The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
    meets the Confederacy of Dunces

Yes, the anti-evolution lobby is tightly bound to God’s Own Party.

Jodi Wilgoren has a truly chilling account in Sunday’s New York Times of the Discovery Institute, which is leading the current anti-evolution crusade. The piece includes discussion of the Institute’s “Wedge Document”, which proposes a twenty-year campaign to overthrow the scientific worldview.

Discovery’s PR firm is the one that pushed the Contract with America. Discovery’s funding sources include the standard array of Clinton-haters such as Ahmanson, Scaife, but also the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Verizon Foundation. Naturally, Bill Bennett, who used to call himself a Kantian philosopher, has his pictures all over the walls.

No one can deny that Discoery is making rapid — well, it would be silly to say “rapid progress” in this context, so perhaps I should say “rapid regress.” Sen. Dr. Frist’s declaration in favor of teaching “intelligent design” as if it were a theory rather than a lunacy demonstrates that no one can hope to lead God’s Own Party wihout kowtowing to the creationist mob.

I keep hoping that intelligent conservatives and libertarians will eventually notice, and be repulsed by, the interlocking directorates between the Bushite Party and the lunatic fringe that wants to repeal the Enlightenment. But it’s hard to live on hope. Give me a little help here, fellas!

Footnote

Even by the standards of a surgeon who made a neurological diagnosis on the basis of home movies, Frist’s comments were astonishingly incoherent:

“I think today a pluralistic society should have access to a broad range of fact, of science, including faith,” Frist said.

Frist, a doctor who graduated from Harvard Medical School, said exposing children to both evolution and intelligent design “doesn’t force any particular theory on anyone. I think in a pluralistic society that is the fairest way to go about education and training people for the future.”

To which one can only say: Howzzat again?

Gary Bauer says that dissing Darwin isn’t enough: Frist’s scientific honesty about stem cell research, according to Bauer, makes him ineligible to the Republican Presidential nomination. I wonder if that’s right, and whether, if it is and the Republicans nominate a bio-Luddite for President in 2008, the Democrats will nominate someone capable of making that the issue that shatters the Republican coalition.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com