The Republicans’ war on science and reason - The Washington Post Last month, Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein wrote that if you wanted to come up with a bumper sticker that defined the Republican Partys platform it would be this: Repeal the 20th century. Vote GOP. With their unrelenting attempts to slash Social Security, end Medicare and Medicaid and destroy the social safety net, Republicans are, indeed, on a quest of reversal. But they have set their sights on an even bolder course than Pearlstein acknowledges in his column: Its not just the 20th century they have targeted for repeal; its the 18th and 19th too. The 18th century was defined, in many ways, by the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement based on the idea that reason, rational discourse and the advancement of knowledge, were the critical pillars of modern life. The leaders of the movement inspired the thinking of Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin; its tenets can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. But more than 200 years later, those basic tenets the very notion that facts and evidence matter are being rejected, wholesale, by the 21st-century Republican Party. I never understood this obsession to deny and distort the reality of science.