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World War G

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From the New York Times:

Obama Administration to Issue Decree on Transgender Access to School Restrooms

WASHINGTON — In the middle of a legal fight with North Carolina over transgender rights, the Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping decree telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

What about locker rooms? High schools have locker rooms …

The letter to school districts that will go out Friday describing what they should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against, signed by officials of the Justice Department and Department of Education, does not have the force of law. But it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid. …

After supporting the rights of gay people to marry, allowing them to serve openly in the military and prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against them, the administration has made bathrooms its latest battleground.

I pointed out this war was being launched exactly three years ago in a post entitled “Post-Gay Marriage, Cont.” Sure, it’s nuts, but there’s a certain kind of lunatic logic to it in that they won so much with their previous offensives that they ran out of anything else to do. Because they had no intention of declaring peace, this would have to be the next stage of their war:

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a transgender’s privates waving in an adolescent girl’s face – forever.”

• Tags: World War G, World War T 
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From the front page:

Screenshot 2016-04-07 16.16.12

…. Fanned out across the neighborhood were more than three dozen Leadership Lab volunteers, many of them local college students, as well as progressive activists from around the country hoping to learn about changing voters’ minds. Over the last six years, Fleischer’s unorthodox canvassing technique has attracted the attention of social scientists, liberal groups and even presidential-campaign consultants. It has also attracted controversy. In 2014, Science published a study claiming to show that an approximately 20-minute conversation with a gay or lesbian canvasser trained by Fleischer’s team could turn a gay-marriage opponent into a supporter. But Science retracted the study five months later, after the lead author couldn’t produce his data and admitted to lying about aspects of the experiment’s design.

The fraudulent study called into question the validity of the Leadership Lab’s deep-canvassing approach. Had it all been wishful thinking? Maybe, as The Wall Street Journal suggested, Fleischer’s efforts merely “flattered the ideological sensibilities of liberals.” But this week, a new study published in Science by David Broockman, an assistant professor of political economy at Stanford, and Joshua Kalla, a graduate student in political science at Berkeley, appears to serve as vindication of Fleischer’s work. Leadership Lab-trained volunteers were found to be successful at reducing transgender prejudice in front-door conversations, the effects persisting months later in follow-up surveys.

Betsy Levy Paluck, an associate professor at Princeton who studies bias, believes the study will have broad implications for those in her field. “What do social scientists know about reducing prejudice in the world? In short, very little,” she writes in the same issue of Science, adding that the new study’s results “stand alone as a rigorous test of this type of prejudice-reduction intervention.”

Here’s the front and center package right now on the homepage. It illustrates my subtle argument in a 2015 Taki’s Magazine column, “Ten Thousand Haven Monahans,” about the original wholly fraudulent research that much of the “crisis in the social sciences” isn’t even, at best, about science. Even without all the fraud, what’s being studied isn’t science but marketing research. I wrote:

And yet the most interesting point about this ignominious affair is that even if the paper had been utterly legitimate, it still wouldn’t have been “science” in the sense that most people understand the word: as a search for relatively permanent truths. Instead, it would have just been marketing research.

And that illustrates out a long-term trend. In our Age of Gladwell, leftist social scientists are increasingly giving up on looking for truths about human beings, which could get them in trouble if they found them, and reconfiguring themselves as handmaidens of the marketing industry.

On December 11, 2014, the New York Times trumpeted a study of over 10,000 voters in black and Hispanic districts of Los Angeles that would be published the next day in Science:

“Gay political canvassers can soften the opinions of voters opposed to same-sex marriage by having a brief face-to-face discussion about the issue, researchers reported Thursday.”

This was welcome news to progressives because the November 2008 election in California had been a frustrating mixed bag for them. Large numbers of black church ladies showed up at the polls to vote for Barack Obama, but in California black women voted 75-25 against gay marriage on Proposition 8.

Eventually the media settled on a narrative to explain why gay marriage was voted down in liberal California the same day Obama beat McCain there 61-37: outside agitators from Mormon Utah control the media in Los Angeles.

But that was a little too implausible even for 21st century America. Sure, Caitlyn Jenner was a woman while she fathered six children. Who doesn’t know that? But Mormons running the media … really?

So, the announcement that two academics had proved, using Science, that blacks and Hispanics could be made to see the light on gay marriage just by having a gay – but not a straight — canvasser explain it to them was much celebrated. Jesse Singal notes in New York magazine:

“It rerouted countless researchers’ agendas, inspired activists to change their approach to voter outreach, generated shifts in grant funding, and launched follow-up experiments.” …

Moreover, the sizable publicity this hoax has received has much to do with the widespread resentment that LaCour was undermining The Cause by misleading gay marriage lobbies into wasting their money on an ineffective salesmanship tactic.

The scandal has led to many thumbsucker articles about the replication crisis in science and other weighty topics. But almost all of them are missing the point that even if this analysis had been honest, it still wouldn’t have been Science-with-a-capital-S as most people think of the word. Rather, it would have been lowly marketing research. This was never claimed to be a study of whether or not gay marriage was a good idea. Instead, it just purported to be research into how best to spin gay marriage to voters.

And that’s emblematic of a trend in which the social sciences, having repeatedly failed to demonstrate the truth of the political dogmas espoused by most leftist social scientists, are slowly repositioning themselves as an arm of the marketing industry. …

It’s widely assumed by people on the left that the reason most social scientists vote like they do is because their findings support their leftist views, such as that race is only skin deep, that sex is just a social construct, and that social engineering works. Many people on the right, in contrast, suspect that social scientists come up with this data because they are leftist.

But the truth is far more ironic: leftist social scientists seldom produce numbers supporting their leftist prejudices. …

There’s nothing anomalous about liberal social scientists grudgingly data validating old conservative insights deep in their papers. That’s been going on for a half century since the federal Coleman Report of 1966. …

Due to this endless history of empirical failures, leftist social scientists have pretty much given up using the tools of their trade to come up with evidence in support of Social Justice Warrior shibboleths. That’s almost inevitable: real science is replicable and thus has to be about enduring truths. But the anti-science conventional wisdom demonizes actual knowledge as “stereotypes.”

Hence, social scientists have been increasingly focused not on truth finding but on how better to manipulate the masses.

From the NYT’s celebratory article on the new supposedly non-fraudulent study of how to browbeat voters into agreeing with World War T:

Fleischer is planning more interventions. Though he has devoted much of his political and community-organizing career to L.G.B.T. issues, he believes this kind of canvassing could change people’s thinking on everything from abortion and gun rights to race-based prejudice. He also hopes it will usher in a new era of political persuasion.

So this article is just celebrating a new marketing weapon in World War T.

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Here’s my new Taki’s Magazine column on the current brouhaha condemning a fine piece of longform investigative reporting in Bill Simmons’ Grantland by freelancer Caleb Hannan on a con artist who duped Dan Quayle and golf broadcaster Gary McCord. Hannan’s crime: prioritizing “fact-finding” over the subject’s Pokemon Power Points in the victimism sweepstakes. 

Read the whole thing there.

Thanks to my readers who called my attention to this bizarre confirmation of what I’ve been saying for awhile about what comes next after World War G.

• Tags: World War G, World War T 
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From Slate:

Note to Mary Matalin’s Gay Friends: She Won’t Hide You in a Gay Holocaust

By Nathaniel Frank

My Bubbie and Zada used to tell me my gentile friends wouldn’t hide me in another Holocaust. I like to think they were wrong (and that there won’t be another Holocaust). But that won’t stop me from invoking their wise spirit with a warning to conservative pundit Mary Matalin’s gay friends: She won’t hide you in a gay Holocaust. 

The famously crabby GOP strategist shrugged off a growing human-rights crisis in Russia on Sunday with a glib dismissal of even discussing the anti-gay policy and violence there, just as the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games have finally brought much-needed mainstream media coverage to the problem. “I’m so sick of sports and politics,” she complained in response to questions from George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s This Week. Her bottom line? “All of my gay friends think [Putin] looks so buff in his shirtless publicity photos.” Mustering the ghosts of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” she asked about Putin, “Why is he even talking about this?” even though the obvious answer was that Putin was talking about it because Stephanopoulos had, quite properly, asked him about it, and later asked her too. 

It was difficult to make out if Matalin was quoting someone else, but the intent of her comments was clear, and despicable: All this talk of gay suffering is boring, unimportant, and makes lots of us feel icky (the gay part, not the fact that they’re being persecuted), and the only response is not to clearly condemn it but to vomit out a gay stereotype such as the one about how gays only care about how men look shirtless—indeed, they can only see flesh and muscle even when a major country is unleashing a concerted campaign to vilify and dehumanize their people for political gain, giving the green light to mob violence. 

This sort of response illustrates precisely why the head-in-the-sand, “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach can be dangerous and even deadly. The developments in Russia that Matalin was laughing off were a string of provisions passed last year—and their violent consequences—that punishes promotion or even discussion of homosexuality in a broadly defined set of scenarios. No, what’s happening there is not the Holocaust.

You should probably mention that to Slate’s headline writer …

But many observers have noted the eerie influence of the Nazi playbook, including the singling out of an unpopular minority for dehumanizing treatment, a campaign of terror unleashed by punitive laws and tough talk, and an autocratic leader’s use of blatant scapegoating to consolidate power and distract voters from his failed policies. 

1914: World War I
2014: World War G

1914: The Great War
2014: The Gay War

• Tags: World War G 
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Boeing F/A-XX concept

America’s Global War of Terror has been a huge moneymaker for Washington’s Beltway, but it’s starting to get a little old. Looking to the future, why not a replay of a tried and true honeypot: an arms race with Russia? 

Granted, the Russkies are still years from getting their F-22 competitor Sukhoi T-50 into military service, but America’s F-35 program is such a boondoggle of incompetence and corruption that it’s almost as if it were intended to give the Russians and Chinese time to catch up and turn this back into a ballgame.

But to justify lots more spending we need some reason to be angry at the Russians. They don’t have 53,000 tanks pointed in the general direction of the Fulda Gap anymore, so the pretext isn’t immediately obvious.

Good question …

I know, gays! 

And Ukrainians, although they’re kind of boring … 

Hey, there must be some Ukrainian gays! Somebody get to work on this pronto.

To give you the latest Wall Street – Washington – City of London – Brussels perspective on why Russia is intolerable — because it’s intolerant! — here’s former executive editor Bill Keller’s NYT column from earlier this week. 

Russia vs. Europe 


The world needs Nelson Mandelas. Instead, it gets Vladimir Putins. As the South African hero was being sung to his grave last week, the Russian president was bullying neighboring Ukraine into a new customs union that is starting to look a bit like Soviet Union Lite, and consolidating his control of state-run media by creating a new Kremlin news agency under a nationalistic and homophobic hard-liner…

Putin’s moves were not isolated events. They fit into a pattern of behavior over the past couple of years that deliberately distances Russia from the socially and culturally liberal West: laws giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians, the jailing of members of a punk protest group for offenses against the Russian Orthodox Church, the demonizing of Western-backed pro-democracy organizations as “foreign agents,” expansive new laws on treason, limits on foreign adoptions. 

What’s going on is more complicated and more dangerous than just Putin flexing his political pecs. He is trying to draw the line against Europe, to deepen division on a continent that has twice in living memory been the birthplace of world wars. It seems clearer than ever that Putin is not just tweaking the West to rouse his base or nipping domestic opposition in the bud. He is also attempting to turn back 25 years of history. 

“Putin wants to make Russia into the traditional values capital of the world,” said Masha Gessen, author of a stinging Putin biography, an activist for gay and lesbian rights and a writer for the Latitudes blog on this paper’s website. 

What, you may wonder, does Russia’s retro puritanism have to do with the turmoil in the streets of Kiev, where Ukrainian protesters yearning for a partnership with the European Union confront a president, Viktor Yanukovich, who has seemed intent on joining Putin’s rival “Eurasian” union instead? More than you might think. 

Listen to the chairman of the Russian Parliament’s International Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, warning that if Ukraine joins the E.U., European advisers will infiltrate the country and introduce “a broadening of the sphere of gay culture.” Or watch Dmitry Kiselyov, the flamboyantly anti-Western TV host Putin has just installed at the head of a restructured news agency. Kiselyov recently aired excerpts from a Swedish program called “Poop and Pee,” designed to teach children about bodily functions, and declared it was an example of the kind of European depravity awaiting Ukraine if it aligns with Europe. (Kiselyov is also the guy who said that when gay people die their internal organs should be burned and buried so that they cannot be donated.) 

Hyping the specter of World War G is going to make some people a whole lot of money.

Keller is a Bloombergian centrist, a Voice of Responsible Opinion. So just remember if this struck you while reading it as hysterical and irresponsible in a 1913 kind of way of taking excessive umbrage at other Great Powers, well that just shows what an extremist weirdo you are.

• Tags: World War G 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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