The Crackpot Consensus
One of the most challenging aspects of adjusting to the NAO’s is the fact that so many of them are, well, stupid. Todd Akin’s absurd belief that women have some sort of magical control over their bodies if only they’d decide to use it is just the tip of a very large, annoying, and dangerous iceberg. The Times’ Timothy Egan gives a chapter and verse or two that barely scratch the surface but make the point quite clearly: many of the most powerful people in the country, all of them major puppets of the oligarchs, have demonstrated again and again that they have great faith but zero actual knowledge.
OK, so the arithmetic doesn’t make any sense. As our 1% bankers explained repeatedly during the mortgage crisis, this isn’t about mathematics. It’s about optimism, it’s about progress, and, ultimately, it’s about Faith.
Faith doesn’t require knowledge. In fact knowledge is very often an obstacle in the way of faith generation. In the case of many oligarchic beliefs which are at present the only glue holding what’s left or our economy together, facts (like the fact that there is no “there” in the latest round of Wall Street optimism) can be positively destructive. Believing in facts would no doubt result in runs on Wall Street stocks and securities that would make the Bear Stearns/Lehman/Merrill Lynch etc fiasco of ‘07-08 look like one of those summer days when the worst thing that happens to you is a mild case of sunburn.
In order to fit into the world of the NAO, you’re going to have to be able to pretend you believe that, for example, global warming is a hoax, because that is what the NAO has chosen to believe.
We’re currently experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, a siege of wildfires, and the hottest temperatures since records were kept. But to Republicans in Congress, it’s all a big hoax. The chairman of a subcommittee that oversees issues related to climate change, Representative John Shimkus of Illinois is — you guessed it — a climate-change denier.
At a 2009 hearing, Shimkus said not to worry about a fatally dyspeptic planet: the biblical signs have yet to properly align. “The earth will end only when God declares it to be over,” he said, and then he went on to quote Genesis at some length. It’s worth repeating: This guy is the chairman.
On the same committee is an oil-company tool and 27-year veteran of Congress, Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas. You may remember Barton as the politician who apologized to the head of BP in 2010 after the government dared to insist that the company pay for those whose livelihoods were ruined by the gulf oil spill.
Barton cited the Almighty in questioning energy from wind turbines. Careful, he warned, “wind is God’s way of balancing heat.” Clean energy, he said, “would slow the winds down” and thus could make it hotter. You never know.
“You can’t regulate God!” Barton barked at the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in the midst of discussion on measures to curb global warming.
There you go.
The New American Oligarchs find fundamentalist Xtians make excellent puppets. They are already trained to believe the impossible so it isn’t much of a jump from religion to meteorology or biology if that’s what’s needed. Consequently, you might find it helpful to begin attending one of these fundy “churches” to get a handle on how they do it. For example:
Jack Kingston of Georgia, a 20-year veteran of the House, is an evolution denier, apparently because he can’t see the indent where his ancestors’ monkey tail used to be. “Where’s the missing link?” he said in 2011. “I just want to know what it is.” He serves on a committee that oversees education.
In his party, Kingston is in the mainstream. A Gallup poll in June found that 58 percent of Republicans believe God created humans in the present form just within the last 10,000 years — a wealth of anthropological evidence to the contrary. [emphasis added]
OK, so you know you’re going to sound distinctly like an idiot denying and/or attacking scientific facts a 5th grader knows are true. You’re going to have to do it no matter how stupid you feel or how moronically ignorant it makes you look. It’s going to be embarrassing and people who aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid yet are going to give you pitying looks and shuffle away from you in supermarket checkout lines.
Suck it up. If you want to be a member of the NAO looking stupid is part of the entrance exam. Just remember 2 things:
- You’ll be in the loop and reaping rewards for your stupidity while all those smartasses who know better will find themselves on breadlines. And:
- The way things are going, Unbelievers are liable to be shot or otherwise eliminated from the mix very soon and you won’t have to stand for long being looked at like something old Southern families used to keep locked in the attic.
Nothing is perfect, there is pain attached to every pleasure. To get through it while the world is crashing around your ears, simply do what the fundies and bankers do: concentrate on the $$$. Nowadays stupidity is what makes you rich. You may not make it before the roof falls on your head but, hey, that’s the risk you take, right?