Know-Nothing Administration: don’t bother me with facts

Trump has told all agencies to cut at least a third of their advisory committees by September in order to weaken the science-based regulations process and remove scientific oversight.  462 committees are potentially involved, even without the agencies mandated by law.  At EPA and Interior, advisory committees provide scientific and technical expertise from people who are considered to be at the top of their field, and are a way to include local voices, as well as industry leaders, to discuss how best to manage public lands and property.  The agencies benefit hugely from outside expertise. 

This unprecedented attack on science-based regulations designed to protect the environment and public health represents the gravest threat to the effectiveness of the EPA — and to the federal government’s overall ability to do the same — in the nation’s history,” said Christine Todd Whitman, who was EPA chief under President George W. Bush.

She said the committees ensure the department is “not just asking its most favorite stakeholders what they should do.” The whole point of having committees, she added is to create “a transparent way to get this kind of input.”  The. administration that says it wants to put decision making back into local hands, away from Washington. But advisory committees that are made up of just those local people.  The policy is contradictory and totally unnecessary.

“It’s interesting that this order comes now, after the administration spent two years undercutting and neglecting the advisory network that it’s had at its disposal,” said Genna Reed, lead science and policy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “And now they are trying to use that neglect as a justification for removing these advisory boards for not being useful.”  

The Trump administration in recent years has shuffled career scientists out of their positions, put limits on which science experts are qualified to sit on advisory boards and created a special White House panel that’s designed in part to counter the science linking climate change to national security threats. (An amalgam, or precis, of journalistic comment from a variety of sources)

Trump knows no science, disrespects it, and sees no need to consider expert opinions on any issue critical to the American public.  Expert opinion makes him feel uncomfortable because he sincerely believes he is a genius and knows everything that’s worth knowing.  There is no point in reading expert briefs because he knows it all already, or in any case knows better.  The only advice he will listen to concerns the feelings of his base at any given moment, and what will get him a second term.

We are going through another self-induced, self-immolating spasm similar to that of the 1930s. This time we are lead by undisciplined donkeys, more interested in power than in the future of the young and of the planet.  I don’t agree with Epicurus about ignoring politics.  Ignoring the clowns and not bothering to vote, have brought us to this dangerous point, and it is going to be proved a huge disaster.   You cannot be an Epicurean, or even a human being blessed with common sense, and not be alarmed.

Epicureans believe in science and the thorough, methodical scientific method. Cling to it!




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