“Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” — H.L. Mencken
If you aren’t already aware, I consider the global cooling/global warming/climate change hysteria to be one of the hobgoblins H.L. Mencken was talking about. Climate research these days is driven by the desire for money, fame and politics.
What? you say…the man died in 1956, way before we ever heard of the global cooling scam which first reared its head in the 1970s. Global cooling was an unwarranted assumptive prediction that the Earth’s surface and atmosphere was rapidly cooling into a period of extensive glaciation.
Mencken was no longer around to have labeled it a hobgoblin. He certainly would have done because global cooling fits perfectly into the definition first found in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act II, Scene 1) when the fairy accuses Puck of being a hobgoblin:
Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery,
Skim milk, and sometimes labor in the quern
And bootless make the breathless huswife churn,
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm,
Mislead night wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that “Hobgoblin” call you and “sweet Puck,”
You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
Are not you he?
Global cooling, as do all hobgoblins, grew into the ever more mischievous monster of global warming and that into its present iteration of climate change. Each transformation was required by the persistent bad luck of accumulated data tending to refute the knavish claims.
Money, Fame and Politics
Skeptics of climate change stemming from human activity are called climate deniers. There are two reason for this attempt to discredit the skeptics. First, it demonizes them and, it is hoped, will group them together with holocaust deniers. Second, science is based on skepticism. Nothing in science can be based upon consensus, science is never settled. Thus, calling them deniers instead of skeptics is necessary to deny them any scientific credit whatsoever.
Many people today, both in and out of the scientific endeavor, do not accept Darwinian evolution even though though it has lasted relatively intact for 250 years. It’s up there with Newton’s laws of gravity and Boyle’s gas laws. Darwin deserves a place among those giants. His theory explains phenomenon in a lot of categories, medicine especially. It’s weathered much skepticism and there is plenty of data to support it. None of that isolates it from new inquiry, or from constant reconsideration.
That’s just fine. Science is never settled. The great scientist Karl Popper said scientific research must be open to reassessment of accepted ideas.
So are climate change alarmists so willing to corrupt to the very principles of science? According to a real climate scientist, Judith Curry
, it’s for money, fame and politics. Scientists, she said, are human beings. Eisenhower presciently warned us that government funding of scientific research would corrupt science.
Science Becomes the Hobgoblin
If a researcher rejects all data that challenges what he thinks he ought to find, or what he wants to find, then he is not engaged in scientific inquiry. If a researcher accepts and loudly proclaims only data that supports his theory, or perhaps data that has been cooked to make it appear to support his theory, then he is no scientist at all. He becomes, as Puck in Shakespeare’s play, a hobgoblin.
We have many hobgoblins doing tireless and obnoxious prognosticating in America, yeah in the world, today. They do seem, however, to be concentrated in the United States. One of the most prominent hobgoblins today is not a scientist but tries to act like one. Alexandria Ocasio-TacoRosado is using her newly found soap box to warn us the world will end in twelve years if we don’t do something about climate change. Her demands for action are all vacuous bromides that will make us miserable and poverty stricken while doing nothing to the climate.
As a hobgoblin she’s nowhere near a clever as Puck.
Puck is one of Shakespeare’s most adorable characters. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream he is a mischievous “sprite,” fun-loving and quick-witted [Did Shakespeare mean spirit? No, can’t be. Shakespeare was always careful]. Puck was the good hobgoblin who fooled people but inflicted no serious harm on them.
Ms. Ocasio-Donkey Chompers is the modern hobgoblin H.L. Mencken was talking about, the kind that steals your happiness and replaces it with hopelessness if you take her seriously.
Hard to image what sort of bartender she must have been.