Links and Comments: Against Trump; Roe v. Wade and Personal Choices; Scientists and Stories

Sunday’s NYT Opinion section — typically 10 or 12 pages — was devoted entirely to spelling out (yet again!) why Trump is such an awful president: End Our National Crisis, subtitled “The Case Against Donald Trump.” One section of which tries to answer (yet again) Why They Loved Him.


The Week: If Roe Falls

As I was saying.

Would the number of abortions fall?
Yes, but not dramatically. A study from Middlebury College in Vermont found that states most likely to criminalize abortion already have the lowest abortion rates, because there are already so many restrictions.

The Middlebury study found that repealing Roe would result in a 32.8 percent reduction in the abortion rate in conservative states, but nationally, America would only experience a 12.8 percent reduction. “Even if the pro-life legal movement locates its Holy Grail,” said pro-life conservative writer David French, “almost 90 percent of the American abortion regime would remain intact.”


Guardian US, Robert Reich: Trump and Barrett’s threat to abortion and LGBTQ rights is simply un-American

Trump and many Republicans insist that whether to wear a mask or to go to work during a pandemic should be personal choices. Yet what a woman does with her own body, or whether same-sex couples can marry, should be decided by government.


David Gerrold today on Facebook:

Trump says that Joe Biden is going to listen to the scientists.

He says that like it’s a bad thing.

But for his cult-members, science is the enemy. These are people who went to too many movies where science was the reason why things went wrong and dinosaurs ended up eating people. Science is that unknowable power that only super-villains have, therefore it’s something to be feared.

Religious fanatics, especially cult members, hate science — because science is about evidence. Religion is about belief — and if the evidence challenges belief…? Well, there are people who would (literally) die rather than admit they were wrong.

Or to put it in the bluntest possible terms: Science flies to the moon. Religion flies into buildings.

Joe is going to listen to the scientists? Damn right. The thinking that got us into this mess is not the thinking that will get us out of it.


This dovetails with Cory Doctorow’s comments recently (see several posts ago), and also a thesis by David Brin about why Hollywood usually makes scientists the bad guys. (Related is an essay by Brin, Our Favorite Cliché — A World Filled With Idiots…, or,Why Films and Novels Routinely Depict Society and its Citizens as Fools, an essay I posted at Locus Online back in the days when I was in charge of that site.)

All of these are reasons to understand that Hollywood mass entertainment tells stories that are much closer to conspiracy theories than they are to the complexities of the real world.

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