbly, overburdened Mr. Nobody. I see him coaxing the animal along, just to see how far he can go. Then, when the poor pooped pooch finally collapses from exhaustion on the sidewalk, he scolds it, calls it lazy, commands it to get up and move along, and physically drags it along the sidewalk by the neck. What a poignant metaphor for our whole economy.
There’s a lot of Mr. and Ms. Nobody out there, aren’t there? How ironic that we condemn the perpetrator of the metaphor, while we struggle beneath the weight of our own workload, with dogged obedience, only to join in the scolding, berating, and persecution of our peers who have already buckled under the weight of their burden. It’s a terrible thing to witness, so terrible, in fact, that even staging a poetic metaphor of it will likely disgust passersby and get you arrested for animal cruelty. Yet we live with the reality of it day after day.
That’s why I love cats. A cat would never put up with that shit.
In the Ganjier’s circular this week I noticed they were having a “sale” on cannabis seeds. Notably, they had “one box left” of “Chemdawg Special Reserve” from Aficionado Seed Company selling for $450 for 10 marijuana seeds. Is that a sale price? $42 each seems like a lot of money for a pot seed, and especially for something called “Chemdawg.” Even in a tiny wax-sealed glass bottle, nestled in a decorative cotton-lined box, “Chemdawg” seems like a pretty low-brow name for a high-end luxury product.
I can’t imagine anyone shelling out fifty bucks for a bottle of Chemdawg Single-Malt Scotch, or a horse named “Chemdawg” winning the Kentucky Derby, or letting the valet park your new Rolls Royce Chemdawg at the country club. I really don’t understand modern marketing, but I have to wonder if the marijuana industry’s propensity for dumb, low-brow strain-names undermines their efforts to market their product as a high-end luxury brand.
Neither approach seems appropriate for marijuana, if you ask me. I mean, we’re talking about marijuana here, Mary Jane, the girl next-door, easy to grow, safe to use, everybody’s best friend, marijuana. Calling her “Chemdawg” makes it sound like she joined a gang, got some tattoos, tacky clothes and oversize gold jewelry. That’s not the marijuana I love.
Despite my preferences, there’s still that wide gulf between even the most impressive Hip-Hop “bling” and the refined tastes and sensibilities of a true “aficionado,” and “chemdog,” as a word at least, clearly missed the boat. “Chemdawg” remains firmly planted on the plebeian side of the divide, along with it’s “homeys” Green Crack, Cheesel, and Purple Panty Dropper. As if mainstream culture weren’t repulsive enough, this overlay of embarrassingly stupid, thug-culture nomenclature really doesn’t make marijuana more attractive in my eye.
We live in a time of cultural collapse. Sophistication amounts to little more than pretentious bullshit, and mainstream American culture could hardly be any more embarrassingly stupid or thuggish. Our culture is falling apart, like a crack-head, scarred, gaunt, hollow-eyed and shaking. It still looks dangerous, but it no longer looks strong or vital. Nobody trusts it, you don’t want it dating your daughter, and you sure as hell don’t want to smoke any of it.
That’s the culture we live in, but we shouldn’t sully good wholesome herb with it. Thug-culture is the language of the Drug War. It’s time to end the Drug War. It’s time to stop giving your marijuana thug names. If you have to name your marijuana, give it a nice name. Does anyone remember William’s Wonder? Doesn’t that sound like a seed you could give your mother? She’d grow that William’s Wonder right next to her Cherokee Purple tomatoes and her Country Gentleman corn.
William’s Wonder is a GREAT strain of marijuana, some of the best pot I’ve ever smoked. Neville used to sell it in his Amsterdam Seed Catalog. Has pot really gotten better than that? Have the stupid names helped? I don’t think so. I smoke just as much pot. I get just as high. What has changed? The price, the stupid name, and the seeds.
I sure miss cheap seedy pot.
I won’t miss the stupid names, or the hokey thug-culture aesthetic, or the pretentious bullshit marketing campaigns and the greedy dope yuppies behind them, but I sure do miss cheap bags of seedy marijuana. I’m not knocking modern marijuana genetics, but marijuana wants to have seeds. We should make marijuana happy, because happy marijuana will make people happier. This year, grow seedy marijuana for a change. Not to make money, but just to make the world a better place, and make it William’s Wonder.
As you could probably tell from last week’s post, I’m just so full of Christmas Spirit this year, that I’m about to hurl eggnog and candy canes into the next manger I see. Yes, it’s the holiday gift giving season, and Christmas is right around the corner. That’s right, you worked right through the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2014. Now it’s Winter again. The weather sucks. You hate your job. You hardly recognize your own family, and you’ve accomplished none of the things you hoped to do this year. Merry Christmas! You have no money, but your credit is still good, so you’re going Christmas shopping!
You can’t buy your life back, but you can buy people off, and an extra special Christmas gift will easily make up for all of those months of neglect. But what do you get for the people who mean enough to you to spend money on them at Christmas, but not enough to really care about them the rest of the year? How can you know their likes and dislikes, their interests and proclivities, their long-term dreams, or any of the other things that make them a unique individual, without actually paying attention to them the rest of the year? If you don’t know anything about them, how can you pick out a gift that will mean something to them? The challenge can be overwhelming.
I understand, and I’m here to help. Your loved ones don’t understand how much stress you are under. Being around them is work, and they expect so much from you, but you love them, at least you did before you went completely numb. You don’t want to let them down at Christmas time. You’re willing to spend the money. I won’t let you blow it.
When buying a gift for someone who means a lot to you, but that you don’t really know very well, keep this in mind. Get them something that will impress their friends. Even if the person you give it to, doesn’t like it, their friends will see this gift, and remind that person of just how lucky they are to receive such a nice gift, and that whoever gave it to them must really love them. Even if they know better themselves, hearing that sentiment expressed again and again, from their friends, will keep their feelings towards you in a state of perpetual conflicted ambivalence. Call it “love.”
Here’s a few suggestions:
Jet Pack. This will instantly make anyone popular and change their life, if they survive. With this, you can pack a whole lifetime’s worth of “love” into a single, explosively powerful, spectacularly impressive gift. Gift’s like this obliterate the individuality of the recipient, while they celebrate the generosity of the giver, so choose the gift based on your own personality, rather than that of the recipient. Here’s another idea:
Barbecue Boat Everyone eats. Why not do it in the middle of a lake? Big ticket gifts like this really steal the show at family get-togethers, making other people’s gifts seem puny and insignificant by comparison. That’s how you solve your little gift-giving problem. If you can afford it, crush it!
This kind of generosity drives our economy and makes our world the miracle of modern technology that it has become. It isn’t what we wanted, but everyone keeps telling us how lucky we are to have it. Thanks… I guess.
Speaking of technology. Here’s a gift for that special woman in your life, the one you haven’t had time for lately, but hasn’t filed for divorce yet. It’s a very personal gift, made uniquely impersonal:
OhMiBod vibrator app for smart phones. OhMiBod consists of two parts, the hardware: a small, blue-tooth enabled, battery powered vibrator, designed to fit in a woman’s underwear, and the software: an app that you download to your smart-phone. The app allows you to control the vibrator from up to 26 ft away, perhaps even from another room, by blue-tooth, or from anywhere in the world, with a wifi connection.
Imagine. You could be watching the game with your buddies.
They’d just think you were sending a text to your bookie or something. Fiddle with your phone for ten or fifteen minutes while you drink beer and joke with your friends. Then call her up and say “I love you babe” and hang up. She’s satisfied, and you didn’t have to miss a single play.
What about gifts for men? Well what do men like? Men like boobs. Men don’t care what it is, as long as it has boobs, so give men something that has boobs.
Boob Radio. Yes, this radio has boobs, but when it comes down to it, all knobs and buttons are surrogate nipples and boobs, so most guys like almost any gadget. The more knobs and buttons it has, the better.
That just leaves pets. Pets don’t really care about gifts, unless they can eat them, and then they are always welcome. Still, some people insist on buying inedible gifts for their pets, so why not take their money.
Who cares if the pet enjoys the gift. That’s not the point. Usually, the pets do not like the gifts at all. In fact, animals generally have to be sedated before they will tolerate most of these products long enough to snap a promotional photo.
Here’s a selection:
Beaks for Dogs. Is this the “Crocks” of dog muzzles? These dogs hate this. They have better taste than that.
Knitted Hats for Dogs Do you think those dogs like those hats? No! Those dogs are wasted! If you want to make your dog happy, give them drugs, and then don’t dress them up in silly costumes. But what about cats?
DJ ScratchCat Turntable Scratching Post. Your cat would rather have a cardboard box to tear-up, but whatever. You’ve got $35 bucks to blow.
There you have it folks:
Gift ideas for everyone on your Christmas gift list. Wake me when it’s over.
When Eric Kirk introduced his most recent talk show on KMUD, he said his goal was to take listeners “outside of their comfort zone”. I have to say that he succeeded in that. Listening to his show made me uncomfortable in the same way that watching a dull-witted kid beat a dog with a stick would make you uncomfortable.
Even if you don’t like dogs or kids, a scene like that makes you squirm. You wish you had never seen it. The whole pathetic situation makes you sick to your stomach, but you know that you have to say something.
In this little metaphor, The show’s host, Eric Kirk, is the kid, our local liberals are the dog, and appearing as the stick, we had Eric’s guest, Saul of Hearts, a young Portland hipster, self-described liberal, and cultivator of a ponytail. I don’t know why these count as credentials in Eric’s book, but apparently they do.
The crux of this guy’s biscuit, was that genetic engineering really doesn’t seem that scary to him, at least compared to some of the diabolical things that scientists have been doing to plants for decades, such as using ionizing radiation and chemicals to induce genetic mutations.
The show’s engineer, and local liberal, Michael McKaskil immediately snatched that stick and broke it to pieces, pointing out that genetic engineering was, in fact, qualitatively different than induced mutation. Michael pointed out that because genetic engineering involves adding DNA from completely different organisms, it alters the genetics of plants in ways that mutation never would or could, and of course Michael was right about that.
Eric’s guest then turned the argument into one of “where do you draw the line?”, pointing out that between mono-cropping, pesticide use, aquifer depletion, chemical fertilizers, habitat loss, global climate change etc, etc, we have bigger problems with agribusiness than genetic engineering. Of course, Eric’s guest is not an agriculture reform activist. In fact, he only mentioned about half of the above, no where near exhaustive, list of ag related crises. Eric’s guest didn’t call for us to get up off of our sofas to do anything about any of these issues. Instead, he simply suggested that liberals are making too big of a fuss about GMOs.
No, he’s not an activist. He’s a liberal blogger, much more concerned with his own career as a writer, than anything else. In other words, he’s a conservative, with a ponytail. Not that I have any great love of liberals, or political activists for that matter, quite the opposite.
I feel the same way about our political system as I do about professional wrestling. It’s obviously fake. It’s embarrassingly stupid to watch, and you know that as long as it remains popular, humanity’s future looks bleak. Still, unless you’ve worked on a citizen’s campaign, you have no idea how much time, money and effort it takes to bring an issue like GMOs to the attention of the general public, not to mention the difficulty of explaining a high-tech problem to a poorly educated populace. That’s part of the reason that democracy has failed.
One caller to the show accused him of being an industry shill. I don’t think so. I just think him an opportunist. Right now, a lot of unpaid, volunteer activists are putting in a lot of time and energy to raise the issue of genetic engineering in the eye of the general public. By taking advantage of the fact that most people don’t know very much about big agribusiness, Saul of Hearts found an angle that allowed him to capitalize on the hard work of real activists.
So much for the stick, but I must agree with him on one point, and that is: Agriculture is fucked! Agriculture is destroying the world. Even without GMOs, the single biggest reason that this planet is going down the shitter is agriculture. Agriculture is the leading cause of habitat destruction, both world wide, and locally. Agricultural runoff has created “dead zones” in parts of the ocean that once teemed with life, and agriculture fuels the human population explosion. Agriculture doesn’t make life better; agriculture merely insures that there will be more of us to share the misery of an increasingly impoverished world.
Agriculture is bad news! It now covers a third of the Earth’s total land mass, and it continues to grow! Agriculture was undoubtedly the biggest mistake in the history of humanity, and people have known this since the beginning. If you were wondering where to “draw the line”, I think the authors of The Old Testament got it right.
Agriculture is the “original sin” in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. If you recall the story, God provided everything for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, until they ate the “forbidden fruit”. After that, Adam had to spend the rest of his days toiling in the fields, while Eve had to repeatedly endure the pain of childbirth. In other words, whatever that “forbidden fruit” was, Adam and Eve’s punishment was to live like farmers.
The writers of the Old Testament make it abundantly clear that God does not like farmers. In the story of Cain and Abel, God shows favoritism towards Abel, the herder, over his brother, Cain, the farmer. This so enraged Cain, that he killed Abel, and watered his fields with his brother’s blood.
Now, I’m not a Christian, or a Jew, and I don’t “believe in” the Bible, but this is what the witnesses of “the agricultural revolution” thought of the world’s first farmers. Thousands of years before the first written language, those ancient people would have known nothing about DNA, germ theory or the scientific method, but they weren’t stupid. Thousands of years ago they recognized farmers as vicious murderous people who were damned by God.
They watched those vicious, murderous, damned farmers turn the “Fertile Crescent” into a desert. They watched those damned farmers spread all over the world, systematically wiping out or assimilating every other culture they encountered, claiming new territories, replacing natural habitat with farmland and watering their crops with the blood of their brothers.
Those damned farmers gave us overpopulation, genocide, slavery, and the environmental crisis. They replaced our natural love of nature, and all living things, with “the work ethic”, and lives of endless toil. Farmers have transformed the “Garden of Eden” into hell on Earth, and the destruction continues to this day. Farming destroys the natural environment, and replaces it with an abundance of dull-witted, mean-spirited people who don’t know any other way to live.
Farming is also addictive. The more habitat you destroy, the fewer game animals you leave. The more crops you grow, the faster your population grows. The more we do it, the harder it is to stop. Unless we stop, farming will kill us all. On the other hand if we stopped all agriculture right now, that would kill almost all of us. These are not biblical prophesies. That’s what science tells us, should we ever decide to listen.
The Bible tells us that God punished those damned farmers by sending plagues. Today, we call them pests, and we understand why they continue to plague us. In nature, there is no such thing as a pest species, but when you disturb the natural environment, plow it under, and plant crops, you disrupt the natural balance of life. As a result, populations of some species, like locusts, frogs, vermin and disease causing microbes, explode, while others, like wild game animals, become extinct. What those ancient people saw as “God’s punishment”, we now see as the natural consequences of converting habitat to farmland.
These “plagues” continue to vex farmers to this day, but we still don’t get the message. We still think we can outsmart “God”. We believe the world belongs to us, to remake in our own image. We think we rule the world, and we’re hellbent to prove it. That’s why scientists created GMOs in the first place, but even they know that today’s GMOs won’t be able to suppress God’s wrath for more than a few years, because organisms adapt. Bugs learn to tolerate BT, and weeds learn to drink Round-Up.
We don’t trust science when it tells us that sacrificing the natural environment for farmland causes insoluble problems. Instead, science has become the false religion of the damned, and genetic engineering, its latest assault on nature. Genetic engineering, like the high-tech organochlorine pesticides of the plastic age that proceeded it, is bound to fail spectacularly, and profitably. So, yes, agriculture is a goddamned sin, and no, genetic engineering is not going to fix it, or make the world a better place to live.
If you’re going to draw a line, you might as well draw it at the place where we made the wrong turn in the first place. It can be very helpful to know where we first went wrong. There’s an old Turkish saying: “If you realize that you’ve made a wrong turn, no matter how far you’ve traveled down the wrong road, turn back.” I realize that this whole discussion is a long way from the current political debate, but unless you look at the big picture, you’ll never make sense of the puzzle.