In November of 2019 The Atlantic asked “experts” what they would change if they could go back in time. The experts had titles like “mythographer” – no scientists invited – so it’s no surprise only one response had real-world relevance, write Hank Campbell in this article published by the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP).
A historian at Rutgers wished agriculture had never been invented. Agriculture, that fundamental progressive achievement which made food plentiful so that we no longer spent our days foraging and could learn things and, you know, create universities, had to be undone. How out-of-touch with the world must you be when you wish to go back in time 10,000 years and re-implement periodic famine?
Fortunately, that professor has no say in American food policy or else the COVID-19 pandemic would be far worse than it already is. And that is because ‘demon’ modern agriculture has ensured that people could stay home, and that is because food was still being produced and could be delivered during the height of the pandemic. And medical science has advanced because we don’t spend most of our days foraging for plants and grubs, like the pre-agriculture world did.
Agriculture, the thing editors at The Atlantic also clearly wish didn’t exist, saved the world. “Hunter-gatherer life isn’t so bad,” the professor off-handedly declared with the kind of assurance only people who have never spent a weekend doing it can.
Five months later they probably are still too out-of-touch to realize that they would be among the first at risk of starvation if their wish for no agriculture were true. The food distribution system not only got us through coronavirus, it showed it’s the most rock steady thing about the modern world…
It makes no difference if historians are wrong about how many people lived in Elam or whatever, but what about environmental activists in academia who have science-y sounding titles and may get noticed by policy makers? That is a real-world problem. They have spent an alarming amount of the 21st century promoting nonsense about food; that small farms have always been able to feed us yet somehow food is still dominated by Factory Farms.
Do they feel embarrassed after COVID-19, when it became clear that an efficient food system is the thing that saved us by letting people at risk stay home? Not at all…