The Stupid, it Burns: States Moving to Ban Climate Science, but Also Books, Thought

March 31, 2023

Physics is, apparently, “woke”.


If you attend a college-level earth science class in Ohio in the coming years, you might learn about how climate change is causing heat waves, flooding, and record storms, and how humanity has a shrinking window to drastically cut emissions and forestall the worst effects. But your instructor could also be forced to spend a big chunk of time talking about how a few largely discredited researchers and fossil-fuel funded lobbyists don’t think there’s really much of an issue. 

That’s because just last week, the state senate began debating the Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act, which would tie the hands of instructors at colleges and universities from teaching effectively on subjects the state legislature has labeled as “controversial,” including climate change. Those institutions would have to guarantee that they’re “encourag[ing] students to reach their own conclusions,” on such matters, which also include subjects like abortion rights. The schools are also obligated to not “seek to inculcate any social, political, or religious point of view” on students. Higher education institutions would also be barred from implementing sustainability initiatives. Diversity or equity programs would also be banned.

Classroom politics have been at the center of an intense national discussion for years, with much of that controversy focusing on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and American history. Climate science is sometimes thrown into the debate as well. Idaho, for instance, went through the legislative equivalent of a knock down drag out fight over a proposal to include climate change in the state’s academic standards back in 2019. Those tensions have recently been inflamed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s increasingly zealous efforts to remake the state’s school systems and universities in opposition to what conservatives have termed “wokeness.” Now, the Ohio education bill may signal that that renewed conservative education push has extended to climate science as well, with politicians seeking to insert proven falsehoods into higher-education science courses.


Late Tuesday night, the Missouri House of Representatives voted for a state operating budget with a $0 line for public libraries. While the budget still needs to work its way through the Senate and the governor’s office, state funding for public libraries is very much on the chopping block in Missouri. 

This comes after Republican House Budget Chairman Cody Smith proposed a $4.5 million cut to public libraries’ state aid last week in the initial House Budget Committee hearing, where Smith cited a lawsuit filed against Missouri by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU-MO) as the reason for the cut. 

ACLU-MO filed the suit on behalf of the Missouri Association of School Librarians and the Missouri Library Association (MLA) in an effort to overturn a state law passed in 2022 that bans sexually explicit material from schools. Since it was first enacted in August, librarians and other educators have faced misdemeanor charges punishable by up to a year in jail or a $2,000 fine for giving students access to books the state has deemed sexually explicit. The Missouri law defined explicit sexual material as images “showing human masturbation, deviate sexual intercourse,” “sexual intercourse, direct physical stimulation of genitals, sadomasochistic abuse,” or showing human genitals. The lawsuit claims that school districts have been pulling books from their shelves. 

“The house budget committee’s choice to retaliate against two private, volunteer-led organizations by punishing the patrons of Missouri’s public libraries is abhorrent,” Tom Bastian, deputy director for communications for ACLU-MO said in a statement to Motherboard. 

One Response to “The Stupid, it Burns: States Moving to Ban Climate Science, but Also Books, Thought”

  1. ubrew12 Says:

    It’s strange to see futurists call for a ‘pause’ on development of A.I., while our Heartland is calling for a similar ‘pause’ in human development. Due to the competitive advantages A.I. will likely offer, I don’t see such a pause happening. We pause, China doesn’t, they get the competitive advantage, and we play ‘catchup’. But if Artificial Intelligence offers so much risk, it can only be relative to that other kind of intelligence needed to counter it. Of which Heartland Republicans can hardly be felt to be contributing their part.

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