Free Markets, Free People

Dwight Eisenhower – a warning from the past concerning science and government

If you’re any student of history, you’re aware of the speech President Eisenhower gave upon his leaving the presidency. It is often referred to as the "Military/Industrial complex speech".

In it he warned against the future problems we’d encounter by the establishment of a permanent "military/industrial complex" (something we’d never had prior to WWII).

But are you also aware he warned against the establishment of something else that it took WWII to create (think Manhattan Project)? You’ll recognize it immediately:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Emphasis is mine and it is something which has indeed come true and is alive and well in the current “science” of global warming.

Then add this – because this hasn’t been changed or disproven.  From S. Fred Singer’s book, “Unstoppable Global Warming – every 1500 years” (2007, 2008):

…[T]he Antarctic ice cores tell us that the earth’s temperatures and CO2 levels have tracked closely together through the last three ice ages and global warnings. However, CO2 has been a lagging indicator, its concentrations rising about 600 to 800 years after the temperatures warm. Oregon State climatologist George Taylor explains the significance of this fact:

Early Vostok analysis looked at samples centuries apart and concluded correctly that there is a very strong relationship between temperatures and CO2 concentrations. The conclusion for many was obvious: when CO2 goes up, temperatures go up, and vice versa. This became the basis for a number of scary looking graphs in books by scientist Stephen Schneider, former VP Al Gore, and others, predicting a much warmer future (since most scientists agree that CO2 will continue to go up for sometime). Well, it’s not as simple as that. When the Vostok  data were analyzed for much shorter time periods (decades at a time rather than centuries), something quite different emerged. Huburtus Fischer and his research team from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography reported: "the time lag of the rise in CO2 concentrations with respect to temperature change is on the order of 400 to 1000 years". In other words, CO2 changes are caused by temperature changes.

Yet somehow the science has been perverted over the years to now characterize CO2 as not only a current indicator of warming but a cause of warming.  As far as I’ve been able to determine, what is written above has yet to be disproven or disputed.

So here we are with a government which is interested in increasing revenue by literally creating a tax out of thin air, and we have a well funded government “science”  – a $103 billion dollar “gravy train” (that figure was quoted quite often at ICCC6) and we wonder why we’re getting the conclusions we’re getting from those scientists?

Ike was a pretty smart guy.  He saw all of this coming from way off.  Whenever government takes control of science (or any other field) to serve its purposes by providing huge incentives to do so, it’s going to get what it wants.   And it has, at least to a point.   What it hasn’t gotten, however, is indisputable truth concerning its theories concerning CO2.  That means its taxation scheme is dead.

However, as long as it continues to fund science and scientists with massive amounts of money, it will provide tremendous incentive to get at least a portion of those who call themselves scientists to serve government’s policy aims.  That’s incredibly dangerous.

The answer is precisely what we’ve seen happen in this particular debate – skepticism.  Insistence on the scientific method.  The understanding that, as Roy Spencer said, “It only takes one scientists (skeptic) to be right for the IPCC to be wrong”.   And we’ve seen that quite often as the IPCC’s findings and conclusions have been shown to contain errors of fact, errors of omission, propaganda and alarmism unsupported by fact or science.

We need to get government out of science. Wasn’t this the administration which said it was going to “restore” science to its proper place? That proper place is without government subsidy or, as we’ve experienced through the AGW fiasco, “[t]he prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money …”, perverts science and makes it a servant to political policy. That, friends is infinitely more dangerous to our freedoms than the military/industrial complex.


Twitter: @McQandO


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13 Responses to Dwight Eisenhower – a warning from the past concerning science and government

  • Ike was a pretty smart fellow.
    It’s good to connect the dots over a 50 year period.  Something the AGL folks haven’t been able to do.

  • I don’t dispute government’s negative influence on science.   But, there’s no one to replace government in funding research, except other governments research.  This will not lead us to better science in the least.
    The private sector can take it over, leaving one more way that domestic companies are at a competitive disadvantage as their competition’s governments subsidize their competitions research.  Then there won’t even be domestic companies to do the research leaving us again with the research funded by foreign governments to make policy decisions. 

    • But, there’s no one to replace government in funding research, except other governments research.

      I’ve heard this argument for decades, and…as politely as possible…BULLSPIT.  The private sector DOES and WILL fund research.  You can RELY on motivated people SEEKING their best interests.
      The private sector research funding is HUGE.

  • That leads me to a useful outcome from this debacle. Global warming is a litmus test for our politicians. If they believe in global warming, they are easily deluded fools.

    This whole exercise is based on the US’s dependency on foreign oil exacerbated by the NIMBY attitude that we couldn’t possibly turn up domestic production without a political fire storm. So, in a full head wind of physics that doesn’t allow these sorts of thing to happen, many of our politicians have opted to “go green” with “green jobs” even when they have been told it will ultimately fail (while hoping that some how physics is wrong)l.

    • Stolen from Watts Up With That

      Quote of the Week:
      “Urgent and unprecedented environmental and social changes challenge scientists to define a new social contract… a commitment on the part of all scientists to devote their energies and talents to the most pressing problems of the day, in proportion to their importance, in exchange for public funding.” Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, 1997 AAAS presidential address [Boldface added, H/t Joe D’Aleo, ICECAP]

      What exactly is the difference between these “scientists” and the Dominique Gaston André StraussKahn “hooker” ?
      None that I can see.

  • Here’s another quote that probably 99% of people never heard the second part:

    “He would trade liberty for a little bit of safety will have, and deserves, neither” — Ben Franklin

    Here’s part two:

    “The best way to be safe is to never be secure.”

    Think of the false sense of security a child’s “security blanket” gives.

  • Skepticism? Hah! More like political idiocy by inbred sterile Nazis.

    I just knew when you went to that silly event you would start to post this kind of political idiocy. You should be held accountable for trying to harm my gender-neutral children. I sometimes lie awake at night dreaming of ways to make you accountable. Because of my high-minded, public service oriented attitude, of course.

    Why can’t you open your eyes and stop posting political idiocy? Why, on my own blog, I very rarely talk about climage change, even though I know we have a consensus and everyone in the faculty lounge bemoans the fact that it’s under seige by political idiots. And my lack of posting on the subject has nothing to do with my inadequate math skills or anything like that, so stop saying that.

    Instead, I’ve been thinking about and writing about lots of other things. You should come over and read my scintillating analysis {analysis, analysis, analysis}.

    For example, I’ve been thinking about the goal of social welfare programs, as demographics (one of my favorite words!) make them unviable. I’ve decided that we have to have them, because they’re necessary for people to take control of their lives. That’s right, we make them dependents of the state so they have more control. Brilliant, huh?

    Yep, as I said on my blog, which you should definitely read for its brilliant analysis {analysis, analysis, analysis}, we have to figure out ways to design a system that creates opportunities for our poor downtrodden, and helps people empower themselves. There. I’ve done the hard part, and stated the goals. Now you grunt engineer types get to work and design such a system.

    It needs to be more than job training or workfare. It must let them connect with the community. One of the most important roles is a community organizer. Stop laughing.

    As communities arise, they will provide the opportunities and feedback for people to build confidence. Stop laughing, I said. That’s not meaningless drivel. It’s analysis, I told you.

    Besides, education is key. Like educating children about war. My gender-neutral son is, for some reason, drawing detailed pictures of weapons and war scenes. Our culture made him that way. It certainly wasn’t me. I’d be terrified if I had to be in a war. Which does not mean that I’m a cowardly pacifist, not at all. Sometimes war is necessary, as long as a good Democratic leftist starts it instead of a Neanderthal Republican, and as long as I don’t have to fight it.

    I’ve been thinking about all of this because of my two summer on line courses starting up — “The Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe,” and “War and Peace.” Surprisingly the former has more students enrolled than the latter. And that’s not either because the second one is just pacifist, why-can’t-we-all-get-along indoctrination, and it’s not either true that Cindy Sheehan is a guest lecturer. I couldn’t get her to participate.

    Anyway, I’ve been too busy with all that to come over here and get spanked by debate you political idiots. It’s hard to deal with the cravings to talk down to you resist setting you straight, but I can do it. I can. You’ll see. Stop laughing.

    • (Reuters) – Smoke belching from Asia’s rapidly growing economies is largely responsible for a halt in global warming in the decade after 1998 because of sulphur’s cooling effect, even though greenhouse gas emissions soared, a U.S. study said on Monday.
      The paper raised the prospect of more rapid, pent-up climate change when emerging economies eventually crack down on pollution.
      World temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, while manmade emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel grew by nearly a third, various data show.

      Now pollution is holding back AGW .. good grief

  • Willaim Katz also has observed that Ike had warned us about the power of government funding and its effect on global warming studies.  Check out his “Warming  or Hot Air?” post at Urgent Agenda back in December of 2008.

  • “Ike was a pretty smart guy.”

    Damn straight.

    “We need to get government out of science.”

    Damn straight again, the question is…how?

  • The question before the house is:  When can we restore carbon-based energy sources to their rightful place as the best technology available today to supply an energy-hungry world?  When can we drop the ill-conceived theory that global warming is caused by life-giving CO2?  When can we quit wasting billions on CO2 “pollutant” controls? and finally:  When can we de-fund the alternative energy research thus reducing  government spending/control of our lives?

  • The answer is precisely what we’ve seen happen in this particular debate – skepticism.  Insistence on the scientific method.

    Well, yeah…
    that AND devolving POWER and MONEY out  of DC.