18.4.19

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN BECOMES UNSCIENTIFIC.

The man who wrote one of environmentalism’s most-cited essays was a racist, eugenicist, nativist and Islamaphobe—plus his argument was wrong.

Seriously?  Aren't the final four words sufficient?

These days, apparently an author's incorrect attitudes, or an author's citation by people One Disagrees With, are additional disqualifications.
People who revisit Hardin’s original essay are in for a surprise. Its six pages are filled with fear-mongering. Subheadings proclaim that “freedom to breed is intolerable.” It opines at length about the benefits if “children of improvident parents starve to death.” A few paragraphs later Hardin writes: “If we love the truth we must openly deny the validity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” And on and on. Hardin practically calls for a fascist state to snuff out unwanted gene pools.

Or build a wall to keep immigrants out. Hardin was a virulent nativist whose ideas inspired some of today’s ugliest anti-immigrant sentiment. He believed that only racially homogenous societies could survive. He was also involved with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a hate group that now cheers President Trump’s racist policies. Today, American neo-Nazis cite Hardin’s theories to justify racial violence.
A paragraph later, the polemicist makes a concession. "Of course, plenty of flawed people have left behind noble ideas. That Hardin’s tragedy was advanced as part of a white nationalist project should not automatically condemn its merits."

Yes, Richard T. Ely gets hammered, and there are those in the American Economic Association who would remove his name from the prestigious lecture at the association's annual meeting.  And it's hard to read some passages in John R. Commons, one of the early stars of institutional economics, without cringing.

Scientific American, however, ought not be using the imprimatur of science, which is a process of weighing evidence, to provide a platform for professors of environmental politics making no pretense of objectivity.  Let Salon provide the clickbait.

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