It’s always fun watching Conservapedia founder and racist bigot Andrew Schlafly proposing and then trying to defend his latest bat-shit insane theory. What makes it even better is that he argues “in the now” so to speak – in other words he’ll propose his current theory for explaining why the world is becoming more conservative, or why it’s only 6,000 years old, happily using some made-up theory that happily debunks his previous theories.
I’m not sure where to start with this… probably with Schlafly’s magnum opus: the “Best” New Conservative Words (as opposed to the “middling new conservative words”). As you might recall, Schlafly decided that his cherry picked list of new words that he deemed to be conservative, doubled in number every year. This indicated that the language was becoming more conservative, or as Schlafly put it:
Conservative terms, expressing conservative insights, originate at a faster rate, and with much higher quality, than liberal terms. Conservative triumph over liberalism is thus inevitable.
The latter is because language (as is anything in Schlafly’s world) is political and if it’s more conservative, then the conservatives must win political debate. Ok, so we’ve briefly covered this – language, and thus society, are becoming more conservative. Remember that point.
The second issue is Schlafly’s obsession with young earth creationism, and his bizarre attempts to prove that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. This he does via the bizarre “Counterexamples to an Old Earth” – an example of which are the fact that the Moon is drifting away from the Earth. He does the usual creationist trick of then drawing a straight line into the past and saying that the Moon’s orbit would have become too unstable if it was too close to the Earth… wait… doesn’t that fact that it is moving away in the first place, make the orbit unstable?
Actually, the truth is that as recently as 65 million years ago, the Moon was orbiting the Earth a mere 12 feet above its surface. This explains the extinction of the dinosaurs. Well, the tall ones anyway…
But I digress. Another example is a classic case of Schlafly illustrating both is ignorance of, and disdain for, science. He boldly claims that a:
A stalemate of significant and valid discoveries in the last several decades
is proof that the Earth cannot be old. Now admittedly, there haven’t been many earth-shattering breakthroughs lately, but then again – how many times can you invent electricity, or flying, or the atomic bomb? Technological progress is still roaring along at an ever faster pace. It’s also amusing to note Schlafly’s citation for the above comment:
Though there has been some progress in this timeframe, many of the “discoveries” are liberal propaganda, or are scientifically weak.
Because, who needs actual references, when you can editorialise on your right-wing hate blog?
However, the example I wish to focus on for this particular post is the following:
The intelligence of humans is rapidly declining, whether measured by SAT scores, music, personal letters,quality of political debates,the quality of news articles,and many other measures.
Schlafly once again provides no sources for his bizarre, sweeping claims, instead preferring to editorialise again:
- SAT scores have been rapidly decreasing in real terms.
- E.g., Civil War letters.
- E.g., contrast the Lincoln-Douglas debates with debates today.
- The Federalist was written for the newspaper audience in the late 1780s, but is far too intellectual for newspapers today.
Once again, as with nearly all of Schlafly’s utterances, there’s so much wrong with this, and for somebody so obsessed with language, he cannot seem to grasp just how the language – not to mention the role of newspapers – has changed between the 1780s and now. If anything attention spans have shortened, because we can absorb information faster, and from numerous sources, as opposed to the 1780s, where your newspaper was the only source of everything... including toilet paper.
Needless to say, people raise questions on the talk page, and typically Schlafly digs in his heels – he’s made a statement and he is right end of story. Some of the funnier statement Schlafly makes include:
- Brad’s comment is like suggesting that heat may flow to hotter locations. There’s something called entropy that means disorder does increase over time, also known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Argue against it if you like, but I doubt you’re going to persuade anyone. (Schlafly’s basically telling us what we’ve known all along – his mind is a closed system, cut off from outside influence)
- Read, for example, Civil War letters and compare them to what the average person produces today. (Those letters that were written by those who could read and write, of course!)
- Technology will improve despite people getting less intelligent. (Yes, the dumber people are, the cleverer the machines they’ll be able to build. The guys who built the Hindenburg and turned it into a floating hydrogen bomb, were way smarter than the guys who built the stealth bomber.)
The best thing about arguing with Schlafly is that if you poke him for long enough, the comedy gold flows. Thus it is here, where he continues on his language / technology analogy (for some reason – probably the fact that he was having his arse handed to him, Schlafly moved away from speaking about language, and started talking about technology. However, the two words may interchangeable here):
The dumbest people imaginable would still improve technology, for example. Technology — and language — build on what exists. Yes, dumb people improve both. I don’t know why that would be so difficult to understand.
Well, here’s what I don’t understand:
Here’s a man who openly claims that the language he speaks is rapidly improving by becoming more and more conservative and thus fitting his world-view, whilst at the same time saying that “dumb people improve” the language.
Now I know we’ve been calling Schlafly and his ilk stupid for a long, long time – but to hear it coming from his own mouth – that’s something special. Then again, if you ever needed proof that increasingly stupid people are conservative – you only have to read Conservapedia.
Just to finish off, I’d like to quote of of these wonderful Civil War letters, just to give you an indication of how our English has declined into a series of grunts since that time:
Hearing that there is a mail going out this afternoon I thought I would improve the opportunity and write you a few lines.
I am sorry to tell you I am not very well at present. I was taken sick about three weeks ago with chronic diarhea, and have been in the hospital about a fortnight. I have been pretty sick but I am getting better now and hope to be well in a few days.
I would like to have you send me some things which will come better in a barrel than in anything else. I should like some good fresh eggs, a bottle of preserves, some lemons if you can get some good ones, some ginger root. Some butter would be very nice, it will come better in a tin can than in anything else. I would like some sugar too. I wish you would send a bottle of good Cider Vinegar also-
I would like some pickled onions, and some dried apples. Some prepared chocalate would taste(?) first rate, as we do not get good tea and coffee.
A towel and a couple of handkercheifs will be very acceptable also. If there is any room for anything else I wish that you would fill it up with onions and good sound apples that are not quite ripe that they will keep better. Direct to the care of Capt. Sanford, Co C, 7th Regt. Conn Vols. _____ DD Tompkins Esq Asst. Q M General No 6 State St. N.Y. Please send it as soon as possible.
I have not heard from you since I have been here but should like to do so every mail. If convenient please send $5.00 the next time you write.
Give love to all enquiring friends, and believe me –
Ever your aff son