Oct 9, 2009

How Morons Succeed in Politics

Appropriate for another era?

To be fair, intelligence hasn't been the golden standard for admission into US politics, and I suspect that some elected politicians aren't that dumb--they just appeal to their base! Nevertheless, stupidity and ignorance is a commodity that has a lasting quality in our system. There's a critical mass of Americans [I'm not talking about obesity, even though it is a problem on its own] who confuse opinion with facts, and personal preferences with reality.

Human brains are quite capable of holding many contradictory ideas at the same time. For example, some say life is sacred but not if it's not attached to a piece of paper that confirms eligibility to health care--and, thus, survival.

It's no wonder why more than 1/3 of Americans seriously entertain the thought that 9-11 was the result of a government conspiracy--that is, our government's. Never mind the ludicrous and unproven claims strewn out there to support such claim. That's the problem with talking to an unreasonable person: They are not bound by logic, facts, or anything else. You talk to them while you limit yourself to logical arguments and evidence. And, invariably, they'll say, you can't prove that there was no conspiracy.... It's the same as saying, you can't prove there's no tooth fairy!

Just the other day, the House voted “to expand the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation” by passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. What's wrong with that? Ah, the moral police [a.k.a. The Republican party] is against it. As they're against repealing the DODT [Don't Ask Don't Tell ridiculous policy in our armed forces], because the social conservatives are obsessed with "unnatural" sex! Sex or sexual orientation should be left to the individual and no one should be forced to pretend or legally penalized based on their sexual orientation or the sex they practice in private. I know, this progressive view offends the fundies.

Isn't it embarrassing to have so many elected representatives [like those GOPers who were running for president last year and actually said they didn't believe in evolution (science)?!!] that spew such nonsense? Have you heard the arguments that when we loosen up our morality it leads to ..necrophilia, pedophilia, bestiality, and to fascism?

I don't think I'll ever be a Republican, but I'd like to see a vibrant, mature, and, yes, progressive Republican party, because it will be good for our country. Unfortunately, this GOP now represents the most extreme, vile, and ignorant segments of American society. OK, they represent big business too, as well as the notion that government should be so small as to be ineffective in regulating big business and providing any social services to its people. Funny thing, the GOP would not dispute this statement of mine today!

How about climate change? Or, science and science education in the US? The environment? Consumer protection? Equality of opportunity? Safety net? [yes, safety means more than "fighting them over there"], Wealth distribution and the diminishing of the middle class? Access to information & education? Promoting tolerance and talent? Intellectual development?.... etc... I'm sure you can add to this list of the Republicans' vision and plans for America.

Explaining Political Science to Morons
Forget it! As an educator I don't give up easily in trying to explain a concept, but if someone doesn't want to absorb anything through their filters of ignorance and prejudice, then it's pointless to persist. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is such a moron! He's introduced legislation in the US Senate [embarrassingly, he's in the top echelons of US power along with several other ignorant politicians who are elected by millions of our compatriots] to ..bar the National Science Foundation (NSF) from “wasting federal research funding on political science.” Coburn argues that these political sciences issues “have little, if anything, to do with science.” He believes that by turning to Fox News, CNN, etc, a person can get all the political science he desires. Simple, heh? Likewise, I'd suppose, series like House, Grey's Anatomy, can sub for an education in medicine. The series Lost can replace political philosophy on how to organize a human society in a deserted island. While at it, Sabrina The Teenage Witch can be sufficient for understanding the laws of nature.

I'm fond of science--it's very interesting as it expands our understanding, and it has made human life better and longer. Political Science is a discipline and even though it doesn't deal with physical laws, it's scientific. There are things to be observed and measured. There are theories that explain and predict. There is an ongoing research and amendment. There are variables that once identified help explain trends and conditions. For example, without knowing anything about a country, if you ask, what is the status of women in that society? The answer to this question will tell you a great deal. We know that the status of women is directly linked to the political and economic development, and to a myriad of other ways we use to measure a society.

The scientific method is the best tool of understanding we have. It's amazing and worrisome that the US has achieved such great achievements while so many Americans are really ignorant about the world they live in. Obviously, moronic beliefs influence our policy. We elect leaders more fit for the Dark Ages. Do you know that 2/3 of our fellow citizens can't find Iraq on the map or even name the three branches of our government? That 1 in 5 adults believes the ..sun revolves around the earth?! That only 26% know natural selection is a mechanism of evolution, let alone that most don't accept the theory of evolution as valid?!! The theory of evolution--one of the strongest scientific theories we've got!

Now, what kind of public policy an ignoramus would support? Guess. Keep in mind that close to a majority Americans believe Jesus will return to earth in their lifetime! That the earth is only between 6 and 10 thousand years old! That there's a divine plan... That the end of times is a good thing....

I'm going out to see the autumn leaves... If you are in the Northeast don't miss this spectacular show of nature.


pidgeon said...

Aaaaah, Black Adder! Indeed, morons succeeding in politics!

dr. kildraire said...


See Bill Moyers comment on health care reform...

Inuit said...

I'm really disappointed in this post! You make no mention of Sarah Palin....

George said...

My apologies. But, in all fairness, I've ripped Ms. Palin to shreads over the past year.