The title of the post is not an oxymoron. The Amish have been enthusiastic adopters of genetically modified crops. Ironically, the higher productivity of the crop substitutes for the fact that the Amish harvest it by hand. Less ironically the GM crops use fewer pesticides and herbicides.
Amish scholars say genetically enhanced
crops are not inconsistent with the simple life that is central to Amish
beliefs because it helps them continue their ties
to agriculture, allowing families to
Hat tip to Stewart Brand’s recent essay Environmental Heresies which also contains this insight on a question that has long bothered me.
Why was water fluoridization rejected by the political right and
“frankenfood” by the political left? The answer, I suspect, is that
fluoridization came from government and genetically modified (GM) crops
from corporations. If the origins had been reversed–as they could have
been–the positions would be reversed, too.