Wednesday, November 04, 2009

He's Not Galileo, He's The Pope

Yep. I feel the same way about the Prof Nutt pity party.

All things considered, Nutt would appear to lack at least two of the main qualifications for martyrdom. Take his supposed claim to victimhood: he was a quangocrat, now he's not. Ah well. Burning at the stake this isn't.

Hey, it's hard to say anything nice about our politicians, but at least we can throw them out every now and again. Fringe kooks like Nutt worm their way into the body politic without the barest public scrutiny, and push their own agendas without any democratic mandate whatsoever. Rooting out rogues who hijack public office to advance extreme ideologies is exactly what our elected representatives should be doing.

This is Humbug No 1 right there: Nutt is exactly the kind of quangocrat member of our permanent ruling class who libertarians routinely denounce, but now it turns out he's a fellow drug bore, he's Leonidas at Thermopylae. Huh?

Then there's the other thing: what principle if he defending anyway? The supremacy of science? But science-based arguments have to be balanced against the wider social issues. Again, this is exactly why we have a Parliament in the first place.

More to the point, what science is this exactly? When he says that horseriding is more dangerous than Ectasy, does that mean in the sense that more people are called each year falling down stairs than going over Niagra Falls in a barrel? Or maybe he means people who die while in the act of taking drugs vs riding? Or does he mean in some other sense? To the point: how dangerous drugs are is a live issue in science, but now here's Professor Nutt announcing Ex Cathedra The Correct Scientific View on Drugs.

Well, no: nothing is more antithetical to science than some pompous prat arbitrarily deciding that his views are certified scientific and everybody who disagrees is an ignorant savage.

For that matter where's the evidence that Nutt's preferred model of credentialed ubermen producing centrally planned truth is any better than the market place of ideas? True, the free market gave us reality TV, but at least The X Factor never caused mass starvation.

No, Nutt is not about the science, but he's a great example of a modern scientist: whiny, entitled and actually quite nasty when it all comes down to it.

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