Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The cancer of Progressivism

There is outrage over the recent revelations that aboriginal children in Canada were subjected to crude experiments (consent kindly granted by the government of Canada) studying the effects of malnutrition. Some children under government care (term used incautiously) had their milk rations cut in half, while required vitamin supplements were withheld. At the same time, dental care was withheld because the deterioration of the gums was a key indicator for malnutrition, and normal dental care would have interfered with the experiment.

A word that is being kicked around a lot this morning is "paternalism". The government had a paternalistic attitude, and handed its wards over to be abused in the name of science.

The real word that should be bandied about is "Progressivism". That is the real cancer--the notion that the government should use its "power" to "improve people's lives". These people, evidently, are too foolish to make their own choices--so let government-trained experts make their choices for them.

For example, in Ghana there are any number of young men like the one depicted below, who live hand-to-mouth, day by day. He has a small plot on which he grows a few yams or plantain, and once in awhile he gets a spot on a fishing boat and works for a share of the catch. Sometimes we hire him as a casual labourer for a few days at a time, where he has helped cut lines, dig pits, pilot our research vessel.

He owns no car, no phone, no TV, no DVD player (he has said he would like to be able to buy such things), but on the whole he is about as happy as anyone else in the village. If he is sick or down on his luck, he has friends and neighbours and relatives to help him. On the whole he has a life that is more real and vital than those lived by the people in suits here who want to turn him into a real-estate broker or investment adviser, so he can commute for an hour each day to work, and develop ulcers and pay taxes like a civilized human being.

The reason that Progressivism is like a cancer is that its practitioners do not stop. Not ever. Because they are doing it for you.

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