The Trump administration: No place for professionals

Almost immediately after the election of Donald Trump, I wrote that there would be no room in the Trump administration for genuine-article professionals. Now, apparently, that’s starting to sink-in throughout the civil service as data-sharing Web sites go down, research is curtailed, and anti-science amateurs take charge.

WASHINGTON — Across the vast federal bureaucracy, Donald J. Trump’s arrival in the White House has spread anxiety, frustration, fear and resistance among many of the two million nonpolitical civil servants who say they work for the public, not a particular president.

At the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of scientists strategized this past week about how to slow-walk President Trump’s environmental orders without being fired.

What do you know? That’s exactly what I predicted.

Imagine this wholly plausible scenario: Ben Carson, Creationist nutjob who believes that the pyramids were built to serve as granaries, is nominated for Secretary of Education; he is much-discussed as a likely nominee for that job, and weenies like Paul Ryan will doubtless urge his swift confirmation. Carson reads some law or other as granting him authority to withhold federal educational funding from states which don’t teach creationism as an alternative scientific explanation of human existence, and piously adds that to do so will uplift the country’s morals.

He has said he believes exactly those thngs, and millions of Trump voters agree with him. This could actually happen.

What is an honorable mid-level science professional serving in the Department of Education supposed to do in that case? Disgrace himself by attempting to implement such a policy, condemning a generation of American schoolchildren to appalling ignorance and sweeping the floors of the Chinese-owned factory on the midnight shift?

S-a-a-a-y that he is trying to implement the policy and look busy-busy-busy while underhandedly subverting it?

I can sympathize with the perspective, the sense of desperation, that would cause them to do that — but they shouldn’t.

  • It is a dishonorable and unethical thing to do. If you draw a paycheck, you do the work.

  • It is psychologically harmful, which will inevitably manifest itself throughout their lives and relationships.

And the big one:

  • Let the public see the meaning and consequence of the anti-intellectualism of the loony right, and their own negligent attitude toward the duties of citizenship. They will vote in 2018, and they will consign once-for-all the alt-right nutjobs and their backward-looking ambitions to the dumpster where they belong.

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