It’s the science, stupid.

November 10, 2010 • 7:28 am

by Greg Mayer

Nils August Andresen, at Frum Forum, argues that the Republicans did badly in the recent elections with college educated youths, especially those from top schools (Smart Youth Voters Shunned GOP in Midterms), and asks if “intelligent people who study hard dislike Republicans.” He answers in the affirmative, and proposes a reason: the Republican war on science and knowledge (Why America’s Top Students Tune Out the GOP). Money quote:

Today’s top students are motivated less by enthusiasm for Democrats and much more by revulsion from Republicans. It’s not the students who have changed so much. It’s the Republicans. … Under Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, Republicans championed science and knowledge. But over the past 30 years, national Republicans have formed an intensifying alliance with religious conservatives more skeptical of science and knowledge. I don’t know whether discarding evolution goes against common sense; but I’m pretty sure it goes against most Ivy League-educated senses.

h/t Andrew Sullivan (“Stop Celebrating Stupidity”)

37 thoughts on “It’s the science, stupid.

  1. Today’s top students are motivated less by enthusiasm for Democrats and much more by revulsion from Republicans.

    That works for me (not a student, though). I dislike Democrats, but I am totally disgusted by Republicans, and have been since around 1990.

    It’s the dishonesty and their heavy reliance on propaganda rather than facts that generated my disgust.

  2. Nixon was a goddamned motherfucking sonofabitch asshole who wanted to turn the presidency into a monarchy.

    Politically, Obama is waaaaaaay to the right of Nixon and enjoys more absolutist powers than Nixon could ever dream of.

    Nixon gave us the Civil Rights act, he ended the war in Vietnam, and opened relations with China.

    Obama gave us an unfunded price-unlimited mandate to buy private insurance and he’s spent the last two years pouring gasoline on the war in Afghanistan. His biggest foreign relations accomplishment to date is his efforts to shove ACTA down everybody else’s throats. He’s still running Guantanamo, he’s still doing warrantless wiretaps, he might still be doing extraordinary renditions, and his TSA is either X-Raying or groping everybody who gets on a plane.

    I had high hopes for Obama. I never in my wildest imagination expected to compare him unfavorably with Nixon, of all presidents.

    Of course, as awful as Obama has turned out to be, he’s still nowhere near as batshit insane as the Republicans have become.

    Unless we can get some sort of proportional voting — instant runoff, ranked choice, doesn’t matter — the Republicans and Democrats will continue their duopoly and the rest of us will continue to be royally screwed.



      1. Obama spent all his political capital pushing through the attempted Keynsian rescue of the economy (which, btw, I believe worked – we’re not in a depression, which was a very real possibility at one point); and the healthcare bill, crippled as it was by the Republicans’ absolute refusal to participate and the Democrats’ refusal to recognise a greater cause and play ball. There was way, way too much to do to be able to fight all points at once. Give the man a break.

        1. Give the man a break.

          Why? Because I’m now forced to buy into the most corrupt, overpriced, and wasteful insurance racket in all of history? Because instead of pulling out of Afghanistan in a few months as he promised he’s instead escalated the bloody thing beyond even what the Soviets attempted? Because he’s still running the Guantanamo Gulag? Because he’s probably tapping more phones than any president in history? Because the only way to fly is to choose between a digital strip search and having somebody grab my balls, all thanks to Obama? Because he’s not even pretending to do anything anymore to stop our dependence on foreign oil or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

          I’m sorry. The man used up all his breaks a looooong time ago.

          Besides, he hardly used any political capital to “rescue” the economy. Bush did most of the heavy lifting as a lame duck; Obama just nodded approval. (Why Bush waited so long is beyond me.) What was left to Obama was a bit more than the normal budget process, but not much. Bush used more political capital on the No Child Given A Chance To Learn Faster Than The Dumbest Kid In The Class Act.



          1. It gets worse.


            Obama’s now testing the waters to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits while raising middle-class taxes (including by eliminating the mortgage insurance deduction). Entirely missing from the subject is the matter of cutting military spending such as by getting us out of the war in Afghanistan.

            From an actual policy perspective, I’m honestly not all that sure that Obama is any better than Bush Junior. With the possible exception of Junior, I’d rather have anybody who’s ever been in office in my life as president — and that includes Reagan and Nixon, two presidents right there at the top of my “worst for the Union” list.

            Obama has more executive power than Nixon; less spine than Ford; is doing more to gut social programs than Reagan ever dreamed of; and is more of a war-monger than Bush, Senior. It’s like he took all the worst qualities of recent Republican presidents, made them his own, and slapped a “Democrat” bumper sticker on then.

            Worst of all? I actually believed he was going to be my generation’s Kennedy, perhaps even eclipsing him.

            I just don’t get it. What the Hell happened?



  3. I wonder, is that linked to a natural tendency to be more idealistic & exploratory of the world when younger & to get more conservative – with a small ‘c’ – as people get older, or is that just a stereotype?

  4. The highest educated people as a group can be safely ignored politically.
    (Or worse, ridiculed as “elites”).

  5. Republicans aren’t just the party of No. They are the party of don’t-know, and don’t want to know.

    I can see why university students trained to appreciate facts and knowledge may have a problem with the republican attitude.

    1. I never cared for that expression of the idea. It makes it seem that hiding your head in the sand isn’t only understandable, but okay.

      I much prefer Carl Jung’s version: “[T]here is no coming to consciousness without pain.”



  6. Of course, student views will all change once they get out into the real world and look for jobs and pay taxes. Then they’ll realize the only hope for rewarding their hard work and keeping their gains is to support republicans. Democrats don’t provide jobs, they just offer confiscatory tax policies and want everyone to be wards of the state.

    1. Do you think that reducing taxes is the be-all and end-all of sound economics? Or is it that the very idea paying taxes seems repulsive to you?

      1. With government programs you get government bureaucracy. With government bureaucracy you get administrative costs, and they can grow to the point where they actually become larger than the money applied to the program’s participants. The cost of paperwork always grows to equal, if not exceed the cost of the program itself.

        1. Except, of course, that government bureaucracies tend to be smaller and less burdensome than corporate bureaucracies (this is especially evident when one compares Medicare with the corporate competition).

          Add in the fact that companies, by definition, skim huge percentages of the top for executive and shareholder profits, and it becomes a no-brainer that things like police, fire, and health insurance need to be transparent public-run not-for-profit enterprises with oversight and due process.



        2. That’s a pretty strong assertion.

          As a fed government employee the cost of paperwork does not equal or exceed the cost of my research program. Not even close. Most of the money goes to reagents, animal husbandry and lab equipment.

        3. Have you stopped using Medicaid yet, Allan? I’d hate to think you are a hypocrite adding to the beaurocratic costs you are complaining about.

    2. Eric, my experience was just the opposite. I drank the right-wing Koolaid at university, and only discovered in the real world that I had been fed a large dose of bullshit.

    3. As the saying goes, if you want to live like a Republican, be sure to vote like a Democrat.

      I don’t know where you get the notion that Republicans provide jobs. Democrats haven’t done a whole hell of a lot on that front, granted, but Republicans, as the party of “Borrow, Spend, and Bomb Brown People,” have been militantly anti-worker for ages. The current economic mess is the result of Republicans repealing and raping checks put in place by Democrats after previous economic messes (which were, again, caused by Republican orgies of reckless consumption at the expense of the general public).

      It’s been my experience that Republicans aren’t interested in jobs. They want slaves to do things for them, and they resent having to waste a portion of their quarterly profits on the slaves. Democrats at least get a warm fuzzy out of patting the slaves on the head and wiping their noses. They’re evil, sure, but nowhere near as evil as Republicans.



        1. This has nothing to do with unions.

          Keeping the minimum wage below sustenance levels, gutting health and safety regulations and enforcement, letting corporations raid pension funds to pay for executive bonuses — that’s anti-worker.

          Unions are only part of this to the extent that they try to prevent (alas, usually unsuccessfully these days) such things from happening.



        2. You can always be pro-laborer, anti-union. Or at least make that claim.
          Just like the “national socialist workers party” did in Germany.

  7. I’m pretty much in the same position. I can’t find too much to get excited about in Democrats, but I’m just plain repulsed by the Republicans on the whole.

  8. Well, back in the 70’s and 80’s I considered myself a Rockefeller Republican. I was a registered Republican but when my guy didn’t win in the primaries, I would usually vote Democratic in the final elections (John Anderson was an exception). But by the 90’s, I felt the Republican party had shifted so far to the right that they no longer had any candidates that I could support. I found the idea of being a registered Republican something to be embarrassed about.

  9. My revulsion at Republicans is also a weird kind of reverence. I’m amazed at how successfully they’re able to connect with the public, and how ham-handed the Democrats are at doing the same. The estate tax, for example, affects less than one percent of income earners nationwide—the absolute richest of the rich. But Dick Armey is able to get stay-at-home moms to carry picket signs railing against the estate tax, as if it were this unacceptably oppressive force in the lives of working and middle-class families. Unemployment is at 9%, we’re just now beginning to come out of a Wall Street-induced recession, and they’ve got working people carrying signs against the frickin’ estate tax?! That’s goddamn impressive.

    1. Yep, and hedge fund managers getting taxed in the 15-17% range.

      Nicholas Kristof in the NYT reported the other day that the top 1% receive in excess of 20% (almost 24%) of income.

      All the above, no doubt, is what makes Amuricuh, the Land of the Fee and the Home of the Craven, great, and worthy of sending the flower of our youth in harm’s way to be killed or maimed for life. Too bad that that “legal person,” the corporation, cannot be drafted and sent off to war.

  10. I am appalled at the gullibility of Americans.

    A 2003 WP Poll showed 69% of Americans believed Iraq was involved in 9/11.

    30% of Americans believe Obama is a muslim. (The same 30% also thought his christian pastor was anti-american.)

    It isn’t just a lack of science knowledge; basic reasoning skills don’t exist for a large portion of the population: Sheep without the ability to think for themseleves.

  11. I’ll give you ONE GOOD REASON , the elections . Democrats did this just before the last elections & scared America into voting them in , know there Pissed because of the turn around from the last election. With Obomination & Paloser running this country dry for our children’s children to get stuck with their spending our future down the Political Toilet! Keep Hillary away from the Nuke’s

    1. Not even clever, 5th grander name-twisting. Doesn’t even measure on the Poe Scale.

      We all know, don’t we Kevin, that when Obama and Pelosi took over there was NO FUCKING DEFICIT, right?

      Kevin, the Republicans won because they better at making noise and shouthing “socialism” than because of any factual, knowledege-based voting decisions on the part of the voting populace (read sheep.)

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