Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nuclear Politics Prior

One of the recurring themes of Climate Resistance (which I've mentioned approvingly before) is that the politics around the solutions proposed for climate change are prior to any consideration of the science of the environment (or the more interesting question Lorenz asked about the existence and uniqueness of long-time averages of the earth's weather).

This state of politics prior is unavoidable, and therefore not unique to the field of climate policy. I think this talk by Kirk Sorensen on the history of US breeder reactor development provides another good example.

The policy maker (Nixon in this case) picked the solution based on desired political outcomes (jobs and lucre for politically useful districts). "The Science" was merely a part of the marketing and public relations campaign for that choice. Dissenting scientific positions (the molten salt folks in this case) were suppressed with "Rickoverian dedication".

See this extensive remix for lots of info on LFTR.
"There's been a very bipartisan approach to scaring the public." Kirk Sorensen (~1:20 or so)
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken

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