I’ve been reading “The Martian,” by Andy Weir. If you like hard science fiction (and can overlook the fact that there are no damaging sandstorms on Mars) I highly recommend it. It’s a fascinating, engaging and highly entertaining story. It’s also a reminder, a cautionary tale if you will, that we take for granted the delightful Terran bubble in which we all live. The universe is mostly a deadly place, inimical to life.
Fortunately Mark Watney, the eponymous hero of the book, is a scientist. He has the intellectual tools necessary to survive. Watney doesn’t have the luxury to ignore science because his bubble, the planet Mars, doesn’t forgive scientific ignorance. In an environment as hostile as the Red Planet, ignorance of science can be instantly life ending. On Mars, pseudoscience is against the law, and the penalty for it is death.
If you think about it the same is true on planet earth. It’s just that the wheels of justice turn much more slowly here. Watney can’t take his eyes off of scientific truth for a minute without dying. We can get away with it for generations. But the end result is the same. Ignorance of scientific truth is deadly both on earth and on Mars.
If Mars were colonized by humans right now it would contain no global warming deniers. They would all be dead. You can’t turn your back on science and expect to survive on Mars. Scientific justice is swift and terrible almost everywhere in the universe. Only on earth can fools survive, sometimes for whole generations.
Because scientific justice is so slow and clumsy and stupid in this wonderful bubble of ours that we so insouciantly neglect, it’s too often unevenly and unfairly applied. The poor and voiceless are the first to pay the price for scientific ignorance, even though they aren’t the ones who make the decisions to ignore scientific reality in the first place. They never get a say in anything.
Take Texas, for example. Texas is now paying a price for a tradition of ignorance of climate change. People are dying there because of the breathtaking, devastating drop in temperature, one of the counterintuitive but inevitable results of global warming. Ignorance of global warming is financed by billionaires who own Texas oil companies. They laugh at the people who are freezing to death in Texas because they can jet the hell out of there and luxuriate on the beaches of Cancun whenever it gets cold.
The poor and voiceless people of Texas can’t afford to jet the hell out of there. The poor and voiceless people of Texas can go to hell, for all the rich and powerful oil executives care.
Ted Cruz, the junior Senator from Texas, is one of the beneficiaries of this insanity. He’s made rich and fat and comfortable and kept in power by the billionaire oil companies who only care about money and power and want the poor and voiceless to go to hell. Ted Cruz thinks just like the oil executives do, only he has to hide it. He pretends to care about the poor and voiceless of Texas because if he doesn’t pretend to care he knows the poor and voiceless of Texas will vote him the hell out, will vote him permanently to his beach in Cancun, as it were. Ted Cruz doesn’t want that. He loves money and power too much to quit just now. Hence the pretending to care.
Right now only the very dumbest people of Texas still think that Ted Cruz gives a crap about them. That number has gotten smaller the last few days, but it still might be large enough to keep him in power. The junior Senator is worried that it might not be, however. So he’s doing the rounds of talk shows trying to justify why he jetted the hell out of there and went to Cancun. Problem is he keeps changing his story because he knows how lame it sounds.
It’s now time for Ted Cruz to resign. He probably won’t because not only is he greedy and evil and indifferent to the plight of the poor and voiceless people of Texas, he’s also stupid. Cruz doesn’t know there’s another kind of justice besides scientific justice. There’s the justice of the judgment of history, and the day of that justice is coming for him. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.