Monday, December 05, 2011

Michael Crichton hits the mark

At the end of his 2004 novel about deadly games played to advance the cause of global warming alarm, State of Fear, the late Michael Crichton provided a very interesting appendix, titled "Why Politicized Science is Dangerous." He first described two 20th-century instances of such science: eugenics (wildly popular among European and U.S. intellectuals until World War II ended), and Lysenko's pseudo-genetic scam in Soviet Russia (avidly pushed by Stalin, with disastrous results).

Then he made these unsettling points about global warming / climate change:

Now we are engaged in a great new theory, that once again has drawn the support of politicians, scientists, and celebrities around the world. Once again, the theory is promoted by major foundations. Once again, the research is carried out at prestigious universities. Once again, legislation is passed and social programs are urged in its name. Once again, critics are few and harshly dealt with.

Once again, the measures being urged have little basis in fact or science. Once again, groups with other agendas are hiding behind a movement that appears high-minded. Once again, claims of moral superiority are used to justify extreme actions. Once again, the fact that some people are hurt is shrugged off because an abstract cause is said to be greater than any human consequences. Once again, terms like sustainability and generational justice -- terms that have no agreed definition -- are employed in the service of a new crisis. ...

And I would add one more thought: once again, we are pushed toward abandoning more control over our lives to an ever-more-powerful government. And power's the real stake in this game -- and the earlier ones, too.