Monday, March 28, 2011

(Un) American Thought Police

Paul Krugman on the Repug witch hunt of U. WI historian William Cronon after he published something they didn't like.

If this action strikes you as no big deal, you’re missing the point. The hard right — which these days is more or less synonymous with the Republican Party — has a modus operandi when it comes to scholars expressing views it dislikes: never mind the substance, go for the smear. And that demand for copies of e-mails is obviously motivated by no more than a hope that it will provide something, anything, that can be used to subject Mr. Cronon to the usual treatment.

The Cronon affair, then, is one more indicator of just how reflexively vindictive, how un-American, one of our two great political parties has become.

I will ass-yoom that Mr. Krugman is being sarcastic. Neither of our big political parties is exactly 'great', and one of them is criminally despicable.

After all, if you go through a large number of messages looking for lines that can be made to sound bad, you’re bound to find a few. In fact, it’s surprising how few such lines the critics managed to find in the “Climategate” trove: much of the smear has focused on just one e-mail, in which a researcher talks about using a “trick” to “hide the decline” in a particular series. In context, it’s clear that he’s talking about making an effective graphical presentation, not about suppressing evidence. But the right wants a scandal, and won’t take no for an answer.

Is there any doubt that Wisconsin Republicans are hoping for a similar “success” against Mr. Cronon?

Someone like Mr. Cronon can stand up to the pressure. But less eminent and established researchers won’t just become reluctant to act as concerned citizens, weighing in on current debates; they’ll be deterred from even doing research on topics that might get them in trouble.

What’s at stake here, in other words, is whether we’re going to have an open national discourse in which scholars feel free to go wherever the evidence takes them, and to contribute to public understanding. Republicans, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, are trying to shut that kind of discourse down. It’s up to the rest of us to see that they don’t succeed.

Facts, especially when they're the truth about them, are anathema to Repugs of every stripe, and by 'stripe' I mean the hash mark residue on their lips from Big Corpora's skivvies. The last thing in the world they want is 'honest discourse' because they know it'll sink 'em. Crank up the RS3M* and make critics afraid. They're good at that.

If we don't fight back, we lose, and there are no rules. A Repug ballsack in yer teeth means you're doing it right.

*Repug Spin, Slime, and Smear Machine

My pet desire when it comes to the lyin' sacks a' shit is a creatively edited video of Breitbart pourin' the pork to his butt boy O'Keefe. A disturbing yet lovely visual.

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