Today, scientists in this country got out and did what has needed to be done for years now: hundreds of them, clad in white lab coats, ventured to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest the Harper Regime’s policies on scientific issues–policies which, in sum total, amount to nothing short of an ongoing, insane crusade against the very idea of objectively verifiable facts.
Science, as I say again and again, deals with Fact, and Fact is inherently apolitical. So if we have now reached the point where scientists apparently feel the need to take to the streets because the government doesn’t like hearing the facts (and indeed, is taking steps to suppress them) then something has gone very, very wrong in this country.
Also, I might add that I very much like the slogan of these protests (“No Science; No Evidence; No Truth; No Democracy“), because I feel that it helps underscore an important fact which is all too often overlooked: namely, that even though science is apolitical (and indeed, fundamentally undemocratic), it is nevertheless necessary and indeed essential to a functioning democratic process. The people formulating their own policies may be at the heart of democracy, but this would be useless–even dangerous–if the people did not have some objective standard for distilling truth from falsehood. We may therefore classify Harper’s contempt for science with his contempt for democracy in general; he is a man who is completely married to his ideological convictions, and utterly uninterested in any inconvenient truths that undermine them.