Monday, January 18, 2021

The Revolutionary Truth of the new Biden administration

Eduardo Zorita, a researcher on past temperature trends at the Institute for Coastal Research in Germany, writes
... I may confirm what has been written in other places: research in some areas of climate science has been and is full of machination, conspiracies, and collusion, as any reader can interpret from the CRU-files. ...

These words do not mean that I think anthropogenic climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, it is a question which we have to be very well aware of. But I am also aware that in this thick atmosphere -and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now- editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations,even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the 'politically correct picture'. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the 'pleasure' to experience all this in my area of research.
"Climate science" is an ideal model to explain where we have been going politically, a trend that will only accelerate with the incoming Biden administration, whose platform and promises are far to the Left of any prior one. To wit: Climate science is on the whole a political movement, not a scientific discipline. Climate science has no "product." The outcomes of climate modeling cannot be used to do anything except what is being done with them - promote statist control of ever-expanding slices of national economies to conform to a trans-nationalist ideology. 

German economist Ottmar Edenhofer is co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change. He was the lead author of the IPCC's 2007 report. He told Germany's Neue Zurcher Zeitung in November, as reported by
"The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War."

Edenhofer let the environmental cat out of the bag when he said "climate policy is redistributing the world's wealth" and that "it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization." ...

Edenhofer claims "developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community" and so they must have their wealth expropriated and redistributed to the victims of their alleged crimes, the postage stamp countries of the world. He admits this "has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole."
Climate science's only customer is governments, there being no commercial market for forecasts of 50-100 years. When climate scientists found that their only steady funding came from statist bureaucrats, the discipline, very fuzzy with huge margins of error to begin with, became subordinated to politicians' goals.

So welcome to the incoming Biden administration and its Ministry of Truth:

If climate science could be used to do anything else, it would already be happening. But have you ever heard of any report of climate science's findings not seized upon by the Left to expand the power of the state or trans-state organs?

Now if climate scientists find that their only paying customers are statist bureaucrats, and most of the scientists were taught beginning as undergraduates to believe that ideology, what do you think will be the result?

The result is that climate science will be subordinated to political goals. This is exactly what has happened, as more and more scientists working in the field are pointing out. What we are seeing, I think, is that linguistic deconstructionism has polluted its first scientific discipline. 

One of the basic tenets of postmodernist linguistic deconstructionism (which I learned how to do in my postgraduate studies at Vanderbilt) is that all text is tainted by bias and that objective points of view are impossible. Hence, the objective of expression is to exercise power. (Formerly the type of expression so designated has been confined, mostly, to those of history, literature and politics. But now even mathematics may be considered biased and subjective.)

Hence, there is no such as thing as objective truth and statements are never more than propositional in nature. A statement's truth content is never more than opinion, and opinions are nothing but expressions of power. Therefore, in a basic sense, all speech is power directed.

This is a fundamental world view of the Left and is derived directly from Marxism, as reworked by Leninism. Since Marx held that his communist theory was literally scientific, his economic-historical forecasts were not simply likely, they were certain. 
That is, Marx maintained that he was not offering merely one more historical treatise of human affairs, but an actual scientific proof that the proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie. To understand and partner with this inevitability was to be "on the right side of history" (which is where that overused cliché comes from). As formulated by Lenin et. al., truth is therefore not statements of objective facts, but assertions that move the communist revolution and its fulfillment closer to reality. "Truth" is therefore pliable and impermanent, the concept of truth being only practical. In practice, all of language became subservient to the dominance of the party, a fact recognized by George Orwell in his novel 1984 and its concept of Newspeak. 

That, comrades, is the Leftist, socialist world of Revolutionary Truth, a Marxist-Leninist doctrine that is fundamental to how the Left operates and rules. A good illustration of Revolutionary Truth" is when Rep. and self-described socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on 60 Minutes on Jan. 6, 2019, and said, “There's a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right" (video at the link).

Because Marxism is a totalist system of belief, its devotees,
... want to impose a new order based on an “all-or-nothing claim to truth.” They operate within distinctive parameters of a “theology of Armageddon — a final battle between good and evil” –  in which the stakes are nothing less than universal salvation. As outlined in Eric Hoffer’s classic, The True Believer, such movements have mastered the art of “religiofication,” that is, converting political grievances into messianic aspirations and “practical purposes into holy causes.”
"Truth" is therefore whatever brings the Revolution closer to reality. This was a world view fully adopted by Leninists and their successors. Truth is only accidentally connected to objective facts, which is exactly what AOC meant when she dismissed any connection between morality and facts.

The Left's domination of the academy began in the humanities departments. The penetration of the Newspeak mentality into the sciences probably began with what we now call climate science. In fact, Earth Day's founding in 1970 has Leftist roots, the original April 22 date not coincidentally being the 
birth date of Lenin himself. From the original "grassroots hippie" event, the whole of modern-day environmentalism was born. And environmentalism has never been freed from its Marxist-Leninist roots.

What this means is that when climate science became dominated by the Left (well, it began that way), then its purpose was not to determine scientific truth, but to use science to exercise political power. A standard Leftist critique of the West's standing values was that they were social constructions, not rooted in objective reality (which does not exist, anyway), but in class struggles. That was the Left's entrée into the sciences, as Richard Rorty explained in AtlanticOnline, 
Starting with the claim that homosexuality, the Negro race, and womanliness are social constructions, they go on to suggest that quarks and genes probably are too. "Ideology" and "power," they say, have infiltrated sterile laboratories and lurk between the lines of arcane journals of mathematical physics. The very idea of scientific objectivity, they say, is self-deceptive and fraudulent.
If scientific objectivity is a fraudulent concept, it does not mean that science is of no value. It simply means that science is just another tool for the class struggle and that it can be used on the right side of history. Like any other expression, scientific expressions are therefore concerned not with facts but with power. 

So whenever any of my Left-leaning friends tell me I should just "trust the experts" or yield to "the science," I know they have conflated two very important but distinct things. First, the discipline of science itself and second, the scientists who practice that discipline. For while science can be said to be a moral discipline, it by no means follows that scientists  are automatically moral persons. Scientists may be as venal, greedy and grabbing as anyone; simply possessing certain degrees and credentials does not cleanse their souls. When scientists - at least a large number of them - figure out that money, honors, awards, and positions will follow from some but not other scientific declarations, then it is all too easy and self-justifiable for them to accept a political leash. 

Power is the only goal of the Left. When global warmists mount ad hominem attacks against skeptics, comparing them to Holocaust deniers for example, most of us see those attacks as tacit admissions of failure of the scientific argument. But the Left does not see them that way since the scientific argument is just another form of power expression. Ad hominem attacks are, too, and so, like science, are just a tool in the toolbox of power plays. They are an attempt to change the terms of the battle (and battle it is.)

That is why the Left is immune to accusations of hypocrisy, which is, "a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not : behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel." Leftists frequently contradict what they have already said, and the contradictory statement is declared just as emphatically and absolutely as the one it contradicts. To accuse them of hypocrisy is to waste time. A true statement to the Left is one that advances their causes; its contradiction of an earlier declaration is simply irrelevant. The prior statement advanced their cause and the present one does too, they think, and that is the end of the "hypocrisy" debate. After all, they consider your accusation of hypocrisy to be nothing but a power play anyway, so why should it influence them? And why should they shun self-contradiction if it happens to advance their power? 

However, most of our country is not Leftists, far from it. We cannot let the Left set the terms of public debate. We have to keep hammering on the facts and that the Left has bent science to political power-play ends, and that environmentalism is a political movement, not a scientific discipline.

We need also to reject the idea that scientific expression is merely another way of expressing opinion. Although empiricism has its own difficulties, we need to recover a strong sense of a philosophy of science that undergirds science as relating to objective facts about nature. This does not mean that science has no social context, as NYU physicist Alan Sokal pointed out:

Science is a human endeavor, and like any other human endeavor it merits being subjected to rigorous social analysis. Which research problems count as important; how research funds are distributed; who gets prestige and power; what role scientific expertise plays in public-policy debates; in what form scientific knowledge becomes embodied in technology, and for whose benefit -- all these issues are strongly affected by political, economic and to some extent ideological considerations, as well as by the internal logic of scientific inquiry. They are thus fruitful subjects for empirical study by historians, sociologists, political scientists and economists.
The problem is that when the externals become dominant, then in a real sense it is not science that gets done, but something else dressed in scientific costume. There is a danger there that Sokal presciently pointed out 11 years ago: 
There is nothing wrong with research informed by a political commitment, as long as that commitment does not blind the researcher to inconvenient facts.
The real "Inconvenient Truth" about climate science is that it is mostly serving, rather than informing, a political agenda. And that is exactly what the next four years will bring in growing strength to the United States. 

Update: This headline from the WSJ sums it all up: "Legion of Gloom -- Biden and friends are still trying to justify the coming expansion of government"
In a dreary Tuesday speech in Wilmington, Del., President-elect Joe Biden suggested that some schools should remain closed through April--and even longer if there is not another huge round of federal spending on education.
Mr. Biden, discussing the period following his Jan. 20 inauguration, said:
Another 100-day challenge is opening most of our K-through-eight schools by the end of the first 100 days in the spring. Look, we can only do that if Congress provides the necessary funding so we get schools, districts, communities, and states the resources they need for those so many things that aren’t there already in a tight budget.
 Taxpayers may be even more depressed to learn they will now be asked to fund a Biden administration program to persuade people to ignore the message of the Biden presidential campaign. 

Grow government: It's what they do. It's really all they do. And note author James Freeman's sentence that this speech contradicts "the message of the Biden presidential campaign." Of course, but so what? 

Update, Feb. 6: Massachusetts' undersecretary for climate change, Charlie Baker, said it's time to put the screws to ordinary people to break their will
“So let me say that again, 60% of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you, the person across the street, the senior on fixed income, right … there is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts to point the finger at, to turn the screws on, and you know, to break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. Right, I can’t even say that publicly.”
Every government climate bureaucrat is at heart simply a dictator. 

Updated and revised from original publication in 2009

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