Trofim Lysenko is Alive and Well in the Republican Party

Lysenkoism is used colloquially to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.  -Wikipedia-

Old Joe Stalin, dictator of the long-failed Soviet Union, wanted to have a creature called the “New Soviet Person”.  This person was to exhibit characteristics Joe found highly desirable.  As these characteristics were generally not found in nature, nor all of them in one person, and as Old Joe knew trying to breed such a creature through eugenics would take a long time, OLd Joe devised a theory that if a person were subjected to sufficient coercion, they would eventually exhibit the desired characteristics.  (Well, duh!  That’s what happens to kids in school.)

But Old Joe went further: He maintained that, when these people reproduced, these so-called “characteristics” would be carried forward in their genes and, bingo, the New Soviet Person.  Utter rubbish to be sure, but Old Joe insisted on it.  To lend the smack of scientific rigor to his theories, Trofim Lysenko came along and with his credentials, decided it would be in his best interest to support Stalin’s nonsense and discredit Gregor Mendel, the man who proved the laws of genetics.  Hence the term “Lysenkosim”.

Fast forward to last Thursday when my favorite talk radio person hosted a dialog between a scientist who demonstrated the actuality of Global Warming (a more apt term than Climate Change) and a representative of the Republican Party.  The first guest was scientist who came from an august institution of higher learning where he spent years studying the phenomenon.  The other guest was a political hack from the Cato Institute who spewed the bilge of his employer.  The Cato Institute, a propaganda organ of the Republican Party, maintains all scientific data supporting Global Warming are invalid — or if valid, must have an interpretation favoring the continued effluence of noxious gasses from powerplants, cars and whatnot.  A case of Lysenkoism if ever there was one.

Lysenkoism, it must be noted, can only survive in a milieu of ignorance, compulsion and a steadfast denial of reality — as in the Republican Party.

  • The ignorance comes from a willful desire to not confront change; especially when that change entails effort and cost.
  • The compulsion comes from telling the party’s functionaries that their salaries depend on toeing the party line.  Also telling think tanks that their money will be cut off if they deviate from the party line.
  • The steadfast denial of reality comes from knowing (at least subconsciously) that the data are unimpeachable and change is therefore, unavoidable.  But like churchmen of old who, when confronted with irrefutable evidence that the world is round and that it rotates, declared such thinking heretical and deserving of death.  Like Lysenko, the Republicans’ attempt to discredit legitimate scientists, and their research, through denunciation, scurrilities  and outright defamation.
Even when Lysenkoists understand that denying reality will result in their own destruction, they redouble their efforts and cling to their delusions to the bitter end.  After all, an Orthodoxy, once adopted cannot be questioned, for if one part is found to be untrue, the Orthodoxy fails.  And if it fails, the true believers have to admit they were hornswoggled — and no one likes to admit that.  And so the Republican Party solders on.
  • Its members go about in hats festooned with teabags.
  • They lionize an ersatz plumber and a failed governor.
  • Their heroes are jingos, adamantines and peckerwoods, many of whom never made it out of high school.
  • Intellectual dishonesty is their warp and woof.
And Lysenko would be proud of them. Next year we have an election.  If we care about the USA, or the world in general, professed conservatives better take a long, hard look at the Republican Party, for the truth is not in it.

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