Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Will Britain Succumb?

At first it was seen mainly as a North American contagion.  Then it took hold in Australia and now it has spread to Britain.

The Anglo-Saxon tradition of enlightenment has collapsed.  We have, as The Guardian's George Monbiot, describes it, yielded to a "flat-Earth love in."

A "flat Earth love-in". That's how one MP described the debate he witnessed in parliament last week. The politics with which citizens of the United States, Canada and Australia are now wearily familiar, in which elected representatives denounce both scientific evidence and the researchers who produce it, have arrived in Britain.

A couple of years ago I decided to stop arguing with climate change deniers. It was driving me mad. Spend too much time grappling with the convolutions of people like Nigel Lawson, Christopher Monckton, Mail and Telegraph columnists David Rose and Christopher Booker, and some of it rubs off on you. I began to feel like the man in the celebrated cartoon: "I can't come to bed yet, dear. Someone is wrong on the internet."

But this, in Westminster, is something new: a group of parliamentarians, some of them, like John Redwood, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie and Graham Stringer, senior and experienced, prepared to abandon all caution and declare an all-out war on the evidence. Listening to the debate on Tuesday, I had the sense that they were undergoing an initiation test, like Mara gang members acquiring a facial tattoo. To show you are a true believer, you must disfigure your political record by reciting a ream of nonsense in parliament. So, with a heavy heart, I find myself going in again

 ...Never underestimate the willingness of powerful people to ignore the evidence they find inconvenient. Never underestimate their willingness to appease industrial lobbyists by repeating the nonsense they generate. Never underestimate their readiness to sacrifice the common interests of humankind for the sake of a belief they refuse to abandon.



Purple library guy said...

Dunno what this twitpic thing is, or who that "Rohrbach Kypferbrand" is, but I'm thinking whoever twitpic are they have a bit of nerve putting a "copyright twitpic, all rights reserved" note under an old xkcd cartoon. IMO the xkcd would be a better link.


Aside from that, thanks for fighting the good fight. Maybe we'll get the Enlightenment back when the revolution comes, eh what?

The Mound of Sound said...

Jeez, do ya think? The cartoon is a dandy, thanks.

Lorne said...

Sadly, Mound, it seems the comforting embrace of ignorance will always take precedence over the exigencies imposed by inconvenient truths. One wonders what the last man or woman standing will say.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Lorne. Time is not on their side. We will act the only question is how late will we get started? Because this is largely a class-driven and needless predicament, I would like to imagine that we would be able to invoke some sort of confiscatory response to those who have harmed the whole for their personal benefit. Maybe we should expect them to take two or three bites from the shit sandwich.