Last political thought for a long time

Neil deGrasse Tyson famously said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether you believe in it or not.” Today, Nate Silver and Sam Wang and others like them could add, “and that’s doubly true for math.”

I’m a partisan, probably an extreme one by most definitions. Where I disagree with the Democrats, I usually do so from the left. And there is nothing, literally not one thing, that the current incarnation of the Republican party stands for which I do, too. While the idea of “smaller government” sounds good in the abstract, what they actually mean by it in 2012 America is a reality so vicious and cruel that Dickens would have rejected it as too false for fiction. Their assault on everyone—goddammit,everyone—who isn’t a rich, white, straight, Christian male enrages me to the point that I can’t talk about it. I have to force myself to think about other things. I get mad at people I care about. Friendships and my peace in the neighborhood are at risk so I mostly shut up and stew.

So when I say that the thing that troubles me most about their trajectory these last few election cycles is their war on science—and now apparently math, too—I am making a strong statement. It’s one thing to argue over opinions. It’s another to change the game by arguing over the facts that support them. You don’t get to make up your own facts. You don’t get to redefine the rules of formal logic. There is only one way to calculate a mean. It will be impossible for us to agree on any course of forward action, ever, if we don’t have a common basis in understanding the processes of the world around us and the past states through which we traveled to get here. The war on science/math is nothing less than an attempt to destroy everything we believe in, everything we have built. Once those pillars fall, the rest of it will be easy pickings.

It stops here and it stops now. No more “unskewed polls.” No more pounding the facts because you failed at pounding the podium. No more ad hominems, bringing the sexuality and physical stature of poll aggregators into play. No more blatant disregard for well-tested statistical models that predict which areas of a given state are likely to vote which way, and subsequent complicity between fake “news” organizations propped up by billionaire misanthropes and the campaigns they favor, just for the purpose of delaying an inevitable victory speech until the majority of the country had gone to bed.

The Enlightenment isn’t over yet, assholes. If you want it to be, that’s fine for you. Go crawl back into your Eleventh Century cave but goddammit, leave me, my family, and the nation I love the fuck out of it.