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Modern American conservatism denies science, women’s rights, and reality

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Reporting on the final installment of the Discovery Channel’s seven hour, seven episode, “Frozen Planet” series, the New York Times focuses on the lack of specific references to Global Warming and the body of scientific theory behind it by name. The Times states that in culminating with the “On Thin Ice” segment, the Discovery Channel, “seeks to entice viewers with footage of penguins and other animals of the polar regions,” asserting evidence of a warming planet and leaving its audience with the opportunity “to make of it what you will.”

Why would the Discovery Channel present all that evidence and not offer any conclusions? It’s not like there’s any serious disagreement in the global scientific community that the earth is undergoing anthropogenic climate change. The processes are already in motion, it’s just a matter of how far we humans will let them go before we decide to do something about it. The argument about putting our planet in the oven has long been decided. All we’re haggling over now is whether we want it rare, medium, or well-done.

For the record, the Discovery Channel is trying to avoid hitting hot buttons in its audience that will cause them to change channels any quicker than the usual, ADD induced, nervous tick on the remote control will do for them regardless of how cute the creatures are that they fill the screen with. A cynical person might claim the Discovery Channel was just protecting its bottom line rather than struggling against apocalyptic odds to use every device available to educate a people that will not be educated. A cynical person might make that claim, but it takes more than the Discovery Channel’s programming to support it.

To support such a wild, paranoid claim, it takes listening to Oklahoma’s Republican Senator James Inhofe. It takes listening and actually paying more attention to what he says than he apparently does himself, as Rachel Maddow found while interviewing him about Global Warming. That is, unless there’s some other way to parse Inhofe’s candid statement to Maddow about his time chairing the Senate Environment Committee, “I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that committee and I first heard about this. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost.”

So it’s good, old-fashioned, all-American, capitalist cost. That’s what determines the truth or falsehood of all claims, propositions, ideas, and random thoughts whether they’re derived from mathematical analysis, the result of too many totally sleepless days & nights spiked on double-double espressos & OTC diet pills, or pulled directly from one’s colon, as one suspects Senator Inhofe must often do.

The same principles can be seen at work in America’s on-again, off-again flirtation with electric cars. Along with the obviously politicized, painfully transparent use of the electric car as a game token, there’s everyone’s short-sighted personal economic optimization to deal with. Everyone wants to save money on gas, and if the environment and maybe a few residents of countries unfortunate enough to be oil-exporters can be saved along with the money, then great! But when it comes down to it, no one wants to pay for changing the way our transportation infrastructure works. People will charge their electric cars at work for free when their employer puts the plugs in front of them, but they’re not so happy about the idea of taking on road use bills or electric utility surcharges to make up for the highway funds the states will loose if they no longer have gasoline tax to finance streets & highways with. Too many drivers are convinced electric cars are essential to maintaining a survivable environment and in general “doing the right thing” – until they find out what they cost.

Unfortunately, for far too many people it’s not just cold, heartless, self-centered focus on the economic bottom line. Returning once again to Senator Inhofe, another, even more formidable juggernaut of social destruction can be seen – along with rejecting good, progressive policy for greed, people are rejecting science and even knowledge itself for superstition, atavistic habits that never really worked, and just plain wishful thinking.

Senator Inhofe claims that Global Warming is a “hoax” because God would never let humans change the climate. To quote Inhofe exactly, “Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.’ My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

So there you have it. Burn all the carbon you want. We could build a new coal-fired power plant every day, and all drive Hummers, because God would never let arrogant humans change His climate.

Reasoning, or rather, the lack of it, like Senator Inhofe’s would be funnier than vibrating, Day-Glo fuzzy fluffers in your underwear if so many didn’t take it so seriously. Along with doubting Global Warming, the medulla-powered titans of our age are resurrecting denial of women’s rights and disputing the “Theory of Evolution,” discussions intelligent people assumed we’d settled for good almost 100 years ago.

The Principle of Evolution is an established fact. It’s still called “theory” because there’s a lot of valid research to be done and debate to be had on the particulars of its history and the precise mechanisms of the way it works. But there’s no doubt that life evolves from common ancestors, or that it devolves back unto them if the proponents of concepts like “Intelligent Design” are indicators.

Public school systems in several parts of America have passed, or are trying to pass, laws requiring that the non-science of Intelligent Design is taught in the same breath with the proven facts of biology. America is, supposedly, predicated on some concept of equal rights, and equal right to expression. So, it’s reasonable that those who think it important are able to attempt indoctrinating those who would be indoctrinated with fantasies like Intelligent Design – but not in science class. Put the two together and the one is quickly demonstrated to be Unintelligent Design, and in a secular school room, something like teaching four-wheel drifts would be in a traffic safety class. That is, unless it’s done the way Lisa Fullam did, using humor to emphasize anatomical idiosyncrasies.

In the best interests of leaving no jump off a cliff into the dark ages of ignorance and repression unexploited to the fullest, the same thinking among America’s conservatives that keeps Senator Inhofe in office has turned its attention on the unforgivable crime of treating women as equals. Perhaps not realizing the tragic-comic irony of imitating the regressive Islamic zealots it also condemns, the conservative movement has been waging what we’ve finally come to recognize as a “War on Women.” However, with that last, most intolerable step, perhaps we can finally see the end of the track for the conservatives’ Hell-bound train.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential candidate, has seen his support drop dramatically among women, especially women under 50 years old, with every chauvinistic remark he’s made, and he’s been making a lot of them. Although it may surprise, scandalize, and enrage Romney and his followers, it seems women actually prefer to determine for themselves when and if they will have sex, take exception to being raped, and would rather not be made second-class to men and relegated to being men’s servants.

Perhaps the Discovery Channel should have added one more episode to their “Frozen Planet” series. Even excusing that, for whatever reasons, they neglected to give a shout-out to Global Warming, they still failed to study the Prehistoric Ice Age into which so many Americans have moved their minds.

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Links directory (Really, visit them! The article text that the links link from is in parentheses at the end of each line. And yes, the music is commentary. The lyrics for all the tracks have their own links so you don’t miss any of that not always very subtle messaging.)

Data Links:

  1. Discovery Channel – Frozen Planet home page (Frozen Planet)
  2. Discovery Channel – Frozen Plant Episode Guide (seven episode)
  3. New York Times (Brian Stelter) – No Place for Heated Opinions (The Times states)
  4. Discovery Channel – On Thin Ice Photo Gallery (On Thin Ice)
  5. ThinkProgress Climate Progress (Joe Romm) – Inhofe’s Stunning Admission To Maddow on Global Warming (while interviewing him)
  6. ThinkProgress Climate Progress (Stephen Lacy) – Former GM Executive Bob Lutz Slams The GOP’s ‘Pure Fiction, Knee-Jerk’ Hatred Of Electric Cars (obviously politicized)
  7. ThinkProgress Climate Progress (Shauna Theel) – Fox News Argued Getting Off Of OPEC Oil With Alternative Fuels Was ‘A National Security Issue’. Then Obama Won. (as a game token)
  8. ThinkProgress Climate Progress (Brad Johnson) – Inhofe: God Says Global Warming Is A Hoax (Senator Inhofe claims)
  9. Concord Monitor (Sarah Palermo) – Bills aim to roll back teaching evolution (trying to pass)
  10. New York Times Magazine (Jim Holt) – Unintelligent Design (Unintelligent Design)
  11. SFGate (Lisa Fullam) – Debate Over Intelligent Design (the way Lisa Fullam did)
  12. Common Dreams / Sacramento Bee (Mark Weisbrot) – Republican ‘War on Women’ Backfires (War on Women)

Multimedia Links:

  1. Pink Floyd – Childhood’s End (YouTube – adamasrinsky) (long been decided) Lyrics
  2. Natalie Imbruglia – Torn (YouTube – natalieimbrugliaVEVO) (flirtation with electric cars) Lyrics
  3. Bill O’Reilly / FOX News – O’Reilly Factor (YouTube – mediamatters4america) (painfully transparent)
  4. Alanis Morissette – What If God Was One Of Us? (YouTube – Affectemo) (what He is doing) Lyrics
  5. Snoop Dogg – Can You Control Yo’ Ho (YouTube – harmansingh1) (relegated to being men’s servants) Lyrics
  6. Oceanlab – Miracle (YouTube – sysunder) (give a shout-out to Global Warming) Lyrics

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