Twice a day, a broken clock tells the correct time. Twice a year, George Will says something I wholeheartedly agree with:
The storm-tossed and rudderless Republican Party should particularly ponder the vote last week in Dover, Pa., where all eight members of the school board seeking reelection were defeated. This expressed the community’s wholesome exasperation with the board’s campaign to insinuate religion, in the guise of “intelligent design” theory, into high school biology classes, beginning with a required proclamation that evolution “is not a fact.”
But it is. And President Bush’s straddle on that subject — “both sides” should be taught — although intended to be anodyne, probably was inflammatory, emboldening social conservatives. Dover’s insurrection occurred as Kansas’s Board of Education, which is controlled by the kind of conservatives who make conservatism repulsive to temperate people, voted 6 to 4 to redefine science. The board, opening the way for teaching the supernatural, deleted from the definition of science these words: “a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena.”
“It does me no injury,” said Thomas Jefferson, “for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But it is injurious, and unneighborly, when zealots try to compel public education to infuse theism into scientific education.
Will’s point is that the Republican Party has been taken over by unreasonable, counter-factual, irrational zealots, and that this not only threatens the Republican Party itself but the nation. He’s correct; liberals have been making this point about the listing of the Republican Party for years. But intoxicated by the heady fumes of alliance with strong power, partisan Republican columnists like George Will zipped their lips on subjects like these for years. That Will is re-entering the reality-based community now suggests that the Republican powerfest is nearing its end.