dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

Who Cares About Causes When Effects Can Be Denied?

January 7th, 2019 by dk

It turns out things are worse than we thought. We knew that a significant portion of the current Republican Party has lost faith in science. But it’s becoming apparent that they also don’t believe in cause and effect. In fact (and I don’t use those two words lightly), that may be their central gripe with science — the “effect” part of cause and effect.

We now know that some climate-change skeptics do believe that humans are causing changes in the earth’s atmosphere. The current administration admitted as much in court documents in their rebuttal to Eugene’s Climate Kids case. It’s just that they are less than positive that those human-caused changes are having a specific effect on the environment.

Do actions have consequences? This is where certain people have become less than certain.

Last month, the Associated Press analyzed federal documents that justified the current administration’s decision to rescind an Obama-era regulation requiring electronic brakes on trains carrying explosive fuels. The brake rule was canceled, at the request of railroad and oil industry lobbyists, because it was calculated to be too expensive.

The AP study found that the federal government’s numbers omitted over $100 million that the rule would save by avoiding the damages incurred by train derailments that would be prevented. When confronted by what seemed to be a blatant miscalculation, Department of Transportation officials replied, essentially, “We meant to do that.” They don’t see why the cost — the consequence — of doing nothing should be taken into account.

Other examples have gotten more attention. They demonstrate a belief that elections shouldn’t have consequences. Republican lawmakers in North Carolina were voted out of the majority in 2016, so they used their remaining days in power to strip certain powers from the incoming Democratic leadership.

Republicans have done the same this winter in Michigan and Wisconsin, denying incoming Democratic governors certain powers that had been wielded by their Republican predecessors. Elections may have consequences, but not always the ones voters intended.

And then there’s Missouri, where the rebuke of the voters’ decision is the most direct. Missouri citizens overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that would have subjected lawmakers to the state’s open-records law and reformed the process for drawing legislative districts.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson plans to lead Republican lawmakers to repeal the amendment and replace it with something more to their liking. And, in case the voters don’t get the message, they also plan to increase the number of signatures required to have future initiative petitions placed on the ballot. Voters in Missouri should be seen but not heard from.

“Fundamentally, you think when the people vote you shouldn’t be changing that vote,” Parson told the AP. “But the reality of it is that is somewhat what your job is sometimes, if you know something’s unconstitutional, if you know some of it’s not right.”

I can only guess how dispiriting this is to the volunteers who worked on “Clean Missouri.” Who wants to take up a cause when those in power can simply deny its effect?


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.