Thursday, April 21, 2022

#2532: Chip Beeker

Alabama legislatures are, unfortunately, not generally known as centers for of reason, sanity and decency. But even by Alabama’s standards, Chris “Chip” Beeker is utterly deranged. Beeker is currently Alabama’s Public Service Commissioner, and a paranoid fundie conspiracy theorist and bigot. The purpose of the Alabama Public Service Commission is to regulate utility services like electricity and water, but Beeker seems a bit confused about his role.


Beeker has spent a significant amount of the Commission’s time – often together with his equally deranged co-commissioner and current (2021) president of the APSC, Twinkle Cavanaugh – ranting about gay marriage. At a 2015 meeting, for instance, he went on a lengthy and incoherent stream-of-consciousness tirade in response to the U.S. District Judge’s ruling against Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban, a ruling that ostensibly reminded him of  the difference of our federal government when we were children,” i.e. Alabama of the 1950s, when everything was the way it should be there, and led him to praise Roy Moore’s vow to block same-sex marriages and “this usurpation of the rights of Alabamians” (i.e. Alabamians™, which encompass people who shares his political views on religion and certainly not gay people). Then he lamented “the moral decline in our nation”, as evidenced by teen pregnancies (the relationship to gay marriage went unexplained), that schools were no longer required to post copies of the Ten Commandments (“the results of the removal of God from the schools is as plain as the results of the attempted removal of God from all of the United States”), and the fact that there are daycares inside public schools.


Beeker has described the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality as “five unelected and unaccountable justices imposed their will on the people of Alabama and the United States,” following it up – to make sure that no one would interpret him as reasonable – by claiming that the ruling “was not an interpretation of the Constitution. It was an assault on God, on Christian heritage and on our culture,” because for Beeker, the Constititution and a literal reading of the Bible is more or less the same thing. And according to Beeker, “the runaway judiciary is a bigger threat to the United States than Isis. Liberal judges have done harm to our country and our constitution than Al Qaeda,” because homosexual relationships are pretty much exactly like mass murder.


Beeker has views about environmental regulations, too. In particular, as Beeker sees it, EPA rules regulating pollution from coal plants violate God’s will because He gave coal to Alabama, and “who has the right to take what God’s given a state?” Which is a very strange question to ask on so many levels. Twinkle Cavanaugh followed up the rant by imploring people to “be in prayer” for securing coal plants’ rights to pollute the state and the world as they fancy. As for the science part, Beeker thinks that the “so-called ‘climate change crisis’ is about as real as unicorns and little green men from Mars”. Climate change is promoted by “the same environmental extremists who screamed a few years ago that our planet was experiencing ‘global warming,’ but when studies showed weather patterns have actually gotten cooler, not warmer, over the past several decades,, they subtly changed the phrase to ‘climate change’ [no, they didn’t]” No studies have of course remotely suggested what Beeker claims in his imaginary narrative, (and no: no one believed that the Earth was cooling in the seventies either, contrary to a zombie myth popular in denialist circles) but he’s not going to let reality get in the way for some good, conspiratorial wishful thinking.


Diagnosis: Wild-eyed, ragingly insane, incoherent conspiracy theorist and religious fanatic. That kind of stuff flies well in Alabama, obviously, and he seems to remain popular.

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