It’s been a strange few weeks, hasn’t it?
Rush Limbaugh died yesterday (more on this below). Impeachment ended the other day, yet still the American political class bickers over how to deal with COVID-19, and, of course, there’s the unusually cold wintery weather plaguing the interior of the nation. A days-long ice storm in Texas? Not impossible, but not something you’d expect to happen every day. It’s got people talking about science and why things have gone so haywire.
“[Y]ou can’t get the lusted-after political power and financial gain if you say the sun is vastly more important to our weather and climate (a distinction, we are told, is important, so I put them together) than human endeavors.
“So maybe we have been living in the Year of No Science for a long time, since the days people thought the world was flat, which was most of history by far. It could be that people today are equally ignorant about the truth—or nearly. The idea of ‘settled science’ is an oxymoron and those who speak of it are only making fools of themselves.
“Climate and COVID-19 are much the same. We should be humble before making definitive statements. And we should always be skeptical of politicians who say they are ‘trusting the scientists.’ Which scientists and why?”
Good questions. The elites expect us all to sit passively behind our TV screens and listen to politicians drone on about numbers and cases and trends and timelines and directives as though “Settled Science” is a fourth branch of government or something. And the media repeats the propaganda as though it were written in The Gospel (then again, if the commands were in the Bible, they would be considered backwards and ignorant, definitely the opposite of “woke”).
Like Simon writing above, I’m heartily skeptical of today’s “Settled Science” and more than a little wary of liberal politicians’ proposed solutions. It’s almost as though Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his ilk are behind all of the decision-making. Something just doesn’t sound right. What might the kids think? Aren’t they in this too?
--Since it’s impossible to fully understand how this science conundrum is impacting real people, perhaps a hypothetical look at a virtual school session might shed light on the issues:
Not so long ago in a universe not far away -- maybe down your street -- class was about to begin.
“Okay class, settle down,” commanded a teacher in front of his home computer camera, trying to corral his virtual learning students who seemed in no mood to listen to him on this cold winter morning. Teacher X had been in this situation since the spring of last year, told by his local school board that practicing the profession he’d chosen decades ago was no longer safe for his health or that of his pupils -- or their families.
When Teacher X was satisfied that at least a couple of his charges were on the same web page with him, he began. “Seeing as this is Science Class and our country’s leaders and the media have been talking an awful lot about science since we were locked down by the China virus last March, I want to know what you think ‘Settled Science’ means…?”
When none of the teenaged young learners sprang to full animation, Teacher X pressed a button that instantaneously sent an electronic pulse streaming through the internet into each kid’s machine (it was a feature installed by the tech people prior to distributing the computers at the beginning of school year 2020/21), jolting them to consciousness and de facto attendance. “Student Z, what say ye?”
Prior to the shock, Student Z had been engaged in an intense game of Fortnight with students in three other blue states on her smart phone under her dining room table/desk when she suddenly heard her name called by Teacher X. Panicking, Z bought herself a few extra seconds by asking the instructor to repeat his question. Upon hearing it a second time, Student Z responded, “Uh, I dunno. I think I heard President Biden talk about it before. My parents were watching CNN one night and the guy on there said something about how scientists said we should stop talking to people and stay away from each other. Oh yeah, and to strap on a mask all the time.
(Holding up her mask) “Mine’s pink with little polka dots on it. Cute, isn’t it? I think ‘Settled Science’ means you don’t have-ta go to school anymore, which is great. But I miss my friends… and I still don’t have a clue what last week’s lesson meant.”
“Okay, Z. As I’ve told all of you a hundred times, I have office hours a couple days a week where you can call me and ask questions. I can even diagram my answers real-time if you like. We’re doing everything we can to make class as regular as possible. A lot of smart people have said this is just as good as in-person schooling. So just focus more and you’ll be fine.” (Dead silence)
“How about you, Student W?”
“This probably isn’t right, but I think ‘Settled Science’ means my parents argue a lot. One of them always has to be home with me and my brothers and sisters all day long. At night they scream at each other over possibly losing their jobs because their bosses keep telling them they’re gonna fire them both if they miss work one more time. And then they practically beat each other up over the bills or something. I heard mom say that President Grampa Joe will make it all better by sending out another check, but Dad’s usually on his fourth beer by the time things calm down.
“I also heard ‘those &(&()&^^***!!! teachers unions”, but didn’t know what they were talking about.
“So ‘Settled science’ means our family is always ticked off at each other and my folks keep talking about divorce or going to live at my grandparents’ house in a free state like Florida where kids can go to school every day. Why are children going to school there if it’s so dangerous everywhere? They’re lucky, I guess. Moving might be good for us.”
“Really? Is that something you want?” Teacher X asked.
“Huh?” said Student W. “I just want to go back to before when I could see my friends and go to movies and do school sports again. I’ve done everything they told me to do and they still say it’s going to be another half year or more. I wanna be normal again.”
“Hmm. What about you, Student B?”
“I think ‘Settled Science’ means my aunt and uncle were laid off from their pipeline jobs to save the planet. You know, climate change. My dad was talking to them the other day and they said they can’t find new jobs and they’re thinking about selling their house and cars and cashing in their retirement accounts. Then my dad sent me out of the room, but I still heard my uncle crying and saying he’s had suicidal thoughts -- I didn’t even know what they were saying, something about pills and a lot of vodka.”
“Don’t they understand that President Biden wants to save the planet and they’re ruining the environment by working to pull oil and gas outta the ground? ‘Settled Science’ helps everyone, doesn’t it?”
“You would think so,” Teacher X replied matter of fact-ly, getting back into his professorial mode. “I’m reading from a dictionary: ‘Settled’ means: ‘Fixed; established; steadfast; stable… Permanently or deeply fixed; firmly seated; decided; resolved: as, a settled gloom; a settled conviction.’
“President Biden and his climate expert John Kerry wouldn’t lie to us, would they? And the doctors like Dr. Anthony Fauci have been practicing medicine for years and years. They know what’s best for us, don’t they? They said wearing a mask -- or two, or three -- is a patriotic duty, one where ‘patriotism’ doesn’t mean ‘racism.’
“’Settled Science’ means no one disagrees on the ideal. COVID-19 means we need to sacrifice -- everything, if necessary -- to battle the virus. Everyone is in danger, right? Don’t listen to those people who say it isn’t a threat to most people. They’re wrong. And the climate is rapidly changing, isn’t it? Snow and ice in Texas and Mississippi is caused by climate change too.
“So there you have it. Study up and there will be a quiz on Monday. Just talk about the ‘Settled Science’ and leave all that other stuff out of your answers. (Noticing the time) Okay, people, I gotta run to a virtual Zoom meeting. You can have the rest of the hour off. Study hard!”
-- The only thing Americans settle on these days is that science isn’t “settled.” Our world has changed drastically since the time before any of us ever heard of the Chinese coronavirus or we were lectured that our cars, air conditioners and furnaces were causing the earth to warm, threatening our very lives. Really makes you want to hear more “Settled Science,” doesn’t it?
Note on the passing of Rush Limbaugh
I was deeply saddened to hear of Rush Limbaugh’s death yesterday. We all knew it was likely, but the news came as a shock, nonetheless. Many people will admit Limbaugh had a profound influence on their lives, but he definitely changed mine. Simply put, Limbaugh made it possible for “ordinary” citizens to make it in media by expressing opinions and getting involved. He was certainly more than a little responsible for the Republicans taking Congress in 1994, which helped convince my wife and I to move from California to Virginia in 1995 to take part in the “revolution”.
We wanted to make a difference, just as he had.
Our lives haven’t quite taken the same path as Rush’s, yet the lessons he taught on decency, principled dedication and advocacy were never forgotten. Through his radio show and books, Limbaugh brought mainstream politics to the masses and put a conservative slant on them. He said things many of us were afraid to say in public. It could be said Rush paved the way for an outsider like Donald Trump to win the presidency. People related to Trump just as they did to Rush.
And perhaps most importantly, Rush made policy fun. To this day, I still know all the words to Paul Shanklin’s spoof of Teddy Kennedy, “The Philanderer.” Or how about Al Gore singing “Ball of Fire” (the Johnny Cash classic)? The list goes on and on.
How many smiles did Limbaugh bring to faces? As many as there are stars in the sky.
Rush will continue to influence conservatives and his name will go down in history as someone who changed the world for the good. Rest in Peace, El Rushbo. Now the talent God loaned you can be returned in his presence… or hopefully, offered to someone else down here on earth.
Rush Limbaugh death