I Hope It’s True

Image result for ron johnsonI notice a politician from a neighboring state embarrasses himself on science. It’s not really news to see politicians tripping themselves up on things. These days, it’s often sex. Maybe the GOP is particularly prone to bumbling science. And sex.

Here is Senator Johnson’s timeline:

2010: “You know, there’s a reason Greenland was called Greenland. It was actually green at one point in time. And it’s been, you know, since, it’s a whole lot whiter now so we’ve experienced climate change throughout geologic time.”

2021: “no idea” how Greenland got its name.


See the source imageGreenland was indeed green at many points in time, but those points do not coincide with intelligent human beings on this planet. They correlate to the mid-Miocene Epoch and earlier, about ten million years ago. This was when gophers had horns, camels roamed the North American plains, and horses were just about to lose their toes.

Senator Johnson has fallen for fake news ten centuries old. Erik the Red wanted his girlfriend or his drinking buddies or somebody to move to the forbidding coast of the northern hemisphere’s largest island. Maybe he was lonely. Maybe he needed servants to barely grow potatoes and hunt seals and fish. Yes, Greenland is a misnomer. But it’s a pretty funny story how it got named, maybe concocted when its originator had tapped into a little too much mead.

Over the past few decades, I’ve watched the rollback on climate change denial. It’s gone like this:

  • Image result for hockey sticksThere is no such thing as climate change/global warming. Winter is still cold and the temperatures are the same as they’ve always been. And wasn’t it last week you were predicting a new ice age?
  • The world is getting a little bit warmer but it’s always done this without human causation.
  • Okay, maybe industry has pumped a little more CO2 into the air, but it’s not the reason the world is getting warmer.
  • Okay, fine. You win. The world is getting warmer and ocean levels are rising I guess. But there’s nothing human beings can do to stop it.

This is where conservatives overlap with very young children who want unicorns and dinosaurs to exist. It’s a fairy tale world. Imagination and desire along these lines are fine when one is a five-year-old playing with toys. Or an adult playing with a five-year-old and going full parental with their kid.

Little kids have hopes and many of them are fantasy. I hope I get candy for dinner. I hope I get to stay up as late as I want. I hope the mean kids trip over their shoelaces. I hope I get a puppy or a kitty.

It doesn’t work when you’re a leader (of sorts) and partly responsible for science-based policy that will affect billions of people and trillions of dollars of the world economy over the next few decades, if not centuries.

There’s nothing wrong with confessing “no idea.” Then you step back and listen to people who have the ideas. And if you’re a legislator, you vote with the people who know. Not with those who have “no idea.”

My sense is that important people need to be in the know, or be assisted by those who are. If they can’t act sensibly, and on basic stuff: telling the truth, keeping their hands off people who do not want a sexual partner, deferring to people who have ideas, they should do something productive. Get a job delivering mail on time. Working the phones at my doctor’s office. Things like that.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to I Hope It’s True

  1. “Conservatives understand liberals by listening to what liberals are saying. Liberals understand conservatives by listening to what liberals are saying.”

    Way to keep the stereotype alive. (and yes, Jonathan Haidt even proved this with “science”)

    • Todd says:

      I like to read conservatives, and as you know, I will engage them. Sometimes over-vigorously. I prefer to get into specifics, hence some commentary on Senator Johnson and a topic I do know a fair bit about unlike Republicans and nearly all Democrats: climatology.

      On the topic of climate change, the GOP is a dangerous indulgence. I would challenge them to their own brand of Haidtism: be loyal to the people you serve, not your masters, accept the authority of people who know what they talk about and not the ones holding the moneybags. Reject the pseudo-sanctity of conspiracy theories.

      The cure for not knowing about other people is to have honest conversations leading into relationships with them. It’s less about listening to liberals, plural, and more about listening to one person with whom one disagrees. And continue from there. Thanks for commenting, Nate.

    • Todd says:

      Another thought …

      Mr Haidt is dealing with the climate level of social interaction. But one on one, let’s say you and I, a possible corollary would be weather. It would be interesting to test it with two individuals who tussle with one another. Unique human beings are far more complex than labels.

      • Fine. Right after this comment is posted I will post what my issue with climatology is on dprice’s blog. Predict what you think my answer will be and then i’ll post the link to what I wrote and we’ll see how accurate your effort was.

      • disregard, blogspot ate my comment (i hate that platform so much)

        At any rate, your repeated comments on dale’s blog prove how little you listen or understand so what’s the point.

  2. I really have no idea what your stance on climate might be. I will think the best of you and suggest this: The Earth’s climate is definitely changing. I’m not sure how this can be remedied.

    I read what you write on Dale’s blog. Where voter fraud and counting non-citizens for the census are concerned, I just disagree with you. Voter fraud on a large scale today is a myth. As for the issue on whom a census should count, I think there are nuances to consider for permanent residents, people on student visas, family members of citizens, and workers.

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