Nov 1, 201308:19 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Mad science: DNR tiff is latest example of educrats trying to seize more power
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From the pages of In Business magazine.
Early this year, a Republican state legislator wrote a law that virtually guaranteed that a single organization would qualify for a $500,000 grant to promote hunting and fishing. The grant was rescinded after the Walker administration learned that the group did not have proper tax-exempt status. More proof to Spencer Black, that most partisan of Democrats, that the Department of Natural Resources must be “insulated from politics,” as he wrote last month.
In his days in the Assembly, the former Madison rep (and current Sierra Club officer) sponsored several bills to remove the DNR from the governor’s appointive cabinet so that it could make decisions “based on science, not politics.” The environment, argue the professional environmentalists, is too important to be left to politicians.
What about highway safety? Is that also important? Is the well-being of children and families important? How about health, veterans’ affairs, work rules — shouldn’t they be free of the presumed taint of “politics”? Who elects politicians? The people, of course. But what do they know? They’re not scientific experts. Not if they voted for Scott Walker!
It’s the dream of every bureaucrat who ever inhabited a cubicle, every apparatchik who ever set a quota, every kommissar of kulture: Strip the people of the right to make their own choices in the holy name of science. It’s for their own good.
Did I just overreach by implying communism? Not according to Anne Applebaum. In her clear-eyed appraisal Iron Curtain, the Crushing of Eastern Europe, she writes, “Bolsheviks read the works of Lenin and Marx not as ... one of many theories of history but as scientific fact.”
In The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek warned — even as World War II raged — that, under the cover of progressivism, the democracies were traveling the same road as socialism and fascism. All three philosophies promised progress — at the expense of individual freedom.
Think of the Wisconsin State Journal demanding “merit selection” of judges by unelected elites; Government Accountability Board bureaucrats reviewing candidates’ campaign literature to determine permissible political speech; the Federal Elections Commission banning Hillary: the Movie. Take Obamacare, run by 17 appointed “experts.” Please.
This profound distrust of the people explains the fierce opposition of the education establishment to school choice. The educrats, not Mom and Dad, will determine the proper school for little Jeremy.
Recall that classic government overreach: Prohibition. Big-city, immigrant Democrats differed with Jim Crow Democrats on that issue. Protestant rural Republicans parted with the Wall Street variety. But the progressive movement was all in.
“Progressives exalted the methodology of science under the meticulous supervision of a self-selected elite,” writes Daniel Okrent in Last Call, the Rise and Fall of Prohibition. “If the saloon could be abolished through the sort of aggressive government intervention the progressives favored ... the ‘polyglot class’ could be lifted up from ‘his dirt and beer.’”