Monday, 23 November 2009

The CRU Hack


The breaking story over the weekend concerning the hacking of the server at the Climate Research Unit in East Anglia, England is perhaps one of the most significant world news stories you will have the chance to cover for some time.

In advance of the coming coverage, I would suggest that one point in particular be borne in mind:

Quite irrespective of one's personal views on the validity of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis (i.e. that increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, cause global average temperature to increase), it must be remembered that what is at stake here, politically, is whether an increasing apparatus of state control over society, globally networked, is the right way to deal with any problematic climate change, or whether, on the other hand, a rapid dismantling of state apparatus both internationally and domestically would spur the necessary economic development to make technological solutions affordable on a global scale. What is at stake is nothing less than the relationship between the life of the individual human being and the controlling reach of the state.

Just look at what already has been put in place:

- laws and regulations against domestic oil drilling in the United States which thus reduce and hamper human productivity
- laws and regulations that reduce and hamper human productivity by forcing reductions of CO2 emissions from transport
- changes in tax policy to punish and discourage domestic CO2 emissions
- malinvestment of huge sums of taxed funds to support grossly inefficient methods of energy production (e.g. solar power)
- the lack of support for the potentially vastly productive nuclear technologies of both fission and polywell fusion.

Then look at what is currently being proposed:

- yet more punitive taxation which will impede business and human productivity in the form of carbon taxes
- a "personal carbon allowance" extending the control of the state yet further into the details of one's daily economic decisions
- the discouragement of "dirty" (link not working) economic development in developing countries by regulations governing foreign investment.

The fact is that, although there are many honest scientists on both sides of the question, the AGW hypothesis has opened up a vast prospect for further indirect increases in state control over society that ARE totalitarian in nature, quite irrespective of the political affiliations of any scientists. Even were one to regard the AGW hypothesis as true, it would nevertheless be a serious fault to fail to notice that so many of the publicly touted solutions are by states seeking increases in state control over society.
Lest it be forgotten, this has been the basic political conflict of the western world since at least the time of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta in ancient Greece. Freedom versus Servitude. The Individual whose life is his own, or the Party Member whose life is as a mere functionary of the State. This is why the Americans fought their war of independence against the British. It is the reason why Britain and the United States' refusal to stand up to the Soviets and Mao's China after 1945 is an enduring disgrace (all of Taiwanese nationalist politics is essentially a minor consequence of this thoroughly reprehensible failure). There are even echoes of this most basic political conflict to be found in the writings of first century BCE Confucians in China.

I urge you at the Taipei Times not to neglect this point, for it is the essential context which animates the increasingly acrimonious debate over the AGW hypothesis.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Fagan.

(Sent Monday 23rd November 2009. Unpublished by the Taipei Times)

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