CNHI News Service

Opinion

February 27, 2013

The party of stupid will likely stay that way

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants Republicans to “stop being the stupid

party.” Not likely. As long as the GOP is wedded to a crackpot ideology
that elevates evangelical religion and free-market economics, the stupid
hits will keep on coming.

In Oklahoma, a right-wing state representative, proposed a bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers challenging accepted scientific theories, such as evolution and climate change, according to an article on the Mother Jones website. The bill touts “academic freedom” that basically allows kids to ignore science and write about what they learn in Sunday school.

In Texas, Republican state legislators want to gut their flagship research
institution, the University of Texas, and require professors to
concentrate solely on teaching. The university receives almost one billion
in research dollars each year.

Who would conduct the research? Presumably that would be private companies that are more interested in profits than science. It could mean money to Big Oil to study climate change, which would render the research compromised and useless.

The stupid party (no need to use the quote marks) is ingrained in the GOP because ideology can’t let science in.  What counters the right-wing sacraments is simply ignored or altered while the Democrats embrace science. To Democrats, there is a right and wrong, not right and left. If science favors a more liberal viewpoint, it’s because Democrats accept where the facts lead.

This is a problem for someone like Daniel Sarewitz. In the journal Nature,
Sarewitz wrote in January that science is becoming politicized because
more scientists vote for and support Democrats. He said one way to
undermine government science funding is for Republicans to see science as
a Democratic special interest.

In other words, in order for science to get funding, its practitioners have to dumb down their research to appeal to the stupid party. But why would scientists do this? They know the Democratic party is pro-science and the Republicans are anti-intellectual. The country’s top Democrat, President Obama, is solidly pro-science in the nation’s pursuit of policies.

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