Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy
About 20 years ago Albert Hirschman wrote a small, but since well known, book "The Rhetoric of Reaction" about how conservatives think and argue. The bunnies will discover that this perfectly describes how are blogging compatriots and politicians reject science. Hirschman's concern was that democracy requires opposing views, but also interchange among those holding those views. "How did they get to be that way?" is a sure sign that an honest dialogue has vanished.
The Rhetoric of Reaction is structured about rejection of progress in politics, progress in the sense of a widening citizenship and active participation, particularly in the American and French Revolution and the development of democratic nation states since. While political progress is arbitrary the increased understanding provided by science is definitionally progress unless there are some fans of ignorance out there. Thus, it is not surprising that Hirschman's taxonomy fits the arguments made by those who reject science, specifically climate science, modern biology, modern medicine and more.
The bunnies can look forward to examples, indeed, Eli would encourage them to provide their own, but here he only wants to paraphrase Hirschman's theses
- Perversity is claiming that any purposive action to improve something only exacerbates the condition one wishes to remedy
- Futility is holding that attempts at transformation will be unavailing and will simply fail to make a dent
- Jeopardy argues that the cost of the proposed change is too high and endangers some previous valued accomplishment.