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Lately, we have been preached to a lot about “following the science” by some people who have consistently accepted only the “science” which seems to reinforce their own worldview. At times in the past, we have “followed the science” down a path leading to both failure and death.
In this country, the drift toward “progressivism” more or less began with the proclaimed need to have “experts” be in charge of the major decisions of society. The world had just become too complicated, too advanced to allow the individual whims of uninformed masses to have dominant sway over critical issues. Things would just run better for everyone if we turned from the individualism on which we were founded in the first place. Top-down decisions for everyone by the experts of each concern were to be the answer to the future.
You do, of course, recall the “science” of eugenics? Only a small amount of research will show you an array of celebrated masters of science in the early 20th century who saw this as a true science and not just the wave of the future, but its best for hope human society. Of course, some us more basic types would have considered it to be little more than selective breeding of human beings – as well as plain discrimination against those deemed unworthy of taking part in the process. Naturally “experts” were able to create “models” which made it easy to decide whose bloodlines would be allowed to continue in this upgrade. It was, after all, the best for everyone. Well, almost everyone.
One of the practical tools of carrying out this enlightened improvement of mankind was abortion. So you see, the term eugenics might not be heard much today but parts of its model are still “following the science.”
Actually models were hardly new things even at the beginning of the 20th century. Simply take the time to read, or re-read, Machiavelli’s The Prince. It certainly is a model for developing and holding political power. But even that was hardly new. Machiavellian method was taken from studying all the regimes and monarchies that had come before. It was a “model” formed on the best information available. Or, at least, the “information” that the model designer was most comfortable with.
We raised a generation who fear “climate change” more than welfare socialism. Model after model fashioned by experts have warned of one disaster after another, all “just around the corner.” When we held the first Earth Day in 1970, the expert’s model assured us that millions upon millions were sure to die in the coming ice age. And, of course, by then we would have run completely out of oil so better have the axes ready!
But by 1989, the United Nations had a whole team of experts whose model proved we only had 10 years left to “solve” global warming. As it has turned out since, the warming deal has not quite worked out. So the emphasis has switched to the more general “climate change.” This way both ice ages and burning deserts can easily fall inside the model. After a short while, it was decided that even this general term was a little too plain sounding and might not be impressive enough for the unlettered so “Anthropogenic Climate Change” was been the “in” term. It simply means “man-made” but does have the ring of expert science to it.
The media was assured by experts in 2008 that both Miami and New York City could be underwater by 2015. “Science” accepted by the popular media tells us that it is acceptable for “transgenders” to be on the same sports field with those players who have blindly accepted the sex assigned them by nature.
For those of us who have to live and survive in the real world “following the science” consists of knowing and considering all of the provable information that we can have on any one subject. In the practical sense, a model is little more than a prediction based on whatever information is used. The information may be complete – or not. In most cases, it is not since it is very hard to know everything about anything (was that too tangled a phrase?). That is especially true with a developing situation. It may well be ever-changing. That is certainly true today.
It is also true that the decisions of a society have more than one dimension. Always. Therefore, any expert in any one field cannot have the complete answer to the question. Experts are for consultation. They advise the decision-makers. It is always wise to consult more than one “expert.” The odds of any one of them being completely right are very small – if not zero.
It was wisely decided long ago that this was to be a society, a nation, which would not be ruled by self-appointed experts or their models. All may have contributions to make in the decisions made. But we have leaders chosen by the people, answerable to the people, who have that terrible responsibility.
In my mostly unsophisticated (and wandering) mind, I wondered what it would have looked like if those disgruntled colonists of 1775 would have consulted the experts about the wisdom of facing up to the most developed military power of the age over some infractions of personal rights. What if their model had shown several long years of war, of periods of literally brother against brother and son against father, of death and struggle, of gut-wrenching decisions, of lost fortunes and of the trials of forming a government the likes of which had never appeared on the earth before? How many would have continued on the path which led past Lexington to Yorktown to a Constitution which truly is a “shining city on the hill” for the rest of the world?
Those disgruntled colonists first defined their purpose. They knew tribulations were to come. They just didn’t know exactly what they would be. Decisions don’t rely solely on data. They must first rely on direction and purpose. Data is not to be ignored. It is to be considered. But it is not the key to who you are. Or what you aspire to be.
One of the great tools of tyranny has always been unreasoned panic. It can cause a person, a group, or even a nation to forget purpose while grasping for momentary and imagined safety, while it is purpose which actually makes them worthwhile as either a person or a nation.
These are a few of the varied directions of my reflections for the last few days as I work to put a more understandable finish on them. But I do know that regardless of what decisions we make as individuals or as a nation if we leave behind our called purpose, we have lost far more than lives.
I also understand that panic and fear without reflection have caused some to favor closing churches while opening jails in the name of our momentary safety. That in itself is enough to cause us pause. Sometimes a good, deep breath and some clarity of purpose are the beginning of the best model.Published in