Monday, December 10, 2012

Has the GOP become anti-intellectual?


I had to notice well the op-ed in the New York Times Saturday December 8, 2012 by Charles M. Blow, “Dinosaurs and Denial”, on p. A19, link here

The writer discusses the apparent anti-intellectualism in some parts of the GOP (the less libertarian parts), and gets into a depiction of the creationism theme park opening in Kentucky.  He also produces a chart showing that 6% of scientists are Republican, and only 9% are conservative. Do scientists avoid “Prairie Home Companion”? Do they observe Labor Day?

Certainly, the behavior of the GOP during the 2011 debt crisis made no intellectual sense -- to suggest it was OK for the US to default on its legal obligations.  

But the real fun is with social issues.  It doesn’t make sense, to me, at least, to worry about the idea that some people don’t reproduce if you think that The Rapture (and Tribulations) is imminent anyway.  In fact, the Bible seemed to have its own contradictions on this matter, telling the Israelites to multiply and yet depicting the Apostle Paul as concerned about the rapid  nearing end at the time.  Not trying to have a family was almost a virtue for him, maybe for good reason.  

Notions about a “common good” and a “natural family” really might make some sense in the view of real science.  The evidence on climate change certainly points to a moral concern that people ought to believe they have their own personal skin in generations that will follow them.  Demography (longer life spans and fewer births in many social classes) and economic science (the growing entitlement-related deficit)  points to the idea that people will have to learn to take more “local” responsibility for one another in families.  All of these fit moral ideology in socially conservative portions of the GOP. 

Yet, “religiosity” or “churchianity” (the latter term is popular with the Rosicrucians) coaxes people into believing “that’s how things are” because of “God”.  Then, if things “change”, the world that rewarded their emotional commitments no longer makes sense to them.


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