A time to Cast Away Stones

The main lesson about the climategate scandal is that you can’t put excessive authority in individual entities. You can’t trust any body with too much power.

That’s the lesson of our economic crisis too.

So why the rush to expand those bodies at the very moment when we are paying such a heavy price for their existence.

It’s the will to security and the fear of freedom.

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5 Responses

  1. “Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.

    It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.

    A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.

    Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.

    But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.

    The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.

    All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.

    It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.

    Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  2. It’s also the next stage of what Tocqueville predicted for France and may apply to the USA (Lord, have mercy):

    “Over these [citizens] is elevated an immense, tutelary [protecting, guarding, support-giving] power, which takes sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate. It is absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident, and gentle. It would resemble the paternal power if, like that power, it had as its object to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks, to the contrary, to keep them irrevocably fixed in childhood; it loves the fact that the citizens enjoy themselves provided that they dream solely of their own enjoyment. It works willingly for their happiness, but it wishes to be the only agent and the sole arbiter of that happiness. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their needs, guides them in the principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their testaments, divides their inheritances. Can it not relieve them entirely of the trouble of thinking and of the effort associated with living?

    In this fashion, every day, it renders the employment of free will less useful and more rare; it confines the action of the will within a smaller space, and bit by bit it steals from each citizen the use of that which is his own. Equality has prepared men for all of these things: it has disposed them to put up with them and often even to regard them as a benefit.

    After having taken each individual in this fashion by turns into its powerful hands, and after having kneaded him in accord with its desires, the sovereign extends its arms about the society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of petty regulations—complicated, minute, and uniform—through which even the most original minds and the most vigorous souls know not how to make their way past the crowd and emerge into the light of day. It does not break wills; it softens them, bends them, and directs them; rarely does it force one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting on one’s own; it does not destroy; it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it gets in the way, it curtails, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupefies, and finally it reduces each nation to nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

    • Breathtaking.

      Literally.

      Only, I would suggest that he is describing a maternal power, not a paternal. I don’t think very many people will be offended if I suggest that mothers are more protective than fathers and that generally speaking fathers want their kids, sons at least, out proving themselves, not home tied to the apron strings.

      Our maternal government has no confidence in our ability to handle what life throws at us.

      Thus, just as when a child can always run to its power in a crisis it loses its self-confidence, we are increasingly a nation of timid, spoiled children.

      • I completely agree; however, I would suggest that a term like uber-maternal be applied. True, Biblical maternal love does not sacrifice godly risk taking for safety, but it does add “the other” dimension of God’s image to parenting. I will readily admit that most of us mothers (including myself) naturally err too much on the side of caution, etc., as do most fathers on the side of… well, I’ll let them speak for themselves.

        Another thought just came to me… Tocqueville’s prophecy perhaps has a paternal aspect as well. Even though the means used is subtle, softening, and codependent, there is an unmistakable undercurrent of all-out, take no prisoners war that is not satisfied until everything is completely conquered. It is aggressive, voracious and all-consuming. It’s the iron fist in a velvet glove, I guess. Lots and lots of velvet with the iron underneath becoming manifest only when it’s too late (if people still have eyes to even recognize tyranny by that point. There is no more complete a slave than one who is happy to be so. Ironically, this is true of the ungodly slave of unrighteousness and the grace-saved slave of Christ. Another topic…)

        • I agree with your qualification, though I don’t buy the fantasy that women love peace. They are the ones who wear velvet gloves. And they can be much more thorough in their devestation than the man who just wants to conquer his enemy. The woman wants to beat her down until they get along. How yucky.

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