Monday, April 18, 2005

Hart on Fundamentalists:

Andrew Sullivan links to a piece by Jeffrey Hart, who is regarded as one of the most distinguished conservatives in academia, on fundamentalists' malign influence on the Bush Administration.

(For an example of Hart's influence on intellectual conservatives, see this National Review book review of Dinesh D'Souza's "Letters to a Young Conservative.")

Read the whole article. Here is my favorite part:

Other Bush-inspired policies with severe implications for public health began to form a list as long as your arm. In fact, despite their potentiality for real harm, they possess a comical sort of zaniness. As reported in The Washington Post, they include:

Information about safe sex was removed from the Centers for Disease Control Web site.

The scandal that the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research prohibited over-the-counter sale of a "morning after" contraceptive as encouraging promiscuity and thus spreading disease -- clearly outside the mandate of the FDA. The New England Journal of Medicine described this as a political decision, which of course it was.

The fact that the Bush administration has devoted millions to faith-based organizations promoting abstinence, but in doing so telling flagrant lies: that condoms fail to prevent HIV 31 percent of the time during heterosexual intercourse (3 percent is accurate); that abortion leads to sterility (elective abortion does not); that touching a person's genitals can cause pregnancy; that HIV can be spread through sweat and tears; that a 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person"; and that half of gay teenagers have AIDS. Some grants for faith-based programs stipulate that condoms be discussed only in connection with their failure.

You would think that such Halloween science would be impossible in federally funded programs. Isn't bearing false witness prohibited by the Ten Commandments? But, as we see, Evangelicals make up their own scripture. And this is the Bush administration.

Then there was that book the federal bookstore at the Grand Canyon was obliged to carry, maintaining that the Grand Canyon was caused by Noah's Flood. Geology shows that the canyon took millions of years to form by erosion. No problem. Geology is wrong.

The saints, they are marchin' in. H.L. Mencken, where are you when we need you? But some of that represents the comic side of the Bush administration. No one should be laughing about its stem-cell policy. Welcome to Evangelical Land. Today, it's us.

Look, I know the left has its own share of loonies (and great intellectuals like Thomas Sowell have spent much time debunking the "Halloween science" of the left). And alas those looney-leftists like Ward Churchill are more likely to get an academic job than looney rightists.

But the looney right does exist and they posit not only Halloween science but also Halloween history, which I've spend much time on this blog this past year debunking. And unfortunately they have the ear of the Bush administration.

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