Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, compared United States President Donald Trump to former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin during a scientific roundtable in Canberra on Monday. He talked about Trump’s stance on environmental issues and scientific research. The trivialization of science and hard facts by the current U.S. government is the same as manipulation of scientific knowledge by the Soviet Union in the past.
Trump’s Environmental Review Mandate
“The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency from last week going forward has to undergo review by political appointees before that data can be published on the EPA website or elsewhere,” Finkel said via The Guardian. Trump’s mandate is proof that the future of science is “under attack” in America. Finkel called upon his loyal colleagues to be fearless. He urged them to voice their opinions even if it goes against the opinion of the present authorities.
Trump’s communications director at the EPA, Doug Ericksen, said that the rules of the mandate also applied to the website of the federal agency. Latest reports of climate changes due to carbon emission will also be reviewed by the government. Only then will they be released to the public. Such blatant censorship of science only brings to mind the limitless control that Stalin exerted on science.
Why Donald Trump Is the Same as Stalin
“Soviet agricultural science was held back for decades because of the ideology of Trofim Lysenko, who was a proponent of Lamarckism,” Finkel said. Logic became immaterial when it came to Lysenko’s conflation of science and Soviet philosophy. However, it was precisely the unscientific ideas of Lysenko that Stalin championed at his time.
The bizarreness of Lysenko’s vision can be understood by recalling that he treated human beings the same as crops. According to him, both living things could be nurtured in a certain way by simply controlling their environment. Hence, the western civilization progressed to accepting theories of evolution and genetics. At the same time Russian scientists who tried doing the same were banished to the gulag. Lenin had called Stalin a “ruthless underground operator” the first time he had met him, BBC reported.
It is yet to be seen what punishments Trump decides to dole out to people who dares defy his mandate. Nevertheless, it can be said that the public will no longer receive unfiltered information anymore. The only form of “facts” that they will encounter will first be sorted through a sieve before being released out into the world. It would not be surprising if most of the facts are tweaked to serve the interests of those in power.