Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Separation of Science and State

The current ClimateGate flap does not tell us anything new. We already know that scientists are completely in the pocket of the politicians. This was made transparently clear recently on CNN when scientist Michael Oppenheimer sounded like a politician and climate auditor Steve McIntyre sounded like a scientist.

We know why this is so. Money. Follow the money.

Modern governments want to gin up the moral equivalent of war so that they can mobilize the resources of the nation to fight it. The preferred way of ginning up a moral equivalent of war is to get the scientists to declare a disaster. Maybe social scientists declare poverty a disaster. Physical scientists declare the environment or the climate a disaster. Politicians butt in, announce that the science is settled, and declare the moral equivalent of war.

In the case of climate it is the United Nations ginning up the crisis through the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The idea is to create a moral equivalent of war on an climate crisis and invest the United Nations with global taxes so that it can lead the fight.

I believe it is time for all people of education and feeling to stop this assault on our freedoms. The only thing government is any good at is war, real war. When it tries to gin up moral equivalents of war it just makes a mess. Think education, health care, pensions, welfare.

In the United States we express such broad-scale political sentiments in our Constitution. So here is the text of a proposed Twenty-eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Amendment - Freedom of Science

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of science, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Back in the Dark Ages, we know, government and religion were closely linked. The king derived his right to rule from God and the priests derived their power from association and support of the king.

In the pre-scientific age, this compact arrangement made sense, but by the 18th century it had become an embarrassment. It made the church into an appendage of the crown, and a rather feeble one at that.

So the Founding Fathers called for a dis-establishment of religion in the Bill of Rights. The result is that the United States is the most religious country in the world among developed nations.

Thomas Jefferson called this arrangement the separation of church and state. It succinctly symbolized the whole concept of the separation of powers within the government between legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

In his seminal work The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism Michael Novak has differentiated not just government but the whole of modern society into three sectors: the political sector, the economic sector and the moral/cultural sector.

These three sectors are, and ought to be, separate and divided centers of power. In part, this is agreed by all. Everyone agrees that the political sector should not dominate the moral/cultural sector, nor the moral/cultural sector issue orders to the political sector. Everyone agrees that the economic sector should not dominate the political sector.

But some reactionary liberals find it very hard to deal with the idea that the political sector should not own and dominate the economic sector.

And we know why. Liberals live for political power and political power is nothing without power over the economic sector. Some day they will get their comeuppance. But that is not our concern today. We are concerned about science.

The ClimateGate scandals demonstrate that association with the political sector has utterly corrupted the scientists. And we know why. Money. Money is the mother's milk of science, and scientists will do anything to get it. So they go along with power plans of the politicians, and serve up politically motivated science, "settled science," as they call it, to the politicians in return for research money.

It is time make a break with the past and advance boldly into the future. We must end the government domination of science. Science cannot prosper as an established appendage of government. It can only be corrupted. So science must be separate from government. We must have a separation of science and state.

It won't be easy. Science is embedded in government schools, government research labs, government research foundatations, government universities. And of course there is the relation between the Department of Defense and military science.

But we must begin the journey. Science must not, and should not be, of right, an appendage of government. And the start of that journey is an act of disestablishment. Science must be separate from government and must no longer waste its prestige in pandering to the shabby manipulations of professional politicians.

Let us begin the journey today.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is funny. The right has finally gone right over the edge. So you would close down the CDC, NIH and NSF? No governmemnt funding for science means all science research will be to serve private interests. How would we have found out that tobacco causes cancer and heart disease?

    If scientists are controled by politians then there would be bitter divisions among scientists just as there is among politicians! Sorry if you don't like what climatologists have discovered. Maybe you should join forces with the creationists and astrologists.