I have been swamped with a new course, and have actually been behind by a week or so on my usual news digest. Hell I haven’t been to any of the conservative news sites I usually laugh so hard at in two or three weeks. Instead of trying to catch up, I just wiped the slate clean and decided to start reading news today as if the last few weeks where trapped away in an alternate dimension, never to be heard from again…
I am so glad I did.
The reactions of the lunatic right to the SCOTUS announcement on
romneycare Obamacare have been a pleasure. Watching them try to explain why a conservative judge making what amounts to a very conservative opinion to protect a law that is mostly made up of conservative ideas is a liberal plot to destroy freedom is one of the most entertaining things I have done this week. Some personal favorite highlights:
Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so.
– Rand Paul, (M)Moron, dipshitville
Shouldn’t you have to pass some sort of test where you have the most basic idea of how the parts of government work before you can run for office? Nothing hard, just the kind of thing where you can identify the job you are running for and its responsibilities, who you work with, that sort of thing. I mean if you apply for the position “garbage man” shouldn’t you know that the position entails picking up trash? It seems to me Rand would fail this test.
I am also enjoying the tweets and facebook posts from people saying they are moving to Canada over this. Really? You think the healthcare system there is less “socialist”?
This is the fallout from the rights anti-intellectual stance for most of my life. When you stand up against thinking, well, you stop thinking. And now we are seeing the end result of this social evolution. To even have a voice on the right you now have to have completely shut down entire regions of the brain.
Which leads nicely to my second favorite thing this week, the Texas GOP platform. Dear god it is comedy gold.
You really have to respect (where by respect I mean laugh at so hard you cry due to the sheer level of dumbassery) a party platform that declares the separation of church and state to be a myth. ‘Cause you know how much republicans love the bill of rights! Except for the parts not in the second amendment, and the parts not about gun rights, and the parts not about arming bears, or whatever they go on about.
(Not that we should ever complain about guns, even if they kill innocents in baffling numbers or even manage to start wildfires. Gotta protect your home from that horrible rising crime rate that isn’t.)
The Texas GOP platform is also against emergency contraception. Cause the war on women isn’t real, so there.
The war against christianity is real though, so it also calls for teaching creationism in public schools. Facts, they just don’t matter if you are on the right!
And while we are at it, lets fix something else in education. Despite a near perfect failure rate, lets push abstinence only sex ed. This time it will work for sure!
And if your little one comes home pregnant? Well the same platform is against abortion in all cases. All. Seriously. As in “yes, we know this pregnancy is from an incestual rape and the egg implanted in the tube and without medical help the 14 year old mother will die and fetus with it, but life is precious, so no abortion.” No seriously.
Also, repeal the voting rights act, minimum wage laws, endangered species act, and the EPA. I mean no good has come of those anyway.
Also, stop paying schools so much. Education is useless (if you want to produce more republicans) at this point.
You think the crazy is done? Oh no my friends, the platform also calls for limiting citizenship to only people born to US citizens (I hear some of the natives supported that back in the 1500′s, but they got out voted i guess) and states that federal judges should be impeached if they don’t toe the GOP party line.
Also, social security is bad and must end, return to the gold standard, and all college students (why would they have colleges? What are they thinking?) should be armed.
I guess so they can shoot liberal professors.
As an article at Pharyngula by PZ Myers points out, this is what the faithful in the GOP are after. This is the wish list. It will get smoothed out to something less hideous by the time it becomes a national level platform. The same is true on both sides. You can see the wish list at the smaller level more clearly. What do the Dem’s platforms look like? Free education and healthcare for everyone, shrinking the defense budget, full civil rights for everyone, etc. As Myers says, idealistic, but not perfect.
The contrast is that the left seems to want to respect people as people. Color? Gender? Nationality? Not important, people are people. The right on the other hand seems to say that white male christians with money are people, (well, them and companies) and everyone else can go take a long walk off a short pier.
I think that is the logical end game to anti-intellectualism. We don’t always think of it this way, but an important part of a proper education is empathy. As Martha Nussbaum argues in “Not for Profit”, one of the great overlooked benefits of an education in the humanities is the ability to see and consider what others are thinking and feeling. America is paying the price for a lack of education in many areas, not the least of which is in the area of understanding the stories of people who are not the white, male, middle class, protestant status quo. It is more obvious that the anti-intellectual right is doing damage through objections to policies about the more material things they can’t understand, like global warming, or evolution, but the less obvious damage through ignorance of what other people are like is at least as destructive. Maybe more so.
Which makes the third story I have enjoyed this week all the more fun to read. Watching conservatives call for shutting down humanities departments (as they are doing at the University of Virginia) is rather fun in a “as long as we are all going to die anyway I might as well enjoy the view on the way down” sort of way. To hear humanities, which actually struggle to teach little things like critical thinking (which we know Texas is against) should be shut down for budgetary reasons is a lot like listening to people complain about foreign aid in the US budget. It does more good than you know, and costs orders of magnitude less than you think. So that is what you want to cut? Trying cutting something that spends enough to matter, but has a low enough return to not. Like the sports programs.
Watching thousands of adjuncts work for minimum wage level pay (the number of professors who qualify for food stamps should be a national embarrassment) with substandard equipment despite minimal needs is depressing. Watching them have to defend their jobs despite the fact that they do more to improve lives of their students than the six figure politicians that bitch about them is tough. But to then listen to the same politicians suggest we charge students more, raise their interest rates, and then turn them over to for profit schools? Have you seen their graduation rates? Their placement rates? There scores? Hell, have you talked to some of their star pupils? Arrrgh!
We began, as a nation, as people who respected education. Not for the sake of the GDP, or an ROI, but for the sake of knowing, and knowing alone. The founders read greek and french philosophy, tamed lightning, read poetry, and dabbled in theology and comparative religion. Today our politicians, as well as those who elect them, are unaware of the basic rules of physics and think that “god helps those help themselves” comes from the sermon on the mount. The nations right is dragging us into a nation wide dark age, and the “left” that is actually a “just right of center” seems powerless to change the course the anti-intellectualists laid into the helm.
But it does make for great comedy.
You know, as long as we are going to crash anyway.
Minor update, tweets of fun!
This is the greatest destruction of individual liberty since Dred Scott. This is the end of America as we know it. No exaggeration.
— @benshapiro via web
Rush Limbaugh’s health care meltdown: The IRS “has just become Barack Obama’s domestic army” http://t.co/…
— @mmfa via web
#SCOTUS holds up free healthcare for everyone?! Screw this commie country, I’m moving to #Canada #whoswithme
— @VanSummers via Twitter for iPhone
Brent Bozell on John Roberts: “He will be seen as a traitor to his philosophy.”
— @mattklewis via web
Bozell tells me: “People are already talking about the possibility that [Roberts] could be replaced as Chief Justice.”
— @mattklewis via web
.@BryanJFischer to me on the phone just now: Roberts “is going down in history as the justice that shredded the constitution” [1/2]
— @RosieGray via TweetDeck
[2/2] “and turned it into a worthless piece of parchment ”
— @RosieGray via TweetDeck
John Roberts’ Wikipedia Page Vandalized: ‘Chief Traitor’ http://t.co/…
— @MichelleFields via Tweet Button
RT @timkmak: Here’s the chatter on impeaching Chief Justice John Roberts: http://t.co/…
— @ZekeJMiller via TweetDeck
Richard Viguerie calls #SCOTUS ruling “A 21st Century Dred Scott Decision,” compares it to Plessy v. Ferguson: http://t.co/…
— @RightWingWatch via web
Or, to summarize,
Breaking: Conservatives planning to leave U.S., but can’t find wealthy Western democracy without universal health care. #hrc #scotus
— @MSignorile via TweetDeck