In an otherwise ordinary article’s comments thread, some sanity emerged.
Here’s the article:
Prince Charles comes in for criticism for all sorts of reasons, in particular from those who want to abolish the monarchy and replace it with an elected head of state. Those campaigning on that issue sometimes find it necessary also to attack the opinions Prince Charles holds, as if that will somehow strengthen their case. In the area where I work, campaigning to protect the environment and to move farming and food away from environmentally destructive, cruel and unhealthy systems that destroy small farms and agricultural jobs, Prince Charles has got it right. His interventions have made a real difference.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, anyone suggesting it was wrong for us to use the seas around our coast as a dumping ground for human shit, chemical discharges, and as an out-of-sight, out-of-mind dump site for toxic and nuclear waste, was seen as at worst mad, and at best irrelevant. In those days, Prince Charles was one of the only public figures to say what I think most British people actually feel, namely that you shouldn’t dump your rubbish in the sea. This is true whether you’re a family picnicking on the beach, a water company getting rid of sewage, or British Nuclear Fuels dumping radioactive waste. When the generally conservative British media, and our broadly anti-environmental political and business establishment, were ignoring or dismissing the environmental case, an intervention by Prince Charles really made a real difference.
Here are selected comments, showing the side of the issue that argues for holism and traditionalism — against the modern majority, who all have the same opinion expressed different ways, which is basically that equality and science will dominate nature and that’s a good thing, so we can get on to Progress which although it has made us miserable so far might magically make us happy some day.
I was impressed by how literate and aware these people are.
The only advantage of an elected head of state is that you can get rid of him/her when his/her term is finished, save if he/she wins reelection. Otherwise he/she is always in watch to defend his/her position and rarely dares to say his/her mind. In other words, it’s a politician and its world is all about politics. Prince Charles may be interesting on many issues, including the environment, and that’s good. He can speak his mind withing the rules of protocol. That’s better to have a proffesional liar on top who is always picking up the nicest words to lie you all the time.
Britain would be in far better hands if Prince Charles or his father were able to rule. I don’t agree with them on everything, but they would prioritise the environment and would genuinely attempt to solve the problems the nation faces rather than looking to make personal profits and be bought by corporate interests.
I come from The Netherlands, a country that is not known for having a Conservative Party. The Dutch, in general, are very fond of their Royal Family. We stick by them for we think that they are a better bet than any President, and decidely cheaper too.
As for the argument about homeopathy and organics not being falsifiable as to their claims, isn’t this the whole problem, as was pointed out earlier? Namely, the reductionist model of scientific evaluation is flawed and a holistic model is needed.
The cost of the Royal Familiy (they are part-privatised. Chas’s Clarence House operation is paid for by income from the Duchy of Cornwall) is around 33m GBP per year.
That’s just a third of the annual administration costs of Central London’s Congestion-Charge zone.
But you might argue we have made a profit from the Royals for a very long time. The swapping of the Crown estates for the Civil list under George III has raked in money for the taxpayer.
Last year the CE made Â£211m, which means the taxpayer made nearly 180m GBP after paying the civil list.
However, I think you underestimate the irresponsibility of some scientists and agribusiness in general. They will always consider profit before long term health of the soil. There probably exist non-organic farming techniques that when used skillfully will preserve soils long term but this aspect is studiously ignored as it is complex and might reduce short term profits.
Don’t just pretend soil degradation doesn’t exist.
There are two types of science and medicine. The prevailing one is a mechanistic model; it is exploitative, reductionist and anti-Nature; it has a tunnel view and lacks depth and history. It is supported by the establishment, by big business and by most politicians. It has lots of money, power and influence. New biotechnologies are brought in without adequate testing or responsible discussion, and sometimes research is falsified.
The other model is inclusive and holistic and sees all of life as part of the vast web of Nature. Everything is connected and interdependent; it is the view of quantum physics. Prince Charles talks to independent scientists who are not financed by big business. They tell him we shall lose the fight to control Nature.
He is better informed than most “expert” scientists and politicians because those who counsel him are unprejudiced and balanced. He is a visionary with a lot of courage to stand up to the powerful and the sneering. This is how he has been able to do his thing with the Princes Trust, supporting young people, small businesses, sustainable
agriculture and integrated health care. We are so fortunate to have a truly Radical Prince!
Reductionist science is unsustainable. Why is it so contemptuous of holistic science (feeling threatened?). That’s too bad, for it is the science of the future.
I think this is a classic example of a subject where some rationalists can’t separate rationalism from reductionism. Earth’s ecology is an incredibly complex system and there seem to be some who need evidence to prove that a certain perturbation in that system will produce a negative effect before conceding that it might be unwise to apply that perturbation. They seem to think that is an equivalent position to “I
don’t believe in things without evidence”. It is not.
There are people on this blog who simply cannot see past the great god of Science.
There has been a lot of talk about developing countries gaining from the introduction of GM food, but that may simply not be the case. You take small farm, with farmers who understand the capabilities of their land… farms with a rich bio-diversity and fairly high productivity.
You then bring in GM food companies, who demand large-scale industrial farming… with no interest in understanding the soil and climate. They then create uniformity in crop and method. The result is a loss of bio-diversity and, quite possibly, crop productivity.
Where is the winner there? Only Monsanto, not the poor of the country.
I think we should be grateful to the Prince for bringing a social element to the debate, and not just relying on Scientists, who are very rarely objective in such matters due to the huge amounts of money hidden away behind the judgments they make.
Do you deny the harm that insecticides do to soil microbiology and the wider ecosystem? Do you recognise that the organisms within ecosystems exist in a delicate balance and that if we disturb them we run the risk of dangerous consequences? The radically reduced numbers of bees is a good example, without them huge numbers of commercial species will become unproductive because of lack of pollenators. We don’t know why this is happening in many cases but we are attacking ecosystems from so many angles and they are so complex that without an overarching respect for the idea that we should try our best not to disturb these equilibria vital to our survival sooner or later we will pay the price.
No, we’re waiting for any good scientific (or economic) evidence that GM food is in any way beneficial, apart from Monsanto shareholders. Just as we’re waiting for any evidence that modern, oil-intensive agri-business is any benefit to anyone except the owners of said businesses. Because you’ve fallen into the trap that all organic farming naysayers do; namely, to assume that the real point of organic farming is to do with nutrition or taste, whereas it’s actually to do with biodiversity and good stewardship.
The type of viewpoint we see these people expounding is the future of Conservatism:
* Has a cultural goal which we use to direct science, economy and social pressures.
Only this can save humanity from itself.