Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to reach the reachable

People are discussing this study showing a correlation between low IQ in childhood and racism in adulthood, but the following nugget in the article seems to be receiving less attention:
People who were poorer at abstract reasoning were more likely to exhibit prejudice against gays.
Besides perfectly explaining the comments left on gay-related articles on The Washington Post's Web site, this observation should give some insight into good ways to approach fence-sitters. Since not everyone is reachable, we should tailor our arguments to those most likely to accept them, including those who are good at abstract reasoning. In other words, we should downplay the emotion-driven twaddle that all too often accomplishes nothing but making us look bad.

Quote of the week

Newark Mayor Cory Booker on putting equal rights to a majority vote: "Frankly, I wouldn’t be where I am today."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Making your case: You're doing it wrong.

The argument over alleged gay male racism is a specific case of something that I've seen happen all too often, namely, the sort of argument in which only one side presents evidence, while the other side presents speculation, appeals to emotion, and "Because I said so." We've all seen arguments like that, such as arguments over school funding in which only one side presents funding statistics and arguments over the Bible in which only one side provides direct quotations in context.

If evidence exists that fairly supports your position, cite it already. On the other hand, if the evidence genuinely supports only one side, what are you doing on the other side?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shiny mirror is shiny.

Corey Robin has been quoted as setting forth the one essential idea of conservatism “that some are fit, and thus ought, to rule others.” Do you know who else cleaves to that one essential idea? That one essential idea, far from defining conservatism qua conservatism, instead shows the essential philosophical unity of the control-freak right and the control-freak left.

Quote of the week

"American society tries to enforce good behaviour through the institutions of marriage, church and prison. This doesn’t work well." — Simon Kuper, Financial Times

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Newt Gingrich, culture warrior

Newt Gingrich is serious about living his life in accordance with traditional and Biblical family values. Really. It's just that traditional and Biblical family values happen to include polygyny and concubinage.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The "allowance from my rich parents" view of the economy

One thing I've noticed both in the current debate about waterfront development in Alexandria and in discussions with LGBT lefties is that many people have what I call an "allowance from my rich parents" view of the economy. Such people seem to assume that because wealth just happened to some people, wealth just happens, so that we do not need to generate wealth before redistributing it or otherwise spending it on our pet projects. In other words, there is no point in asking where the rich parents got their money; just as it's turtles all the way down, it's trustafarians all the way back.

Quote of the week

A. Barton Hinkle on the Republican contenders:
This year’s presidential candidates span the political spectrum. They are both pro-abortion and anti-abortion. They have both embraced and opposed bans on assault weapons. They have both accepted and rejected the idea of human-induced climate change, both promoted and derided a government takeover of health care, supported both amnesty for illegal aliens and building a giant wall on the border.

And that’s just Mitt Romney.

Today's vocabulary word: cynical

cynical, adj. observant

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The "gay men are racists" meme

The old meme of gay male racism is making the rounds again. According to this meme, the fact that gay men have preferences in terms of sexual or romantic attraction shows the prevalence of racism among gay men. The idea that preferences in sexual or romantic attraction automatically translate into racism seriously begs the question, but let's assume arguendo that it's true. The meme still depends on the standard politically correct "proofs": bald assertions, sweeping generalizations from cherry-picked anecdotal evidence, a pretended ability to read other people's minds, and appeals to one's own emotions.

Now let us see what the actual evidence says. This article discusses racial and ethnic selectivity among men who have sex with men in San Francisco, and people who know it only from blog posts about it cite it as proof of gay male racism. Yet the discussion section of the article states,
We also wish to point to the quite high level of interracial partnering in our sample. Overall, 46% of partnerships described were interracial. Moreover, the interpretation of racism would be unfair without comparable data from other populations. While population-based data on the race/ethnicity of sexual partners are rare, the US Census estimated around 2% of marriages were interracial from 1970 through 1992 (US Census Bureau 1998). More recent estimates raise this to only 7% (Cary 2007). While same sex marriage is currently illegal in California, therefore precluding truly comparable figures for MSM, these estimates are many-fold lower than the interracial partnering we observed in our study.
When the evidence contradicts the conclusion, it's time to rethink the conclusion.

I am not claiming that no gay men are racists or that preferences never arise from racism; after all. I am saying that if we constantly search for things by which to be offended, we can blind ourselves to what is actually happening.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Who do you suppose is better on civil liberties: Obama or Paul?

According to ACLU Liberty Watch, which can hardly be dismissed for biases that would lead to such a conclusion, it's Ron Paul. Of the ranked presidential contenders, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, and Barack Obama were in the top three, with 21, 18, and 16 points, respectively.

I have issues with the ACLU's understanding of civil liberties, especially when that understanding involves an asserted right to taxpayer funds. Still, the results do not exactly look good for Obama if Paul, so often portrayed in the mainstream media as the evil king of the knuckle-draggers, beat him.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quotes of the week

Gojira, commenting on an article on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's challenge to her state's voter-approved medical-marijuana law:
[B]oth TEAM RED and TEAM BLUE have an ardent belief in democracy...until the proles vote wrong, and then they have to be smacked down. Can't trust The People™ to make the right decisions when it comes to existential galaxy-destroying evils like MJ.
A response by someone posting as "Congress":
If you people were stupid enough to elect us then obviously you can't be trusted to make the right decision.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I could have told you that. Oh, wait; I did.

Wayne Besen writes in The Huffington Post that an LGBT protest against a Catholic cardinal's bigoted views could prove to be a PR disaster:
[Cardinal] George can still escape from his self-inflicted bind if the LGBT community overplays its hand. This issue exploded after George went on Fox News Chicago and said that the gay-rights movement was at risk of morphing "into something like the Ku Klux Klan, protesting in the streets against Catholicism."

On the cusp of victory, Chicago LGBT activist Lair Scott called for -- you guessed it -- a protest in the streets of Chicago against the Catholic Church. The demonstration will occur during Sunday mass at the seat of the Chicago Archdiocese. Lair is best known for his controversial petition demanding that PBS "Let Bert and Ernie Get Married on Sesame Street."

* * *

I am sure that both organizations comprehend the gravity of this situation and understand the global ramifications if events spin out of control. While Cardinal George is fully responsible for sacrificing himself at the altar of idiocy, poor choices by the LGBT community could sadly lead to his unlikely resurrection.
This is hardly a revelation to me. As I've already noted, we cannot afford the luxury of either alienating the fence-sitters or venting our anger just for the sake of doing so. I made that observation in 1990 (and provoked an ACT UP bigwig to shout me down), and the PC crowd still isn't getting the message.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Political correctness explained in one sentence (2)

From here:
I can feel right and wrong and thus live that rightness that I feel before I can actually fill in the blanks as to how/why I reached the conclusion that I have.
Way to refute the point that I made here. Also, if you've tried arguing with people who think in that fashion, you know that it does no good to point out that other people "can feel right and wrong" and have come to radically different conclusions. Finally, this.