What is it about the Republican base and science? They seem to have such a toxic relationship. The latest example is the 2016 presidential hopefuls’ tap dance around measles vaccinations, which climaxed with Rand Paul’s proclamation: “The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children.” Apparently, property rights die hard on the GOP's right wing.
The history of reflexive opposition to scientific data contains a dose of religious fundamentalism, mixed with anti-regulatory and anti-intellectual fervor, and a splash of paranoia, all wrapped in a conspiracy theory.
We’ve seen it in climate change, where Rick Perry castigates “scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”
We’ve seen it in evolution, which Georgia’s Paul Broun labels "lies straight from the Pit of Hell,” adding, for emphasis, that "Earth is about 9,000 years old” and “was created in six days as we know them." Reassuringly, Broun served on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
We’ve even seen it lately in restaurant hygiene, where North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis improbably singled out requiring employees to wash their hands after using the toilet as an illustration of government over-regulation. “I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy,” Tillis added, “as long as they post a sign that says, ‘We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom.'" Brilliant, but somehow the original regulation seemed simpler.
I cannot wait for the primary season to begin.