Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To Bring About the Fall of the gods

Scientists are not gods.

I know, that seems so obvious to so many people but when it comes down to how many of us treat them, they may as well be gods.  Sure, the sacrifices they demand tend to be taxpayer dollars and not virgin blood, but the principle is the same, especially when you consider that Statism is pretty much a religion in and of itself.

In any case, I suppose that is why there is so much outcry from the scientific community and the science fetish community about the recent rulings on the geologists who failed to produce a risk assessment for the chances of an earthquake hitting the Italian city of L’Aquila.  Basically, they were charged and convicted of manslaughter for the deaths of the people of that town.

Naturally, the outcry has distorted what they actually were being charged for.  Scientists and their acolytes are harping about how a geologist is not supposed to be able to accurately predict earthquakes, so they shouldn’t stand trial for the deaths that result from it.  Of course, this is the usual spin that is placed on these sorts of things, especially when it comes to government corruption.  From the article linked above, I’d like to highlight the following paragraph:

The view from L'Aquila, however, is quite different. Prosecutors and the families of victims alike say that the trial has nothing to do with the ability to predict earthquakes, and everything to do with the failure of government-appointed scientists serving on an advisory panel to adequately evaluate, and then communicate, the potential risk to the local population. The charges, detailed in a 224-page document filed by Picuti, allege that members of the National Commission for Forecasting and Predicting Great Risks, who held a special meeting in L'Aquila the week before the earthquake, provided "incomplete, imprecise, and contradictory information" to a public that had been unnerved by months of persistent, low-level tremors. Picuti says that the commission was more interested in pacifying the local population than in giving clear advice about earthquake preparedness.

In other words, the scientists that the government leaders had employed to provide guidance and direction in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake did nothing of the sort and instead behaved like politicians rather than scientists.

More to the point though, does it really matter if they were on trial for failure to predict an earthquake?  They are part of a group called the National Commission for Forecasting and Predicting Great Risks (emphasis mine).  In other words, they literally claimed, by means of association, that they could predict earthquakes with some degree of accuracy.  And now they are claiming that they could not have known?

One of the many failures of human beings, which has become more and more acceptable in the Western world, is our inability to accept responsibility for the consequences of our actions (or inaction as it were).  This is especially true among government officials and corporate cronies who enjoy all the benefits of success but never suffer failure, which is equally important in life.  Failure, after all, is a means by which we adjust our behavior so that we do not repeat it.  In a sense, failure is the mental version of pain (next to watching an Uwe Boll or Tommy Wiseau movie).

The State, which is a collection of selfish individuals who are either elected or appointed to positions of power over the general population, largely tries to avoid the responsibilities or leadership while reaping the benefits of power and prestige.  From the former child molesting Catholic priest now turned TSA agent to the President taking credit for good jobs reports while blaming the bad ones on his predecessor, we see this at all levels.  And don’t worry, the usual response to pointing out such contradictions is usually a stonewall of silence or a club to your head.

Another way to put this is that the State desires to be a god.  After all, does not a god get all the praise but is never held accountable when the things promised aren’t delivered (I know this is a very weird thing for a Christian to say, but I assure it, it is perfectly inline with my faith).  I know of no stories where a temple prostitute was killed by an angry mob after their crops were destroyed by drought when she promised to avert it in exchange for sex.  Then again, maybe the State should revert to such pagan customs because at least we’d have a good time when we’re being financially raped.  Of course, our modern government did manage to bankrupt that trucker brothel stop in Nevada, so I doubt they manage to get selling sex and booze to desperate and lonely people right.

The main reason why I am a political nihilist and a free marketeer is because I believe that for good men to prosper, there needs to be some form of accountability.  As individuals, we have our own rational self-interests in mind and we seek to maximize our own benefit regardless of how that affects others.  But when we bring harm to others, we need to be held accountable for said harm.  In the case of these geologists in Italy, I think being held accountable for the victims of the earthquake which they were to at suppose to inform the public on the risks of is justifiable.

No it does not bring back the dead or restore the town into whatever it was before the earthquake.  But it sends a message to others to do their damn job and do it right and if you can’t do it, then don’t pretend that you can.  This is how we can break the State and bring about the fall of the gods: hold them accountable for what they say and do.