Two Reflections: “The Science,” The War
“Following the science,” contrary to the way that phrase is universally employed today, does not and cannot mean following the scientists. For scientists are just flawed human beings, like everyone else, and thus no more worthy of unthinking deference — of being “followed” unquestioningly — than any other normal man. Truly following the science can mean only one thing in practice, namely following valid reasoning supported by empirical evidence. No individual, professional organization, or official title “is” that, or may legitimately stand in the place of it. To follow the science means to hold valid reasons supported by empirical evidence, not simply to put one’s blind faith, as a lowly non-scientist, in some exalted men in lab coats who claim the mantle of Science, and then dare to expect unthinking followers. The goal, with respect to any kind of knowing, is actually to achieve knowledge in one’s own soul, not to cede one’s rational faculty to the claims of some officially sanctioned knowers from on high.
I have noticed in recent days that the Jerusalem Post is following the Israeli government in playing moral equivalency games about the invasion of Ukraine, effectively giving Russia’s position legitimacy and pushing for Ukrainian surrender under the names “negotiations” and “concessions.” Just today, they feature an article presenting Noam Chomsky’s case for Ukrainian surrender and an “escape hatch” for Putin, as well as an article from the JP staff itself presenting Russia’s “concerns” about “unintended clashes” with NATO forces in the Arctic region, as NATO members of the Arctic Council carry out drills together in that territory.
I do not believe that Putin is seriously concerned about NATO, for the simple reason that all he ever has to do is say he is concerned about NATO for NATO leaders to bend over backwards to reassure him that they have no intention of fighting him, ever. If he really were concerned about NATO, the world would be a more peaceful and secure place today. Likewise if people such as Noam Chomsky were not treated as important thinkers on global political issues.
The Israeli establishment’s calculation here is obvious and cynical, trying to look like humanitarians without offending today’s chief enemy of humanity. Chomsky’s calculation is even more obvious, and simply evil rather than cynical: A victory for Ukraine is a moral win for the West in its traditional role as “the free world,” and hence for the United States as the de facto leader of the free world. Ergo, a loss for Ukraine is a defeat for the Western idea of freedom, and in particular for the United States, which is always and in every case Chomsky’s ruling desire.