Politico published an article discussing how erratically Trump consumes news and how easy it is to slip him bullshit that he will then regurgitate on Twitter if left unattended like a four-year-old:
Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter.
Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.
I know the takeaway should be that Trump is an easily manipulated imbecile with the attention span of a gnat with ADD, but the persistence of the ice age lie made my blood boil even more. It’s this fundamental lack of respect for science and human knowledge that permeates the entire conservative movement.
Here’s the shorthand version of the Ice Age lie: Back in the 1970s, a few scientists wondered about the abledo effect of all the particulates we were pumping into the air. Enough reflective material would cool the Earth and, poof, possible ice age. Maybe. Some enterprising reporters got a hold of some of the research and whipped up a few hysterical headlines because impending disaster sells papers and magazines. But the research led nowhere and the whole line of inquiry was dropped because that’s what science does: Investigate everything until the facts are found. But as far as the right is concerned, because some scientists from 40 years ago looked into an idea they later disregarded, the whole changing climate thing is garbage. Look at how mad Trump got over it and that’s a snapshot of American conservatives.
This rush to judgement is what I find so insulting about the right’s dismissal of scientific progress. Science is a process, not a magic wand that delivers all the answers at once. You wouldn’t know that from listening to conservatives, though. They seize upon honest mistakes or disagreements in the details to “debunk” entire fields of study they don’t like. Scientists disagree about the rate of evolution, therefor evolution is fake. Computer models come up with different projections of how quickly the planet is warming and, magically, the planet is now not actually warming.
Once upon a time, America was enthralled with science. We loved it and we loved what it could do. It took us to the Moon. It took us to the depths of the ocean. It gave us jet planes and microwaves and computers. We understood that mistakes would be made but progress would continue. But not anymore. Saying “We don’t know the answer yet” to any question from a climate change or evolution skeptic is, to them, the same as admitting everything else is a lie. Science is an enemy to be smeared at every opportunity.
Let’s pretend that the entire scientific community really did believe that a man made ice age was possible in the 70s. So what? What does that prove, exactly? We used to believe that disease was caused by an imbalance of the humors. We used to believe that the world was flat and that the Earth was the center of the universe. We used to believe that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer and that lead was safe. We used to believe a lot of stupid things. Then science proved otherwise and we adjusted our worldview. Our ability to analyze and adapt is what makes humans the dominant species on the planet. Spitting on that is spitting on what makes us, us.
In the 70s, when scientists told us that CFCs used in aerosol sprays and refrigeration had punched a hole in the Ozone Layer and their continued use would render the planet uninhabitable to humans, we listened and banned them. The hole is closing and we’re safe from a world poisoned by ultraviolet radiation. If we had discovered that today, we wouldn’t lift a finger because Fox News would tell us it was a hoax by liberals to destroy American businesses. The right wing would smugly sit and laugh at liberals as our planet was bleached clean of life.
Conservatives never like change, it’s in their nature to resist it, but they weren’t always so small and petty and so proudly ignorant. Donald Trump is just walking personification of the self-inflicted mental incompetence of the American right wing.
There are 539 days left to the 2018 elections.
– This article kills fascists
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I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.