Friday, February 20, 2004

Used Postmodernism

The Federal Government funds something like a quarter of all research in this country, and even this number understates its true impact since the issues addressed by federally funded research tend to have important social and health implications. It is a matter of concern, then, that the Bush administration has intervened time and again to stack scientific committees with its partisans, hide or reverse research results it doesn’t like, and use government agencies to further the ideological and economic goals of its political supporters. Partly this pattern of behavior is simply corrupt in the usual way, but it also testifies to the trendiness of soi-disant conservatives who out postmodern the postmodernists in their relativism. For them, “there is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so” doesn’t go far enough. Now some of us may think that it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature after all and that muzzling the people you hire to tell you what the score is like firing your dominatrix because she’s too uppity. I guess in this, as in many other things, I’m just old fashioned.

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