This Is What Happens When You Entrust Your Country To An Idiot.

There is a mantra which is popular in right wing circles: it holds that the private sector is infinitely more efficient than the public sector. If this is the case, then surely to God our private industry can conduct its own damn research and development without needing any taxpayer money.

But apparently not; rather, this country’s foremost public research organization, the National Research Council, is being retooled into a hand-maiden of industry. That’s right, everyone: less money for hoity-toity ivory tower pursuits like, I don’t know, trying to control the spread of epidemic diseases and more free R&D for companies trying to build the superior toaster oven. Science!

Says Harper Lackey and NRC director John McDougall (demonstrating, once again, that he is utterly unqualified for any job more sophisticated than cleaning urinals with his tongue):

“Impact is the essence of innovation. A new idea or discovery may in fact be interesting, but it doesn’t qualify as innovation until it’s been developed into something that has commercial or societal value.”

Yup! Because Christ only knows that Albert Einstein wasn’t being innovative when he came-up with the theory of relativity! Poor old man should have devoted his life to trying to develop a new type of nail polish!

Now, I have already gone on at length about why this is an absolute fucking moronic policy which will ultimately only ruin science in this country and undermine our economy: the long and the short of it is that the demand for immediate commercial applications fundamentally misunderstands the nature of research. But really, what am I to expect? What is anyone to expect from a committed, wooden-headed philistine like Stephen Harper, now undisputably the worst PM ever on science issues and well on his way to being the worst single Prime Minister in Canadian history?

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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4 Responses to This Is What Happens When You Entrust Your Country To An Idiot.

  1. n8chz says:

    OP:

    But apparently not; rather, this country’s foremost public research organization, the National Research Council, is being retooled into a hand-maiden of industry. That’s right, everyone: less money for hoity-toity ivory tower pursuits like, I don’t know, trying to control the spread of epidemic diseases and more free R&D for companies trying to build the superior toaster oven. Science!

    There is a directly parallel development in current politics in the United States. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s part of a worldwide political push.

    Jeffrey Mervis

    In one of two 8 May letters to Smith, the former officials say that the draft legislation, entitled “The High-Quality Research Act,” “will have a chilling and detrimental impact on the merit-based review process.” Smith, who is chair of the House of Representatives science committee, has said that the legislation is intended to weed out projects not worthy of federal support. But the letter writers say that “rather than improving the quality of research, [the changes] would do just the opposite.”

    The gist of it is that they are trying to change the processing of applications for NSF grants to a process that is less about peer review and contains a lot of non-public and non-transparent features. They want to make it even harder for people to have the opportunity to be involved in research that is non-classified and non-proprietary, which is to say, they want to destroy the intellectual commons. It’s basically “tragedy of the commons” mentality at work.

    OP:

    Says Harper Lackey and NRC director John McDougall (demonstrating, once again, that he is utterly unqualified for any job more sophisticated than cleaning urinals with his tongue):

    “Impact is the essence of innovation. A new idea or discovery may in fact be interesting, but it doesn’t qualify as innovation until it’s been developed into something that has commercial or societal value.”

    Yup! Because Christ only knows that Albert Einstein wasn’t being innovative when he came-up with the theory of relativity! Poor old man should have devoted his life to trying to develop a new type of nail polish!

    You’ve got to question the motives of someone who makes a career move from a patent office to a university. Obviously in it for the cushy perks of tenure… Freakin’ parasite… 🙂

    Now, I have already gone on at length about why this is an absolute fucking moronic policy which will ultimately only ruin science in this country and undermine our economy: the long and the short of it is that the demand for immediate commercial applications fundamentally misunderstands the nature of research. But really, what am I to expect? What is anyone to expect from a committed, wooden-headed philistine like Stephen Harper, now undisputably the worst PM ever on science issues and well on his way to being the worst single Prime Minister in Canadian history?

    He definitively is that. Harper is to Canadian political history as Reagan was to US political history. The “unite the right” moment in the former involved the removal of the word “progressive” from the name of the Conservative Party, which no longer even pays lip service to the role of progressive values in the Tory tradition in Canada. This parallels the “purge of the moderates” phase in the history of the GOP, that started in earnest during the Reagan era, and is now all but complete. By 2008, there were no less than three candidates for the presidential nomination (McCain, Romney and Giuliani) who had built political careers on somewhat moderate reputations, and suddenly and dramatically (“flip-flopped” and) became stridently and viciously nationalistic, moralistic and anti-public-sector as soon as they were addressing the nationwide Republican audience.

    Progressive Americans have long looked to Canada as a case study in humane society, international leadership and even a somewhat palatable range of politically feasible electoral and legislative outcomes. Stephen F. Harper’s leadership has basically broken that spell. We’ve even reached a point where progressive Americans are naming Latin American nations as potential emigration destinations more often than Canada. The collapse of Canadian support for the Kyoto protocols was a major turning point. Canada today even “carries itself” like a petro state. Words cannot express my disappointment in a nation state I used to admire deeply.

    • ” Harper is to Canadian political history as Reagan was to US political history. ”
      Not quite, I would say; Reagan enacted his program with the enthusiastic support of a clear majority of Americans who were consciously turning their back on the reform-liberalism of the post-war era. Harper, on the other hand, is forcing his reforms on the entire country against increasingly vocal objections of almost two thirds of the population, using a combination of dirty tricks and clearly illegal behaviour. In this fashion, he is much like Richard Nixon, only more so.

      • n8chz says:

        You have a point there, but the notion that American public opinon’s center of gravity is “center right” is, to some extent, a matter of truth through repetition. It should be obvious at this point that Republican strategists all over America have research findings that strongly suggest that low voter turnout works in their favor…Clearly state and local election policy is being changed in insidious ways with that assumption in mind.

  2. Pingback: Not Just For Artists Anymore. | voxcorvegis

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