Skip to navigationSkip to content

Republican lawmakers may not trust science, but they do believe in magic

US Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs
“Magic is an art that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.”
  • Jake Flanagin
By Jake Flanagin


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

A group of Republican congressmen have submitted a resolution calling for the recognition of magic as a “rare and valuable art form.”

Texas representative Pete Sessions and six GOP cosponsors write that “magic is an art form with the unique power and potential to impact the lives of all people,” enabling them to “experience the impossible,” and having a “significant impact on other art forms.”

The resolution ultimately calls for congressional recognition of magic as a “national treasure,” and calls for efforts to “make certain magic is preserved, understood, and promulgated.”

The veneration of magic is in stark contrast to the hostility toward science from the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, which has repeatedly scoffed at the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. The House Science Committee even subpoenaed scientists who published research debunking a popular climate change denier theory.

Among the co-sponsors of House Resolution 642, “Recognizing magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure,” Idaho’s Mike Simpson claims that “there is widespread disagreement as to the magnitude of human influence on the climate and the degree to which any effort by humanity to reduce carbon output would slow or reverse the effects of climate change.”

And Ken Buck of Colorado has publicly applauded Oklahoma senator Jim Inhofe, who attempted to disprove climate change by bringing a snowball out onto the Senate floor. “Inhofe was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated,” Buck said. “The evidence just keeps supporting his view, and more and more people’s view, of what’s going on.”

Sessions, meanwhile, is quite a magic fan: In 2014 he read into the Congressional Record a statement honoring Dal Sanders, president of the Society of American Magicians.

“The art of magic has been around for centuries and is intended to entertain audiences with the staging of tricks and creating seemingly impossible illusions,” Sessions said in 2014. He could have just as easily been describing politics.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.