First, he celebrates that moderate coward Griffin was forced to make some kind of apology for expressing his mind - and for raising opinions that are obviously both true as well as important. More importantly, Clifford also reveals what kind of logic hides behind his approach. It is a logic taken directly from George Orwell's famous novel. See:
- ... I think that when you are the head of a huge organization with a budget that size, and essentially in control (symbolically or otherwise) of the fortunes of very many research programs and the scientists concerned... it is important to watch what you say about what you are doing with the resources, why you are doing what you are doing, and so forth. And it is important to watch what such people are saying, since it can be early warnings of what’s actually going on behind the scenes as opposed to what they might wish you to believe is going on.
- ... The blame lies firmly in the most obvious place... the head of NASA said stupid, ill-informed, and downright strange things. He was called on it, and that is the way it should be. He even had the decency to apologize (kind of). That is good too.
Well, I agree that responsible people influence the world both by their acts as well as their words which is why they should think twice and that people naturally watch them but I completely disagree with Clifford's suggestions how the "right" words and "right" acts should be chosen. I also disagree with Clifford's opinion that idiots should determine what the most educated elite thinks about scientific questions and that they should be harassing those who don't share their opinions.
Michael Griffin is the boss of NASA and it is him who should be deciding which projects are important and which projects are unimportant. It is him who should decide how the existing knowledge about the climate should influence the work of NASA - everything that Griffin is responsible for. It is his job to decide what the leader of NASA thinks about climate change. That's why he was chosen to do the job, and this is what he is really paid for. He has all credentials he needs for the job, including seven academic degrees, and he has been chosen with all of his degrees, plans, and opinions. He has even been praised by the far left-wing activist organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, for his objective, apolitical leadership:
- “Recently a Bush appointee to the position of Public Information Officer attempted to muzzle Jim Hansen, Director of GISS . . . the NASA Administrator made it clear that such political meddling would not be tolerated. This was excellent leadership at the top and set the tone for any lower echelons that may not otherwise have been this strong. Michael Griffin is a great improvement over his recent precedents.”
If the work of an official - work based on his or her own decisions - leads to successes, he or she is more likely to be re-elected or promoted, and vice versa.
Clifford assumes that it should never work like that. Whoever is the boss, the actual person who determines what is "right" and what is "wrong", what should be said and what should be done, is someone completely different, namely Big Brother. It should always be the same person who decides about all important questions. Who is Big Brother? Well, he probably doesn't exist as a single concrete person. Instead, he is a ghost who is diluted in the confused spirits of thousands of radical left-wing activists.
Clifford might think that Michael Griffin is wrong or stupid because he realizes that the "fight against climate change" is idiocy. For analogous but much more rational reasons, I think that Clifford Johnson is stupid if he thinks that the "fight against climate change" is a meaningful project. But Clifford thinks that there is a profound asymmetry in this disagreement. His opinions and his rules are the holy ones - because they agree with Big Brother - and every leader has the duty to obey them.
In a properly functioning world, every person and every leader has the right to make errors. Moreover, it remains very questionable what decisions are actually errors and what decisions are correct. Unlike Clifford, I think that by becoming a boss, a human being shouldn't lose his or her basic human rights.
Of course, I have learned that the reality is different. Since the beginning of my latest job, I've constantly been intimidated by piles of radical left-wing scum into thinking what they wanted me to think and acting in ways they wanted me to act. Feminist girls who should normally be spanked for hours for their bad behavior were trying to dictate me what I think about the role of groups in science and how should I grade students; crackpots like Naomi Oreskes wanted to dictate me what I should think about global warming; crackpots like Woit and Smolin were finally trying to determine what others including me think about quantum gravity. This whole machinery was secretly tolerated or even supported by some of the people in the hierarchy of power. The rules are such that exactly when you get to some position, it is the imbeciles who decide what you should do and think. Don't be surprised that I ended up hating most of these people.
In a normal world, something completely different should happen when someone becomes a boss. By becoming a boss, the person should gain a certain influence and a certain responsibility to decide according to his or her best judgment instead of the pressure by a vitriolic, loud, and distasteful political movement and rules that are not written anywhere but every good friend of Big Brother has memorized them.
I personally think that promoters of theories of "global warming" shouldn't be a part of NASA which has actually been created as a space agency, not a service organization for a political activist movement. And a wise, courageous, and responsible boss of this institution should fire most of these crackpots. The pressure by a certain political movement is such that this decision is virtually impossible. But Clifford wants much more than to prevent the chief of NASA to fire certain people: he wants all leaders to obey the commands of the politically correct party, the vaguely defined party of Big Brother. This logic contradicts absolutely everything about freedom, democracy, as well as a functioning distribution of responsibilities among different jobs.
Clifford and his soulmates may have different colors of their ideology but their methods and ideas about power are identical to the methods and ideas of major 20th century totalitarian ideologies. These PC people are extremely dangerous and I assure everyone else that unless we gain some confidence to urgently deal with this dangerous stuff, the outcomes will be analogous to the outcomes in Germany of the 1930s or Russia of the 1950s. You can see that already today, it is someone different than the elected officials and bosses who are actually in charge of the situation.
And that's the memo.