Let’s hear some clueless raving about how conservatives are more pro-science than liberals.
Joshua Jacobs, the smug libertarian being interviewed, believes in using the
unbridled force of the free market to bring America back to unrivaled prosperity. The interviewer, Nick Gillespie, thinks that
sounds good. It took a real effort to control my gag reflex so I could listen further.
Jacobs consistently confuses the application of technology with science throughout the interview — it was agonizing. Nothing he discusses is about science at all. His solution to everything is
deregulation, tax cuts, and entitlement reform, the standard conservative position, which is all destructive to the institution of science (if he were actually pro-science, he’d be talking about education, opportunity, and investment…like all the major science organizations, such as NIH and NSF, consider major concerns). When pressed for examples, he gives a few.
The first one was unbelievable: he points out that
90% of the biotech development budget is consumed in the phase III clinical trial, and he wants to reduce the burden on drug companies. By cutting phase III trials. In case you don’t know the standard terminology, here’s what Phase III trials do.
Phase III: The drug or treatment is given to large groups of people to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely.
Think how much more money the pharmaceutical companies could make if we reduced the need that they actually demonstrate that their drugs are effective and safe! Yeah, that helps science.
He’s asked about stem cell research. He’s all for it, although he talks about the fact that abortion is going to be legal with some regret, and using aborted fetuses as sources of stem cells is just salvaging some good out of the bad. I suppose we could get along with that attitude, but it ignores the fact that it is the conservative political parties that oppose stem cell research, and the liberal parties that support it. That a few conservatives find utilitarian excuses to allow it does not mean that it is a conservative goal to support science.
He’s also asked about power generation, and concern about global warming and pollution. He’s not one of the old school denialists: instead, he says that we’re locked in now, the world is going to warm up anyway, so we ought to just go full steam ahead and
build that coal plant, build that natural gas power plant and power our way through to some solution, somewhere, sometime.
You need a
healthy economy that accelerates the development of new technologies, he says. So how come conservative principles seem to lead us to consistently sick economies, with greater economic disparities that advantage wealthy exploiters at the expense of those trivialities, like a safe environment, effective solutions, and benefits to everyone in addition to the plutocrats?
The real pro-science side is empirical and pragmatic and looks at what works. It is fundamentally anti-scientific to use the criterion of what profits the few in the short run the most, which is all conservative principles offer us. When an ideologue offers nothing but free-market platitudes to justify rapacious and unproductive strategies that don’t work and have led to the current serious problems, you’re listening to someone who is fundamentally anti-science.