Right after the election, the Redstate folks set up a new website/forum called Rebuild the Party - A Plan for the Future.
The message was clear:
Use this forum to post your ideas about how we can rebuild the party. The best ones as voted by the community may be incorporated in the plan we deliver to candidates for RNC Chairman.
Being the bipartisan person that I am, I figured I would play too, and decided to post a modest idea.
[more under the fold]
So this is what I posted:
I want us to become the party of science again: embrace evolution, stem cell research, genetics, space exploration. the future.
I happen to be a fan of the late Heinlein. I grew up on Analog and the plucky spirit of the American engineer who believes in science, technology (and, yes, God, too) and triumphs over odds, still resonates with me, and is part of my personal mythology.
(I also recall that Mr Heinlein warned up about the fate of an America dominated by religious tyranny in his classic IF THIS GOES ON.)
Therefore it was easy and heartfelt for me to recommend that the GOP should embrace science again.
A month later, this simple idea now ranks No. 8 out of 1400+ submissions, received 675 votes (hence its ranking) and generated 435 comments, more than any other idea, except No. 1 ("Reach out to Ron Paul").
I am now on my way to become a leading GOP thinker.
Here is my analysis:
On the one hand, the number of votes my idea received is a clear indication that a large numbers of GOPers do want to return to a reality-based platform. I suppose that is a good thing for all of us.
On the other hand, and that is the disturbing part, the idea has generated a large number of comments fiercely anti-science. As I said, it is the 2nd most commented upon idea.
Here is a sample:
Understand that science is just an extension of the culture lived in at the time it was put forth. Today we have people wanting to break free from religions grasp, so you see science created to establish reasons we are not tied to an Almighty and, therefore, His accountability. It is a cultural evolution, if you will, that science is anti God at this present time.
When science can scientifically prove that the 'Theory of Evolution' is really fact, and not just a theory....oh wait, they can't prove it because it has zero validity to it. So I'll believe in my God, and you keep thinking your related to a chimp and we both vote for fiscal conservatism. Sounds like a plan.
By the way, so much for your fossils and biology and DNA and geology and "evidence", I have a grade school-level understanding of science and a Bible. You know it's true because it's been written down from THE OLDEN TIMES, and not in some pantywaist hoity toity "Journal".
And my favorite:
Embrace science? Whose science? And why?
There are a few voices of reason, for example:
Half of the republican platform is built on rejecting science and the difference of perspective of those who do accept it. Bringing science into the right in a major way will just split your parties base off. Your problem here is that you need to remediate your base, not pander to them.
OK, this has degenerated into hogwash. Aside from the absolutely stupid comments, there's nonsense. The comments here represent the worst of philosophy masquerading as knowledge. THIS is what the GOP has to dump! E.g., "one needs to reject the present forms of naturalistic Darwinism," or "I'm not denying climate changes...I'm just stating its direction." I quit.
But by my rough estimate, the sane folks amount for roughly 25%, maybe 1/3rd, of the comments. The anti-science opposition steadfastly refuses to concede an inch.
This is a good polaroid shot of the huge ideological divide that is tearing the GOP. The ranking of my idea does show the desire to move forward toward a more reality-based platform, BUT the forces of reaction and obscurantism are fighting tooth and nail against that.
I will let you know if anything happens next.
Update: Here are the top 10 ideas. Mine is #8:
#1 – Reach out to Ron Paul (3950 votes – 1137 comments)
#2 – Make room for Libertarians (2883 votes – 326 comments)
#3 – Fiscal conservatism, limited govt, consitutional rights (2750 votes – 124 comments)
#4 – Enact the Fair Tax HR-25 (1756 votes – 326 comments)
#5 – Small « c » conservatives (1480 votes – 203 comments)
#6 – End the war on drugs (1142 votes – 170 comments)
#7 – Embrace the Fair Tax as sponsored by Rep. John Linder (859 votes – 62 comments)
#8 – Embrace science (675 votes – 435 comments)
#9 – Be inclusive (649 votes – 210 comments)
#10 – Stop « Reaching across the aisle » to pass big spending bills (537 votes – 44 comments)