Sigh

Professor Nutt was told to resign as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse Drugs (ACMD) after a series of controversial outbursts including accusing ministers of ignoring scientific evidence to distort the drugs debate.

You hire the scientists to tell you the scientific truth. Sure, what you do with it is politics after that, but firing the bloke who is telling the truth is silly.

In a blizzard of farewell attacks, he again accused politicians of \”misleading\” the public by making decisions that go against scientific evidence and said Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, \”makes completely irrational statements about cannabis being \’lethal\’, which it is not\”.

Quite: this is your government on drugs.

And if they\’re ignoring the truth on something quite so simple then how badly are the cocking up something complex like climate change?

One comment on “Sigh

  1. You’ve got it all wrong. They never fire anyone for telling the truth–they fire them for saying what they don’t want said. There’s a difference.

    The job of the government scientist (or advisor on any subject whatever) is to provide what are, in religion, known as “apologetics.” These consist in studies, essay-columns, speeches (delivered either by the author or other functionary), “expert testimony,” etc., supporting what the government wants, intends, or is already doing. The support may be, especially at first, rendered in full belief of one’s “positive” role in affairs of state but that belief cannot be maintained long by one above the intellectual level of cabbage. Soon there are excuses for disappointment or failure; “cooking”
    to prevent knowledge of such failure becoming generally appreciated, and, often, assignment of blame for such failure as cannot be hidden or redefined loaded on to the shoulders of others, particularly political opponents, if any are handy.

    Some quit or are got rid of for lacking the proper spirit of cooperation. At lower levels, honest men may survive and toil in obscurity; they produce results but cannot excercise influence on their use for policy. Upper levels are populated, almost exclusively, by power-and-attention-seekers; what most would recognize as an “honest man” will hardly ever be found in such company.

    A couple generation ago, people actually tended
    to criticize (scientists, especially) associated with private enterprise (often referred to, with some
    contempt, as “moneyed interests”) and to assume that association with government was a most noble pursuit. I think most are somewhat wiser these days, less in awe or reverential attitude–but not by enough to make a difference.

    The worst part of the entire situation is that those intent on working for or partnering with government in order to enrich themselves through
    graft or privileged position are not the worst of the bunch. That distinction must be reserved for those who actually believe in what they’d practice, rather than merely hope to be enriched. In that direction lies madness, not to mention murder and mayhem.

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