The Politics of Meaningless Words
Sometimes talking to leftists could better be accomplished with interpretive dance routines, or perhaps by miming our meaning.
For weeks now, I’ve been stewing over a yard sign in one of the more virtue-signally parts of Denver, Colorado. The sign was bi-colored and two-part. The top said “we believe in science,” while the bottom said“no human being is illegal.”
Understand, I didn’t oppose the meaning of those words on that sign, because those words were nonsensical. Or, to quote from one of my favorite books, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, “null program.”
I mean, let’s take “we believe in science.” Uh. Does that mean that they believe in the scientific method? Or that they believe that in general science arrives at the right conclusion? And do they mean all science or a particular science? Is this an expression of support for the more abstruse and “artistic” of sciences, mathematics? My husband thanks you. Does it reveal their enthusiasm for quantum mechanics? Do the members of this family gather every Sunday morning for a ritual recitation of chemical formulas and physics equations?
Expressing (or engaging in) any of those would be at best silly, even if incredibly funny.
But of course we know, given the times we hear people proclaim they believe in science, that what they are actually trying to say is that they believe the Earth is warming and that the cause of the warming is human. The first is questionable (we seem to be at best in a pause) and the second is… non-scientific, since the effect of humans on the climate is at best unproven, and the only “proof” of the very silly anthropogenic warming theory is computer modeling. That is it to say, the only proof is no proof at all, and has always caused computer professionals to laugh and mumble GIGO (garbage in, garbage out.)
Frankly, even if anthropogenic global warming were true and proven (two different things, by the way) there would be a whole range of solutions that those who loudly proclaim their belief in “science” a priori exclude. Gregory Benford did a series of articles in Reason, sometime in the late nineties or early two thousands, in which he advocated a series of “remediation for global warming” that included stuff like dumping iron filings in the North Sea. The fact that these believers in “science” see as the only solution the establishment of socialism and strict government control over the lifestyle of the masses means they don’t believe in science, they believe in socialism. Which, granted, at one time was also called “scientific” with even less justification than computer models.
As for “no human being is illegal,” it is on its face demonstrably false. There have been, in many times and places, human beings whose very existence was illegal. From children, originating in an illegal act, to people not allowed to enter or exist in certain places. For instance, for a long time having a second child in China was illegal, and your child could easily be killed for it before or (it is rumored) after birth. The family could also suffer horrendous penalties, from loss of property to loss of liberty. All of which would make that human being illegal.