I hate to sound like an old fogie, although chronologically I’m rapidly approaching that point. But I do remember back “in the good old days” (which weren’t all that good, really) when you could disagree with a Republican on many things, but you didn’t have cause to doubt their intelligence or sanity. You knew they arguing from the same facts as you were, that they acknowledged an objective reality. Those days are gone, judging from current evidence.
I can’t read the news feeds these days without getting another example. I don’t have to look for them, they just keep coming with depressing regularity. First we had Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment, which he’s (sort of, not really) apologized for, except that his comments in the past show that he’s still “out there” by claiming that it was “common practice” for them to be giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant.”
Bad? Yes, but then there’s Representative Paul Broun who is busily denying … science. All science.
All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,” Broun said. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.
Um, yeah, and he’s not, despite his claims, a scientist. He has a medical degree, but that doesn’t make one “a scientist.” Yes, I can state that, because I used to work training doctors in doing scientific research.
The really disturbing part about these two is not that they’re nuts, it’s that they serve on the House Science Committee. If they were the only two, you could write it off, but they’re not. You have Michele Bachman claiming HPV causes mental retardation (it doesn’t), Louie Gohmert coming out with a litany of really stupid remarks, Steve King thinks women can’t get pregnant through rape or incest, and a state legislator in Arkansas, Jon Hubbard, thinks that slavery was a blessing for African Americans.
“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)
That’s a small selection I have. As I said earlier, it’s a constant litany, and it’s everywhere. Republicans legislators seem to be inhabiting an alternate reality, where science is false, magic is real; taxes and government are bad, except for taxing poor people to pay when they want something from the government; history is fiction; and women and blacks don’t really have … full human rights. You can’t debate them when they’re not even working out of the same reality as the rest of us.
Someday, I hope we get back to what was, in “the good old days.” But for now, it seems that you do have to be stupid to be a Republican legislator. The evidence is saying that’s the safest bet.
(Update) Phil Plait (The Bad Astronomer) has some thoughts on Representative Broun and various others.