Friday, February 25, 2011

UnReason: The Republican War on Reason

Gay marriage is a done deal. That culture battle is done. We lost the gun wars, but we won on Gay rights.

So now peace has broken out across the land, and all Americans are respectfully negotiating to a common end, recognizing that we do have fundamentally different thoughts on what the strong owe the weak.

Cough. No, of course not. The latest battle in the Culture Wars is the Republican War On Reason. This time it's not merely a War on Science, it's a War on Reason in all forms. The GOP has become the UnReason party, where agnatology is a shibboleth (emphases mine) ...

... agnotology, the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt. Agnotology is not, primarily, the study of ignorance in the ordinary sense of the term. So, for example, someone who shares the beliefs of their community, unaware that those beliefs might be subject to challenge, might be ignorant as a result of their cultural situation, but they are not subject to culturally-induced ignorance in the agnotological sense.

But this kind of ignorance is not at issue in the case of birtherism...

Rather, birtherism is a shibboleth, that is, an affirmation that marks the speaker as a member of their community or tribe...

This worship of UnReason was strong in the Bush years, when a "senior Bush advisor" (Cheney? Rumsfeld?) disparaged the "reality based community" ...

... guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

Obama brought us back in into the world of the rational, but the UnReasoners didn't go away. They are the core of the Tea Party, and they are back with bells on ... (via Capital Gains and Games)

The Rise of the Budget Fundamentalists -- Daily Intel

... There’s a growing consensus that the government could be forced to shut down next month as emboldened Republicans demand spending cuts that Democrats can’t stomach, and that even some conservative experts say aren’t feasible...

... “What you’ve got to understand is this is an emotional issue, not a rational issue," says budget guru Stan Collender, a veteran of both House and Senate budget committees who puts the likelihood of a shutdown at 90 percent. “As far I can tell it has no theoretical economic underpinnings, which is why it’s so difficult for the budget these days to be discussed, because statistics don’t mean anything, equations don’t convince anybody. It is almost a religious belief.”

Perhaps more than “almost.” The tea party has a reputation for secularism, but in fact it’s deeply rooted in the religious right. The GOP’s tea party freshmen made their leanings clear by going after insurance coverage for abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood, but their faith informs their economic stance as well. “It's no coincidence that socialist Europe is post-Christian because the bigger the government gets the smaller God gets and vice versa,” Senator Jim DeMint, one of the Tea Party’s major Senate supporters, told the Christian Broadcasting Network last year ...

From Climate Science to economics, the GOP has been the party of UnReason since the age of Reagan.

So will the GOP indeed destroy the US economy in the next few months? My prediction is that they won't, because while individuals can be both powerful and irrational, Corporate entities are more predictable. I think the Tea Party House will heed their true master's voices.

See also

2 comments:

zol said...

As a corollary, there's no shame in getting caught in a lie (unless it's about sex). Mischaracterization, misinformation, and downright lies are defended as merely framing the truth. There are no repercussions from getting a "Pants On Fire" rating for your statements. Not even when you keep repeating them.

JGF said...

It doesn't help that many journalists are mostly worried about their jobs. They don't want to make enemies.