Tag Archives: Stalin

Niente Equivalenza Fra Nazismo e Comunismo

Dall’articolo “The Most Evil Emperor” (L’Imperatore Piu’ Cattivo) di Max Hastings, New York Review of Books, Volume 55, Numero 16 · October 23, 2008, in recensione di “Hitler’s Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe” (“L’Impero di Hitler: Come i Nazisti hanno comandato in Europa”) di Mark Mazower, Penguin, 726 pp., $39.95

La conclusione di Mazower e’ che la visione di Hitler per l’Europa era destinata al fallimento perche’ alle nazioni conquistate non offriva niente altro che soggezione […] In verita’, appartenere all’impero Tedesco prometteva benefici solo ai Tedeschi. Tutti gli imperi nella Storia che sono riusciti a durare hanno avuto il supporto almeno di alcune delle popolazioni assoggettate. Il Governo di Berlino non provo’ neanche a fare finta di contare sulla cooperazione internazionale o su mutui benefici.

Hitler offri’ alle nazioni occupate soltanto una condizione di servitu’, in molti posti in termini molto brutali. […[ Hitler si fece scappare opportunita’ importanti per far ribellare il mondon Arabo e l’India contro l’Impero Britannico, perche’ tale idea andava contro alle sue convinzioni riguardo la superiorita’ razziale […] Il Governo di Berlino non fece nessun tentativo serio per approfittare degli aiuti che sarebbero potuti arrivare dalle popolazioni “liberate” dai Nazisti dal giogo di Stalin.

Da questo punto di vista, il Nazismo di Hitler davvero sembra occupare un posto speciale nella Storia, visto che non si preoccupava di altri che della Razza Ariana.

Eppure…non e’ piu’ o meno quello che gli Europei hanno fatto in secoli di colonialismo?

No Equivalence Between Nazism and Communism

From “The Most Evil Emperor” by Max Hastings, New York Review of Books, Volume 55, Number 16 · October 23, 2008, reviewing “Hitler’s Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe” by Mark Mazower, Penguin, 726 pp., $39.95

Mazower’s conclusion is that Hitler’s vision for Europe was doomed by the fact that it offered nothing save subjection to the nations beneath its sway […] In truth, membership in the German empire promised benefits only to Germans. All successful empires in history have exploited the support of at least some of their subject peoples. Berlin did not offer even lip service to international cooperation or mutual benefit.

Hitler offered only servitude to the occupied nations, in most places on the most brutal terms. […[ Hitler missed important opportunities to rouse the Arab world and India against the British, because such a notion clashed with his convictions of racial superiority. […] Berlin made no serious attempt to exploit the aid of occupied peoples hostile to Stalin.

From this point of view, Hitler’s Nazism does look like occupying a special place in history, as having no concern whatsoever on anybody else but the Master Race.

And yet…isn’t that what Europeans did in many of their colonies?

Parallels between Lysenkoism and AGW

(originally published in my climate blog “The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGE“)

Timely broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s “In Our Time” series, about Lysenko and “lysenkoism”, the propaganda-based “science” that Stalin’s agricultural adviser managed to sell as “truth” from 1928 to 1962 at least.

In 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan – nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour.

Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.

Today, Lysenko is a byword for fraud but in Stalin’s Russia his ideas became law. They reveal a world of science distorted by ideology, where ideas were literally a matter of life and death. To disagree with Lysenko risked the gulag and yet he damaged, perhaps irreparably, the Soviet Union’s capacity to fight and win the Cold War.

The MP3 of the programme can be downloaded here.

What makes it relevant to the climate debate is the list of parallels that can be made between Lysenko’s “Soviet biology and genetics” and contemporaneous thoughts of Anthropogenic Global Warming:

(a) Results, and success are declared before an experiment has completed (at position 12m10s, in the mp3 file above). In AGW, just look at the innumerable papers that take AGW as established truth, even as the debate on “attribution” is still very much open among mainstream scientists.

(b) Proponents always declare “victory”, no matter what happens, and are always ready to shift the ground (mp3 position: 14m15s). That’s quite common in AGW circles: nowadays, if the planet warms up or cools down, it’s anyway compatible with AGW theory.

(c) Science is presented as a series of “solutions”, not simply as “knowledge” (mp3 position: 19m45s). AGWers cannot disentangle research from advocacy: for example, the IPCC is politically active, to the point of qualifying for a Nobel Peace Prize.

(d) According to the scientists, central planning is better than free capitalism (mp3 position: 35m45s). From Al Gore to London School of Economics’ Professor Lord Giddens, there is only one thought: free markets are not good enough, and a big State intervention is needed to save the planet from climate doom.

Ironically, the BBC guests laughed only up to a point to the witty remark made by one of them: that Lysenko’s personality and attitude would have made him a “guaranteed success in British science today” (mp3: 24m15s).

Even more ironic is the fact that Lysenko himself did come up with a geoengineering way to change the climate of Siberia (by planting trees in clusters, so that the weakest ones would sacrifice themselves to let the most resistant plants survive).

And in case you wonder: no, it didn’t work…

Similitudini fra Cambioclimatisti e Lysenkoisti

Molto tempestiva la trasmissione “In Our Time” sulla BBC Radio 4, riguardo il “lysenkoismo“, la “biologia sovietica” travestita da “scienza” ma in realta’ pura propaganda, che Trofim D. Lysenko, consulente agricolo di Stalin, è riuscito a spacciare come “verità” dal 1928 fino almeno al 1962. Questa la descrizione originale del programma (mia traduzione dall’inglese)

Nel 1928, mentre l’America marcia verso il “crash” a Wall Street, Joseph Stalin rivela il suo progetto piu’ importante – la Natura verra’ conquistata dalla Scienza, la Russia diventera’ brutalmente, luccicantemente moderna e il Mondo sara’ trasformato dall’impegno comunista.

Nel cuore di questa visione arrivo’ Trofim Lysenko, un genetista autodidatta che promise di trasformare il deserto russo in giardino dell’Eden carico di grano.

Oggi, Lysenko è sinonimo di frode, ma nella Russia di Stalin le sue idee divennero legge. Esse rivelano un ambiente scientifico distorto dalla ideologia, in cui le idee erano letteralmente una questione di vita o di morte. Rischiava il gulag, chi era in disaccordo con Lysenko, ma questi ha forse irreparabilmente danneggiato [con la sua opera] la capacità dell’Unione sovietica di combattere e vincere la Guerra Fredda.

Il file MP3 del programma può essere scaricato qui.

Grazie a quel programma, e’ possibile fare una lista degli elementi simili o in comune, fra la “biologia e genetica sovietica” di Lysenko e le idee a noi contemporaneee riguardo un Riscaldamento Globale di origine Antropogenica (comunemente indicate con l’acronimo AGW):

(a) Si proclamano risultati e si dichiarano successi prima che un esperimento sia completato (a 12m10s, nel file mp3 sopra indicato). In AGW, basta guardare agli innumerevoli documenti che prendono l’AGW stesso come verità stabilita, anche se il dibattito sull'”attribuzione” stessa dei cambiamenti osservati è ancora molto aperto.

(b) I fautori dichiarano sempre e comunque “vittoria”, non importa cosa accada, e sono sempre pronti a “cambiare le carte in tavola” (mp3: 14m15s). Un modo di fare piuttosto comune negli ambienti AGW: oggi, che il pianeta si riscalda o si raffreddi, le osservazioni saranno comunque “compatibili” con la teoria dell’AGW.

(c) La scienza è presentata come una serie di “soluzioni”, non semplicemente come un accumulo di “conoscenza” (mp3: 19m45s). Chi crede nell’AGWers non sembra capace di distinguere fra “ricerca” ed “impegno civile”: per esempio, l’IPCC è politicamente attivo, tanto da vincere un Premio Nobel per la Pace.

(d) Secondo gli scienziati implicati, la pianificazione centralizzata è meglio del capitalismo libero (mp3: 35m45s). Da Al Gore al Professor Lord Giddens della London School of Economics, in ambienti AGW c’è un solo pensiero: il libero mercato non basta, ed occorre un grande intervento dello Stato per salvare il pianeta da un castigo climatico.

E’ curioso notare come gli ospiti della trasmissione della BBC abbiano riso solo fino a un certo punto dopo che uno di essi ha spiritosamente detto che Lysenko, con quella personalità e quegli atteggiamenti, avrebbe fatto una carriera “sicura” nella scienza britannica moderna (mp3: 24m15s).

Ancora più ironico è il fatto che Lysenko stesso ha cercato di fare della ingegneria planetaria, per cambiare il clima della Siberia: a suo dire, piantando alberi in gruppo, i più deboli si sarebbero sacrificati per consentire alle piante più resistenti di sopravvivere.

E nel caso in cui qualcuno se lo chieda: no, non ha funzionato …

Parallels between Lysenkoism and AGW

Timely broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s “In Our Time” series, about NOTE UPDATED LINK Lysenko and “lysenkoism”, the propaganda-based “science” that Stalin’s agricultural adviser managed to sell as “truth” from 1928 to 1962 at least.

In 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan – nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour.

Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.

Today, Lysenko is a byword for fraud but in Stalin’s Russia his ideas became law. They reveal a world of science distorted by ideology, where ideas were literally a matter of life and death. To disagree with Lysenko risked the gulag and yet he damaged, perhaps irreparably, the Soviet Union’s capacity to fight and win the Cold War.

The MP3 of the programme can be NOTE UPDATED LINK downloaded here.

What makes it relevant to the climate debate is the list of parallels that can be made between Lysenko’s “Soviet biology and genetics” and contemporaneous thoughts of Anthropogenic Global Warming:

(a) Results, and success are declared before an experiment has completed (at position 12m10s, in the mp3 file above). In AGW, just look at the innumerable papers that take AGW as established truth, even as the debate on “attribution” is still very much open among mainstream scientists.

(b) Proponents always declare “victory”, no matter what happens, and are always ready to shift the ground (mp3 position: 14m15s). That’s quite common in AGW circles: nowadays, if the planet warms up or cools down, it’s anyway compatible with AGW theory.

(c) Science is presented as a series of “solutions”, not simply as “knowledge” (mp3 position: 19m45s). AGWers cannot disentangle research from advocacy: for example, the IPCC is politically active, to the point of qualifying for a Nobel Peace Prize.

(d) According to the scientists, central planning is better than free capitalism (mp3 position: 35m45s). From Al Gore to London School of Economics’ Professor Lord Giddens, there is only one thought: free markets are not good enough, and a big State intervention is needed to save the planet from climate doom.

Ironically,  the BBC guests laughed only up to a point to the witty remark made by one of them: that Lysenko’s personality and attitude would have made him a “guaranteed success in British science today” (mp3: 24m15s).

Even more ironic is the fact that Lysenko himself did come up with a geoengineering way to change the climate of Siberia (by planting trees in clusters, so that the weakest ones would sacrifice themselves to let the most resistant plants survive).

And in case you wonder: no, it didn’t work…