Despite my reminder, I’m not sure what I wanted to write about. It may have something to do with the fact that I drank a beer and I am a light-weight in the Teetotaler’s Drinking Olympics. But I’m not so far gone to forget to mentioned that the word “teetotaler” has nothing to do with “tea” as is commonly believed. I know I wanted to talk about the conservative aversion to facts and science, which is the same as talking about conservatives at all.
Take my father, my favorite conservative. He is kind of anti-Christian (somewhat embarrassingly so). And he hates creationists. He just can’t believe that people don’t accept natural selection. He’s also very healthy—he will almost certainly outlive me. He hates cigarettes and the tobacco companies’ long lived claim that cigarettes don’t cause cancer. And yet, he thinks that global warming is a liberal conspiracy.
Recently, he told me that he didn’t know that Obama was born in the United States because he had never seen his birth certificate. I knew that I could get him a copy and that would bring the whole issue to a close. But I felt the need to push where exactly his head was at. So I asked him why he needed to see Obama’s birth certificate when he’d never felt the need to see any other president’s birth certificate. He stared at me blankly. Eventually I learned that he felt the need to see Obama’s birth certificate because other people (wackos, but still) had called it into question.
I have little doubt that this would not be an issue if my father were 30 years younger—he is now about to turn 80. I’ve seen a degradation in his thinking over the years, just I’ve seen one in my own. I don’t begrudge him that—it is just more proof that any god who created us was evil. But I do begrudge Antonin Scalia his mental degradation.
At 76, Scalia is no longer the intellect he once was. What’s more, as with most people, his degradation of intelligence has gone along with a huge rise in arrogance. There is nothing wrong with this in a regular person. But there is something wrong with this when you are a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States with a lifetime appointment.
Antonin Scalia’s opinions have become more bizzare and shrill over the past decade. It used to be that he would at least hide his partisan opinions under a veneer of originalist nonsense. But no more. And I think it is that his mind is gone, which makes him the perfect conservative.