Sunday, February 08, 2009

INTEGRITY

It is somewhat disheartening to realize how degraded many of our institutions have become, once ideology was accepted as an excuse for abrogating ethics. Journalism is of course the most familiar discipline to succumb to the concept that some things are too important for principles. They are not alone, however. During the Clinton impeachment hearings, the Journal of the American Medical Association rushed into print an article of questionable scientific merit, regarding what is and is not considered sex. This was a clumsy political stunt that inevitably tarnished the reputation of peer-reviewed scientific literature. This episode was followed by the Lancet's bogus inflation of Iraqi war casualties, and the embarrasingly incestuous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's politically motivated and insultingly un-scientific report on global warming.

It should of course immediately cast doubt on the ideologies compelling such dishonesty, that they require shading, spinning and concealment of the facts for their advancement. Perhaps we would all do well to remember why integrity was at one time considered a virtue instead of an impediment to the march of doctrinal fantasies.

2 comments:

Evil Red Scandi said...

My theory is that people are abandoning religion but there's a deep human need to take certain things on faith - so we have new 'religions' like global warming.

I don't think politicizing various disciplines (science, journalism, etc.) is anything new. Go back and read some of the stuff the 18th century fish-wraps wrote about George Washington... Or the Catholic Church's threatening to show Galileo their meaning of "well-hung."

z9z99 said...

You make a good point, (about politicizing things being nothing new) but I also think that Americans in particular have been lulled into regarding some things as above politics. They are increasingly naive in that regard. Way back when, people passed their superstitions down from generation to generation. Now we let "experts" create our bogeymen for us. A hundred and fifty years ago, people knew that newspapers had agendas, but for some reason people now they regard The New York Times as the newspaper of record.