The war against knowledge

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Your editorial in the Jan. 11 edition (“Trashing science”) notes that the Harper government is closing seven of 11 Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries across the country to achieve a savings equivalent to 1/45th of the cost of Stephen Harper’s annual personal security costs of $20 million.

Back in the early days of the scientific revolution of the 17th century, the French philosopher Rene Descartes (1576-1650) wrote in “Discourses on Method” that a key to the acquisition of knowledge was documentation of how conclusions are reached. As time went on, scientists began to collaborate with one another, their works were disseminated throughout much of the known world and journals began wherein the newly acquired knowledge was collected. These journals were stored in repositories that came to be known as libraries. These developments in the 17th century helped give rise to the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, which has proceeded unabated ever since; unabated that is until it brought up solid against the Harper government, which has obviously declared war on science and research.

Proper research, of course, leads to the publication of knowledge, regardless of whether or not the results of that research agree with current thought or the original hypothesis of the scientists themselves. Here I suspect lies the core of the angst of the Harper Conservatives and their war against knowledge, especially knowledge that does not fit nicely with their “develop at all costs” ideology or that might inconvenience in any way the activities of their industrial/business friends. This government would happily sit by, it appears, and plunge us all back into the dark ages as long as their ideological philosophies remain intact, however flawed or vacuous.

A pity such valuable storehouses of knowledge are being destroyed for such a pittance. There must be other ways for the federal government to save this amount of money. I can think of $20 million they could save quite easily.


Marvin Barnes

St. John’s

Organizations: Harper Conservatives

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Recent comments

  • Politically Incorrect
    January 21, 2014 - 08:09

    To begin with, I'm not saying the Harper government is fascist. It certainlly isn't. But just for interest's sake, here are what are generally accepted to be the 14 signs of facism: 1)Powerful and Continuing Nationalism, 2)Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights, 3)Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause, 4)Supremacy of the Military, 5)Rampant Sexism, 6) Controlled Mass Media, 7)Obsession with National Security, 8)Religion and Government are Intertwined, 9)Corporate Power is Protected, 10)Labour Power is Suppressed, 11)Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts, 12)Obsession with Crime and Punishment, 13)Rampant Cronyism and Corruption, 14)Fraudulent Elections. I just thought this is an interesting list. Deeper explanations are widely available on the internet.