Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Closing of the Mind, the University, and Skewed Research

After Allan Bloom wrote about “The Closing of the American Mind” (1987), writer and professor, Roger Kimball, picked up the baton in 1990 to show how the universities were being converted from educational institutions into institutions of political indoctrination:

·        Demands for ideological conformity have begun to encroach on basic intellectual freedoms. At an increasing number of campuses across the country, university administrations have enacted anti-harassment rules that provide severe penalties for speech or action deemed offensive to any of a wise range of officially designated victims. Ostensibly designed to prevent sexual, ethnic, and racial harassment, these rules actually represent an effort to enforce politically correct attitudes by curtailing free speech…What this alarming development portends is nothing less than a new form of thought control based on a variety of pious new-Left slogans and attitudes. (Tenured Radicals: How Politics has Corrupted Our Higher Education, xv-xvi)

The fruit of these changes continue to ripen. Here’s a recent example of how politically correct politics drives and frames research:

·        The study titled “Childhood Gender Nonconformity: A Risk Indicator for Childhood Abuse and Posttraumatic Stress in Youth” appeared online yesterday in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study is reportedly the first to use a population-based sample to look at the relation between gender nonconformity and abuse.

·        [This] Harvard study has found an association in young people who were exposed to childhood “physical, psychological, and sexual abuse” and who experienced childhood “gender nonconformity” [or gender confusion].

The understanding that abuse directly impacts appropriate gender identification is nothing new. However, the conclusions and recommendations of the researchers are clearly politically-driven:

  • “If [parents] have a kid whose behaviour is not gender typical, they really need to be supportive and protective of those kids,” [Researcher Andrea Roberts] said, adding that the “consequences of intolerance can be quite serious.”
There is an apparent disconnect here. If gender confusion is caused or related to abuse, and if this confusion can lead to many well-documented psychological and medical problems, it would seem to follow that something should be done to intervene into this pathological chain of events. However, there is no mention of any corrective measures. Instead, the researchers recommend that parents must “be supportive and protective of those kids.”

To demonstrate the lunacy of this advice, let’s just suppose that there was no correlation found between abuse and gender confusion. What then would the advice be? The exact same – Parents should “be supportive and protective of those kids.” “Tails I win; heads you loose!” This shows that this advice has already been prepackaged for the consumer, irrespective of the outcome of the research!

  • The above statements make clear the framework in which the authors interpret their data and reach conclusions. Instead of viewing the child’s “gender noncomformity” as the anomaly that requires professional help so that the child can become a self-fulfilled little boy or little girl, it is suggested that it is simply the parents’ negative reaction to their child’s gender nonconformity that is the cause of the child’s trauma.
The researchers’ advice does not line-up with their findings:

  • “Some parents also believe their own parenting can shape their child’s gender nonconformity and future sexual orientation; thus, their parenting may become more physically or psychologically abusive in an attempt to discourage their child’s gender nonconformity or same-sex orientation.”
The idea of corrective therapy is simply not on the table. Whether gender confusion is genetic or the product of abuse, the orthodoxy of the university requires that the parents just accept it, even though it has repeatedly been statistically demonstrated that there are tremendous costs associated with same-sex behavior

In contrast to the conclusions of the Harvard study, Dr. Paul McHugh, psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, claims:

  • “We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.”
However, we are forbidden to proclaim the obvious. We are like Hans Christian Andersen characters required to praise the non-existent clothing of a naked and foolish king. How long must we be required to utter such absurdities?

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