Behold science, the sword and the shield of progressivism.
Over the course of the pandemic (and before that, in debates over climate change, stem cells, etc.), liberals have insisted that we must listen to science and heed the scientists. It was a cornerstone of President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign and a constant refrain of Donald Trump critics.
Taken literally, I endorse the phrase “listen to science” wholeheartedly. Scientists have important things to say to policymakers and citizens alike—and let’s not forget that in a democracy, voters are policymakers too. A well-informed electorate is a useful check on ill-informed politicians.
The problem, however, is that the people who say “listen to science” tend not to mean it literally but figuratively, and worse, intermittently.