Skip to main content

Warm and Cold Lies

posted 5 Dec 2009 17:44 by Dick Pountain

Lies and deceptions have always been potent political weapons, from the Trojan Horse all the way to the Zinoviev Letter. They are not the sole preserve of either Left or the Right, despite what adherents of those two wings would have you believ. We all know how Stalinism distorted the truth and rewrote history, the faces that disappeared from the photographs. However during the last decade lies have become a particular speciality of the Right, culminating in the deceptions used to launch the Iraq invasion, but most hilariously illustrated by the Bush neo-cons references to "making our own reality".

It's in this context that you should judge those recent leaked emails from climate scientists. It may be the case that believers in the reality of Global Warming have been "fine-tuning" the data to make their case look stronger. The sceptics' side prefer the newer, Bush/neocon style of lying, by just flat out denying the facts on  the (observably effective) principle that any lie you tell three times becomes true. None of this matters a damn though, because lies only have any effect on human minds, not on nature. If the planet has decided to fry us all it will continue to do so whatever nonsense we spout about the matter...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Social Democracy Uber Alles

The outcry over the revoking of Uber's London licence shows that the service it provides is popular, and it's unquestionably a significant, innovative use of new technology to improve transport. On the other hand the outcry from drivers about lack of benefits and job security show that the application of technology is being used (not uncommonly) both to increase exploitation of the labour force and to flout legal regulation designed to protect labour and customers. The outcry of Black Cab drivers against Uber ignores the fact that people flocked to Uber not merely for convenience (though that is considerable) but because Black Cabs had priced themselves out of the market with the last big price hike.

Put all this together and it's clear that all the parties need to get together and find a workable solution, which is highly unlikely to happen because of the vastly different political atmospheres between UK and USA, and a general lack of adult leadership on both sides. I ca…

The Touchy-Feely Inferno

This essay was originally the final, epilogue, chapter of an unpublished book I wrote in 2009. On re-reading it today I was struck that 9 years haven't changed much….

                      _________________ * ________________

“My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and absolute freedom – freedom from violence and falsehood, no matter how the last two manifest themselves.” [Anton Chekhov]


The incontinent expression of emotion has become a new orthodoxy, not only in popular culture but even in politics. We’re regularly treated nowadays to advertisements that exploit neuroscientific jargon where once they stuck to plain chemistry – they now seek to boost our serotonin levels rather than merely applying lipid microcapsules to our hair. The staple diet of celebrity magazines and soap operas is the ostentatious display of “emotional honesty” and “vulnerability”, people are always now “there for each other”. Hugging is as revealing of the t…

Big Money Rules

I've always been overly fond of irony, even though I also accept Rilke's sage advice in 'Letters To A Young Poet':

Irony: Don't let yourself be controlled by it, especially during uncreative moments. When you are fully creative, try to use it, as one more way to take hold of life. Used purely, it too is pure, and one needn't be ashamed of it; but if you feel yourself becoming too familiar with it, if you are afraid of this growing familiarity, then turn to great and serious objects, in front of which it becomes small and helpless.
(Viareggio, April 5th, 1903)

I'm neither young nor a poet, and I'd never actually become ashamed of irony until now. The irony that finally proved too much for me is this - that fate of democracy may now depend upon the best efforts of the US intelligence agencies. They may now be the only institutions capable of arresting (for their own far-from-progressive interests of course) the process described in Diane Ravitch's NYRB …