I am currently rereading Alex Epstein’s new book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and so far, I am through chapter 4, it is fascinating reading. His perspective on climate and fossil fuels is one that I have never heard before. He uses human life and flourishing as the standard of value when determining whether the use of fossil fuels, or any energy source, is moral and should be pursued.
One interesting item, not solely related to the climate change/fossil fuel debate, I noticed last night when re-reading the Climate Ethics section of chapter 4. In this section is a passage from a paper written in 1996 by Stanford climate scientist Stephen Schneider in which he discussed the ethics of exaggerating(i.e., lying about) the evidence for catastrophic climate change. The quoted passage ends:
The “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
Let that sink in for a moment. For Schneider there is no principle that calls for scientist to be honest in reporting their findings, but rather that a balance must be struck between being honest and achieving your goal. (What does it say about your goal if you cannot be honest in pursuing it?)
Lest you think this is an isolated incident, lets fast forward 17 years and move from climate change to health care with the remarks last year by Jonathan Gruber on how Obamacare was passed. Videos of his various comments about the stupidity and childishness of the American voters have become fairly well known and in one of these he says:
Look, I wish … that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
So just as Stephen Schneider felt it could be appropriate to be lest than honest in pursuing the goal of taking action against climate change, Jonathan Gruber feels that it is appropriate and advantageous to be less than honest about the nature of Obama’s health care law. He would rather lie and have the law than tell the truth and not have it.
This is the standard operating procedure of the statists. If you cannot achieve your goal honestly, then it is ok to lie. What does it say about the statist goals when they cannot be achieved based on the facts but must instead rely on deception and falsehood?