When the government-alarmist complex was at the height of its hubris blaming manmade climate change for everything under the sun, one will have to forgive this “anti-science” right-winger for calling bs. The universal explanation for every undesirable anomaly in the world turned out to be nothing more than a lazy and convenient scapegoat mechanism for placing an indelible mark of sin on every Western citizen; one that could not be removed short of mass ritual suicide, only futilely scrubbed at in perpetuity with the cleansing steel brush of government taxation. “Out damned spot!” we were to bemoan after every exhalation, shelling out another sawbuck to the Al Gore estate, or to Goldman Sachs, or to some energy supplier whose rates would “necessarily skyrocket.”
The case of the vanishing honeybees is illustrative for a number of reasons, not least of which is showing how confirmation bias leads to real “anti-science,” not the normal scientific practice of theory falsification. In their self-serving haste to justify and promote the manmade climate change narrative, many in the government-funded scientific community started arguing that everything that is an aspect of weather, natural disasters, or local habitat is by relation an aspect of manmade climate change. Don’t even bother to quantify man’s impact on the climate or show the causal mechanism for the phenomenon at hand. But be sure to condemn anyone advising caution in the rush to judgment.
When it becomes tantamount to “holocaust denial” to question a so-called theory, which should more accurately be known as dogma, then we are no longer talking about science, but an article of faith. It is highly ironic that the same people who lecture the right about maintaining an open mind follow like drones in their obeisance to any posturing authority figure that instructs them to think a certain way. It is like Milgram’s obedience to authority study on a grand level, and the left is truly acting fascistic on this particular issue. So this reproof is going to sting just a little.
It started in 2006. What was called CCD or “Colony Collapse Disorder” (sounding dangerously close to a painful medical condition) was causing a buzz in the scientific community. Bees were dying out by the millions all over the United States and Europe. Conjectures were flying. The alarmism industry saw its opportunity and sprang.
It wasn’t quite clear to the activist frontmen in the media what was the cause of the bees’ mass deaths, but most were pretty sure manmade climate change was a factor (how could it not be?). If it was too warm, then CO2 was driving the climate, causing a mismatch between the optimum pollination season, supposedly “too early,” and bees coming out of hibernation. If it was too cold (and yes, unseasonably cold winters have been blamed on manmade climate change), then the pollination season would also be adversely affected, harming the bees as well. But unlike the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, there never is a “just right” when it comes to climate. At least not on this ever-tempestuous planet.
In any event, manmade climate change theory explained everything and nothing at all, at least the way the mainstream press presented it (viz. hysterically). And while the left was lecturing the literate public not to judge scientists whose expertise was far beyond our realm of comprehension, it was a never-ending source of amusement that these same activists themselves lacked the scientific savvy to esteem the supposed science being pumped out into the media; and often for political purposes, mind you.
Such a basic metric as how much man contributes to the greenhouse effect, namely, 0.28% would have done much to allay fears and ease concern over the matter. Knowing basic facts like the CO2 level of 380 ppm is historically low, uncontrollable water vapor is 95% of the greenhouse effect, the impact of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere has a logarithmic (or diminishing) effect, and periods since even the last Ice Age have been warmer than today (and fairly prosperous periods at that) — would have been nice before we threw our economy into a carbon-belching volcano to appease the climate gods.
Anyway, back to the bees before you buzz off. Beyond a smattering of manmade climate change blame interspersed in most honeybee CCD articles, others much more forthright in their claims, many theories were devised. It is interesting to note the all-too-familiar eschatology that pervades this initial research period. It is as H.L. Menkin wrote, “Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” Let us address such hobgoblins.
A diminution in the earth’s magnetic field was blamed. Linkage to a common cause with autism was expounded. More famously and plausibly, cell phone tower microwave radiation was blamed. One biologist, John McDonald, had an interesting answer on why this was probably not the main cause of CCD:
My son explained to me that cellphone radiation puts out a wavelength of about three inches. A honeybee is three-quarters of an inch long and so the bee is going to create virtually no shadow in that wavelength. That’s one reason why I look askance at that theory.
So although microwave radiation may play a role in bee disorientation, it is likely not the primary cause of CCD. Those who suspected pesticides and seed companies were much hotter on the trail. It turns out a confluence of causes that offed hordes of bees offers an ironic parable.
The primary linkage in the causal chain turns out to be high fructose corn syrup. You know, that gunk we find in all of our drinks and liquids, because the government puts up sugar tariff barriers at the behest of Big Corn? There’s another reason to hate it — more expensive honey. Now this is either the most elaborate plot ever devised, where the high fructose corn syrup gang, manufacturers of sweet pancake goo among other things, puts up a honey trap for their rivals the apiculturists to feed their bees a slow-acting poison, or it is sheer ignorance by all the parties involved of the pesticide’s morbid effect on bees.
Most corporations are not so idiotic that they are willing to destroy their own source of profits. It is likely that a lack of truly scientific research in general harmed the honey producers and thereby the reputation of the pesticide producers and the high fructose corn syrup manufacturers. It is irrational to automatically subscribe to a theory that corporations engage in self-defeating “evil.” If corporations are motivated by profits, then harming one’s customers is typically a failing business model. If corporations seek control, then they unfailingly require the aegis of government. There is no way around it.
In any event, the plot thickens…
It turns out that the bees’ ingestion of imidacloprid (a nicotine-based pesticide — if only the bees had lawyers) makes them more vulnerable to parasites like Nosema ceranae and a lovely little specimen known as a “zombie parasite.” When bees are infected with the latter, they act strangely, as if they are being controlled by some otherworldly force. They are often described as “like zombies.”
Obama voters, anyone?
The parable here is too rich to resist. The set-up is that we have corporations selling high fructose corn syrup, basically a government-subsidized product, to honey producers. The latter, not knowing that a deadly toxin lurks in the saccharine mix, are literally feeding their bees poison. After prolonged exposure, the bees become infested with parasites, and die.
Central planning, scientific ignorance, and unthinking drones infested by parasites. Is this not the ultimate microcosm of what is going on in the United States?
Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker and Own the Narrative, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk show TB-TV.