In previous discussions both here and at DrugMonkey about the United States Drug Czar’s public health policy to kill junkies, there has been an understory about the Bush regime official who publicly disclosed the “kill junkies” policy. Bertha Madras is a “serious scientist”, and we need for “well-meaning” and “serious” scientists to serve in anti-science administrations to try to stem their worst affronts to objective reality and keep the lights on for when a non-batshit-insane administration takes over.
PhysioProf has argued strenuously against this tactic. Well, today I came across something from a different–but closely related in relevant ways I will explain–area of government professional service that strongly supports my contention that scientists, lawyers, and all other professionals who work for the Bush regime should be ridiculed, scorned, and shunned by their peers for collaboration in anti-science, anti-rule-of-law, antireality ideological partisan hackfuckery.
Scott Horton, who was a law partner of Attorney General Michael Mukasey, had this to say after watching Mukasey testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, essentially, that it is legal for the United States to waterboard (h/t Glenn Greenwald):
Watching Mukasey was a painful experience. What the public hoped for [and was sold by Mukasey's supporters] with his appointment was simple enough: that someone would occupy the office of attorney general who possessed integrity, common sense, independence and the basic skills that accompany a sound legal mind.
The Senate Judiciary Committee put Michael Mukasey to the test yesterday. And he left the hearing room as an embarrassment to those who have known and worked with him over the last twenty years, and who mistakenly touted his independence and commitment to do the right thing, come what may.
Supporters of Mukasey, including Horton and Senator Charles Schumer, sold his confirmation using the same faulty logic of advocates of science involvement in anti-science regimes: Mukasey is a “serious” lawyer, and will exhibit as attorney general the integrity and fealty to the law that is demanded by the canons of legal ethics, and will keep the excesses of partisan hacks in check, thus preserving some semblance of sanity until a non-insane administration takes over. Look how frigging wrong they were!
The things we demand as a matter of professional ethics from lawyers and scientists have very clear fundamental parallels. We demand of both professions that their deepest allegiance be to “truth”–some shared experience of objective reality. We demand of both that they place their allegiance to this shared objective reality above their own personal interests and those of their friends, colleagues, and bosses.
These ethical demands are utterly inconsistent with the ideological partisanship demanded by the Bush regime of its apparatchiks. This is why every scientist, lawyer, or other professional who accepts and continues employment by the Bush regime by design is forced to fully cast off the must fundamental core of their professional morality–indeed, basic concern for humanity–in exchange for whatever mundane, yet alluring, rewards are on offer: government patronage, jobs with right-wing “think tanks” after government service, etc.
This is despicable, and all who go this route deserve nothing but ridicule and scorn from their peers. It is also tactically counterproductive, if the goal is ultimately achieving progressive science-related policy goals that endure for a long enough time to affect people’s lives for the better.
Collaboration with totally fucking insane right-wing partisan maniacs, no matter how well-intentioned at the outset, does nothing to advance progressive aims. Even the most “serious” professionals become infected by the repulsive suppurating sepsis of right-wing hackfuckery, and end up furthering their goals.
If you want to prevent demented right-wing ideologues from permanently screwing up everything you hold dear, then you will not collaborate with them anywhere: science policy, the law, the environment, or anywhere else. You will allow their abject fuckwittitude completely free rein–and full ownership by their partisan machine–and then voters will see how morally abhorrent and pragmatically harebrained their sick ideologies are, and use their votes to banish these wackaloons to the shitpile of discarded sick-fuck political movements where they belong.
UPDATE: Well, fuck me! As soon as I posted this, I read a brilliant piece by Sara Robinson that details the flip side of the installation of partisan hackfuckaroons in decision-making positions in the executive branch, which is the purging of the experts who originally held those positions. Here’s just a taste of what she has to say:
In short, everybody who knew how to do anything — and especially those doing it in the service of the citizens of the United States, rather than for the benefit of one or another corporate profiteer — was gradually cut out of the process. Ridiculed and belittled as “the bureaucracy,” these people had once been the eyes and ears overseeing our common interest. For fifty years, they’d developed and maintained our visions of a future that included clean water and food, immunized kids and effective epidemic response, safe roads and buildings (and levees), good relationships with the world’s other nations, and (in more recent years) responsible environmental stewardship. They monitored leading indicators, tended the engines of our prosperity, and looked ahead to the changes that would be required to keep America competitive.
And now they are gone.
The idea that any reality-based professional would participate in this process–regardless of intention–makes me want to fucking vomit.