Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Feral technocrats

Also posted at OoL.

A characteristic of the modern world seems to be the feral technocrat. These are people who often, but not necessarily have some kind of technical qualification, who sell themselves to the cause of modifying our behaviour from a platform of biased, misleading or otherwise untrue technical information – always lifestyle-related.

Bent statistics and fake charities seem to be the tools of choice. Manipulated percentages, dishonest conclusions from partial data or even simple lies in a statistical garb, it’s all grist to the mill.

Feral technocrats are key players in forcing us to subsidise inefficient wind turbines and solar panels. They are behind the demonising of alcohol, red meat, sausages, bacon, salt, sugar, food colouring, animal fats, snack foods, fast food, carbon dioxide, ozone, warm weather, cold weather, wet weather, dry weather, cars and second-hand cigarette smoke. Unfortunately, all this lifestyle misinformation is crowding out an informed debate on more serious medical conditions still blighting too many lives.

For example, check out something important and seriously scary - brain tumours. There is no clear lifestyle issue with brain tumours, so it hasn’t become a one-sided political game played by the feral technocrats and their backers. Yet consider the current UK brain tumour situation as laid out in this e-petition.

  1. 65% more women die from a brain tumour than from cervical cancer. 
  2. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of UK children. 
  3. 16,000 people each year in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour. 
  4. More people under 40 die of a brain tumour than from any other cancer. 
  5. Only 14% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond 5 years. 
  6. 25% of all cancers spread to the brain. 
  7. Every year there is a 4% increase in incidence. 
I’m not advocating any particular policy change with respect to brain tumour research here. I’m merely using a very serious health issue to highlight how the games played by feral technocrats may result in large numbers of people being misinformed about more genuine health risks where maybe we could and should direct some more research funding.

Let’s note the first five points of the e-petition and ask ourselves why on earth our government finds it necessary to employ feral technocrats to demonize second-hand cigarette smoke when this is going on? People, including children, are dying in the real world out there – real lingering deaths not fake statistical artefacts. Courageous kids with big smiles and no hair because of the radiotherapy which isn’t likely to work anyway.

But the feral technocrats have been paid to demonize our lifestyle choices that do not meet with official approval so that is what they do. Sadly they even seem to believe in it. Forget unknown non-lifestyle issues like brain tumours. Forget facts, rational priorities and simple human fellow-feeling. There are political games to play and always there are feral technocrats willing to play. It’s one of the many prices we pay for voting in the Big Three.


Sam Vega said...

Give it five years and they will be blaming mobile phones or organophosphates or some such. It's too good an opportunity to waste.

Demetrius said...

"Feral Technocrats", I like it. There are quite a few things that need serious looking at that are lost in the fog. It is the old fault of going for the easy to see targets rather than those really necessary.

rogerh said...

Oh, don't be so hard on them. There are not so many decent jobs that pay a decent wage to the average personage.

A friend works close to the charity sector and tells me that it is hard to see why many of them exist at all - except as a somewhat dubious self-employment operation. But the young and enthusiastic are lured in (for lack of better) and are useful as an apparently honest front - only after a few years does it dawn that they are working for a sham. By then it is, for them as for so many, too late.

A K Haart said...

SV - at one time strawberries were mooted as a possible factor for brain tumours. Imagine what that would have done to Wimbledon.

D - fog is right. The villains have always liked fog.

rogerh - I know what you mean. Young people can be misled so easily and by the time they have a mortgage round their necks and some cynicism in their soul it's too late.