Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Corruption of the mind

There can be little doubt in anybody’s mind that motivates politicians is love of power, which is even more of a corrupting influence than power itself. It is, after all, the love of money that is the root of all evil not money itself. The same goes for regulators of various stripes who are really politicians that do not ever need to face the electorate.

The declaration by the Environmental Protection Agency that CO2 (a naturally occurring substance and a necessity for plants) to be a danger to human health may sound like a stupid joke. In fact, it is a huge power grab by an unelected agency and the Executive because Congress is refusing to play ball (well, Senate is) on the Cap and Trade Bill. The legislative is being by-passed and the greenie hysteria is being used for something not envisaged by the Founding Fathers. Iain Murray explains it all in detail.

This is the latest example in the United States of such a development but we see this everywhere – from the UN to our own government, backed, in this case by that bunch of sheeple, our Parliament.

In a way that is not the interesting part of the story. Politicians of whatever variety use any excuse to grab power is a story in the sense of dog bites man or supermodel takes drugs is a story.

It is the scientists who knowingly produced inaccurate (at best) information, refused to answer questions, destroyed raw data and generally falsified the evidence that underpinned this debate, then hysterically refused to discuss matters or answer questions even when they came from other scientists that are of interest.

After all, the overwhelming majority of scientists do not start their careers with the thought of falsifying information, not even in order to keep a highly paid job or scholarship. Those considerations will go a long way but how did we get to the position that scientific establishments became promoters of propaganda in order to feed governments’ and regulators’ desire to control the population and scientists (for the most part) went along with that? We do not live in the Soviet Union where disagreement with the party line on science meant imprisonment, torture, labour camps or a bullet in the back of one's head.

Pondering over this and coming to no obvious conclusions I recalled one of the most impressive films I saw this year: Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn. The subject matter is obvious: this is about the monstrous crime carried out by the Soviet Union and its security forces against Polish officers, whom they imprisoned seventy years ago and murdered in their thousands in the spring of 1940.

It is also about other things: survival in terrible circumstances, the fate of a country and its people caught between two totalitarian regimes, and individual reaction to those regimes. About one third of the film takes place in the immediate post-war months in Poland and we follow several characters as they deal with the fact that once again Poland is occupied and the truth about what happened to the officers Katyn is being suppressed.

How is one to react? Some refuse to knuckle under and defy the authorities with the truth. Others decide to keep quiet in order to rebuild their lives. The conflict appears most clearly with two sisters, whose brother had been one of the victims of Katyn. One, a girl who has survived the Warsaw uprising and its brutal suppression, announcing that she is on the side of the murdered not the murderers, goes to a great deal of trouble to set up a memorial stone for her brother with the truth of his death inscribed on it. We last see her being pushed into an underground cell; the memorial is now a broken slab with the information obliterated.

Her sister takes a different view. She knows the truth but thinks that as Poland will never be free again, it is best to keep quiet, and try to rebuild the country. She encourages (in vain, as it turns out) a talented young man to re-write slightly his CV by omitting the words about his father, “murdered by the Soviets”, because she considers it to be more important for the young man to study, to create, to help build a new society than to insist on shouting the truth from the rooftops.

Much to be said for that point of view, one cannot help thinking, as one watches the destruction of all those who know and speak the truth. But then a thought occurs: yes, this seems a very small compromise with a probable good result. Yet how many more compromises will this young woman, the director of the art college, have to make in the future? Will she have to betray people? Almost certainly she will find herself having to reject those whose parentage is unsatisfactory in the new socialist republic unless she encourages them to tell even bigger lies. How far can one go before one is completely enmeshed in mental corruption?

At what point would a scientist, who, let us say, genuinely believes in man-made global warming, decide that a little bit of fiddling with the evidence in a good cause makes perfect sense? And having done that little bit of fiddling does he find himself having to cover up for it and for the fact that man-made global warming has become a “scientific fact” on the basis of his ever so slightly fiddled evidence? When do they find that there is now no drawing back without losing a great deal of face and creating a great deal of trouble for everyone concerned? How far can one go before one is completely enmeshed in mental corruption?


  1. It starts off with one small compromise,than another and another so that one gets
    acclimatised to it and it isn't even a betrayal afer a while. Now they are fighting to keep their place on the public teat. I don't think this will work in the end
    THe cover up won't work here on Climategate any more than it has for BO.People here are much less supine than in Europe-except for our ruling class.

  2. In Europe the political classes have been bought off so the active democracy of the USA won't work here.
    There remains our Constitution, that, while not written in stone like the USA, nevertheless remains the foundation of Authority within this Realm. Getting the Judiciary to understand the consequences of this, though an enormous uphill struggle, is surely better than the debate getting onto the streets, where the motion will be "Do we consent to this Rule of Law".
    Juggernaut bureaucracies rely on drowning any potential whistleblower's hope that their attempt to draw attention to a problem will even be noticed. Copenhagen may be showing us that a third way exists by whistle-blowing and blog howl, erosion of purloined Authority by ridicule if you will.
    BTW Helen keep pushing Peter N. for that Palin & Bolton 2012 T-shirt/coffee-mug, never too soon to start spreading a good idea. Or will Inhofe make a pitch after all this.

  3. I think if one looks at European history at all seriously, one finds that the people of the various countries are not all that supine.

    What we are learning again is that real cover-ups cannot stay that way for ever. The conspircies that allegedly exist and nobody ever manages to find the truth, tend to be nothing but the work of febrile imagination and stupidity.

    Sandy, I shall have a go but you are in a better position to push North Junior to do those shirts and mugs.

  4. I dare say some of the scientists really believe it. I think there is a useful analogy in flying. In visual flying conditions you have the horizon as a reference to keep your plane flying straight. In no or low visibility (cloud/night time etc) you need to trust your instruments. However the human body is not very good at noticing small changes in attitude, but does notice big changes. You are taught to do an instrument scan, and apply corrections. However if you are distracted you might not notice the continuing change in attitude, and believe you are flying straight and level. Your senses are now disagreeing with your instruments which say you are not straight and level. A big correction to straight and level feels like you are now upside down. People literally fall out of the sky believing they are flying straight and level, when their instruments say otherwise. This is probably what killed JFK Jr.

    In the same way these scientists really believe that CO2 causes global warming, and their instruments are wrong.