I am not making this up.
Lameduck wannbe-totalitarian, Barack Hussein Obama, was in Pittsburgh yesterday to give a speech at the White House Frontiers Conference at Carnegie Mellon University. Everything was going the way these things go where academics who know squat sit in awe of academics who know less than squat.
The subject of anthropometric global warming came up, so there was definitely a religious overtone to the conference, and one of the participants, Dr. Atul Gawande, had a question:
MR. GAWANDE: So how do we move our conversation in that way, right? There was a time when scientists were arguing about climate change, and reasonably so.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
MR. GAWANDE: So how do we set up frameworks where we say, this is our time period where we’re going to collect facts, and at the end of the day we will accept the consensus of fact? How do we do that in our current political enterprise?
Science, at least as it has been known in the Western world for the past three hundred or so years, doesn’t have finality. There is only one reason for limiting your data, especially for something as important as reordering the economy of every nation on earth, you know your data is f***ed and the only way of winning the argument is by saying, ‘sorry, too late, bub,’ to anyone with different data. What Gawande is doing is trying to close the Canon, so to speak, on the issue of global warming being caused by human actions.
In other words, this is fairly typical of the views of warmists.
From there Obama went full-metal Orwell and advocates a process for deciding which material on the internet is truthful.
THE PRESIDENT: If I had the perfect answer to that, then I’d run for President. (Laughter.) Look, this takes us a little bit far afield, but I do think that it’s relevant to the scientific community, it’s relevant to our democracy, citizenship. We’re going to have to rebuild, within this Wild, Wild West of information flow, some sort of curating function that people agree to.
I use the analogy in politics — it used to be there were three television stations and Walter Cronkite is on there and not everybody agreed, and there were always outliers who thought that it was all propaganda, and we didn’t really land on the Moon, and Elvis is still alive, and so forth. (Laughter.) But, generally, that was in the papers that you bought at the supermarket right as you were checking out. And generally, people trusted a basic body of information.
It wasn’t always as democratic as it should have been. And Zoe is exactly right that — for example, on something like climate change, we’ve actually been doing some interesting initiatives where we’re essentially deputizing citizens with hand-held technologies to start recording information that then gets pooled — they’re becoming scientists without getting the PhD. And we can do that in a lot of other fields as well.
But there has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world.
And that’s hard to do, but I think it’s going to be necessary, it’s going to be possible. I think the answer is obviously not censorship, but it’s creating places where people can say, this is reliable and I’m still able to argue about — safely — about facts and what we should do about it while still — not just making stuff up.
This is, quite frankly, terrifying. The last thing the government needs to be in the business of is ruling on the “truthiness.” Certainly you don’t want the Obama administration — which has lied to the American people repeatedly on Benghazi and the Iranian nuclear deal and the ransoming of hostages from Iran and Fast and Furious and the IRS targeting political opponents and Obamacare and the economy, just to name the first half-dozen instance that come to mind — involved in the process.
The solution for bad information is, oddly enough,good information. And people don’t trust “good information” when it comes from unreliable and obviously biased sources, like an agenda driven government run by a raging ideologue.
Obama longs for the days of three commercial networks and a handful of major papers because those outlets were firmly in the hands of the Democrats and the collaborated pretty well with their political masters. What Obama objects to is a free citizenry that is empowered to make its own decisions even when their betters, as Obama clearly sees himself, disagree with those choices.