The clip below is a near-perfect illustration of the fundamentalist mind at work. Notice that Perry doesn’t even seem to grasp the concept of empirical evidence as something that ought to be considered in formulating policy, and is flummoxed that the question is framed that way. As an abstract idea, “abstinence works.” Pointing out that abstinence-only education doesn’t actually work in practice is missing “the bigger and better issue.” To the fundamentalist mind, it’s making sure that the correct ideology is expressed – not an actual reduction in teen pregnancy – that has become the policy goal.
This is not “conservatism.” It’s a form of insanity that rejects evidence from the observable, material world, and it’s undeniable that it has fully infected the Republican party. When it’s welcomed as a “brave act of political suicide” for a Republican candidate to stand up to the anti-science know-nothings claiming to speak for his party, there is an obvious problem.
In the interest of having a series of adult conversations about policy in the real world (and not a situation in which anyone thinks the best long term solution is to accelerate the implosion of the infected GOP by voting “for the most right-wing crazy-crack-pot candidates”), is there a Jon Huntsman figure in the house? Anyone? Or will we just get more of this: A primary race in which none of the candidates can be distinguished from Dick Black. A slate of candidates willing to suck up to Eugene Delgaudio, a man who has not only shown himself to be morally unfit to hold office, but whose persona is entirely driven by a postmodernist rejection of empiricism, an emotional caricature who makes up his own facts. Or how about this classic response to a policy question about protecting the source of Loudoun’s drinking water from silt and pollutants: “God gave us the land to use. Are you against God?”
As can be seen from the comment thread on the previous post, it’s possible for people of good will to disagree and struggle with each other about what works best to solve problems in the real world. The only premise required is that there is an actual real world in which to test those solutions. Is anyone willing to insist on that?