Václav Klaus on Priorities

Hat tip to Lubo� Motl for the link to this speech from Václav Klaus:
Setting the Right Priorities Means to Forget the Global Warming
The organizers of the forum suggested naming my today�s speech �Setting the Right Priorities�. They are probably not satisfied with the way how the priorities are set now or they suppose that I am not happy with it. They are right. I am not happy and will try to explain why.

Current priorities do not fall from the sky. They reflect our way of looking at things, �die Weltanschauung�, which characterizes our era. Its formation started decades ago. I see it in the culture, philosophy and ideology of the 1960s and 1970s which in many respects opposed the traditional way of looking around and which brought to the fore � among many other things � the idea that the world is a single entity, one gigantic global system which deserves to be globally governed. This �system-engineering� viewpoint was, more or less, generally accepted. Everyone suddenly discovered interdependencies, interconnections, externalities, interdisciplinarity, general systems theory, metasciences, etc. It became politically correct, progressive, for me only progressivistic, to think in terms of global issues, global governance, and global solutions. It was � not surprisingly � also the birth of environmentalism. The man as a free and dominant individual entity disappeared. The world, the earth, and the planet replaced him as the relevant frame of reference. That led to a radical switch of priorities.

It became the excellent starting point for those who wanted to mastermind the whole world and all of us. Their approaches � based on the one hand on the misunderstanding (and misinterpretation) of interdependence and globalization and on the other on the outdated belief in government�s omnipotence �are conceptually wrong, unavoidably undemocratic and discriminatory, and � above all � condemned to fail.
And the Global Warming aspect:
The current global warming debate is not a scientific dispute inside climatology. As the famous British historian Paul Johnson put it recently, �global warming, as Marxism, is a political theory of actions demanding compliance with its rules.� We should not mix it with science. Science is O.K. We have sufficient evidence that a normal, serious, healthy and productive discourse among scientists, believers in the greenhouse hypothesis and those who disagree with it goes on and will be going on. The science is definitely not settled.

The global warming debate is about something else. It is not about temperature or CO2 levels. It is about the people, their behavior, their values, their habits, their life. It is a clash between environmentalists, non-liberal politicians, international bureaucrats, irresponsible journalists, some economists and other scientists who attempt to change us (not climate) and those who believe in freedom, markets, human ingenuity and technical progress. The free and open discussion about it must continue, because the free market for ideas is more important than any free market for material goods. Our experience from the communist era forces us to stress this point very strongly. It brings me to congratulating the organizers of this conference on giving all of us � with our differing views � the floor. It is very rare.
Excellent speech! I only excerpted a little bit -- well worth your time to read.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 12, 2008 11:55 AM.

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