The Dark ages is a term that brings images of war, regressive thinking, and turmoil. Though historians often dismiss the term, the period between 500-1500 (though its effects were felt far after) included political unrest, social conflict, and the spread of disease. It also included a suppression of free and scientific thought.
Within the first couple of days of Donald Trump’s presidency, we have signs that we are about to enter another dark age. First, Trump signed a round of executive orders which included reviving both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. This reverses years of climate activism and Obama’s environmental legacy.
He also placed gag orders on the Environmental Protection Agency, shutting down its Twitter feed, and forcing employees off their individual accounts. Web pages with climate-change information were also dismantled.
Among all of this carnage, Badlands National Park bucked the system. They tweeted a series scientific facts:
— Nathan Rott (@NathanRott) January 24, 2017
The tweets are thought to have been posted by a former employee at the park who still had access to the account. What appears likely is that the Trump administration shut him or her down.
Badlands made their views clear as Trump was being inaugurated—they tweeted: “#ClimateChange has implications for naval force structure and operations. Factors driving this include: Water & resource challenges” @USNavy.”
Defenders of the silencing of the Badlands National Park point to the Hatch Act. The purpose of the Act is to maintain a federal workforce which is free of partisan political influence and activity.
But Badlands was tweeting scientific facts, not partisan propaganda. That the Trump administration would deem it partisan is a sign that we’re entering a period where scientific facts will be suppressed—just as Galileo was suppressed when Rome warned him not to speak out in defense of Copernican theory.
Get ready for the new dark ages, and get ready to fight.