Moral of the story:
Don’t fuck with the scientists and park rangers.
They largely consider themselves above politics.
The Republicans have awakened a sleeping giant.
The ‘information is free, distrust authority, truth and justice at any cost, respect my identity and right to communicate’ attitude generally attributed to millennials? Has always been a strong part of scientific culture. Scientists find the truth and argue about it for a living. Scientists share their practices and out-truth each other for a living. Scientists market that truth to other people for a living.
The open source movement was built and pioneered by scientists. The concept of the internet as a freely available and accessible worldwide tool was an extension of scientific culture. Before that, other media and communication efforts went through the same process. There are so many cool underground stories of small groups of scientists using their limited power and a bit of secrecy to create open source cultures and free information under the noses of political and business interests trying to restrict such things for personal gain.
Scientists consider themselves above everything – politicians, business, the law if the law restricts truth, other scientists. A nervous grad student who thinks they’ve found a flaw in the work of a Nobel laureate would be *expected* to challenge that work publically; respect for seniority is for business decisions, not for ideas. Scientists never grew out of their rebellious teenage phase after discovering that the world was unfair. Scientists are punks who channelled their energy into learning as much about the laws of the universe as they can. Scientists are basically the punk community if it were interested in information rather than music, and they do not ever grow out of it, and they do not ever stop. We had staff at our university who were frequently driven to tears because they couldn’t find ways to convince the senior scientists to take their vacation days for over a decade and it was causing serious administrative problems. They had to bribe the scientists to work from home for a month and pretend to be on holiday, and then everyone pretended not to notice when the scientists showed up to work to advise us poor grad students in person anyway. Scientists do what they want, and the first thing they are taught is how to see bullshit – the second thing they are taught is that it’s their fundamental duty to call out bullshit in anyone they see using it, no matter how prestigious or powerful.
They do not rest, they do not stop, they fear no death or ridicule or government sanction.
It is right to fear them.
The popular stereotype of the researcher is that of a skeptic and a
pessimist. Nothing could be further from the truth! Scientists must be
optimists at heart, in order to block out the incessant chorus of those
who say “It cannot be done.”
– Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri