I’ve written many times that everything you need to know about movement conservatism can be understood by observing creationists (not surprising, since the theopolitical right is a major element of the conservative movement). I’m glad to see NY Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman has finally reached his ‘creationist moment’: the epiphany one realizes that, to creationists, words have no meaning, that they are not being honest.
Let’s jump to the end of Krugman’s recent op-ed “The War on Logic” (italics mine):
The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do….
Given that their minds were made up from the beginning, top Republicans weren’t interested in and didn’t need any real policy analysis — in fact, they’re basically contemptuous of such analysis, something that shines through in their health care report. All they ever needed or wanted were some numbers and charts to wave at the press, fooling some people into believing that we’re having some kind of rational discussion.
Creationist leaders and spokesmen are willfully ignorant. How many times do they have to be told what scientists mean by a theory? How many times will they misstate the basics of evolutionary theory, such as claiming that natural selection is a tautology? The list goes on and on. These creationists have heard the evidence-based rebuttals of their false arguments many times.
And these rebuttals did not take. They never take. Creationist speakers continue to repeat these falsehoods even though they have heard the explanations over and over again, to the point where they could probably make the arguments themselves, were they so inclined. And they present themselves as an embattled minority, struggling for the truth. They are quite simply on the wrong side of the evidence, evidence gathered from disparate fields, such as biochemistry, genetics, geology, and physics.
So, to return to evidence and Krugman’s column, this conservative economic argument is no different than what I describe above (italics mine):
First of all, says the analysis, the true cost of reform includes the cost of the “doc fix.” What’s that?
Well, in 1997 Congress enacted a formula to determine Medicare payments to physicians. The formula was, however, flawed; it would lead to payments so low that doctors would stop accepting Medicare patients. Instead of changing the formula, however, Congress has consistently enacted one-year fixes. And Republicans claim that the estimated cost of future fixes, $208 billion over the next 10 years, should be considered a cost of health care reform.
But the same spending would still be necessary if we were to undo reform. So the G.O.P. argument here is exactly like claiming that my mortgage payments, which I’ll have to make no matter what we do tonight, are a cost of going out for dinner.
There’s more like that: the G.O.P. also claims that $115 billion of other health care spending should be charged to health reform, even though the [Congressional] budget office has tried to explain that most of this spending would have taken place even without reform.
You can try to explain all you want, they’re not listening.
And in a move worthy of creationist Michael Behe, who, during the Dover evolution trial, casually dismissed dozens of studies refuting his claims of the irreducible complexity of the human immune system, GOP House whip Eric Kantor declared that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is just “an opinion.”
I guess you could say Cantor is teaching the healthcare controversy.
Welcome, Prof. Krugman, to an evolutionary biologist’s world…