Sunday, 21 June 2015

Anti-intectualism is not only destroying America

Cook Straight News 15 June 2015
A recent post on Psychology Today, highlights that much of America's political and social dysfunction stems from the abandonment of reason. From Jim Inhoffes tossing a snow ball on the floor of the senate to disprove climate change, to Paul Broun's 2012 claim that "Evolution, embryology and the big bang theory are lies straight from the pit of hell designed to make people like me believe we don't need a personal saviour."
We also see it in Australian politics where the environment is something Tony Abbott wipes off his shoes as he steps up to be anointed by Coal baroness Gina Reinhart as reward for gutting environmental science research. He also wiped his ass with injustice to Australian sexual abuse victims by dismantling the commission of inquiry into their claims, perhaps because if Australians bit into the fruit of that tree of knowledge, the Catholic church's PR and business model would implode simultaneously.

This pathology exists here in New Zealand too. On climate our government has a similar attitude to the environment,  courting every drilling company that turns up while often simultaneously feigning ignorance of the scientific consensus on climate change.
Peter Dunne accused cannabis advocates of having a psychotic attachment to their position, While research is limited by funding and prohibitions, what research is available does appear to be showing promising medical benefits. (Cannabidiol Reduces Intestinal Inflammation through the Control of Neuroimmune AxisCannabis Proves Effective In Treating Crohn’s Disease According To New Study) This is at odds with Dunne's assertion "The current law remains in place and I have no intention of changing it,..." Worst still, Amy Adams' assertion that Cannabis is a gateway drug in the same week research is published, the demonstrates that is not. Amy Adams 'shows her ignorance about medical cannabis'

Then there is the woeful performance of Simon Bridges, not only the October 2013 tantrum on Campbell Live, There's also the time he flogged off exploration rights to a national park without even knowing its location. The PM's persistent amnesia, while comical on the surface it hides deeper and worrying problems. His claim that critics of the Trans-Pacific-Partnership don't know what  they are talking about not only echoes the comments of US President Barack Obama's words concerning Elizabeth Warren's critiques, it is also disingenuous. Obfuscating the facts that those who do have full access are corporate lawyers, and cleared advisors who are prohibited under penalty of law from discussing the content of the agreement (not only publicly but with anyone, so they can't get legal advice about what they read) and that what is known comes from leaks to WikiLeaks. Also when they read the TPPA, They are prohibited from taking notes, or using any recording device, being accompanied staffers (this even applies to US senators)

It is thought that the TPPA is so constructed that the public could not accept it, and that is why the content of the deal is to be kept secret for four years after it comes into effect.  The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) which among other things will prevent nationalisation of industry of strategic importance (water, Electricity, Banking), and have adverse effects on Pharmac's role in reducing the cost of public medicines -- will remain under similar secrecy for no less than five years after it comes into effect. Once it is in we're never getting Mighty River Power back. Some US companies have been involved in efforts to privatize water, to some extent they have succeeded, only to suffer a reversal when water price hikes sparked revolt and violence because poor families could not afford to pay or were being charged more for water than the middle class.

Last Monday, a self described "WASP (white anglo-saxon protestant) wrote a letter to the editor of Cook Straight News claiming "The rot set in with Darwin" played hand puppet with that lurid trope which claims "evolution therefore Naziism, so kill evolution before it kills the unicorns and Jebus too." It read like the nonsense which is standard fare in Louisiana where Bobby Jindal has allowed creationism to be taught in schools.. Social Darwinism -- which is only connected thematically to natural selection and the name of the author who postulated the original hypothesis for the diversity of life -- is an idea rejected by those who understand Darwin's framework to a professional level. Fitness for the environment, does not mean the most brauny( ask a dust mite), it does not mean the most warlike, see Bonobo, Weta, It means the ability of a species to replicate over time in concert with the environment with modification that keeps the needs of the species in sync with the availability of environmental resources. Nothing in that requires one group with in a species to subject another group to a pogrom. In fact, the loss of diversity by such pogroms is a loss within the species and in culture.

Darwin himself, would have been disgusted by the behaviour of the Nazis, and sickened that his work was twisted in to their service. Something else the WASP missed, While Nazi era Germany counted about 70% of its population as Catholic and anti-Semitism was official doctrine at the time, Most of the remaining 30% or so were Lutherans, and many of them too enthusiastically supported the regime.  Children of that era are still alive today, those exposed to the indoctrination of the regime while growing in local culture that supported anti-Semitic views remain anti-Semitic to levels not apparent in younger or older generations.

The millenial generation reject the ideas of prejudice, as a response to the establishment's handling of 9/11. So their is hope for positive social change. This generation is also embracing science, So this generation is overcoming the anti-intellectualism, which pathology underlies human difficulties in forthrightly and pragmatically dealing with issues that face us as a society, as people, and as a species.

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