My Participation Trophy

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Memo to the Science Marchers: A SLIGHTLY SELF-AGGRANDIZING GOOD JOB.

I joined in on the Science March this weekend, the local variant, here in the Twin Cities, and learned some things both about protesting in general, and the Science March in particular.

First, kudos to anyone who attends an anti-Trump march ever, because by modern life standards, participating in protest and activism is a hassle. So the fact that five digits'-worth of people showed up here when you need a multi-hour commitment for 20 minutes of marching is straight up impressive.

This sounds facetious, but it's not. One of the great mysteries of mdern life is the amount of hassle associated with it, despite living in the future. People have a LOT of shit going on. The people at the various anti-Trump protest marches don't have the Tea Party luxury of being retired racists, for the most part. Doing this means not doing other shit. The size of that sacrifice varies, but for a lot of people it's non-trivial.

Generally speaking, the things you've heard about the tone of these marches are true. A friendly, normal, peaceful vibe. At one point a camera drone flew overhead during the pre-march muster, and nobody in the crowd threw rocks trying to strike down the devil machine, so clearly George Soros hires a higher quality of protester than Rick Santelli did.

I don't know about the other cities, but the Twin Cities Science March was nerdy as fuuuuuuuuuuck. There was an active competition for Most Obscurely Incomprehensible Protest Sign, with multiple winners. This is not a criticism per se - protest signs in the Trump era are in many cases just another way to be clever on social media, and that's fine - but man, if the march were any nerdier they'd have had to set up marathon-style inhaler stations every block or so.

A lot of the signs expressed the noble sentiment that "science isn't political", but of course science is political, because everything is political. And everything is political, and science is doubly political for the very reason people say it's NOT political. Science that defines objective fact is frequently at odds with the desire for money and power.

Science was, in many ways, one of the first referees of society to be actively undermined so that people could get away with evil shit. Long before Fox News was fouinded or the word "alternative facts" was coined, industries like tobacco produced their own alternative scientists and alternative science that obfuscated the true dangers of smoking for DECADES in the pursuit of profit and, in the case of tobacco-growing states, political power.

So, while the deliberate exploitation of bullshit in politics to create a permanent anti-intellectual underclass is a relatively recent development, and the election of members of that underclass to positions of power even more recent, science has been political for a VERY long time. The pro-science side is just coming around to taking up their half of the fight.