Yesterday there was an alleged march for science in Washington, DC, and other cities. It was, of course, not about science. Let’s explore what this march was really about and what libertarians can learn from it.

Marches in support of benign-sounding things like “science” are rarely about that thing. They are usually about leftist causes packaged in a way to sound otherwise. Their real purpose is messaging. The subtext of these events are to create mental associations of conservatives with being opposed to science or opposed to women, to children, to poor people, or whatever the march is about.

In this case, it’s also to associate conservatives with archaic mystical thinking, like creationism and other nonsense. But are these marchers really for science?

Politics, not Science

The first clue is what the marcher claim it’s about. Per their website, it includes several things unrelated to science: non-violence, token diversity, anti-harassment, etc.

When we reject science, we become the laughingstock of the entire world. -Bernie Sanders.

…like Venezuela?

Another clue is Bernie Sanders advocating the march. The march’s website claims to support evidence-based policies, and yet historical evidence overwhelmingly shows that Sanders’ socialism fails just about every time it’s been attempted. I guess they support evidence-based policies except when it contradicts Sanders’ agenda.

They advocate for increased government funding for science. This is a question of fiscal policy, not science. Why not make 80% of the federal budget go to science? Are these marchers anti-science because they don’t advocate 90% or even 100% of the budget go to such research? What this issue is really about is scientists trying to get more federal funds for their own industry, no different than corporate lobbyists.

The next clue are the organizers. According to their website, it includes: Kate Gage who worked eight years for the Obama Administration, Caitlin Pharo who worked for the Florida Democratic Party in 2016, Rachael Holloway who is active in social justice (i.e. – socialism) advocacy, Lina Miller who advances social justice through a humanistic congregation, etc.

Another clue is its backing by theĀ George Soros funded Union of Concerned Scientists, whose mission is to be to advance leftist causes under the guise of advocating science.

The Anti-Science Left

It is true that conservatives are anti-science. Opponents of Darwinism are mostly Republicans. But the left is also anti-science. People who believe in astrology, psychics, and other forms of charlatanism are mostly Democrats.

Why the fuck would anyone take medical advice from Jenny McCarthy?

No, vaccines don’t cause autism.

Sometimes it’s bipartisan: support for Jenny McCarthy’s pseudo-science opposing vaccines is pretty evenly split between political ideologies.

Let’s take global warming and grant the left that they are correct. Does the left actually believe the science of global warming? No!

Watermelon: green on the outside, red on the inside.

Watermelonism isn’t science.

Both fracking natural gas and nuclear are better for global warming than traditional sources of energy, yet they are opposed by the left. Furthermore, meat (mostly cows) contribute more greenhouse gases than transportation, including cars, airplanes, and trains combined. With a few exceptions, most global warming alarmists do not advocate veganism while they use global warming to berate oil companies and the Koch brothers. This hypocrisy shows that the global warming alarmists see it as a pretext to attack successful capitalist institutions like oil companies and that they don’t really care about the environment. We call them watermelons.

OIl pipeline map.

US oil pipelines.

The left rejects science on the safety of fracking and oil pipelines. Remember the Dakota access protests? The argument was that the pipeline going under the Missouri river had too high a risk of leaking and polluting the river, an important water supply. Never mind the fact that there had been a pipeline going under the river for decades in the exact same spot planned for the Dakota access and that there decades there have been untold number of pipelines safely going under rivers across the country.

Leftists ignore the science of GMO foods. A personal story I can recall is talking to a friend about the health dangers of fructose corn syrup, to which he responded with the ridiculous nonsense that somehow the fructose molecules from GMO corn must be different and worse than the organic fructose corn syrup. Fructose is fructose! Duh! This was a very intelligent man who went through medical school. I can understand concerns about eating food sprayed with Round-Up, but most leftists object to GMO just for the fact it’s GMO, not what chemicals were sprayed on it.

The reality is leftists and conservatives are equally anti-science. Here’s an interesting psychological study that proves it. It found when someone is presented with easily-disprovable pseudoscience that confirms his opinions then he just accept it without questioning. But when it contradicts his opinions, only then does he take the time to think through it and see the flaw to debunk it.

Lessons for Libertarians

The first lesson is that man is not a rational animal, which is why the victory for liberty will be achieved through non-rational tactics.

A second lesson is the ingenious tactics of the left. They instill the belief that their opponents hate science, hate women, hate this, hate that, etc. It’s amazingly effective! How can libertarians employ this tactic?

Double standard: a person taking money at gunpoint is theft, but a cop taking money at gunpoint is taxation.It’s difficult! We can portray our opponents as hating liberty. The problem with this is liberty is a vague amorphous concept that’s hard to grasp. Hating women is easy to understand. Hating liberty? Not so much.

The taxation is theft meme is one example of libertarians starting to get there. But that’s small progress. I’m at a loss of other examples we can pursue, but the point here is that liberty activists should be thinking of creative and effective ways to market our message.

Perhaps the best option is simply to make liberty cool through pop culture and the messaging will naturally follow. For this I can think of no better outlet than influencing the pop culture through music, and I can think of no better attempt at that than the hard work of the band BackWordz. Their awesome album Veracity (that you should buy and promote) is available at iTunes, Amazon, and Google.

BackWordz "Veracity" album cover

My favorite track on the album is Statheist, which builds an association with belief in government as akin to belief in mystical gods. I like it not just for the message but also, lyrics aside, it’s just damned good music! As much as I admire Larkin Rose’s great video Statism: the Most Dangerous Religion, the format of an awesome short heavy metal track will always be much more impactful than a twelve and a half minute lecture.

Maybe rocking out to their headbanging tracks will inspire your own ideas on how to shape the message of liberty? Maybe some day there will be a march for science decrying the mystical beliefs of statheism!