Your position is, of course, entirely logical. Unfortunately, the logic of what’s best for the United States or the world or everyday people or scientists is far from the minds of politicians in the United States. They are interested only in what’s best for them.
The simple truth is our system is corrupt. Deeply corrupt. If you want lawmakers who make policy designed for good outcomes for society, and for the advancement of civilization, you must, at the very least, demand that the candidates for whom you vote be principled people.
It’s never going to be the case that an administrative class that takes billions of dollars in bribes from major corporations whose objectives are in direct opposition to the well-being of the American people is suddenly going to start legislating on behalf of you or me or science or art.
Frankly, Ethan Siegel, it has gotten to the point that you should just run for Congress. You and dozens of other science communicators should run for public office and get into the trenches and do the dirty work of undoing the damage that corrupt politicians have been doing for decades, and you should do it without taking one corporate dime.
The reason is that, while you and others like you are interested in seeing the public be more educated about science (and just more educated, in general), we have political actors who benefit from having an ignorant populace incapable or unwilling to penetrate their lies and distortions. If your entire platform is based on fear, lies, mysticism, and anti-scientific thinking, it stands to reason you would not be out promoting science, but, rather, that you would be trying to crush it.
It speaks volumes, for instance, that the 114th Congress had 182 climate deniers in its membership. That’s 182/535 or 34% of the voting members of Congress. So, while only about 3% of scientists (at most) could be labeled climate deniers, 34% of members of Congress could. Whether they all believe that, or whether it’s the huge sums of money from Big Oil filling their coffers, they legislate based on climate denial and propagate the myth it is not real.
We are staring over the precipice of huge scientific and technological issues such as global warming, automation, biotechnology, cybernetics, internet security, healthcare crises, global water shortages, environmental toxins, higher education, and a bunch of stuff I’m forgetting or entirely unaware of, with perhaps the most ill-equipped, scientifically-ignorant administration imaginable steering the ship. This just isn’t going to work. We need an entirely new kind of leadership to deal with the challenges of the 21st Century and beyond.