The Politics Of Science

Some thoughts on Climaquiddick over at The New Atlantis:

In his “Memorandum on Scientific Integrity” from earlier this year, President Obama stated that it is the function of “science and the scientific process” to “inform and guide” his administration on virtually every issue from health care to national security. This came on the heels of his promise in his inaugural address to “restore science to its rightful place,” and his boast that his administration will “base” its “public policies on the soundest science,” indicating that the proper relation between politics and science subordinates the former to the latter. The classic concern about science—that it might become dangerously liberated from moral or political guidance—is not what concerns President Obama in his memorandum and speeches. Rather, he worries about the suppression or politicization of unambiguous scientific fact. If the president’s words are taken at face value, his administration should seriously reconsider its enthusiastic embrace of aggressive climate legislation, since the CRU e-mails reveal a political appropriation of science instead of a science liberated from political pressure.

Hillary Clinton famously remarked that during the Bush years it was “open season on open inquiry,” rehashing the familiar charge that a faith-based obscurantism dogmatically dismissed not only the claims of legitimate science, but also the very claims of reason itself. President Obama has stayed true to the liberal posture that whatever policy he happens to advocate is the only one substantiated by empirical science. However, it has become increasingly clear that the president’s claim to rigorously adhere to a science of politics—a science that provides unprejudiced information upon which he can craft sound policy—has been overtaken by a politics of science—the crass and Procrustean transformation of whatever data is available into further confirmation of his own ideological commitments. Australian writer Andrew Bolt has suggested that the CRU e-mail leak is a “scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science.” But the greater scandal may be that the United States and the rest of the world are considering enacting energy-restrictive and economy-damaging climate policies based on ideological distortions of scientific fact.

While putting a wooden stake through Copenhagen and cap’n’tax are immediate beneficial results of this, I think it may have policy implications far beyond climate change. The Emperor of “science,” whose findings have been used to justify all manner of totalitarian impulses has been shown to be naked. It’s perfectly natural, at this point, to ask “What else have they been lying to us about?”

4 thoughts on “The Politics Of Science”

  1. While putting a wooden stake through Copenhagen and cap’n’tax are immediate beneficial results of this

    Rand, do you honestly think the communists are going to back down over this? They’ll be doubling down now harder than ever as this is not about “truth”, but rather the acquisition of power from those too timid or stupid to fight back. They are so close now they’ll never give up willingly.

  2. Both were on their last legs even before this. No one expects anything out of Copenhagen other than speeches, and Inhofe said today there’s no way the Senate does a cap’n’tax now (not that it was likely before).

  3. “Biffra and Mann should be barred for life from any federal dollars. ”

    Add Stephen Schneider to this list for advocating scientists telliing lies to the public to push the adoption of “desirable” ends.

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