Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama proposes: "[I]t's the right thing to do, to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools."
Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney responds: "Senator Obama is wrong if he thinks science-based sex education has any place in kindergarten. We should be working to clean up the filthy waters our kids are swimming in."
Rick Perlstein points out that Romney is "framing science as inherently a bad thing" here, rather than lodging his complaint, as is more usual with his crowd, in a distinction of "sound science as against junk science" or in a debate about what are the proper standards of "appropriateness" to invoke in this case.
This matters, because by stripping his rhetoric of such qualifications Romney has nudged mainstream Movement Republicanism into an even balder extremity in its public antipathy to proper scientific practices and especially the role of science in democratic cultures. Romney is not just cynically undermining the role of warranted consensus science in government regulation, advice, and oversight to pander to social conservatives or moneyed interests in the usual corrupt and opportunistic Republican manner here, but actually calculating that his campaign will benefit from a blanket expression of hostility to science as such.
I believe that Romney, like most Movement Republicans, has failed to learn the lesson of the Terri Schiavo debacle, he has bought the spin of the "values voter" through which Rovian Republicans sought to distract our attention from a second stolen Election in 2004. I believe that Romney has misread America which, whatever the professed Christianity of a majority of its citizens, remains in my view absolutely a secular nation forming, even now in the midst of our great present distress, an emerging technoprogressive majority.