Know Nothings: On the Road to Taliban

July 11, 2017

More relevant than ever, Chairman of the House “Science” Committee, Lamar Smith, lauds Donald Trump as the “only source of unvarnished truth.”

Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald:

We have explored the role of social media, the loss of the Fairness Doctrine and the city/country divide in creating this break. But no one — at least, no one I’ve seen — has explored what seems to me the most glaringly obvious factor. We are not, after all, divided because Americans pulled back from the center and retreated into extremism.

No, we are divided because one party did. And it wasn’t the Democrats.

Our political thinking being as fixedly bipolar as it is, many people will read the foregoing as an endorsement of the Democratic Party. It emphatically is not. Democrats are very often disorderly, disputatious, and downright dumb, not to mention stunningly bad at deciding and conveying what they stand for.

In other words, they are pretty much what they were 30 years ago. The same cannot be said of the GOP. Consider a few recent headlines:

The Republican White House closes press briefings to cameras. The president issues coarse, sexist insults to the hosts of a morning news show. We learn he allegedly threatened them with an unflattering story in The National Enquirer. He tweets a juvenile video of him “wrestling” a cable news network. Oh, and a guest on a “news” program he admires claims America has kidnapped children and used them to establish a secret colony. On Mars.

That’s all in the last few days. And it’s been a pretty average last few days. By next
week there will be a new list, equally outrageous. This is reality now.

A party that once provided a sober conservative counterweight to the Democrats’ more liberal impulses has flat out lost its mind, given itself over to rage, fear, schoolyard taunts and bizarre conspiracy theories. Which leaves me impatient with those who frame our political divide as if the issue were that left and right had equally abandoned the center. No fair observer can believe that.

Inside Higher Education:

Republicans have soured on higher education, with more than half now saying that colleges have a negative impact on the United States.

An annual survey by the Pew Research Center on Americans’ views of national institutions, released this week, found a dramatic attitude shift on higher education among Republicans and people who lean Republican, with the change occurring across most demographic and ideological groups.

Two years ago, 54 percent of Republicans said colleges had a positive impact on the country’s direction, with 37 percent rating higher education negatively. That ratio shifted to 43 percent positive and 45 percent negative last year.

The partisan stratification is apparent even within the GOP. Nearly two-thirds of conservative Republicans (65 percent) said colleges have a negative impact, compared to 43 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans.

Viewers of right-leaning news media might not be surprised by Pew’s findings. Virtually every day Fox News, Breitbart and other conservative outlets run critical articles about free speech disputes on college campuses, typically with coverage focused on the perceived liberal orthodoxy and political correctness in higher education.

For example, Breitbart on Monday riffed on a report from The New York Times about a 35 percent enrollment decline at the University of Missouri at Columbia in the two years since racially charged protests occurred at the flagship university.

Bogus right-wing outlets also often target higher education. A fictitious story about California college students cutting off their genitals to protest Trump’s Mexican border wall plan recently made the rounds on purported news sites and social media.

This shocking disconnect is clearly due at least in part, to the 40 year long campaign against science and fact conducted by Republican politicians, media voices, think tanks, and now, social media.  Science is important because, as Richard Feynman observed, “Science is what we do to keep from lying to ourselves.” As such, science has historically been the enemy of totalitarian, authoritarian states, who want a docile populace to listen only to the Fearless Leader, as Rep. Lamar Smith demonstrates above.

A Republican party increasingly split off from mainstream media and thought – or even an agreement that there is such a thing as “fact”, is a danger to democracy.



9 Responses to “Know Nothings: On the Road to Taliban”

  1. rsmurf Says:

    BARF what a pile of crap!!

  2. Ron Voisin Says:

    Sounds right to me!!

  3. Which truth? Trump changes his story every 5 minutes. His minions must have to constantly monitor his Twitter account for the latest truth and light version. Sounds exhausting.

  4. Tom Bates Says:

    Trump has nothing to do with the Taliban claim in this blog. Trump has a different world view than say Hillary or Feinstein or Moonbeam out in California. That does not make anybody the Taliban unless you are a leftist slime who thinks everybody better be in lockstep with you or you will sick Allah on them. That is the real Taliban idea.

  5. patricklinsley Says:

    And the hits keep on coming…….

    Maine governor says ‘the sooner print press goes away, the better society will be’

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