The dying era of Conservatism idolized the Fifties. An era in which everyone was white, all went to church on Sunday, understood that what was good for GM or any other Corporation was good for America, we could overthrow Iran or Chile at will and women knew their place….which was firmly under men. For five minutes on Wednesday night after the kids were in bed.
That was the myth that they grew up believing in.
I grew up in the Sixties, when science and brains were idolized and it was thrilling when someone DIDN’T fit in to the mold of the Fifties.
When being smart was a GOOD thing.
Smart people and good, smart ideas were valued and the world improved. Science flourished and knowledge for knowledge’s sake was embraced.
Then the backlash to the cultural advancement of the 60’s began…with Reagan. Folksy wisdom and gut instincts were put on the same level with science and facts. Then came George “The Torturer
and the full resurgence of the Conservative Ethos of Dumb. Science was disparaged and devalued because of the uncomfortable facts it raised that were in disagreement with the worldview of the Religious Righjt AND Big Business.
It became MORE imprtant to be a ‘regular guy’ than right. As in all Conservative dominated eras in history, superstitions like the earth being 6000 years old were allowed and encouraged to mix with things that could be….proven. Belief and instinct were valued above intelligence. Science, especially science that disagreed with religion or with profit, was suppressed and vilified.
And just as the blades of a fan keep turning for a bit after it is turned off, we are just now starting to realize that
The life giving monsoon is late in India, California is in perpetual drought, Texas too, Australia is six years into drought, and the water situation in general is NOT good.
Islands are drowning…
As a teenager in the Carteret Islands,a picturesque atoll in the eastern Papua New Guinea archipelago, Ursula Rakova walked to school and church along a sandy road, passing through the center of a thriving community that produced taro, a staple food.
Thirty years on, the taro plantations of Han, Rakova’s home island, are gone – swamped by rising seas. The road, too, is under water. “Where we once walked,” she told GlobalPost, “we now have to paddle a canoe.”
…and weather patterns are changing and food production patterns are changing with them. The Arctic ice no longer reflects heat back into space, methane is being released from the tundra….and rainforests are still being “harvested” at murderous rates.
And still, 30 years on, EVERY model of Climate Change patterns has turned out to be WAY to optimistic. Even as all of the indicators of disasterously logarithmic acceleration are coming true.
And yet still the deniers for profit deny. Still the politicians they have bought vote for quarter measures and delay.
The stupid people are still stupid, and somehow still listened to.
Meanwhile, waiting in the wings are just oodles of really smart people. Either languishing or on the verge of being born is a host of the ideas and technology we need.
And behind all of that is…the next generation. A wave of scientists, thinkers, problem solvers and the technology….and ethos…that they will bring.
IF….being dumb is no longer considered a good thing in America, as it has been for the last decade. It is time for smart to become fashionable again.
Just in time.
Because a couple of weeks ago….the temperature was 86 degrees inside the Arctic Circle….and that just ain’t right.