If the Koch bro formula for the nearest practical thing to utopia actually did produce the nearest practical thing to utopia, we pragmatists would take it more seriously. But it doesn’t. In real life, on the ground here in the good ole USA, it doesn’t. So we don’t.
What the Koch bro formula for the nearest practice thing to utopia actually produces is a further concentration of “freedom” in the hands of the already very, very free. For far too many of the rest of us, it bleeds freedom away and leaves bitterness in its place.
Yesterday, as you might have heard, a rightwing wag named Dinesh D’Souza came to Trump’s rescue on a matter of pronunciation. Trump — clueless and reading a teleprompter at an event — saw the word “Thailand” and pronounced it “thigh-land.” D’Souza, who is tight with Trump — especially after Trump pardoned him out of the blue for an election law violation — tweeted that the word “Thailand” is in fact pronounced “thigh-land” quite commonly in the English-speaking world.
News to me! I’ve never heard anyone — as in, anyone — pronounce it that way. D’Souza presumably is well aware of this, and he’s merely doing his schtick, being all rightwing contrarian to “own the libs.” Which brings me to my point. For plenty of people in public life, I think, what matters most is the brand. They’ve made themselves into a brand, and what they say and do must be consistent with the brand. Integrity and truth are fine if they happen to dovetail with the brand. D’Souza is a brand.
Good science is neither more nor less than disciplined thought about carefully-gathered evidence. If, in a democracy, a substantial fraction of electorate belongs to a religion or culture that rejects any good science inconsistent with their beliefs, that democracy is in trouble.
As the enormity of Trump’s irresponsibility has become obvious, how many GOP Senators have broken with him and put in an oar to help set us back on course? One. Mitch and the Club are incapable of civic virtue — joined at the hip with the Koch corporatists and the good ole boys.
I’m fine with the reality that there are people in the world who think a fertilized egg is a human being with a soul. There are people who think all manner of things. What I find infuriating is that too few of the rest of us bother to ensure these misguided folks are outvoted.
There are people in public life motivated almost entirely by the pursuit of power for its own sake or to enrich themselves. They have no allegiance to civic virtue — only to naked ambition.
The second lesson the young Joe McCarthy learned in an unsuccessful race for district attorney was that “newspapers would print without confirmation almost anything a would-be candidate said ….” Larry Tye, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy (2020).