The Dance of Death: Ignorance on the March

Two stories from the Guardian today give blazing illumination to the death-dealing ignorance of that hideous conglomeration of bagmen and fanatics known as the Bush Faction.

First, Bush's hypocritical pandering to religious extremists is killing people in Africa, as the UN's special envoy for AIDS reports:
Bush Accused of AIDs Damage to Africa

Next, Bushist bagmen for Big Oil are cracking down, Joe McCarthy-style, on leading climate change experts:
Republicans accused of witch-hunt against climate change scientists

In Africa, Bush's extremist "base" is throttling condom distribution, thus crippling one of the continent's most effective anti-AIDS programs and condemning thousands of people -- mostly children -- to an early, agonizing death. This in the name of their "Christian" faith.

Of course, as anyone who has ever read the scripture knows, Jesus of Nazareth didn't apply a sexual, racial, political or sexual litmus test before helping the afflicted. Although he might give a gentle admonishment to "go and sin no more" afterwards, his ministrations were offered unconditionally. But then, as Harper's magazine recently pointed out, studies show that the majority of "Christians" in America have no idea what the Bible actually says. And it's an absolute dead certainty that the gibbering poltroon in the White House can be found among this ignorant throng.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the anti-earth faction has a new hero in Texas congressman Joe "Bonehead" Barton, left. Bonehead is a Big Oil bagman from way back, and as chairman of the House committee on energy and commerce, he's been carrying water for his masters for 11 years. Now he's taken aim at America's leading climate change scientists, demanding that they turn over all their sources of funding, methods and everything they have ever published. Barton will then hold public hearings into the "validity" of their work.

The intention, clearly, is to bully and intimidate -- not just the scientists in question but more importantly all the other scientists out there, particularly young researchers just starting their careers. Bonehead and the Bushists are laying down the word: research this stuff at your peril. Pursue scientific inquiry into the fate of the planet and we will slap you down hard, with the full weight of the federal government.

At the bottom of both these stories lies the little white worm of greed -- the greed for power and money that drives every single policy decision of the Bush Administration, without exception, always. (This is a sweeping statement but time has given it proof.) Bush panders to his extremists -- on AIDS, evolution, stem cells, homosexuality, etc. -- because their fanaticism helps keep his Faction dominant, even as his popularity among the general public is draining away. Bush knows -- as Lenin knew -- that you don't need popular support to seize power and rule a great nation; all you need is a ruthless, fanatic minority of true believers willing to "do whatever it takes" to "get the job done." And so Bush -- a feckless, luxury-wallowing son of privilege -- plays up to the pseudo-Christian extremists in order to provide himself with shock troops for his continuing coup d'etat.

And with the government firmly in their grip, they can then use its powers to enrich themselves still further. That's where pasty-faced bags of wind like Bonehead Barton come in. The Bushists want to deny the reality of global climate change because taking steps to mitigate its effects might cut slightly into the record-breaking profit margins of the energy barons and their elite associates. Nothing must be allowed to challenge their worm's-eye view of the world.

And thus not only scientists but science itself must be discredited. For in order to construct a false reality that maintains the power of unpopular leaders carrying out rapacious, even murderous policies, you must destroy the idea of objective truth, of a measurable, irreducible reality that stands outside the realm of belief and ideology. This destruction of truth and reason is one of the primary objectives of the Bushist Faction (you can see it in the "intelligent design" debate as well) and they are carrying it forward with Bolshevik ruthlessness.

They are deliberately, wilfully cultivating ignorance at almost every turn (except of course in weapons development and oil extraction, where only the most cutting-edge science will do). They are, in a very real sense, the enemies of civilization, of knowledge and enlightenment – a perfect match for the violent obscurantists they have exalted into world-shaking prominence in the highly profitable (for both sides) "war on terror."

But what do they care? Let thousands – millions – sicken and die; let the planet itself fall into decay. The Bushists will just keep feeding those little white worms growing fat in their greed-swollen guts.