Creationism is my political dealbreaker. I have never voted for or supported a candidate that admits to disbelief in the theory of evolution, and I cannot envision a possible scenario in which I ever would. If there was a worst-case situation, and I was forced to choose between a Marxist candidate and a creationist candidate… well, I’d probably choose neither and vote for the Rent Is Too Damn High guy instead.
Actually, I have two political dealbreakers. In addition to creationists, I won’t vote for anyone who believes extraterrestrials have visited earth. This is a dealbreaker for much the same reason creationism is, although it’s less important, as I would probably never vote for the politicians who believe in aliens anyway. (Sorry, Reagan, that might rule you out too.)
But creationism is the dealbreaker that is more commonly invoked, and it has yet to lead me astray.
It’s not that I think creationists are idiots. You don’t have to be an idiot to be a creationist. What you have to be, though, is willing to discard reality in favor of an abstract ideology. Being a creationist is proof that, based purely upon ideological motivations, you are capable of ignoring the overwhelming wealth of evidence that shows the reality of evolution, and instead carefully construct a fantasy version of ‘truth’ out of the few meager scraps of misconstrued data and outright fabrications that creationism has to offer. And, at least for me, that completely disqualifies you from being an elected official.
There has been a bit of a brouhaha today over Christine O’Donnell’s pedantic denial of the First Amendment’s bar on government endorsement of religion. I wish more attention was being given to the underlying context, though, and not the silly sound bites.
O’Donnell was arguing is that public schools ought to be able to teach creationism, and not evolution, that a government institution should be able to pick the creation myth of a particular religion — in this case, generochristian — and force all to learn ‘intelligent design’ instead of modern biology.
During the debate, O’Donnell argued that Coons’ views on teaching of theories other evolution showed that he believes in big-government mandates. [sic]
“Talk about imposing your beliefs on the local schools,” she said. “You’ve just proved how little you know not just about constitutional law but about the theory of evolution.”
In fact, O’Donnell believes that forbidding public schools from endorsing religious philosophies “is a blatant violation of our Constitution. The Supreme Court has always said it is up to the local communities to decide their standards.” This is false, of course, but O’Donnell’s ignorance of constitutional law is just a distraction from my main point, which is the O’Donnell’s willful ignorance of science. But it is worth noting that O’Donnell is now on the record enthusiastically endorsing a theory of Constitutional interpretation that would allow public schools to teach theories of Islamic embryology and astronomy or Vedic science. And
When it comes to O’Donnell’s candidacy, belief in creationism is the least of her problems. But it is a very telling indication of her inability to objectively assess concrete real-world situations and reach a conclusion that is not fundamentally dependent upon abstract convictions.
And, on a smaller scale, those who support O’Donnell are displaying the same sort of willful blindness as are creationists. The prevailing conservative ideology is that she is the Tea Party Candidate, the true conservative; that she would be a wise statesmen who could help create a government based on sound conservative principles of governance. And, because of that ideological meme, a disturbing proportion of conservatives are denying an almost objective reality, or as objective a reality as it ever gets in politics: that O’Donnell is unqualified, not particularly bright, devoid of substantive opinions on government policy, and possesses a record marred by dozens of ethical lapses.
To be fair, all of those attributes are endemic among the political class. But O’Donnell is thin gruel even by that low standard. Support for O’Donnell is not based upon any factual evidence of her specific abilities as a politician, but upon the abstract belief that she is the true conservative candidate and therefore qualified to be senator.