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L. Neil Smith's
Number 534, August 30, 2009

"Ding Dong the Drunk is dead!"

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Lysenko's Revenge
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

It isn't the fact that people go on and on reinventing the wheel that I mind so much, as their idiotic insistence on reinventing it square.

A case in point: one Trofim Denisovich Lysenko—and I should add that I owe this insight to my good friend and cherished colleague Albert Perez—was a peasant lad who attended a local university and quickly rose to become the supreme galootie of Russian agriculture, all because of a theory of his that clicked with certain aspects of Marxism.

A theory that—like Marxism itself—was completely bogus.

And wasn't really his to begin with.

About the time of the American Revolution, a bright young fellow with the unenviable monicker of Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de la Marck, a poor but proud aristocrat and one of the world's original thinkers about evolution, determined somehow that it proceeded through the inheritance of acquired characteristics. In short (no pun intended) if you cut off the tails of a sufficient number of generations of rats, new rats would start being born without tails.

This theory was disproven by the later work of Gregor Mendel and others. At the time, it was considered leading edge, and was favored even by Charles Darwin as an explanation for what he was seeing in the field. Lysenko appears to have come along and revived it, denouncing Mendel and every geneticist that followed the good abbot as hopelessly bourgoise (for which read "Productive Class") and therefore counter- revolutionary.

In the ordinary course of events, Lysenko would have been ignored as a psychopath or a charlatan. But this was Sovietized Russia, under Joseph "Stalin" Djugashvili, the god-emperor himself of psychopaths and charlatans. Marx had decreed that having lived a sufficient number of generations under the "dictatorship of the proletartiat", a kind of human being would emerge—later known as "New Soviet Man"—who would automatically live his life for others, giving to them according to his abilities and allowing them to receive according to their needs.

This might be possible, if acquired traits—that is, traits forced on unwilling individuals at bayonet-point—were inheritable. The trouble was that they are not. Mendel and his intellectual heirs—indeed the entire field of genetics—became anti-Soviet heresy, punishable by arrest, exile, and death. More than one of Russia's foremost scientists were shot, or starved or worked to death in Siberia. Hundreds of them paid the penalty for their allegiance to the truth.

Supported by transparent fraud and naked brutality, Lysenkoism reigned supreme within the Soviet Union from the 1920s until 1964, stunting the growth of science, holding back progress, and through the repeated failure of Lysenko's crackpot agricultural theories, starving millions to death for decades. And regrettably, as we are beginning to see here in the West, this is exactly the kind of catastrophe that can happen at any place, at any time that science and politics get mixed together.

"Manmade Global Warming" is a collection of ideas that have been thoroughly discredited by real science for years. Yet you would never know it by observing the behavior of politicians, media personalities, and certain corrupt academics and scientists. There is not now, nor was there ever any scientifically respectable evidence for global warming. Like Lysenkoism, it is a complete and total fabrication, a hoax.

Yet it continues to have a strictly political life because, just as Lysenkoism served Stalinism by backing up Marx's flawed notions—Global Warming serves today's collectivists by offering them an excuse to seize control, not merely of the means of production, but of each moment, every aspect of the lives of every individual under their thumbs.

To be absolutely certain the opportunity isn't missed, dissenters—meteorologists and others willing to dismiss Global Warming as the crock it happens to be—have found themselves intimidated, denied funding and tenure, even fired. Here and there you'll even see demands that "climate change deniers" be prosecuted, imprisoned, or executed. Somewhere, the ghosts of Stalin and Lysenko are having a huge laugh together.

Here are a couple of other thinkers who have seen the connection: "'Global Warming' as Pathological Science"

Global Warming Politics: "Guest Essay: Lysenkoism And GW"

And now we see exactly the same method being applied to promote another con-game called "socialized medicine". The reputation for failure that this bonnet-bee has acquired since it was first tried out in Prussia in the 1880s should be enough. And yet anyone who objects to having it imposed on them by force is denounced by its proponents—moral and intellectual bankrupts who are unable make any rational, coherent arguments in its favor—as "brownshirts", "racists", or "Nazis".

There's really only one cure for this societal disease, and that is a Constitutional amendment that, once and for all, will mandate a formal separation of science—especially medicine—and state, in effect, denying government funding to all scientific endeavor, leaving progress to the market, instead. Government funding has always been a corrupting influence in any case, skewing the pursuit of knowledge in directions it wouldn't have taken without political pressure.

Naturally, this will lead to calls for the abolition of corporate taxes (which are paid by individuals like you and me through prices that are higher than they would be otherwise) so there will be money for corporations—and individuals—to invest in genuine scientific endeavor.

It's long past time that we rid ourselves of "Lysenkoism American Style", junk every bit of legislation inspired by the discredited theory of Global Warming, along with the corrupt politicians guilty of ramming it down our throats, and get on with the business—which seems beyond the average Marxist's ability—of living in a free society.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of more than 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


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