Saturday, August 27, 2011

Progressives Are Divorced From Facts Too

The snickering and pompous air of superiority from the East and West Coasts intelligentsia can be heard and felt all the way here in good ol' Texas. Ever since Governor Rick Perry entered the presidential race, liberal pundits' sagging spirits have been lifted. Obama's "Hope and Change" turned out to be little more than a slogan. Their dream of a new progressive America far removed from the "dark ages" of the Bush administration has been smothered by reality. But all that can be forgotten now that another Texas cowboy is on the national stage to be ridiculed.

Andrew Sullivan quickly jumped into the fray. He described the GOP as "A Party Divorced From Facts. In a tone dripping with faux concern, he commented on a video clip where Perry discusses abstinence only programs:
"What defines the current GOP is what I called in "The Conservative Soul" the fundamentalist psyche. This means an attachment to unchanging dogmas not just on religion, but on everything. So abstinence education must work because abstinence works (regardless of the data). And government borrowing is always wrong, even in an acute depression where aggregate demand has collapsed. And taxes must never be raised on anyone or anything, even though revenues are at 50 year lows and it's politically impossible to balance the budget by spending cuts alone. At the most recent Republican debate, every single candidate said they would turn down a debt deal with the Democrats that included a 10 - 1 spending cuts to tax increase ratio. That's insane in political and economic terms."
Not to be outdone, Richard Cohen also joined in labeling conservatives as fact-resistant. In a recent column, he wrote:
"Perry has given us a glimpse of what happens when his ideology collides with reality. Ideology wins, and it does so not on the up and up but by cheating a bit — in the case of global warming with the fictitious numbers and false charges."
And, more opinion pieces are sure to be on their way with the same narrative. Conservatives are controlled by ideology, dogma and prejudices. While Progressives embrace science, are reasonable and bias free.

Now, I am not going to defend Perry on his remarks about evolution, science or even sex education. I am not in the business of defending the indefensible. However, the idea that only one side of the political spectrum is rooted in facts is not supported by reality.

Let's start with Mr. Cohen. In the same opinion piece quoted above, he asserted that George W. Bush went to war in Iraq because he believed that "... he was chosen [by God] to rid the world of Saddam Hussein...". No statement by Bush is provided to support Cohen's allegation. Instead, Cohen provides hearsay in the form of "others" telling him that Bush said "he prayed over" his decisions. Additionally, Cohen wrote that Bush told Biden he relies on his instincts in dealing with Iraq. Again, more hearsay. That's all the evidence presented. A statement about relying on instincts and praying over decisions led Cohen to conclude that Bush believed he was on a mission from God.  I think bias is at work here more than facts.

Making America energy independent has been a stated priority for progressives ever since the Carter Administration. They were so committed to this goal that they established a Department of Energy. Or maybe they were committed to creating more public union jobs. But I digress.

US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu - who is also a Nobel physicist - said that "As a zero-carbon energy source, nuclear power must be part of our energy mix as we work toward energy, independence and meeting the challenge of global warming." Nuclear power offers energy independence AND helps reduce global warming. A progressive two-fer! One would expect progressives to be the main proponents of this form of energy.

Well, you would be wrong. It seems - facts be damned - the only forms of energy acceptable to progressives are windmills in the desert and solar panels. Yes, I know. France derives 75% of its energy from nuclear power. Empirical data has shown that it is safe. But it seems that the progressives want us to be France in every respect except for nuclear energy. And, that's a fact.