Friday, March 04, 2005

Protesting Truth

"The personal is the political", has been a rallying cry of collectivists, "progressivists", marxists, and others on the left since the 1960's. Never has this concept been so apparent than in it's application to the politics of today.

A lot of folks, libertarian and conservative alike call the Democratic party the "demonrats", or the "dhimmicrats". It's garbage like this that prompts this sort of rhetoric:
"[A]s a Democrat, you don't want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don't want them to have progress. But as an American, you hope good things would happen."
Notice that "as an American" bit was almost an afterthought; but it get's better:

"Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's still hope for the rest of us ... There's always hope that this might not work."
Not that there was any doubt before, but now serious thought makers within the party are admitting it publicly, they hope for the defeat of America so that they can gain politically.

Lets repeat that: Democratic policymakers, and thinkers are actively hoping for, and in some cases working toward the defeat of Americas efforts around the world. They do this not because they are philosophically opposed to democracy, but because they wish to deny the credit for this success to republicans. Democrats realize that if this project succeeds, it will permanently harm their political position, and though it would be an unqualified boon to the world, their personal political calculation is far more important to them.

The truth is that the Bush administrations ideals, if not necessairly their operations in detail, are succeesing over the ideals promoted by democrats. The democrats refuse to acknowledge this truth, and everything they do is simply railing against it.

They are protesting truth.

This is what happens when you follow the collectivist dictum, "the personal is the political, and the political is the personal". Every bit of life becomes politicised. Every position you hold, every idea you have, every stand you take is now judged against some invisible standard of ldeological purity, and god help you if you are found wanting. In this climate it is not possible for you to appreciate facts or results that are contradictory to, or even neutral towards your position, all data must either be supportive, or it must be discredited.

This stance is most visible, and most violent, in the politics of race, gender, and sexuality. I equate these issues with each other, because both their emotional context, and their rhetoric are similar.

This is a territory where everyone speaks in code, or if they don't they are castigated, attacked as insenstive, racist, sexist, homophobic, and the like. Further, it's a territory where facts, and data are irrelvant to the issues. No facts can be accepted, or even discussed, if they in any way less than wholeheartedly support the position being taken by the group, unless the soul purpose of that discussion is to refute or discredit those data. Contradictory data are to be taken as, and publicly treated as, lies and propaganda, no matter the source, or the credibility.

I should also note, the far right can be just as bad, if not worse, but their stupidity and perfidy shows itself in different ways (equating opinions, values, and morals with facts and truth), and what I'm writing about here is the tendency to protest truth because of agenda.

I have three examples for you: Lawrence Summers, Jada Pinkett Smith, and B strain AIDS (Oh and please don't think I'm singling out women or gays specifically in this, I just couldnt find a good example of blatant race baiting in the last few weeks. I'm sure one will pop up shortly).

More in the extended entry...

Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard University, is a moderate liberal. He was President Clintons final secretary of the treasury. He has lead some of the most "progressive" hiring, and admissions practices at Harvard, and he has given a great deal of support to liberal causes. Summers however, is also a scientist (well, a doctor of economics actually), an intelligent man, and a man who apparently doesn't take his politics personally enough, or seriously enough for many on the left, where this is a grave, possibly fatal flaw.

Mr. Summers gave a speach recently where he was lamenting the lack of women in the hard sciences, an undisputed fact; and where he talked about the current scientific thinking on some of the reasons behind it. This was not unfounded speculation, but a thoughtful, if shallowly treated (because of time constraints) review of certain research in the cognitive sciences; which suggests there are specific gender related traits which appear more often in men and less in women, that would tend to make men more able, at the top of the standard distribution and above it, in the hard sciences.

This speach wasn't a value judgement, or a condemnation of women, or even a statement that women are less intelligent than men, it was simply talking about a group of scientific studies, presumably without political agenda, presented by someone favorable towards "womens issues", but also someone who has a great respect for truth, and for results. It is those least two traits that really caused the "offense" in question.

Note: According to the best sets of statistics I have seen the average woman is more intelligent than the average man; there are more women at the top end of the standard distribution of intelligence, and more men at the low end of it. However there are more men at the top end outside the standard distribution (though more out of the top 100 known most intelligent people are women) ; the standard distribution for men is somewhat broader than for women, and in that breadth skews a bit higher; Thus the data also say this is true by a very slight margin; a very unpopular sentiment indeed.

Well, the response to this was predictably political, and entirely driven by agenda. MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, told reporters "I felt I was going to be sick," that "my heart was pounding and my breath was shallow," that "I just couldn't breathe, because this kind of bias makes me physically ill," and that she had to flee the room because otherwise "I would've either blacked out or thrown up."

This type of high level (or low level depending on your point of view) emotional rhetoric is considered sensible discourse in this arena. A grown woman; a scientist no less, saying that she was made physically ill near to the point of unconsciousness, and bolting away from an idea that offends her. In any other environment this would be considered immature and silly (and in fact feel free to feel that way now; I certainly do). I personally think this woman does nothing but add weight to some peoples worst prejudices about women.

Mr. Lawrence has been roundly criticised, and thousands of leftist agenda activists have called for his resignation, but hundreds of serious, and reputable scientists have rallied to support him. Cognitive researchers, many of them women, agree that what he said is what they believe to be true right now, and that in fact the differences may even be deeper and more significant.

This scientific belief (we can't yet say it is certain fact, or even a concrete theory) is unnacceptable to agenda politics, so they protest against it; but how can you protest fact?

Which brings me to the B strain AIDS issue.

Recently a substrain of B strain AIDS, originally only found in southeast Asia, but now making its way across Asia and africa, has started to appear in New York and San Francisco.

B strain is remarkably more dangerous than A strain, the dominant form of AIDS in the west. A strain is actually a relatively weak and fragile virus, dying quickly when exposed to air or sunlight, and requiring a signficant number of virus particles to be introduced directly into the bloodstream to infect. It is quite possible for you to have normal unprotected sex with someone who has active A strain AIDS hundreds of times, and not be infected (please note, this is obviously an INCREDIBLY bad idea, it's just the truth), especially if you are male and it is your female partner who is infected. Female to male infection is relatively rare with A strain.

If you are infected with A strain HIV, with modern treatement regimens you can expect to live indefinitely. It was once believed that the mortality rate for AIDS would be 100%, that it was simply a matter of extending time, but there are people who have lived with AIDS for 20 years or more now. For these people, AIDS has become a chronic disease rather than an acute one.

The same things cannot be said about B strain. B strain is a far more hardy virus, surviving for hours in hostile environments, and requiring far fewer live virus particles to produce infection. Notably, B strain appears to be able to produce infection with a far lower volume of body secretions and a lower count of virii in those secretions. Where blood infiltration from small vaginal or anal tears is the primary infection vector for A strain, with B strain, there can be enough virii present in vaginal secretions to cause infection without open wounds. There may even be enough in saliva, and there certainly is from breast milk. The fact that this strain is so virulent, allows it to sometimes survive, and potentially infect, from the residues of vaginal and anal fluids that are left on the gentials or in the mouth after sexual intercourse with condoms and dental dams. This has lead to B strain being the primary cause of new infections for heterosexual men outside the U.S. , and to far higher rates of infection among gay men and lesbians.

Worse, with this particular substrain of B strain, infections proceed far faster than A strain, which typically takes from 6 months to two years, and can take from 10 to 20 years to begin showing symptoms.With treatment and the right immune system, active AIDS infection can sometimes not appear at all (as in the case of Magic Johnson). Conversely, B strain infection can become apparent within weeks, and the progress of the virus from there is extremely rapid. B strain resists all known treatments, and is known to cause death within 6 months in some cases, and 20 months in almost all cases.

So why don't more Americans know about B strain AIDS? It's existence has been known for well over a decade, and this substrain was identified more than 5 years ago, why hasn't this been more widely reported?

Some suggest that it is because reporters and news organizations dont want to inflame a large anti-gay backlash that may occur if this information is discussed publicly. In fact, when stories recently appeard on CNN, and in Time, USA Today, and the New York Times discussing B strain AIDS, gay advocacy groups protested. They did not dispute the facts of the stories, or even their presentation (note, these are all very liberal news organizations, unlikely to treat this issue as an anti-gay issue), but the mere fact that people were talking about this at all. They want us to stop talking about it, because it might make people angry with gays.

They are protesting the truth.

How can you protest the truth?

The truth is that this is an incredibly nasty and dangerous disease, and the information that it is here in America is important to save lives. The information that it can cause infection even with condom use is important to save lives. The information that you can't treat it is important to save lives.

They are protesting the truth, because it interferes with their agenda.

They're right by the way; it probably WILL make people angry at gays. It will probably male people angry at the promiscuous as well. It may produce a reaction, a backlash if you will; similar to that which occurred when AIDS was originally publicised in the early to mid 80's. I think that would be a regretable thing, but it doesn't change the fact that by trying to suppress the truth, these groups are making it far more likely that people will contract, and will die from this horrible disease.

To the agenda protestors, these facts can't discussed, because they might endanger homonormalization, the process of changing the ideas and mores of our society so that homosexuality is accepted as normal. I have no problem with this idea, as far as I'm concerned your sexual preferences are jsut that, yours; what I have a problem with, is that any time something comes out that is negative towards gays, it is forbidden to speak about it, for fear of threatening the goal, no matter how important it may be. There are those who would call me homophopic just for bringing this whole subject up.

Which brings around to my final example (and coincidentally back to Harvard) Jada Pinkett Smith.

Mrs. Smith (the wife of rapper Will Smith), recently gave a talk about her life and her experiences (as a 34 year old straight black woman), during the "Cultural Rythyms" festival at Harvard. The closing of her talk included this quote:
"Women, you can have it all—a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career," she said. "They say you gotta choose. Nah, nah, nah. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. You can do whatever it is you want. All you have to do is want it."

"To my men, open your mind, open your eyes to new ideas. Be open," she added.

I think to most of us, that statement could not possibly seem to be offensive. But most of us do not live and breathe an agenda of changing reality.

The day after the talk, a letter of protest was written to the administration of Harvard, from the "Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations" (boy that's a mouthful isn't it). Some time later a press release was issued, and an article has appeared in the Crimson saying the following:
"The BGLTSA release acknowledged that the Foundation was not responsible for Pinkett Smith’s comments. But the Foundation has pledged to “take responsibility to inform future speakers that they will be speaking to an audience diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and class,” according to the release.

Pinkett Smith was honored as the Foundation’s “Artist of the Year” at its 20th annual Cultural Rhythms show, which she also hosted.

BGLTSA Co-Chair Jordan B. Woods ’06 said that, while many BGLTSA members thought Pinkett Smith’s speech was “motivational,” some were insulted because they thought she narrowly defined the roles of men and women in relationships.

“Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable,” he said.

Calling the comments heteronormative, according to Woods, means they implied that standard sexual relationships are only between males and females.

“Our position is that the comments weren’t homophobic, but the content was specific to male-female relationships,” Woods said.

Margaret C. D. Barusch ’06, the other BGLTSA co-chair, said the comments might have seemed insensitive in effect, if not in intent.

“I think the comments had a very strong focus for an extended period of time on how to effectively be in a relationship—a heterosexual relationship,” Barusch said. “I don’t think she meant to be offensive but I just don’t think she was that thoughtful.”

In order to discuss these concerns and ensure that such a misunderstanding doesn’t occur again, Paulus said the BGLTSA and the Foundation are planning a joint breakfast later this week as well as a general discussion forum for all of the SAC member groups.

Paulus added that the Foundation will issue a letter later this week apologizing for any offense the show might have caused and encouraging concerned students to attend the planned discussions."


It's not really a word, it's a term of art promulgated by the activist industry. Its purpose is to put forth the idea that any favorable discussion of, or endorsement or conventional heterosexual relationships is in fact directly oppression of homosexuals, because it makes them "uncomfortable".

When did being uncomfortable, become oppression? For that matter, how does one have the right to be uncomfortable about someones normal personal relationships? How does one have any right to be uncomfortable about someone speaking of their marriage, or their children?

Let me jsut get this straight, they don't want people to be uncomfortable talking about gay relationships, but they DO want people to be uncomfortable talking about heterosexual relationships?

They are saying that the mere fact that a 34 year old, straight, black woman is talking about her personal experiences, her life, and her ideas is offensive, and is in fact oppression and prejudice.

Honestly, I have nothing useful to say about this. There is no useful way I could respond to or debate this idea, because t's risible on it's face. There is nothing I can say that can indict this idea more than this:

They are protesting truth.