For your Monday inbox, here are two important articles well worth a read/skim:
[What are the common denominators of this new approach to science policy?]: the pivot from scientific content to ethical norms, and the radicalization of such norms to the point of turning them against their original function. We have also remarked how this amounts to more than turning ethics upside down. Corporate interests vampirize the public’s grievances (in particular, its calls for transparency, openness, and fairness), absorbing and performatively mimicking those grievances to give their own agenda a shiny veneer of morality, a cover for its absence. The norms of the adversaries are appropriated and then turned against the adversaries themselves, as is happening in the curriculum transparency movement….
Another common denominator: parasitism. Not just ordinary appropriation but highly efficient targeted appropriation of the host’s resources. Deregulation advocates not only turn their adversaries’ norms against them and harm the public interest while pretending to defend it, but they do so economically, by skillfully maximizing the bang and minimizing the buck. Mobilizing ethics to change rule-making protocols is a lot cheaper than fighting epistemic controversies; criticizing science is infinitely easier than producing an alternative science; playing scientist on TV to make it look like there is no scientific consensus on global warming is remarkably less time-consuming and skill-intensive than becoming a scientist; demanding data and calculations is a lot less resource-intensive than producing them from information available in the public domain, and while many people can “stop stuff,” far fewer can produce knowledge. The problem with conspiratorial thinking is not so much that it is false but that it is extraordinarily efficient. It’s a cheap way of wasting the world.
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