― Hendrik Willem van Loon
Kim Davis is a Republican hero because she denies gays the right to marry. She is celebrated for refusing to do her job because she is standing up for her moral principles. Never mind that she has a civil duty. Never mind that she has a choice to even hold that position to begin with. I mean, if I was against the caging of animals, I wouldn’t work at a zoo.
On the other side of the moral spectrum, Planned Parenthood is evil because it provides (consensual) material for stem cell research. Republican darling Carli Fiorina takes this to the extreme and claims that Planned Parenthood is actually aborting babies to “harvest” the organs. With Kim Davis and Planned Parenthood, morality is a good defense only if said morality is exactly in line with the Right.
Let’s put that another way: if you can spout some bullshit biblical reason for why you’re acting like an asshole, then you are morally correct and welcomed in the GOP. Separation of Church and State is not desired by the GOP. There is no philosophical debate, nor any socio-historic perspective about how and why values change. There is only My Opinion about such matters as gay marriage or abortion, and if you don't agree with Me then you are not American and you are going to Hell.
Anti-Intellectualism is defined in Wikipedia as: hostility towards and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals, and intellectual pursuits, usually expressed as the derision of education, philosophy, literature, art, and science, as impractical and contemptible. Thus, when Republicans say a fertilized egg is a viable human being, they are ignoring science and, to be honest, the blatantly obvious. Sperm is alive and eggs are alive – there is not a magic alive-ness about a fertilized egg. And the egg is NOT human. It’s a fucking egg. Yes, it has the POTENTIAL to be human, but it is NOT human. A fertilized egg is no more human than a Cadburry Cream Egg is the Golden Goose.
Let’s explore more anti-intellectual fun…
Jeb Bush wants to blame Obama for ISIS, and the Right just gobbles that fiction up. When a co-ed calls Jeb out on that fiction, he cannot respond, but merely patronizes the girl for pointing out his errors. Bush wants his brother not to be at fault. Bush wants Obama to be the fall guy, and he wants to be able to blame a Democrat for all that's wrong with the world. Opinions are not facts, though. And opinions based on what we want the truth to be, rather than what it is, represent a juvenile mentality.
Obviously, GOPs are pushing their tactics really hard right now, as it is campaign season. Yet, part of Obama’s campaign success was encouraging hope and positive change. FrankenTrump and the like are all about blame, pessimism and anger. There is no pursuit of knowledge, nor is there an exploration of ideas – campaigns are just an endless warring of opinions (which Democrats are guilty of, too).
Some GOP highlights:
• Trump says build up our army so we don’t have to negotiate with anyone – sounds like something ISIS leaders would say.
• Republicans do not support financing public education. They deny global warming and evolution. Where’s the solid counter science against global warming? Why fund a military but not support education? Answer: because facts and intelligence are not prioritized.
An article from Scientific American is worth quoting at length:
“By falsely equating knowledge with opinion, postmodernists and antiscience conservatives alike collapse our thinking back to a pre-Enlightenment era, leaving no common basis for public policy. Public discourse is reduced to endless warring opinions, none seen as more valid than another. Policy is determined by the loudest voices, reducing us to a world in which might makes right—the classic definition of authoritarianism.”
With reproductive rights, civil equality, and quality public education all losing ground, the anti-intellectualism of the GOP is not just a talking point. Do we really want to slip back into the intellectual Dark Ages? Do we really care more about the loudest voice, and the one who wins the game, than we do about a rational and just society? Is politics now just a football game - a spectator sport - with people choosing their favorite team and supporting it at all costs?
Let me be clear: I am not equating anti-intellectualism with IQ. Rather, I believe anti-intellectualism is a willful ignorance meant to blind oneself (and others) from facts one does not like. It’s the easy way out. Rather than deal with said facts head-on, the anti-intellectual get louder and more absurd. It happens in both parties; Republicans just happen to have it truly dialed in.