A PATH WITHOUT HEART September 24, 2008Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
One way of considering the options before the US voters in November is to consider the choice as a selection of different paths. Carlos Castaneda in The Teaching of Don Juan, suggested that there were many spiritual paths that could be followed, and they might be equally good, but the question, and the only question, to pose was: Do they have a heart? Political paths being different, the most important question might be: What is the quality of the mind?
John Tirman in Alternet reviews the Palin- McCain ticket:
One of the peculiar oversights of the Sarah Palin media blitz is her strong anti-science views. In keeping with her Pentecostal faith and alignment with the far right of the Republican Party, Palin is opposed to stem cell research, declaims evolution, and believes global warming to be a hoax. Of her many controversial qualities, this anti-science ideology may be the most troubling — in fact, devastating — for the economy, ecology, and health.
If the McCain-Palin ticket is elected, we would have the prospect of an administration constantly at odds with scientific advance. As vice-president, Palin would not only be the proverbial “heartbeat away” from the presidency, but the leading contender for the top spot eight years hence.
McCain himself shows some worrisome tendencies as well, supporting the teaching of “intelligent design”– the beard for anti-evolution propaganda — in schools, for example. Overall, the prospect of 8-16 years of this kind of bias sends a chill through the science community, even after years of dealing with the Bush anti-science agenda.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent watchdog group, has documented dozens of cases where the U.S. government has interfered with, undermined, or falsified science in public policy over the last seven years. It is a shocking record, revolving mainly around environmental issues but ranging from abstinence-only AIDS prevention (shown repeatedly to be ineffective) to phony information about breast cancer. Bush cut funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control, among other science agencies, in his final budget. Overall, he has starved non-defense R&D at a time when China, the EU and other rivals are investing vigorously.
More of the same, and possibly worse, is likely to be in store if Republican rule continues. The right-wing hostility to science is a mystery. Some years back much skepticism about scientific progress came from the left, ire focused on the way science was used to further corporate priorities. But an attack on science per se is now the province of the right wing, partially based on religious dogma (itself reserved to a tiny minority of the fundamentalist churches) and partly another way to divide the political culture into an us (small-town just folks) versus them (pointy headed intellectuals). But whatever the reasons, this steady assault on science is alarming. Why?
While the importance of the financial crisis cannot be denied, it is still the case the climate crisis is the more important, and the one that the necessary action is both imperative and urgent. Further detail, made possible by the peculiarity of religious beliefs will not make the situation worst.
Palin, who reportedly shoots wolves from helicopters, does not seem to have a heart either.
Naomi Wolf via Alternet and Huffington Post has the full conspiracy theory. The question, given the pervasiveness of the financial crisis, who would be dumb enough to vote for Ms Palin? Who was dumb enough to vote for George W Bush? As they keep reminding us 300 million people gives you a few options, especially when you can chose which votes to count. More seriously, under the present conditions, I do not think the Palin-McCain ticket will work – but sadly I could be wrong. On the other hand: Why would you put a person like Palin up, if there was not an ulterior purpose?
Now what Nader is proposing is not crazy is it? Only different. But what chance has he got?