The race to the top of the ignorant slide is difficult not to watch as conservative Republicans slip and slide and climb over one another to try and get to the pinnacle. It is hard not to root for a proven idiot like Marjorie Taylor Greene. Last week one of her entries into the competition included this sour raspberry: "How much taxes and how much money did the people back in the ice age spend to warm up the earth?... maybe perhaps we live on a ball that rotates around the sun, that flies through the universe, and maybe our climate just changes." The current description of what just poured out of the slit beneath her nose is "word salad." Any attempt to try and pluck meaning from what she was babbling will only result in a stress-induced headache. That's why the crowd that nods in approval to her assault on common sense must be sedated in some way prior to sitting down to listen.
But I would like to enter a new horse into this contest: Wisconsin's Senator Ron Johnson. Last week during a Senate Budget hearing, he decided to go toe to toe with Doctor Michael Greenstone, an economics professor at the University of Chicago. Doctor Greenstone was there to discuss the economic impacts of climate change causing a projected eighty-five excess global deaths per one hundred thousand people every year by 2100. Senator Ron said he did not "put any stock in" the projections of Greenstone's study before arguing that it had shown climate change was "pretty good" for the U.S. and an overall positive since it would lead to warming in cold areas like Wisconsin.
"In terms of excess deaths, a warming globe's actually beneficial," Johnson said. "In my own state, your study shows that we would have a reduction in mortality of somewhere between fifty-four and fifty-six people per, I guess, it's one hundred thousand. Why wouldn't we take comfort in that?"
Never mind that Doctor Greenstone's study, based on the current global population of approximately 8 billion, would translate to nearly seven million more annual deaths. Why wouldn't we take comfort in that? Keeping in mind that Senator Ron was one of those who liked to compare deaths from COVID-19 favorably to those deaths that were flu-related.
Senator Ron is not a scientist. Or an economist. From the biography on his own website: "Ron graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in business and accounting after skipping his senior year of high school so he could work full time." Good for him, getting out there and making something of himself. A United States Senator with little or no understanding of science or economics. Scrambling to the top of that slippery slope.