Friday, September 9, 2011

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

With Wednesday’s Republican debate, the 2012 election is in full swing.

The “genius” brigade on the left has decided that the American people are stupid. Therefore this brigade will not engage ideas, refute analysis, or critique policy proposals.  

More contemptuous of the public than they are of the Republicans they will offer up name calling and character assassination. Mostly, this will be directed against front runner Rick Perry.

After Wednesday’s debate, James Fallows called Perry “moronic;”  Chris Matthews saw Perry leading an America filled with Luddites and yahoos; Andrew Sullivan whined that Perry does not feel enough guilt for signing execution warrants.

Of course, anything Perry would have said would have provoked the same invective.

Fallows and Matthews are horrified that Perry was skeptical of what they consider to be settled environmental science.

Sullivan is anguished about the number of death warrants that Governor Perry signed, and about his failure to feel remorse and to reflect on it.

In response, Ann Althouse pointed out that Texas governors do not sign death warrants, and that Perry was certainly reflective about it.

As I have been saying this week, Andrew Sullivan has become our country’s leading intellectual guilt monger. He lives up to his billing.

Both Fallows and Matthews inveighed against Perry’s position on climate change science.

Let’s look at what Perry said. In his words: “The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet, to me, is... nonsense. I mean... just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

“But the fact is, to put America's economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country is not good economics and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy”.

Fallows feels that Perry has not right to invoke the name of Galileo. Which is a strange point to make. What gives Fallows, former chief speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, the right to tell people whether or not they can invoke an historical personage?

Fallows wrote: “[U]ntil this evening's debate, the only reason anyone would use the example of Galileo-vs-the-Vatican was to show that for reasons of dogma, close-mindedness, and ‘faith-based’ limits on inquiry, the findings of real science were too often ignored or ruled out of consideration. And Perry applies that analogy to his argument that we shouldn't listen to today's climate scientists? There are a million good examples of scientific or other expert consensus that turned out to be wrong, which is the point Perry wanted to make. He could have used IBM's early predictions that the total world market for computers would be a mere handful, or the ‘expert’ resistance to public-health and medical theories by Pasteur or Lister, or anything from the great book The Experts Speak.”

Since Perry was saying that climate change is a religious dogma masquerading as science, there could not be a better historical example than Galileo. In a blog post Ann Althouse offers a cogent analysis of Perry’s analogy and of Fallows’ intellectual malfeasance.

She, as I and many others, has offered the view that climate change theory is being promoted as a dogma, not as a scientific fact. My latest post on this here.

Althouse concludes: “… if anybody’s a flat-out moron here, its Fallows.”

As the old saying goes: stupid is as stupid does.

And then there’s former Jimmy Carter speechwriter Chris Matthews. Commenting on Perry’s remark about climate change, Matthews said: “It's real: this man's absolute opposition to scientific information. The thought that this country would elect or seriously consider electing someone who stands out there and says I don't accept science on climate change and clearly doesn't want to study it any further. I think that's the big, hard, bad news for the Republican Party. Their front-runner, tonight, seemed to be anti-science and this country has to win the battle of science in the world against China and India and the other [something] countries. If we give up on science, if we get the image of being a yahoo country, a monkey-business country, we got a real problem in terms of our national identity and this fellow we're looking at right now is leading the charge, the luddite charge against modern technology and modern information. So I think that's the hard, bad news for the Republican party.”

I am quoting Ann Althouse’s transcription. She correctly analyzes Matthews’ strange metaphor: “So Mr. Science there — the man whose leg felt a thrill when he heard Barack Obama — says ‘big, hard, bad’ and ‘hard, bad’ when he sees Rick Perry. I'd say Matthews is scared. He's spewing emotion. But he would like us to believe he's devoted to science! A burbling bundle of emotion attempts to embody seriousness about science. It's absurd.”

In truth, Althouse says, Perry has framed the issue correctly. There are always trade-offs between environmental regulation and jobs.

Climate change absolutists never consider the human cost of their mania.

Perry introduced a level of complexity. For reasons that defy explanation, this provoked ire on the left.  Again, how many jobs are we willing to sacrifice, how many livelihoods are we willing to destroy to follow the dictates of climate change dogma?

It’s the right question; it needed to be asked.

Althouse comments: “That's not anti-science. That is a practical man setting a high burden of proof about the degree to which science must be 'settled' where the effect on the economy is severe. You may disagree on the question of how settled the science is, but that doesn't make him anti-science.“

Worse yet, Matthews, Mr. Intelligence, has also gotten completely confused about the issue. Who, after all, are the Luddites who want to shut down industry, manufacturing, and portions of the energy grid? Isn’t it environmentalist fanatics who are trying to sue us back to the Stone Age?

Chris Matthews does not seem to know that Luddites were the first anti-industrial terrorists. They violently opposed modern technology and innovation. At the beginning of the 19th century they set out to destroy factories in order to force the textile industry to return to pre-Industrial Revolution modes of production.

They were not environmentalists, but their agenda fits perfectly with that of our more modern version.

Matthews should know that the promise of green jobs, of environmentally friendly energy, is a fraud. If it’s fit to print in the New York Times, it’s fit to be considered by Chris Matthews.

Believing in green jobs does not mean that you believe in science. It means that you are being duped by ideology.

As the old saying goes: stupid is as stupid does.

No comments: