Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thank You St. Rachel of Carson

It never ceases to amaze one how the collectivists are able to proclaim a series of "crises" in order to generate implementation of policies and programs whose chief result is to increase government's (their) control over humanity. Occasionally these crusades reach the status of a secular religion. The most recent example of this strange phenomenon is environmentalism and it is not uncommon that some of the panics generated by its practitioners result in truly tragic loss of human life.

This is the centennial year of the birth of Rachel Carson who popularized modern junk science with her publication of Silent Spring in 1962 which was instrumental in the world wide banning of of DDT. The use of this substance had resulted in the near eradication of malaria world wide with the concomitant increase of life expectancy, especially in the third world areas of Africa, Asia and South America. With the banning of DDT these poor areas were unable to substitute its use with more expensive chemical compounds as were the developed nations. As a result, the exponential rate of increase in cases of malaria in the third world have caused the unnecessary premature deaths of many millions of humans, usually children under 8 years of age.

Although as a result of recent less glandular cost benefit studies, the ban of DDT is gradually being lifted, the environmentalists continue to resist it:

If students are going to read “Silent Spring” in science classes, I wish it were paired with another work from that same year, 1962, titled “Chemicals and Pests.” It was a review of “Silent Spring” in the journal Science written by I. L. Baldwin, a professor of agricultural bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin.

He didn’t have Ms. Carson’s literary flair, but his science has held up much better...Ms. Carson’s many defenders, ecologists as well as other scientists, often excuse her errors by pointing to the primitive state of environmental and cancer research in her day. They argue that she got the big picture right: without her passion and pioneering work, people wouldn’t have recognized the perils of pesticides. But those arguments are hard to square with Dr. Baldwin’s review.

Another example of a leftist exacerbated "crisis" is the eradication of rats, mosquitos, flies and sparrows decreed by one of the left's great "heroes" Mao-Tse-Tung in the 1950s:
The anti-sparrow campaign, for instance, was extremely effective but had tragic results.

Villagers were told to rush out to the fields, banging on pots and pans and screaming at the tops of their voices.

The sparrows took to the air, and as the pandemonium continued, stayed there, too terrified to land, until they dropped dead from exhaustion.

The only trouble was that sparrows are a vital link in the food chain and are particularly fond of [eating] locusts. With no sparrows left to eat them, there was a plague of locusts, the crops were ruined and millions of people died in the ensuing famine.

The most recent and continuing manifestation of a junk science "crisis" assuming the proportions of a quasi religion is the urging of a lemming like response to climate change by the prophet Al Gore of the "Church of the Warmistas".

The collectivists are almost never held accountable for the damage they cause. In the words of Dr. Thomas Sowell: "The proposals of the self anointed moral elite are to be judged by the righteousness of the intentions behind them, rather than the consequences of their implementation."
cross posted at: Eternity Road

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