Thinksters vs. Thinklessness

The thinkless response of the far right to just about everything important these days is appalling. The thinkless far right is locked in a duel to the death with the thinksters, liberal and conservative, and at this point the thinkless appear to be winning. Unfortunately, it is not just the thinksters who could lose this battle to the death, but everyone. The beliefs of the thinkless are anti-reality. But science is reality, and science bats last.

An attack on science is an assertion of magical thinklessness, of pretending what we have learned over the past 500 years doesn’t count. Magical thinklessness is no way to run a country, or anything else, because what will actually happen is explained by science, not magic.

Anti-thought thought has a history of ups and downs. In the earlier part of the last century, the stereotype of thinking people was of pointy-headed professors in their ivory towers, very smart, but with a tenuous grasp on the real world. Give me a man who will drink a beer with me! In that setting, the thinkless asserted that they were not descended from monkeys (which of course was never suggested by evolution)—and won a historic trial. In recent days, more than one thinkless (nay, stupid) political figure asserted that evolution is false because their dog wasn’t evolving, or a giraffe wasn’t evolving into an elephant. Boggles the mind.

An attack on science
is an assertion of
magical thinklessness.

But then, along came WWII, and everybody was happy that thinksters were on our side, because their thinking won the war. Among many wartime achievements were the invention of radar and a number of other new technologies, new medicines, rapid manufacturing methods, and improved public health. Even the atom bomb, highly intellectual devil’s handiwork that it was, finally brought the war to an end. Post-war, science and technology built upon the war’s successes and brought countless improvements to our lives.

Then Ronald Reagan came along, and magical thinklessness again ascended the throne. Reagan wanted to compel the nation to endorse and fund the impossibilities he believed in, an overall anti-intellectuality that was partly the result of his advancing dementia. This trend was continued by “W.”, who scorned “reality based” policy and basically trashed the economy. This brand of anti-reality thinklessness continues to characterize the Republican party today, even moreso, because the thinkless far right has dictated the Republican position. 

So instead of celebrating the half-millennium of science that has created the modern world and taught us why things behave as they do, we have people in Congress and many state legislative bodies who don’t “believe in”: evolution, science, public education, climate change, history, the Constitution—you name it—and are suckers for absurd impossibilities as long as they appear in the Bible. They are people who want the country to be run on their own magical beliefs that contradict 500 years of proven science. But no matter what they believe, science bats last, and dictates how the world will actually behave.

Thinklessness is quicksand
that Republicans cannot escape from.

Gutless Republican congresspersons who have met with extreme right constituents have found that they expect nothing less than absolute endorsement of their favorite impossible stupidities. Rather than remind these people that what they say is simply not possible in the real world, these Republicans have gone along with them to get their votes, and found themselves trapped in thinkless quicksand. If they don’t toe the thinkless line, their challenger will, and he will find support from the thinkless constituents. It is a quicksand that Republicans cannot escape once they are in it, and it threatens to drag us all down.

The Party of Lincoln has become a tribe of thinklessness that fails to understand how the real physical world works, with too many people whose minds are frozen at grade school level, clinging to magical beliefs no more sophisticated than the Tooth Fairy. In the real world, magic does not work. Science always bats last. Actuality prevails.

We are forced to deal with
a mindset that believes in
a magical world
that does not exist.

If Republicans are to extract themselves from this trap, they are going to have to man up and call out the thinkless every time they say something stupid. This will be difficult, because the right provides an endless barrage of logical impossibilities, physical impossibilities, thinkless errors derived from ancient religion, misstatements of fact or bald lies, and assertions based on stupidity. Half a dozen respected Republican thinksters should make it part of their political duty to ground these people in reality, or the GOP will be forever crippled.

Thinklessness is especially florid in the several GOP-controlled states of the Old South, North Carolina being perhaps the most astonishing example. The NC legislators provided a prime example, one of a continuous stream of them, when their science panel’s report showed that the state will suffer the effects of sea rise from global warming—something that has been very obvious on the NC coast for a long time. Their solution: they forbid their own science panel from using exponential statistics in calculating sea rise. Well! That should stop it! Thinking citizens of North Carolina are about to go over the edge at the ongoing legislative idiocy. But perhaps such magical and religious thinklessness actually characterizes the majority of NC citizens who elect them.

NC legislators forbid
their own science panel
from using exponential statistics
in calculating sea rise.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, for us all, no matter how much these thinkless folk don’t “believe in” what science says about, say, climate change or gravity, neither climate change nor gravity pay any attention to them. Science always bats last.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Excellent essay. Thank you.

    And thank you for putting this on Reagan. He is, in so many ways, the main culprit in this whole decline of American democracy, decency and world leadership (I do not consider bullying leadership).


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