Climategate is about a lot more than climate. It’s about science and its relationship to politics and profit, the academy, the state and, perhaps most importantly, information control. The manner through which we learn (or thought we did) important knowledge about key aspects of our existence, the way things are hidden, has been exposed in this one instance like the Wizard of Oz.
It’s obvious similar methods of control apply to many other information sources in our society. That is why Barbara Boxer is in shrill blaming-the-messenger mode, insisting that any Congressional investigation of Climategate would target the nefarious “hacker.” She realizes a great unraveling could come from this. So do to the global bureaucrats at the UN and the EU as they prepare for the Copenhagen conference. It is also why the mainstream media was so slow to report the East Anglia CRU emails and documents. They know that if you begin to report these things, you have to report on a lot of other things they have so scrupulously chosen to avoid.
That is why Climategate is so important. It is the Watergate of our times that has, if anything, more ramifications than the original, which largely affected just Richard Nixon and his immediate coterie. It is – to choose an in this case wildly ironic cliché – the tip of an iceberg. This iceberg does not definitively disprove the possibility of man’s influence on global warming (or cooling, for that matter). Anyone who says that is almost as irresponsible as those who say AGW is “settled science.” Well, not quite. But the scandal has changed the game in the crucial area of information flow and has forced the media and politicians to confront, at least for the moment, the issue of transparency.
Transparency, however, is not just about the issue of global warming. It is about myriad issues in our society, including healthcare, the economy with its attendant stimulus plans and education, to pick just a few that come immediately to mind. Indeed it affects practically everything. Transparency is, again ironically, like the weather – the thing that everybody talks about but nobody does a thing about. Our President promised it, others pay lip service to it, but no one does it.
Except a hacker. A hacker has finally exposed one corrupt system that can explode now in a thousand unpredictable directions. People will start looking under every rock – and they should. No wonder Ms. Boxer is squawking. All the members of our own nomenklatura should be alarmed. Something very dangerous could happen from this – true democracy.
UPDATE: The word “hacker” was in scare quotes for a reason. Although I have no accurate knowledge, I imagine the appearance of these documents on the Internet was the work of an internal whistle blower. Nothing else makes sense. Or perhaps we can call him/her a leaker, a word Barbara Boxer would be familiar with. As others have noted, leakers are good or bad, depending on whose ox is being “Gore-d.”