Saturday, October 6, 2012

Friday, October 5th, saw Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on the employment numbers for the US. It was good news for Obama, with the overall unemployment rate dropping below 8 percent. Strikingly, a large number of conservatives suggested that the numbers had been fudged to suit the Obama campaign. Most notable among these was former GE titan Jack Welch.

Indeed, the most telling development regarding the employment numbers was in the responses of many Republicans and conservatives. Some were surprising, like the idiotic blather of Welch who sounds more like a Tea Party lunatic now. Others, like those of Fox News, were just boringly predictable. They are of a piece with the birthed delusions still entertained by the likes of Donald Trump.

These responses have in common one thing — dangerous, malicious indifference to scientific fact, an indifference also seen on climate change, evolutionary theory, etc. All people show a capacity to 'massage' facts when trying to reconcile emotional responses with observation. But the comments of conservative 'leaders' like Welch or of many right-wing voters interviewed in the past 24 hours show something worse — an absolute determination to disregard all facts to preserve a dogmatic adherence to right-wing articles of faith.

The economics profession itself is not immune. Consider the right-wing economists who still tout the thoroughly debunked notion that lowering taxes invariably increases revenue (though over 35 years of Reaganite tax policy has failed to produce any evidence to support this).

The conservative fanaticism is so great that they'll destroy respected government institutions, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to further their agenda. Liberals have shown no comparable inclination.

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