When it comes to “intelligent design,” Gov. Bobby Jindal told Face the Nation recently he doesn’t think it’s an issue that should be decided on the federal or even state level, but on the local level. As a citizen of Louisiana, and very fully aware of the vetting so-called “intelligent design” received at enormous cost to the taxpayers in other venues, this response is frankly unacceptable. Moreover, Jindal seemed to imply that he is personally aware of attempts made for “facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them (his and other children) because of political correctness” (my italics). I followed the stream of discourse closely on this issue, and it seems to me that authoritative comments from people in possession of the “very best science,” as Jindal put it, have been contributed.
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require public schools to balance evolution lessons by teaching creationism. In 2005 an onerous court case in Pennsylvania determined that intelligent design was a fraud, the judge issuing a stinging decision, saying “we find that the secular purposes claimed by the [school] board amount to a pretext for the board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom.”
Can it possibly be that the governor of Louisiana scruples to call what the Supreme Court of the United States considers lawful conduct, being politically correct? This red herring of political correctness is, after all, the one-size-fits all cant of opprobrium heaped about the landscape by the nation’s neo-fascist ultra-far right radio entertainers. As such, it’s the kind of volatile skapegoatism which should be avoided by legitimate political figures.
Following the antics of their support of “intelligent design,” taxpayers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were soaked in debt; the region mocked for being an idiot haven. The case judge was threatened with assassination by an impassioned Christian religious zealot. All of that being in the public record and well publicized. Now, our governor’s idea of leadership is to suggest that these same invent-the-wheel issues should be dealt with on the local level. Presumably for the purpose of wasting taxpayer money in the entirely predictable litigation flowing from the Louisiana Science Education Act (SB733 having passed 36-0 in the Senate and awaiting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature); the equally predictable mocking, surely to come, is free. Believe me, the rest of the nation needs precious little excuse to see Louisiana as a haven for idiots.
Failure to veto such a bill would be an astonishing abdication of the public weal by any elected official. We would deserve the mockery from thoughtful human beings not less than from mute and rude beasts of the fields. Yet, I’m hopeful: from this nadir of political legislative leadership, I can’t imagine worse in train.