The good news about Bobo’s new blog is that he will eventually say something so stupid and inaccurate and offensive that the project will be cancelled.
I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about why it is that I hate it when conservative non-scientists write about science. At first I thought it was just that I hate to see anything I hold sacred be defiled, like when Al Green was written into an episode of Ally McBeal, but that’s not it. What I dislike is how often amateur conservative forays into science drift towards theories about “improving” the human race. I’ve covered the conservative obsession with racial IQ differences before. Brooks takes a slightly different tack, he’s interested in building a better man, a la early 20th century communism. (Before you say I haven’t even read the book, Brooks is clear about what the book is about and I read a long excerpt in the New Yorker).
Brooks didn’t have to make his characters masters of the universe. In fact, given his premise, which seems to be something along the lines of all you need is love and a certain sort of conservative values, it would make more sense if his characters were supremely contented members of the middle-class. But he has to drive home the point that his characters are better than you and me and this can’t be done without making them wealthy.
Maybe I’m taking all too far, but I find Brooks’ (and Tom Wolfe’s and, to a lesser extent, William Saletan’s) attempts to use science to further his own radical ideology genuinely scary. At heart, they’re not much different than the crazy social Darwinist and eugenics theories that once sprang up.
I don’t feel this way about all science writing. I find John Tierney and Gregg Easterbrook concern-trolling climate change and musing about the speed of light irritating, but it’s reasonably harmless.
Am I being crazy here?