Bluntly? Because they say stupid things like this.
When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons.
Speaking on the sidelines of a smart grid conference in Washington, Dr. Chu said he didn’t think average folks had the know-how or will to to change their behavior enough to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” Dr. Chu said. “The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.” (In that case, the Energy Department has a few renegade teens of its own.)
The Energy Department assigned a flack - intelligently, one who was not a scientist - to walk back Secretary Chu's sneering; but there's no sense in pretending that said walk back is going to be sincere. The unfortunate truth is that quite a few hard scientists have a general disdain for the average voter; and they're not shy about saying so, either. While the latter is actually a laudable trait - being able to freely tell people that nonsense is nonsense is absolutely required to do good science - when mixed with the former it causes no end of trouble. Because American voters are not like unruly teenagers. No matter how fashionable it is among some demographic subgroups to pretend that they are.
Including, by the way, far too many people on the Internet.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.