Liberty & Power: Group Blog
David T. Beito
"An angry and bitter Paul Wolfowitz poured abuse and threatened retaliations on senior World Bank staff if his orders for pay rises and promotions for his partner were revealed, according to new details published last night."
"Sounding more like a cast member of the Sopranos than an international leader, in testimony by one key witness Mr Wolfowitz declares: 'If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too.'"
Professor Kehowski is fighting back with the aid of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). On March 9th Chancellor Rufus Glasper of the school where Kehowski teaches placed him on administrative leave and recommended that he be dismissed. Fire has sent a letter to Glasper but so far his response has been to dissemble.
The president who made the initial termination suggestion, Dr. Velvie Green, of Glendale Community College, part of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) says he is trying to fire Kehowski because he supposedly had violated the Technology Resource Standards and other District policy. The violation allegedly involved misuse of the institution’s e-mail system which is limited to mail supporting education, research, scholarly communication, administration, and other MCCCD business. If the profssor was in violation, although I maintain that he was not, then he had plenty of company whose offenses have been well tolerated by the adminstration. Now I find incidents like this very distasteful in general but as a historian I am particularly outraged that this fifth rate diploma mill run by left wing hacks does not consider an address by the first President of the United States to be scholarly communication. It is a slap in the face of my profession.
No one can doubt that there is a serious issue here involving censorship that is both unjust and extremely harmful to our society. That is why it has so much in common with the suspension of Opie and Anthony. In both cases past speech of the same type made them a target. The radio duo have been fired twice before and the type of material that got them in trouble was common place on their satellite show, as well as, the previous incarnation of their over the air program. It turns out that Professor Kehowski is a long time foe of multi-culturalism’s excesses and has had run ins before with other faculty and the administration.
Another thing that the professor and radio personalities have in common is that only a very tiny number of people were offended by something that caused minimal intrusion. Kehowsi’s easily deleted e-mail got sent over a district wide listserve but only five people complained, Also, you have to wonder was that five spontaneous protests or one person with four friends? As far as the self selected listeners of Opie and Anthony go they seem to be rallying around them and I doubt very much that any regular listener of the show became offended by that content.
Content, that in each case has real worth. Anything written by George Washington has intrinsic historical worth and his words still deserve attention, perhaps now more then ever. If you write down the words that Homeless Charlie said on the radio or hear them from a self-righteous scolding talking head they sound bad. However, if you heard Charlie say them in the context of the other things he was saying they still sound awful but they are also hilarious Something that intrinsically funny should not be denied to people who can appreciate it.
One of the reasons I have always loved listening to Opie and Anthony is because it reminds me of listening to really good jazz. Their and their guest’s comedy is increditably spontaneous and this sometimes leads to extremely humorous but admittedly dark places. I really wish those who do not want to go there would just listen to something else and leave those who like it alone. Because if the standard for humor is to never offend anyone then it will be like listening to jazz where the musicans are forbidden to play high notes.
Hat tip Kenny Rodgers
However, a new form of censorship is taking hold and it is the equivalent of small groups of people going around barricading and locking up theaters or lecture halls to keep the public out. They get away with this by threatening the livelihood of the owners of venues that allow a platform for speakers or material that they personally object to. The far greater numbers of people who want to hear this communication do not seem to count anymore. A belief in free speech is not just about the right to speak it is also about the right to listen, freedom of assembly.
How does this help the terrorists? Well, CNN’s Glenn Beck in a very articulate and informative segment pointed out that he too is a target of special interest groups whose goal is to remove him from the airways. This attention comes from his strong stand against Islamic terror leading, of course, to charges of religious bigotry. You do not have to stretch the rationale which led to the demise of Imus very far at all to justify Beck’s dismissal.
Beck believes the solution to this new type of censorship will come when society begins to focus on the personal responsibility of turning the dial in the face of material you as an individual find objectionable instead of the nebulous concept of corporate responsibility. This is especially true because the financially responsible thing for these companies, when faced with what are essentially hollow threats, to do is to keep someone who is generating ratings and revenue on the air.
One of Beck’s guests Debbie Wolf was co-founder of an organization, People Against Censorship which is attempting stem the rising tide of this new censorship. She has penned an eloquent letter to Executives of CBS and Free FM pointing out that they are “setting a bad example that other companies have begun to follow, your actions have also placed an insurmountable handicap on every person who broadcasts on every radio station in America (one that will likely extend to television as well). You have put them in a position where broadcasters cannot speak freely without a fear that they may offend some group that will result in their firing. Certainly you must be aware that it is impossible to speak, in this day and age, without offending someone. This is an untenable situation and must be corrected.”
On CNN Wolf argued that any broadcaster or musician or comic should be outraged and fearful that their ability as artists to express themselves will be lost. She might have added that anyone who enjoys discussion of controversial issues, music, or laughing should also be angry and concerned.
Beck’s other guest Michael Harrison publisher of Talkers Magazine unaware of the action taken later by XM Satellite maintained that free speech would not be lost but would rather move elsewhere. That is why the suspension of Opie and Anthony is so disturbing because satellite radio is the elsewhere he had in mind. And, once the so easily offended special interest groups have control of that medium is there any doubt that television is next, followed by the internet?
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
Prices enable coordination among amounts of information that would cause a barter system to break down. They make the market possible beyond the scale of a local fair. Peer review makes it possible for scientists to link together scientific knowledge across disciplines even though no scientist knows very much about the whole. One measures instrumental value – that is, what other values I can gain or must give up in order to acquire something else on a common standard of prices. Science relies on reputation rather than prices, and peer review is a means for measuring reputation among scientists.
This list has discussed at length the weaknesses in the peer review system. I agree with these criticisms. Prices also have weaknesses. There are at least two. They do not give us an adequate representation for non-instrumental values. Most obviously, there were market prices for slaves back when slaves could be bought and sold. They obviously did not adequately reflect the intrinsic value of being a human being. Something crucial was lost.
Second, prices do not adequately reflect positive and negative externalities, both of which were they adequately represented might substantially change the kinds of things produced and ways of producing them. Even when externalities can be internalized via property rights, the property rights may themselves be defective (as were property rights in human beings).
But these shortcomings are not arguments against prices or peer review as such – just cautions not to worship them. In both cases they reflect confidence in certain values that can change, often unexpectedly. They are the best we have for the jobs they do, but they are not perfect. This post was inspired by this science blog I discovered today. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/05/cranks_against_peer_review_1.php
Tonight I am not going to comment on any particular item in the vast field of the “science” that supposedly underpins the Summary for Policy Makers (published on February 2, 2007) of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I have no competence to deal with any of it. I shall restrict my comments to two aspects of the IPCC’s treatment of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW):
1) How unproven assumptions built into computer models serve to transform the available “science” into a prediction of the state of the global climate a hundred years from now.
2) How the uncertainties and controversies that characterize science and research on the work floor disappear behind the shrouds of the supposed consensus on CAGW and the supposed fact that it is now 90% certain that CAGW is occurring.
To make such comments, one need not be a “climate scientist”. They rely on common sense, memory, and little bit of simple mathematics. For the sake of the argument then, I shall optimistically assume that “the science” is as good as one could expect, and leave it to the scientists to be sceptical with respect to each other’s work. My “Global Warming scepticism” concerns what the CAGW-establishment—the IPCC itself, and the political strategists, spin doctors, and technocrats in the EU and other international bureaucracies that have decided to hype CAGW—does with that science, how it coaxes it into a fallacious argument for its own sensationalist and alarmist conclusions and the political agenda they serve. In short, my scepticism concerns the alleged link between the available “science” and the so-called consensus on CAGW.
Amy H. Sturgis
Read the entire article.
Clearly the authorities missed the insight of C.S. Lewis in"On Three Ways of Writing for Children":"A far more serious attack on... children’s literature comes from those who do not wish children to be frightened... that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil... [This] would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the Ogpu and the atomic bomb."
Dr Pielke listed some “remarkably serious shortcomings of the model study”. His final para reads:
“Equally disturbing (or it should be to anyone who values scientific credibility) is that a peer reviewed journal elected to publish this paper in this form in which untested predictions for decades into the future were presented, yet the global and regional model could not even skillfully simulate recent climate[emphasis added]. The publication of such clearly scientifically flawed research conclusions raises questions on whether the journal (in this case the American Meteorological Society Journal of Climate) is engaging in advocacy rather than being a balanced arbitrator of peer reviewed papers. Publishing predictions which are not tested, is not science.”
I highlight two points: 1. Senior scientists -- not Dr Pielke alone -- have serious reservations about using global climate models 2. Some climate studies at least have to be taken with a pinch of salt. But only knowledgeable scientists can detect these. All that lay inquirers can do is remain aware that there do exist well-based problems in climate studies.
Tim Sydney wrote:
Another linkage between 'classical liberalism' and ecology is provides by Robert Nisbet.
Although he avoided the 'classical liberal' label, Robert Nisbet was probably the doyen of conservative sociology and his definition of conservatism, definitely Burkean, was decidedly hostile to militarism and the emerging neocon and Christian Right agendas.
Nisbet's sociology was definitely anti-statist but not anarchist. He sought a new community based on "a new laissez faire", one that would revive a network of intermediate institutions and communities between the individual and the central state, the only recipe he believed that worked against centraism. His new laissez faire was not a reversion to 19th century style laisser faire. With these qualifications in mind, I still think "classical liberals" are right to think of him as "one of their own."
Anyhow in his book "The Social Philosophers" (1974), a survey of historically influential social thinkers, he defined six broad classes of community, and grouped the various social thinkers into this scheme. The half dozen types were the military community , the political community, the religious community, the revolutionary community, the plural community and the ecological community.
The last he defined as "the close, cohesive interdependences symbolised by the small household economy, the interdependences among organisms and between organisms and the environment which are natural, in contrast to those which are contrived or artificial; and the profound sense of a web of life existing between man and the rest of nature that man endangers only at his own peril."
Into this class of thinkers Nisbet placed Saint Benedict of Nursia, Sir Thomas ("utopia") Moore, Proudhon, Kropotkin, the French Physiocrats and Adam Smith.
Perhaps paralleling Nisbet's thinking here, John C. Medaille has called Adam Smith, "The Forgotten Agrarian" (see his PDF here).
Medaille quotes "Wealth Of Nations" in his article lead: "“[The Agricultural System]… is, perhaps, the nearest approximation to the truth that has yet been published upon the subject of political oeconomy, and is upon that account well worth the
consideration of every man who wishes to examine with attention the principles of that very
So there is a definite "ecological" / "agrarian" thread in classical liberalism. Some of the American 20th century agrarians like, for example, Louis Bromfield (see Joseph Stromberg's summary here) combined a concern for the soil, free trade, anti-militarism and conservationism. They were "green" back when greens were something you ate and predated the more socialistic oriented greens of today.
The distributists, whose leading thinkers had roots in the anti-imperialist wing of the UK Liberal Party early in the 20th century, paralleled many of the concerns of the agrarians. Distributist Hillaire Belloc'a "The Servile State" was in many ways a forerunner to F.A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom".
In recent years E.F. Schumacher, the 1970s pioneer of "small is beautiful" and "alternative technology" has himself migrated "right-wards" to be closer to the Distributists. (See article here).
This survey shows that historically there have been movements and tendencies close to, sometimes parallel to, sometimes overlapping with, classical liberalism that have not only adapted to an ecological viewpoint, but have helped develop it. So the task of greening classical liberalism may not be quite as counter-intuitive as many both inside and outside the classical liberal movement think.
Now we have Democrat Martin O’Malley in charge holding office only a few short months and he is poised to veto a bill that will reduce the harm done to the citizens of Maryland by mandatory minimum sentencing. You may recall that awhile back I posted linking to an excellent call for action letter from Naomi Long of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) in support of change and then expressed the hope that some of the legislators would actually read it. Well apparently enough of them did and the legislation passed. However, despite earlier indications that he would sign the bill O’Malley now appears ready to veto it.
The overwhelming majority of the unjust impact that mandatory minimum sentencing produces lands directly on the backs of poor Blacks and Hispanics, not just those jailed but their families including their children too. Are these not the people the Democratic Party is supposed to be looking out for? If Martin O’Malley halts this change in the law then he is not doing that and he is in fact betraying many of the very people who put him in office.
Perhaps the harshest mandatory minimum laws on the books are the Rockefeller Drug Laws operating in New York State. A very moving music video by Hip Hop artist and star Jim Jones, part of the upcoming film Lockdown, USA, really brings home the complete and utter injustice of these laws which waste enormous resources and make many people’s lives miserable for no good reason. You can contact the political leaders in New York urging them to pursue better public policy here.
In Maryland, there is still a little time to bring Governor O’Malley to his senses. He can be contacted through StoptheDrugWar.org or you can call (800) 811-8336, or fax him at (410) 974-3275. His written address is The Honorable Martin O'Malley, State House, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925. The bill he needs to sign in order to keep faith with those that elected him is HB 922. Any action taken must be done quickly as Thursday May 17th is the signing day.
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
David T. Beito
Showing profound disregard for free speech and freedom of the press, Tufts University has found a conservative student publication guilty of harassment and creating a hostile environment for publishing political satire. Despite explicitly promising to protect controversial and offensive expression in its policies, the Tufts Committee on Student Life decided yesterday to punish the student publication The Primary Source (TPS) for printing two articles that offended African-American and Muslim students on campus. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has spearheaded the defense of TPS, is now launching a public campaign to oppose Tufts’ outrageous actions.
Now, Cockburn seeks to shed light on some of the reasons why something so very tenuous is about to cause such drastic harmful changes in policy public. As I read this essay there were at least ten important well written passages that I wanted to quote here, however, I will content myself with two. The first relates to someone that I have become convinced is one of those historical figures that will do or say anything in their quest for power, no matter how many people it hurts or how much it erodes core values. Cockburn tells me something that I had not thought too much about before, concerning a certain ex-Senator from Tennessee, when he writes that, "The world's best known hysteric and self promoter on the topic of man's physical and moral responsibility for global warming is Al Gore, a shill for the nuclear industry and the coal barons from the first day he stepped into Congress entrusted with the sacred duty to protect the budgetary and regulatory interests of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Oakridge National Lab." Of course, nuclear power and clean coal are part of the solution to the problem of human induced global warming so let us just put Three Mile Island into the memory hole.
Lastly, Cockburn's conclusion is worth noting. He states that, "As with the arms spending spiral powered by the Cold War merchants of fear, vast amounts of money will be uselessly spent on programs that won't work against an enemy that doesn't exist. Meanwhile, real and curable environmental perils are scanted or ignored. Hysteria rules the day, drowning urgently needed environmental cleanup in our backyard while smoothing the way for the nuclear industry to reap its global rewards."
The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution has been used to justify a wide expansion of government power, from antidiscrimination laws to drug prohibition to a ban on guns near schools. In objecting to use of the Commerce Clause for such remote purposes, some constitutionalists rely on a particular historical interpretation of both the Clause and the Constitution as a whole. Could that interpretation be wrong?The rest of this week's TGIF column,"That Mercantilist Commerce Clause," is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.
Cross-posted at Free Association.
David T. Beito
A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.
Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.
But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.
David T. Beito
A surprisingly favorable piece from U.S. News and World Report on Ron Paul's online rise. He is starting to get noticed.
David T. Beito
David T. Beito
Ron Paul firmly and repeatedly attacked the war on Iraq and called for withdrawal. He closed by blasting Bush's record on civil liberties and pledging to defend habeas corpus if elected. The post-debate spin shows, however, either completely ignored what he said or, worse, lumped him in with all the rest.
Although Paul came out like Gang Busters against a pardon of Scooter Libby, and even criticized Libby's role in deceiving us into war, Chris Matthews had the gall to lament that nobody had taken this position. The last few seconds of the segment brought a slight improvement when Keith Olbermann awkwardly announced that Paul had won MSNBC's online poll as the best debater....but, of course, time was up and nothing more could be said.
Later that night, CNN's post-debate spin segment sunk to an even greater low. The panel included Arianna Huffington and some neo-con guy from The Weekly Standard. Nobody mentioned Paul's views. The ever insufferable Huffington, who either did not watch the debate or lied about what she saw, self-righteously proclaimed that all of the ten candidates supported the war. Nobody challenged her. Are we to be spared nothing?
The prime movers in the media obviously dislike pro-war conservatives. Unfortunately, they have an even greater dislike of antiwar libertarians.
For Nasir Abas the impetus for change came in 2000 with a fatwa issued by Osama Bin Laden who is quoted by reporter Bob Simon as commanding that "It should be understood that killing Americans and Jews anywhere found are the highest act of worship and the highest form of good deeds in the eyes of Allah," However, Abas had been taught that murdering innocent civilians had nothing to do with holy war and was in fact prohibited. He therefore became an asset in the struggle against terrorism for religious reasons.
Abas now believes that educational settings are the most important battlegrounds and as CBS tells us“he is at the heart of the government’s de-radicalization program, which is all about persuasion, talking to university students, combating the dogma taught in religious schools, and most important, trying to turn terrorists in the prisons.”
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
Inconveniently for Gore a new study by the Media Research Center shows that the ex-Vice President’s charge simply is not true. They looked at 115 stories concerning global warming presented on the morning news shows of CBS, NBC, and ABC finding that only four, three percent, made any mention at all of disagreement with Gore’s extremist view of the issue.
And, it is not as though there is no credible dissent out there. An example can be found in Newsweek’s April 16th International edition which published an essay by Richard Lindzen the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This scientific expert wrote that "Recently many people have said that the Earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we've seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe." Lindzen also asserted that Roger Revelle Gore’s supposed mentor mentioned so reverently in the film An Inconvenient Truth believes that “the evidence for global warming thus far doesn't warrant any action unless it is justifiable on grounds that have nothing to do with climate.”
I do not pretend to have expertise in climatology or any of the related physical sciences, so nothing I might say about strictly climatological or related physical-scientific matters deserves any weight. However, I have thirty-nine years of professional experience―twenty-six as a university professor, including fifteen at a major research university, and then thirteen as a researcher, writer, and editor―in close contact with scientists of various sorts, including some in the biological and physical sciences and many in the social sciences and demography. I have served as a peer reviewer for more than thirty professional journals and as a reviewer of research proposals for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and a number of large private foundations. I was the principal investigator of a major NSF-funded research project in the field of demography. So, I think I know something about how the system works.
It does not work as outsiders seem to think.
Peer review, on which lay people place great weight, varies from important, where the editors and the referees are competent and responsible, to a complete farce, where they are not. As a rule, not surprisingly, the process operates somewhere in the middle, being more than a joke but less than the nearly flawless system of Olympian scrutiny that outsiders imagine it to be. Any journal editor who desires, for whatever reason, to knock down a submission can easily do so by choosing referees he knows full well will knock it down; likewise, he can easily obtain favorable referee reports. As I have always counseled young people whose work was rejected, seemingly on improper or insufficient grounds, the system is a crap shoot. Personal vendettas, ideological conflicts, professional jealousies, methodological disagreements, sheer self-promotion and a great deal of plain incompetence and irresponsibility are no strangers to the scientific world; indeed, that world is rife with these all-too-human attributes. In no event can peer review ensure that research is correct in its procedures or its conclusions. The history of every science is a chronicle of one mistake after another. In some sciences these mistakes are largely weeded out in the course of time; in others they persist for extended periods; and in some sciences, such as economics, actual scientific retrogression may continue for generations under the misguided belief that it is really progress.
At any given time, consensus may exist about all sorts of matters in a particular science. In retrospect, however, that consensus is often seen to have been mistaken. As recently as the mid-1970s, for example, a scientific consensus existed among climatologists and scientists in related fields that the earth was about the enter a new ice age. Drastic proposals were made, such as exploding hydrogen bombs over the polar icecaps (to melt them) or damming the Bering Strait (to prevent cold Arctic water from entering the Pacific Ocean), to avert this impending disaster. Well-reputed scientists, not just uninformed wackos, made such proposals. How quickly we forget.
Researchers who employ unorthodox methods or theoretical frameworks have great difficulty under modern conditions in getting their findings published in the"best" journals or, at times, in any scientific journal. Scientific innovators or creative eccentrics always strike the great mass of practitioners as nut cases―until it becomes impossible to deny their findings, a time that often comes only after one generation's professional ring-masters have died off. Science is an odd undertaking: everybody strives to make the next breakthrough, yet when someone does, he is often greeted as if he were carrying the ebola virus. Too many people have too much invested in the reigning ideas; for those people an acknowledgment of their own idea's bankruptcy is tantamount to an admission that they have wasted their lives. Often, perhaps to avoid cognitive dissonance, they never admit that their ideas were wrong. Most important, as a rule, in science as elsewhere, to get along, you must go along.
Research worlds, in their upper reaches, are pretty small. Leading researchers know all the major players and what everybody else is doing. They attend the same conferences, belong to the same societies, send their grad students to be postdocs in the other people's labs, review one another's work for the NSF, NIH, or other government funding organizations, and so forth. If you do not belong to this tight fraternity, it will prove very, very difficult for you to gain a hearing for your work, to publish in a"top" journal, to acquire a government grant, to receive an invitation to participate in a scientific-conference panel discussion, or to place your grad students in decent positions. The whole setup is tremendously incestuous; the interconnections are numerous, tight, and close.
In this context, a bright young person needs to display cleverness in applying the prevailing orthodoxy, but it behooves him not to rock the boat by challenging anything fundamental or dear to the hearts of those who constitute the review committees for the NSF, NIH, and other funding organizations. Modern biological and physical science is, overwhelmingly, government-funded science. If your work, for whatever reason, does not appeal to the relevant funding agency's bureaucrats and academic review committees, you can forget about getting any money to carry out your proposal. Recall the human frailties I mentioned previously; they apply just as much in the funding context as in the publication context. Indeed, these two contexts are themselves tightly linked: if you don't get funding, you'll never produce publishable work, and if you don't land good publications, you won't continue to receive funding.
When your research implies a"need" for drastic government action to avert a looming disaster or to allay some dire existing problem, government bureaucrats and legislators (can you say"earmarks"?) are more likely to approve it. If the managers at the NSF, NIH, and other government funding agencies gave great amounts of money to scientists whose research implies that no disaster looms or no dire problem now exists or even that although a problem exists, no currently feasible government policy can do anything to solve it without creating even greater problems in the process, members of Congress would be much less inclined to throw money at the agency, with all the consequences that an appropriations cutback implies for bureaucratic thriving. No one has to explain all these things to the parties involved; they are not idiots, and they understand how the wheels are greased in their tight little worlds.
Finally, we need to develop a much keener sense of what a scientist is qualified to talk about and what he is not qualified to talk about. Climatologists, for example, are qualified to talk about the science of climatology (though subject to all the intrusions upon pure science I have already mentioned). They are not qualified to say, however, that"we must act now" by imposing government"solutions" of some imagined sort. They are not professionally knowledgeable about what risk is better or worse for people to take; only the individuals who bear the risk can make that decision, because it's a matter of personal preference, not a matter of science. Climatologists know nothing about cost/benefit cosiderations; indeed, most mainstream economists themselves are fundamentally misguided about such matters (adopting, for example, procedures and assumptions about the aggregation of individual valuations that lack a genuine scientific basis). Climate scientists are the best qualified people to talk about climate science, but they have no qualifications to talk about public policy, law, or individual values, rates of time preference, and degrees of risk aversion. In talking about desirable government action, they give the impression that they are either fools or charlatans, but they keep talking―worst of all, talking to doomsday-seeking journalists― nevertheless.
In this connection, we might well bear in mind that the United Nations (and its committees and the bureaus it oversees) is no more a scientifc organization than the U.S. Congress (and its committees and the bureaus it oversees). When decisions and pronouncements come forth from these political organizations, it makes sense to treat them as essentially political in origin and purpose. Politicians aren't dumb, either―vicious, yes, but not dumb. One thing they know above everything else is how to stampede masses of people into approving or accepting ill-advised government actions that cost the people dearly in both their standard of living and their liberties in the long run.