Beware politicized, ‘consensus’ science, author Michael Crichton warned
by Alison Despathy
At the statehouse this past session, a majority of Vermont legislators took a brazen, controversial and unconstitutional step away from representative government towards technocracy–defined as rule based on an elite of “technical experts.” Despite the outpouring of Vermonters’ warranted opposition to S.5, many elected officials blatantly ignored the pleas of their constituents. Vermonters’ concerns were trivialized by their representatives and excuses were made by elected officials in their attempt to justify the need for S.5- a bill plagued since its inception by deceit, agendas, discrimination, an inability to serve and a lack of transparency.
This shameless act by elected representatives reflects both the dilemma and assault that Vermonters face at this time. This technocratic trend gained traction during the Covid response and this pattern continues in the statehouse and should concern all Vermonters. Regarding S.5, our elected officials have ignored their oaths and have chosen technocratic “expert rule” and the highly coordinated Energy Action Network players–which includes industry bound to sales and shareholders and Non governmental organizations (NGOs) with agendas– as their sole guide and priority. For those legislators who chose to represent their constituents, this does not apply to you and thank you for your service.
The emphasis on technocratic “expert guidance” as the primary driver for decision making and policy creation over the needs and best interests of the people shifts Vermont away from a Constitutional Republic based on representative democracy. Instead, the technocratic framework prevails and cherry-picked data, ‘experts’ and social engineering plans become the driving forces for legislation and policy shifts. The narrow-minded focus on forced implementation of specific policy designed by special interest groups and industry claiming to hold truth, data and the righteous path trumps any and all common sense discussion for solving problems by and for the people as intended and designed. This is the real issue.
In the Lancet Journal, on December 12, 2020, Richard Horton published an article entitled, Offline- The Coming Technocracy, He specifically stated that, “Technocratic governments are crisis governments. And most western democracies are in crisis and will remain in crisis for several years to come. The grip of scientists will tighten around the neck of governments.”
This constant crisis mode triggers many elected officials to overstep their boundaries as they are swept up in the wave of propaganda and fear related to the current crisis. Decisions are made that compromise and circumvent the guaranteed rights of the people. Fear interferes with clarity of thought and critical thinking. This is a vicious cycle that erodes our Constitutional Republic and free society as crisis states are used to manipulate policy and people.
Politicized science in the form of “consensus science” is used to steamroll impulsive and heavily debated legislation often driven by fear and misinformation fueled by propaganda. Keeping in mind that the entire point of science is the attempt at the discovery of truth, and the ongoing dispute and debate is essential to reaching truth. Science is never settled and science has been wrong more often than not. The weaponization of science, in particular “consensus science” is used by politicians and governments to drive “the right kind of change” typically with end goals characterized by the opportunity to increase taxes and fees, justify mandates and excessively regulate and control sectors within society.
Regardless of personal opinion on the climate crisis, make no mistake, this situation is abused by many in order to justify actions that are clear government overreach and bring danger to the people, Both industry and NGOs utilize crisis, consensus science and propaganda to impose their goals which are NOT oriented towards representation or service of the people. Vermont has just lived through this with the passage of S.5 and despite its initial study phase, there is no acceptable outcome of S.5– it charges the people and businesses more for a product that is essential for many and coerces the thermal sector into the highly gamed carbon market.
Michael Crichton, a prolific author with plots often based on the risks of science and technology, is best known for his book Jurassic Park. His quote from a lecture he gave at the California Institute of Technology on the incompatibility of science and consensus sheds light on the problem with technocracy and politicized science.
“I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped dead in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels: it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet because you are being had. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatsoever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”
Not only does this technocratic path violate the people by those sworn to represent and serve them, it also has broken trust and resulted in an intense groundswell activation by the people of Vermont. Vermonters have taken the time to call, write and reach out to their representatives because of justified concerns and repercussions related to S.5. Responses to the passage of S.5 despite widespread opposition have ranged from fervent anger, shock, disbelief and sadness. Rightly so, this legislation is an attack on Vermonters, Vermont businesses and the entire heating sector– an attack that stemmed from the collusion of organizations with targeted goals working in conjunction with industry set on their services as the answer.
The reality is that many legislators have been played by the “Network” – the Energy Action Network- a private, exclusive, highly coordinated and collaborative partnership of stakeholders working together for their own special interests NOT for the people of Vermont, This network which was based off of the Rockefeller Foundation and Deloitte Network Design Model was specifically structured to implement targeted plans related to climate and energy policy in Vermont. Many legislators have fallen prey to the fierce propaganda and the well-oiled Energy Action Network machine. Joseph Goebbels- Hitler’s deranged and insane propagandist stated, “Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.” Hopefully legislators can decipher truth from propaganda as they work for Vermonters. Hopefully they will choose representation of the people.
Baron de Montesquieu’s quote on tyranny summates the past legislative session at the Vermont statehouse. He stated “There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” Securing our Constitutional Republic based on democratic representation will be a priority for Vermonters as the hive-mind super majority chooses technocracy, propagandized mob mentality and an elite class of ‘experts’ to heavily influence policy which compromises the very foundation and intention of our country. What we are witnessing here in Vermont is a failure of our line of defense- the failure of our elected legislators tasked with representing and protecting the people of Vermont. This past session many legislators chose agendas, industry and technocracy over the people of Vermont and democracy. Hopefully this trend of the super majority does not continue.
The author is an educator and clinical nutritionist living in Danville.