Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”...Paul Krugman, NYT
That combination of political power and closed mind? My first thought was of the Ugandan leader whose effort to round up and execute gays in his country was condemned by the rest of the world. But when you look for sustained ignorance with power in a nation with greater influence than, perhaps, Uganda, Republicans in the US are at the center of the target.
Paul Krugman isn't the only person in America who's really worried about the unchanging, in-your-face use of ignorance to achieve political ends. But he's one of the most articulate.
O.K., at this point the conventions of punditry call for saying something to demonstrate my evenhandedness, something along the lines of “Democrats do it too.” But while Democrats, being human, often read evidence selectively and choose to believe things that make them comfortable, there really isn’t anything equivalent to Republicans’ active hostility to collecting evidence in the first place.
The truth is that America’s partisan divide runs much deeper than even pessimists are usually willing to admit; the parties aren’t just divided on values and policy views, they’re divided over epistemology. One side believes, at least in principle, in letting its policy views be shaped by facts; the other believes in suppressing the facts if they contradict its fixed beliefs.
In her parting shot on leaving the State Department, Hillary Clinton said of her Republican critics, “They just will not live in an evidence-based world.” She was referring specifically to the Benghazi controversy, but her point applies much more generally. And for all the talk of reforming and reinventing the G.O.P., the ignorance caucus retains a firm grip on the party’s heart and mind. ...Paul Krugman, NYT