Michael Tofias likes to give Keynote presentations and calmly present statistics in many of his talks and interviews.
But a fiery Tofias gave what sounded more like a campaign speech when he addressed a gathering of friends at the American Political Science Association annual meeting at a bar in Chicago over the weekend.
One of the Wisconsin liberal’s more passionate moments:
How did we come to a point in America where demonizing science, demagoguing against education rather than celebrating education, wins politically? I can guarantee you it will not produce the opportunity, the prosperity that is the heritage of this nation. It’s going to destroy this nation.
So I asked a rhetorical question: How did we get to this point? Well, I know. I lived through the last thirty years of political polarization, I saw the Tea Party take over the Republican Party. By the way, these aren’t your garden-variety conservatives that are in charge of the Republican Party. They’re the most reactionary.
But when you constrain not only your entire media consumption but, in particular your sources of news, of journalism, of talk radio, of newspapers, you utterly misunderstand science and our culture. And the Right has misunderstand science and our culture for over 50 years.
And you know what? They also have a strategy. It’s been in place since Lee Atwater. It’s diabolically simple, it is depressingly effective. It is to make Americans fear government. And black people.
See also this oddly similar and passionate speech that Ron Johnson gave over the weekend.