In every country there are segments of the population that are responsible for causing shame and humiliation on a national scale. Americans have plenty of reasons to feel shame as of late whether it is the Republican’s drive to kill jobs and impoverish the entire population or groups of science-denying dolts who rely on myth and superstition to solve the most pressing environmental problems. The war on science, and especially climate science, has established Virginia as a permanent insane asylum, where denying climate change has become a religion and its adherents little more than blind disciples of stupidity. It is remarkable that Virginia should lead the fight against established science because Thomas Jefferson established a university based on science as a rejection of religion-based curriculum prevalent in Virginia at the end of the 18th century. Jefferson could never have imagined that in the 21st century, his home state would lead the nation in reverting to Dark Age sensibilities.
Virginia, home to the nation’s first university to offer academic programs in, now common, disciplines such as astronomy and philosophy, as well as a school of engineering and applied science, was the first engineering school in the United States to be part of a comprehensive university. There is a vocal group of teabagger affiliates who are protesting preparations for climate-related sea-level rise, and in keeping with proven teabag tactics, have disrupted meetings where geologists, climate scientists, and planning commissioners proposed rezoning land for use as a dike against rising water. Sometimes, stupidity just overrides common sense and careful planning regardless the benefit to those screaming and disrupting planning commission meetings and it informs that when superstition, suspicion, and conspiracy theory intersect, the result is a certainty of impending disaster.
The group opposed to planning ahead to prevent the effects of rising sea levels from devastating the surrounding land mass focused their rage against the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission because they don’t think climate change is accelerated by human activity, as most climate scientists conclude. The group opposed to rezoning land sees the planners of using a trick to take their property and cite a United Nations environmental action plan adopted in 1992 as a shadowy global conspiracy to grab land and redistribute wealth in the United States. The main opponents of rezoning efforts are a teabagger affiliate with 7,000 members called the Virginia Campaign for Liberty. The group’s leader, Donna Holt said, “Environmentalists have always had an agenda to put nature above man. If they can find an end to their means, they don’t care how it happens. If they can do it under the guise of global warming and climate change, they will do it.” Conspiracy theorists and stupidity are not associated with the United States Navy that has taken rising sea levels to heart, and Naval Station Norfolk is replacing 14 piers at $60 million each to keep ship-repair facilities above sea level and working.
There are geological reasons for rising sea levels besides global climate change and between an ancient meteor impact and an Ice-Age glacier that is causing the land to sink, it is a certainty the area needs rezoning to designate a flood plain. The moronic opponents say planning commissioners are unwilling dupes of Agenda 21, and according to conspiracy theorists, it is a United Nations hoax based on devious climate science. It is not worth rehashing whether global climate change is responsible for rising sea levels, because although empirical data prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the oceans are rising, this opposition is in Virginia; where science is reviled and intelligence is a mortal sin.
It is not that the planners, geologists, and climate scientists failed to educate the opposition group, because they did try. However, the teabag activists reverted to screaming and shouting down experts who actually took time to explain why rezoning a flood zone would prevent disastrous flooding and why shouldn’t they? Teabaggers prevented lawmakers from explaining the benefits of healthcare reform and helped engender suspicion toward the health law that benefits every American. Although it is despicable, it is what one expects from recalcitrant conspiracy theorists and residents too stupid to acknowledge there are people who understand more than Bronze Age mythology and superstition. The opponents of science-based planning to help Americans are the second-leading cause of embarrassment for America and it is a trend that former President Bill Clinton acknowledged.
Clinton said, “If you’re an American the best thing you can do is to make it politically unacceptable for people to engage in climate science denial. I mean, it makes us…we look like a joke, right; you can’t win in our country if you admit that the scientists are right, that disqualifies you from doing it.” Yes, it does make Americans look like a joke, and for those intelligent enough to acknowledge that reams of empirical data supersede half-baked superstition that there is a hoax to take land away from stupid people, it is a cause of incredible shame and humiliation.
There is no remedy for stupid Americans except to put them away where they can least harm themselves and the rest of the country. It is especially sad that Virginia’s governor and attorney general are purveyors of stupid and are leading the charge against accepted science. Americans can be proud that the U.S. Navy does not subscribe to conspiracy theories and fears of a United Nations’ ploy to take land away from Virginians and redistribute it to environmentalists. But we, as a country, should be awash in shame and humiliation that there are residents who scream, shout, and obstruct intelligent discourse to perpetuate a belief that there is a scheme to steal Americans’ land based on conspiracy theory and blatant stupidity.
America is a joke and as teabaggers, religious fundamentalists, and half-wits dictating their Stone Age agenda continue setting policy, the joke will be that America becomes what stupid people are pining for; a backward, illiterate nation that ends up a wasteland because they believe science is wrong. One thing is certain; the stupid people will not be laughing when they are underwater; and this time when the sea level rises there will not be any Noah’s Ark to save them.