Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Student whistleblower: Diversity class presents multiple ‘isms’ as fact without allowing debate

Student whistleblower: Diversity class presents multiple ‘isms’ as fact without allowing debate
February 10, 2017 by NATHAN RUBBELKE

What does a fictional “Normal University” look like?

It’s a place full of racism, homophobia, toxic masculinity, white privilege and sexism, according to a diversity class currently taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

At UMass Amherst, students are required to take two “social justice” classes to earn diploma, and this course — Education 115: Embracing Diversity — fulfills one of those requirements.

In it, students must act out examples of racism to prove America is racist “from A to Z.” Students must also read about how society is dominated by “white privilege” and discuss ways to combat that. They’re charged with creating a mock sexual assault awareness campaign and taught U.S. society pushes male “domination” over women. Another assignment has them coming up with ways to make a university more welcoming to a low-income black lesbian majoring in engineering. New vocabulary words thrown at students include “internalized classism” and “cultural imperialism.” And a “Man Box” assignment teaches students that when men try to prove their masculinity it ends up “with frequently disastrous consequences.”

‘It was just these are the facts and that was it’

The class is led by Professor Benita Barnes, who has a definite liberal bias, a student who took the course told The College Fix.

“She really thinks that everyone [in the United States] is inherently racist or sexist, and I think she just thinks that the school is a subset of that,” said the student, who requested anonymity to speak freely on the course.

Barnes, both a professor and Director of Diversity Advancement, did not respond to a request for comment.

The student described the course as a “hostile” environment where the professor and some students would get agitated when comments were made pointing things out that might be false or when ideas were questioned.

“There were no real discussions. There [were] no debates or anything like that. It was just these are the facts and that was it,” said the student, who provided to The College Fix a stack of assignments from the course, which he took last fall.

According to the syllabus, “Embracing Diversity” is designed for first-year students and dedicated to how students can better see themselves and others “through an appreciation of attending college as a cultural experience, with its own unique set of rules, biases, and expectations.” The course, the syllabus adds, pushes to move “the discourse of diversity beyond mere tolerance, celebration, or appreciation.”

‘Embracing Diversity’

One reading assignment in the class, “Normal University and the Story of Sam,” tells the story of Sam, a low-income black lesbian who attends “Normal University,” an Ivy League-like university whose namesake had a role in the slave trade. Sam faces all sorts of oppression during her freshman year.

Her roommate’s friends make racist remarks, funds are diverted from the campus LGBTQ organization and a protest over the use of bathrooms remind her of stories shared “about the Jim Crow era.” To top it all off, she studies in a “male-centric” engineering department where a woman has never been promoted and tenured.

At the end of the reading, students in the course are tasked with choosing an option to make the university more welcoming for Sam.

This is one of many course assignments obtained by The College Fix that were included in the course and purport a society of racism, sexism and oppression.

The course, according to the syllabus, used a “team-based learning” strategy and included numerous in-class activities that pertained to the class’s five modules.

Here’s a few examples:

Module 2: ‘Men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property’

Covering “Inequality and Oppression,” module 2 included a reading about “Social Justice University.” The case study explained four “folk beliefs” regarding sexual assault and, at the end, tasked students with creating a mock sexual assault awareness campaign for the fake university.

Expanding on one of the four “folk beliefs,” the reading stated “our society has socialized both men and women to believe that men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property as well as are required to bend to their wants and wishes.”

The document goes on to say that when a man acts aggressive or possessive towards a significant other, “women internalize this (bad) behavior as acceptable and end up feeling ‘loved’ as opposed to harmed.”

Module 3: Racism ‘from A-Z’

Dubbed “Race, Racism, and (White) Privilege,” the course’s third module included readings titled “What is Racial Domination?,” “Understanding White Privilege” and “White Institutional Presence: The Impact of Whiteness on Racial Campus Climate.”

An in-class assignment told students “examples of racism can be found in our society from A-Z.” To prove it, students were given 15 letters and had to “identify an act, behavior, law, practice, etc., past or present, that exemplifies racism.”

Module 4: ‘Internalized classism,’ ‘privilege,’ ‘cultural imperialism’

Dealing with “Class and Classism,” a Module 4 class activity required students to define terms like “internalized classism, “privilege” and “cultural imperialism.”

At the end of the assignment, students were asked “what are the possibilities and restraints of what students can do to create a less classist environment on campus?”

The assignment also called for students to apply five of the defined words to the stories of Emily and Matthew, two Amherst College students profiled in the book “Speaking of Race and Class: The Student Experience at an Elite College.”

Emily came to campus unsure how to talk to black students and was once called “White Trash.” However, she forms a diverse set of friends but begins to see people back home as close-minded and judgmental.

“I would never want to bring my gay friend home or my black friend,” she said in her account.

Conversely, Matthew came from an affluent family but also broadened his social group in college.

“He embraced the exposure, the learning, and the people he met and liked, all the while while increasing the awareness of his relative privilege,” the book states.

Module 5: The ‘Man Box’

The course’s final module dealt with “Gender and Sexism” and students watched the film “Guyland: Where boys become men.”

According to a class assignment, the 36-minute film “maps the troubling social world where boys become men” and shows how men try to prove their masculinity “with frequently disastrous consequences for young women and other young men.”

Following the movie, students created a “Man Box,” which the assignment described as “a figurative box made up of acceptable qualities for men to possess and society’s expectations of how men must act.”

Terms inside the box included “objectifies women, emotionless, aggressive and dominant.” The assignment forced student to either pull six traits from the box or add six from a separate list of positive traits. Words on the latter included “honest,” “open minded” and “ambitious.”

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New Jersey School District Teaches Islam But Censors Christianity

New Jersey School District Teaches Islam But Censors Christianity
February 21, 2017 by AARON BANDLER

A New Jersey middle school has no problem teaching Islam to its students, but has censored students for bringing up the Bible.

Two mothers spoke up about their children’s experiences in at a Chatham Board of Education meeting in February. One of them, Nancy Gayer, voiced displeasure that her son’s fourth grade PowerPoint presentation from years ago was shut down because it briefly cited a line from the Bible in advertising for his efforts to gather gloves and hats for poor children. Gayer said that the teacher told her son that it “belongs in Sunday school, not in the classroom” and proceeded to claim that the computer wouldn’t allow the presentation to be shown to the class.

Gayer then took the matter to the school district, but the superintendent told her that the teacher’s actions were correct due to the district’s policy of prohibiting “proselytizing” in the classroom.

The line from the Bible her son cited was, “Caring for the poor is lending to the Lord, and you will be well repaid.”

However, this same standard apparently does not apply to Islam, as Gayer pointed out that her son is being taught about the intricacies of the religion in a seventh grade class at Chatham Middle School, including being shown a video explaining the Five Pillars of Islam that featured lines like “Allah is the creator of everything, the one true God.”:

“In my opinion, I call this proselytizing, for by definition of this word it means convert or attempt to convert from one religion, belief or opinion to another,” Gayers said.

Another mother, Libby Hilsenrath, echoed Gayers’ sentiments, pointing out that the seventh grade class went into detail about the various aspects of Islam, but did not teach Judaism and Christianity. She also brought forth further course material that could be seen as proselytizing for Islam, which included a video providing an introduction to Islam that quoted excerpts from the Koran such as “And they say: Be Jews and Christians, then ye will be rightly guided. Say (unto them, O Muhammed) Nay, but (we follow) the religion of Abraham, the upright, and he was not of the idolators” and “Lo, we have sent thee (O Muhammed) with the truth, a bringer of glad tidings and warner.”

However, the superintendent, Michael LaSusa, refused to eliminate the course because “it is part of the New Jersey curriculum core content standards to teach students about the various religions of the world.” He also refused to meet with Gayers and Hilsenrath.

Gayers and Hilsenrath have since been smeared as Islamophobic by various people in the area.

“We were labeled as bigots immediately following the Board of Ed meeting in an op-ed,” Hilsenrath told Fox News host Tucker Carlson, “and then all over Facebook with people who knew us or didn’t know us. Xenophobic, Islamophobe, I mean it went as far as the KKK, which I don’t know what that has to do with this.”

“Unfortunately I was stared down at a grocery store too,” Gayers added, “and I believe I was in the express line with just 10 items but yet I was still stared down. It was pretty unnerving.”

The op-ed that Hilsenrath referenced was a letter to the editor on Tap Into Chatham by resident Susan O’Brien, who called Gayers and Hilsenrath’s concerns as  “at worst veiled bigotry and at best sad and ignorant.”

“I believe that ignorance breads fear and fear breeds hatred; the more we understand about other cultures and religions the better we are equipped to deal with the issues we face in today’s world,” O’Brien wrote.

O’Brien did not attend the Board of Education meeting and nowhere in her letter did she address the glaring inconsistency of the district’s religion in the classroom policy.

As the mothers have pointed out, there is nothing wrong with being taught about the intricacies of world religions, but it’s a problem when only one religion is being taught and not others, especially when a presentation featuring a brief line from the Bible was shut down. In today’s politically correct society, voicing such concerns has resulted in Gayer and Hilsenbrath being “verbally bullied” and as smeared as “bigots,” as Gayers said in a press release sent to the Daily Wire.

The mothers’ speeches at the Board of Education meeting and their appearance on Carlson’s show can be seen below:

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The next horizon for gender confusion

original article: SJW Internet Publishes a Guide to Being as Many Genders as You Want without Culturally Appropriating
February 13, 2017 by KATHERINE TIMPF

In case you’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about all of the different genders, and wondering if any of your or your friends’ many genders might be cultural appropriation, there’s a piece making the rounds on Social Justice Internet that’s here to help.

In a piece titled “What Does Multigender Mean? 10 Questions You May Be Afraid to Ask — Answered,” Jenny Crofton explains that there’s “an infinite diversity of genders in the world” and “at least as many genders as there have been humans who lived.”

“I say ‘at least’ because as it turns out, people can embody more than one gender in their lifetime,” Crofton writes. “We can even embody more than one gender at once.”

“We can experience them as full and independent, or as partial and mixed,” Crofton continues.

A few examples of possible gender identities offered in Crofton’s article include “amorgender,” which is “gender that changes in response to a romantic partners,” “mirrorgender,” which is “gender that changes to reflect those around you,” “chaosgender,” which is “gender that is highly unpredictable,” and “gendervex,” which is “having multiple genders, each of which is unidentifiable.” Genders can also be negative instead of positive — something Crofton calls “antigender.” For example, some people might identify as “antigirl,” and that’s not to be confused with identifying as “male.”

Now, lest you think that all of this sounds too simple and restrictive, Crofton also clarifies that your gender absolutely does not have to be something that’s included on this or any list, because even though “dominant culture wants us each to conform to a single gender,” you are totally allowed to have as many genders as you want, to change your gender or genders as often as you want, and to identify as a certain gender or genders like only a little bit instead of completely. Basically, anything goes — except, of course, for cultural appropriation.
Yes, that’s right. According to Crofton, certain gender identities can be appropriation, such as “the Two-Spirit genders of some North American Indigenous groups” and “autigender and fascigender, which are exclusive to people with autism.” “Because it’s impossible to access these genders without being part of a specific cultural context, it’s inappropriate for outsiders to claim any Two-Spirit gender,” Crofton writes, adding that if even one of your genders is “culturally appropriated,” then your whole “overarching identity also becomes problematic” — a situation that can be an issue for “pangender people.”

“Pangender people, in a literal sense, identify as all genders,” Crofton writes. “The problem is that ‘all genders’ includes culturally specific genders that must not be appropriated.”

Ahhhhhhh, yes. A huge problem indeed! I, for one, cannot believe there hasn’t been more talk about how “pangender” is, by definition, culturally insensitive, and that identifying as all genders inherently means that you’re saying that you identify with at least one gender outside of your own cultural experience. The solution, according to Crofton, is for pangender people to make sure that they describe themselves as being “all available genders” instead of as “all genders.”

Toward the end of Crofton’s article, Crofton makes sure to remind everyone that multigender people are, indeed, “oppressed” because “being multigender is fundamentally contrary to our society’s hierarchical and exclusivist gender binary.”

“We suffer stigmatization, microaggressions, and various forms of body terrorism,” Crofton writes.

Crofton’s piece most recently appeared on my favorite website, Everyday Feminism, but was originally published on The Body is Not An Apology, an online magazine and “international movement committed to cultivating global Radical Self Love and Body Empowerment.”

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What happens to societies that embrace a right to die?

Holland has been on the bleeding edge of the “right to die” movement, a movement employing Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS). Most people supporting this supposed right have never actually thought through the long term consequences on a grand scale, and that is true of such supporters in the U.S. as well as Europe.

Just last month the DailyMail reported a Dutch doctor killed an elderly patient, a woman over the age of 80. The patient at some earlier time expressed a wish to be euthanized, but later (several times) expressed her desire to live. When the doctor decided it was the “right time” to perform the medicalized killing she drugged the patient without the woman’s knowledge. But the patient unexpectedly awoke during the lethal injection and struggled and resisted so much the doctor asked the family to hold her down. The patient’s right to change her mind seems to have been entirely ignored. Or does the patient even have such a right?

During the court proceedings, the panel charged with handling the matter wanted the case to go to court not to prosecute the doctor, but to have “greater clarity” on the rights of the physician who engages in medicalized killing. Read the full article to see the horrific reasoning used to justify the situation. Those of you who didn’t have your head buried in the sand during the Obamacare debates may remember warnings of “death panels” and other dangers that corrupt health care by allowing elitist government bureaucrats to interfere. Keep in mind, the right to die movement is already here in the U.S. and is growing with the help of various left wing groups.

This is by no means the first incident of PAS where the patient was euthanized against their wishes. But when a society embraces the right to die, with not only the approval but also with the assistance of the state, any person capable of thinking past their own nose should see the obvious problems that will arise. In the name of a persons’s “choice” to die we are seeing government endorsement of medicalized killing without the patient’s consent.

How does government-endorsed medicalized killing go so wrong? Ryan T. Anderson examines this important question in his report Always Care, Never Kill: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality from March, 2015. It’s a lengthy report but touches on very important issues such as:

  • changing how society deals with the marginalized
  • fundamentally altering the doctor-patient relationship
  • compromising the nature of the family
  • damaging the essential premise of human dignity

It might be funny if this weren’t so serious hearing people pretend to be well informed on this issue while they insulate themselves from the anti-euthanasia side of the debate. When “thinking for yourself” involves intentionally avoiding a view you disagree with (which implies you may not actually know what you disagree with) it becomes a euphemism for not thinking at all. If you claim to care about people you should read the full report. And while you do, think about how compassionate a health care system is when the state is run by enlightened people who think overpopulation is one of the greatest dangers the world faces.

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And we are supposed to believe BLM is not racist

Black Lives Matter co-founder appears to label white people ‘defects’
February 11, 2017 by ANTHONY FUREY

TORONTO – A co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto argued that white people are “recessive genetic defects” and purportedly mused about how the race could be “wiped out,” according to a post on what appears to be her Facebook page.

Yusra Khogali has faced increased scrutiny over the past year after BLM Toronto gained political influence following their disruption of the Toronto Pride parade and confrontations with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

On Friday, Toronto Police announced they would not participate in this year’s upcoming parade. This has been a longstanding demand of BLM TO and one that the board of Pride Toronto recently backed in a controversial vote.

Khogali has a track record of inflammatory, divisive rhetoric.

Only last week during a protest in front of the US consulate Khogali shouted into a microphone that “Justin Trudeau is a white supremacist terrorist” and urged the crowd to “rise up and fight back.”

“Look at us, we have the numbers,” she said.

She also faced controversy in the news for a tweet posted a year ago stating: “Plz Allah give me strength to not cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today.”

While these remarks alarmed many Canadians, they pale in comparison to a statement numerous sources forwarded to the Sun that Khogali appears to have posted on Facebook in late 2015.

“Whiteness is not humxness,” the statement begins. “infact, white skin is sub-humxn.” The post goes on to present a genetics-based argument centred on melanin and enzyme.

“White ppl are recessive genetic defects. this is factual,” the post reads towards the end. “white ppl need white supremacy as a mechanism to protect their survival as a people because all they can do is produce themselves. black ppl simply through their dominant genes can literally wipe out the white race if we had the power to.”

Khogali did not respond to requests for comment from the Sun. But if she did in fact write the post, her thesis doesn’t pass muster for one of America’s leading scholars of the history of eugenics.

“The document mirrors the racism of American eugenicists who claimed in the first third of the 20th century that native whites were genetically superior not only to blacks but also to immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe,” Daniel Kevles, a professor at Yale University, wrote to the Sun. “Their claims were without any scientific foundation and added up to expressions of naked white racism.”

Kevles’ book “In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity” is considered a leading text in the field.

“The anger and frustration that animates the Black Lives Matter movement is altogether understandable, but the way to contest pseudo-science and white prejudice is not with an alternative pseudo-science and black prejudice,” notes Kevles. “It is with moral argument and political action.”

The BLM TO website explains their stated goals are “to dismantle all forms of state-sanctioned oppression, violence and brutality committed against African, Caribbean, and Black cis, queer, trans, and disabled populations in Toronto.”

There is no indication the group or any of its other members supports the sentiments expressed in the alarming post.

The Sun did not hear back from BLM TO and the main Black Lives Matter umbrella group in the United States following various requests for comment.

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New level of anti-diversity programming at college

original article: Stepford School: Princeton students forced to abandon individuality, freshman says
February 13, 2017 by JENNIFER KABBANY

Carrie Pritt, a freshman at Princeton University studying computer science, has penned a powerful piece illustrating the stranglehold political correctness has on her Ivy League institution.

Dysfunctional. Dystopian. Oppressive. Writing in Quillette, the picture she paints of her campus is chilling and creepy — think a Stepford School — with militant students and scholars creating an environment that ensures people say the right things, conform, avoid insulting others at all costs:

Like many other schools, Princeton has become disturbingly homogeneous because of this phenomenon. Not only that, but the pressure to respect other groups on and off campus is pushing my generation into left-wing uniformity. We are encouraged to mind our own business by mimicking politically correct values without ever thinking them through on our own. No one questioned the students and faculty members who disrespectfully walked out of Charles Murray’s lecture hall after he was invited to speak on campus this winter.

My teachers and classmates openly referred to Trump’s voters as uneducated bigots throughout the election season, while taking any criticism of Clinton as an attack against women. Anyone who dares to voice a religious opinion is regarded as unintelligent. The fear of being called racist draws our attention to a black woman’s skin instead of her character, and the fear of being called homophobic emphasizes a gay man’s sexuality over his personality. We have been trained to tiptoe around each other and distribute trigger warnings with generosity.

Where did this training start? Try mandatory freshman orientation. Pritt writes:

“Stand up if you identify as Caucasian.”

The minister’s voice was solemn. I paused so that I wouldn’t be the first one standing, and then slowly rose to my feet. “Look at your community,” he said. I glanced around the auditorium obediently. The other students looked as uncomfortable as I felt, and as white. ¨Thank you,” the minister said finally. After we sat down, he went on to repeat the exercise for over an hour with different adjectives in place of “Caucasian”: black, wealthy, first-generation, socially conservative. Each time he introduced a new label, he paused so that a new group of students could stand and take note of one another. By the time he was finished, every member of Princeton University’s freshman class had been branded with a demographic.

This doesn’t sound like a university — more like a re-education camp.

Writing about “Princeton’s Surreal ‘Diversity Training’ for Students,” Amelia Hamilton in Acculturated points out: “Academia is openly intolerant of diversity of thought, but exercises like the one Pritt experienced at Princeton are even worse. They strip students of one of the most important things for creating genuine diversity and intellectual rigor: individuality.”

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PP prenatal care video, is Snopes lying or merely biased?

original article: Live Action, Snopes and Planned Parenthood’s “Prenatal Care”
February 4, 2017 by Truthbomb Apologetics

Introduction

Recently, I shared the following video on social media from Live Action:

For those who haven’t seen the video, it features Planned Parenthood (PP) President Cecile Richards claiming that Planned Parenthood offers prenatal care at their clinics.  Then the video features sound bites of numerous women calling various PP clinics across the country seeking prenatal care only to be told that “PP does not provide prenatal care.”  Out of the 97 affiliates contacted, only 5 actually provided prenatal care.  The obvious conclusion of the video is that PP is being deceptive in claiming that they provide prenatal care at their clinics.

However, the folks at Snopes.com – “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation” – have challenged the conclusion of the Live Action team.  In this response, they argue that Live Action is guilty of: 1) taking PP President Cecile Richards out of context; and 2) leading people to believe that PP has claimed to offer prenatal care at all their facilities when it has never claimed any such thing.

Now let me be clear.  I am unapologetically pro-life; however, the pro-life cause is not served by deceptive actions. If this video does include any type of deception, I want to publicly denounce it and distance myself from it.

So, is Live Action being deceptive, or does Snopes.com have it wrong?  Let’s take a look.

The Video Quotes

Quote #1

In the first quote featured in the video, Cecile Richards says, “Prenatal care. These are the kinds of services that folks depend on Planned Parenthood for.”  So here we see that she is clearly claiming that PP does provide prenatal care (a “kind of” service), but she does not explicitly say that all of PP clinics provide prenatal care.

Conclusion: This quote shows that Cecile Richards claimed that prenatal care was one of many types of care offered by PP.  Even Dan Evon in his Snopes piece writes, “…it’s clear that Richards was listing several services that Planned Parenthood provides.”

Quote #2

The second quote featured in the video features a quote from Richards while she is campaigning for Hillary Clinton.  The quote from the video says, “…a president who will fight for prenatal care.” The entire context of the quote is as follows:

“They want a president who believes access to health care isn’t a luxury — it’s a human right.

They want a president who understands that being pro-choice also means being able to choose to have a child — and a president who will fight for prenatal care, head start, health care for kids and first class public schools because it takes a village!

They want a president who will stand up to the gun lobby and demand safety for kids in schools, folks in church, and women getting healthcare — no matter what.

They want a president who will demand nobody is paid less just because they are a woman — we deserve 100 cents on the dollar!

They want a president who believes that access to health care isn’t a luxury it’s a human right. They also want a president who understands that being pro-choice actually means being able to choose to have a child. And a president who will fight for pre-natal care, and head start, and health care for kids, and excellent public education. Because as someone so famously said, it takes a village to raise a child. ”

Interestingly, Snopes claims that Richards is quoted out of context and, at first glance, this seems true. Clearly the context is not provided!  However, one can safely infer from the above quote that Richards is implying that PP provides prenatal care.  How so?  Think about it.  Here we have the president of PP saying, “…a president who will fight for prenatal care.” While I am quite sure PP has nothing to do with the majority of the other services mentioned by Richards, who else would Richards be referring to here but PP? Certainly no Republican candidate ever insinuated that they would take away all prenatal care across the country!  But they have expressed their desire to defund PP. Therefore, what Richards is essentially saying is, “We need a president that will protect PP and the prenatal care we offer.”  Otherwise, the reference to prenatal care makes no sense whatsoever.

Conclusion: In this quote, Richards claims that PP offers prenatal care.

Quote #3

The third and final quote featured in the video comes from Lori Lamerand, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan.  In the video, she states, “Prenatal care! Um — and that — that is what we want to focus on. That is what is so vital.”  The context of this quote was not readily available, but Snopes.com claims that PP said, “Lamerand ‘spoke about the vital services like birth control, pap smears, and preventative cancer screenings, which PP provides to women who otherwise might go without.'”  So, according to Snopes, “PP told us that this had little to do with prenatal care; therefore, it doesn’t.”  This from the “definitive internet resource”?
So, while Snopes.com would have us believe that Lamerand was taken out of context, this is far from clear from the available evidence.  One should strive to be more modest with their claims.
Conclusion: Here, once again, we find a PP CEO (leader) mentioning prenatal care.  At best this demonstrates that a PP CEO implied that PP provides prenatal care.  At worst, it is inconclusive.  If one wants to claim the quote is “taken out of context,” they will need to demonstrate this.

So, if I am right, we have evidence that, at the very least, suggests PP’s leaders imply they offer prenatal care on a much grander scale than they actually do. However, do more explicit claims exist from Planned Parenthood regarding parental care?  To answer that question, we need more evidence.

Lifting the Fog
In this video, Cecile Richards is very clear about PP and prenatal care.  She explicitly states that it is a service they offer.

Moreover, in this tweet from Richards in May of 2016, Richards claims prenatal care is an essential service they provide.  And, as you can see, they later tried to back away from this claim after the video from Live Action was released.

Further, in February, when Governor of Ohio John Kasich signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood, this is how Richards responded:

“This legislation will have devastating consequences for women across Ohio.  John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns;”1

Now, I am no doctor, but that sounds a lot like prenatal care.  Further, when has PP ever provided services for newborns?

Also, as featured in the video, a on-hold phone recording from the Virginia Beach, Virginia, Planned Parenthood says: “Did you know that Planned Parenthood can take care of all your reproductive health needs? Whether it’s an annual exam, pregnancy testing and counseling, prenatal care, we’re here for you with high-quality, low-cost services.”2

So, it seems that we have sufficient evidence to conclude that PP leaders do claim to offer prenatal care, but in fact offers very little in relation to the other services they provide.

However, one might also conclude that Live Action could have made their argument more clear. They should have simply argued that PP’s leaders have claimed, several times, that they offer much more parental care than they actually do.  They actually offer very little.

Finally, I am disappointed with the lack of balance in the Snopes.com piece.  While Live Action could have made their argument more clear, PP is certainly guilty of being misleading and deceptive.

However, I will not spend much time debating this issue.  It is secondary.  I encourage readers who are interested in learning more to checkout the links I have provided and investigate the matter on their own.  Draw your own conclusion.

The Primary Issue

The main objection I have to Planned Parenthood is expressed in the argument that follows.  If the argument is logically valid and the premises are more plausible than their negations, then the conclusion of my argument follows logically and necessarily.3

1. PP performs abortions

To confirm the truth of this premise, I will simply refer you to PP’s own website here.  Further, PP themselves reported that they performed 323,999 abortions in 2014. 4

2. If abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, it is morally right to oppose PP.

This premise seems intuitively obvious.  What morally healthy individual would claim otherwise? We should all stand against the killing of innocent human beings.  Anyone who would deny this premise is morally handicap, and their handicap should not call into question what most of us clearly see: it is our moral obligation to oppose the killing of innocent human beings.

3. Abortion is the killing of an innocent human being.

Admittedly, this is the premise my argument hinges on.  However, for those willing to follow the evidence where it leads, science, philosophy, and critical thinking demonstrate its truth.

The Scientific Case

As others have shared before me,5 conclusive scientific evidence demonstrates that human life begins at conception.  This is no longer a matter of opinion.

The conceived embryo is a individual, living, human being by definition:

Individual: The zygote is distinct from her mother, father, and all other living things.  She has her own unique and complete genetic fingerprint; distinct from either of her parents.

Living: The zygote manifests all the characteristics of biological life: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli and reproduction.

Human: She carries human DNA with a human genetic signature.

Being: She is a self-contained, self-integrating, living entity with her own nature.

We see from science that, from conception, she has everything needed to proceed through the full series of human developmental stages.  No other human single cell has this inherent capacity.  All that is needed is proper nurturing and a proper environment to advance through all the stages of normal human development.  This is not different than you and I. 6

This is confirmed by leading embryology books.  For example, in their book The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology,  Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud write, “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”7

Further, even former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question this. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life in the Making.”8

The Philosophical Case

As thinkers such as Greg Koukl and Scott Klusendorf have pointed out, there are only four differences between the unborn and a newborn; none of which are morally relevant reasons for denying them personhood and protection.

Klusendorf asks us to think of the acronym SLED to illustrate these “non-essential differences:”

Size: Are preschoolers less valuable than teenagers, or women less valuable than men because they’re smaller?  Size does not equal value.

Level of Development: Is a four-year-old less valuable than her mother because she can’t reproduce? Value is not determined by abilities.

Environment: Does your value change when you cross the street, or even roll over in bed?  Where you are-in the womb or out-has no bearing on who you are.

Degree of Dependency: Should we disqualify those who rely on insulin or heart pacemakers just because they are dependent?  Viability doesn’t determine worth.

It’s far more reasonable to argue that, although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature.7

If you are tempted to resist the science and philosophy that demonstrates that the unborn are human persons, more critical thinking will lead you to the conclusion that, even if we didn’t have the above evidence that a fetus is a human person, abortion is murder.  George Fields explains:

“…I contend that whether the fetus is a person at any given moment of pregnancy is a non-issue, since, whatever it is now, it will, in fact, become a person. Therefore, to abort the fetus now is to annihilate the person that fetus would have naturally become.”9

He goes on:

“Abortion has the same quality as all forms of killing. If I were to kill someone, I would have fundamentally transformed the nature of the universe from one with this person to one without it. The evil of murder does not derive from the fact that a death has occurred, for death comes to all. All murder does is expedite an inevitable event. The evil of murder, rather, is in the fact that the world has changed for everyone else who keeps on living. A hole has been made in the tapestry of life; Christmas dinner now has an empty chair. So it is with an abortion.”8

For the intellectually honest individual, the evidence is clear.  Science, philosophy, and critical thinking demonstrate the truth of premise 3- abortion is the killing of an innocent human being.

4. Therefore, it is morally right to oppose PP.

Conclusion

In this brief piece, I have argued that:

1. Planned Parenthood’s leaders imply that prenatal care is an important service they offer when, in reality, they offer very little.  This is misleading and deceptive.

2. Live Action could have made their argument more clear.  They should have simply argued that PP’s leaders have claimed, several times, that they offer prenatal care when they offer almost none.

3. Planned Parenthood kills innocent human beings; therefore, it is a moral right to oppose PP.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources for Further Investigation

An Explanation of Planned Parenthood’s “3%” Statistic

9 Things You Should Know About Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger

For Planned Parenthood abortion stats, ‘3 percent’ and ’94 percent’ are both misleading

Related Posts

Late-Term Abortion, the Life of the Mother and the 3rd Presidential Debate

When Pro-Abortion Choice Rhetoric Hurts

Could Acceptance of Abortion Be a Matter of Ignorance?

Footnotes:
1. Kristi Burton Brown, “Cecile Richards tries to claim Planned Parenthood helps “expectant mothers and newborns,” Feb. 23, 2016.
2. Kristi Burton Brown, “Yes, Planned Parenthood claims to do prenatal care, and yes, it’s a lie,” Jan. 25, 2017.
3. For a brief explanation about how deductive arguments work, go here.
4. Debra Goldschmidt and Ashley Strickland, “Planned Parenthood: Fast Facts and Revealing Numbers,” Jan. 17, 2017.
5. Tim Stratton, “Pro-Choice: The Wrong Side of History, Science and Logic,” Sept. 13, 2016.
6. “Pro-Life Defense, Making Your Case,” 2015 Gregory Koukl, Stand to Reason.
7. Scott Klusendorf, “How to Defend Your Pro-Life Views in 5 Minutes or Less.”
8. Ibid.
9. George Fields, “Why Abortion Kills a Person Even If You Don’t Think the Unborn are People Yet” Jan. 28, 2017.

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UC Berkley student paper defends violent protests

original article: UC Berkeley’s Student Newspaper Published 5 Op-Eds in One Day All Defending Violence at Protests
February 8, 2017 by William Hicks

In one day UC Berkeley’s student newspaper The Daily Californian published five opinion pieces defending the violent protests over last week’s Milo Yiannopoulos talk. At the protests, which turned into a riot, people were pepper sprayed and hit with sticks, a man was knocked  unconscious and beaten on the ground, and various buildings were vandalized.

Let’s see how they rationalize that.

Alumnus Nisa Dang demanded other students “check your privilege” when decrying violence at the protests. Student Juan Prieto claimed violence helped ensure the safety of students (just not the conservative ones). Neil Lawrence called the tactics by the black bloc antifa protesters not an act of violence, but one of self defense and said they were doing what the university should have done.

Desmond Meagley said condemning protesters was promoting hate speech. Josh Hardman questions whether breaking windows even counts as violence, while neglecting to mention the real people who were pepper sprayed and beaten up.

In fact, not a single one of the articles bothered to mention the real people who were physically assaulted on video, people who were neither fascists nor Nazis. The violence was completely written off as property damage, which is simply intellectually dishonest. You think one out of the five essays could have bothered to mention it, considering actual students were hurt by the protesters.

But thanks to The Daily California, next time Berkeley protests, the students will know the violence they use is not only effective but intellectually justified.

 abuse, bias, bullies, culture, education, ethics, extremism, hate crime, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, scandal, terrorism

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Scholars warn higher ed seized by leftist indoctrination

original article: Scholars warn higher ed seized by leftist indoctrination – but debate on fixing it unresolved
January 23, 2017 by KATE HARDIMAN

A new report suggests left-leaning professors have transformed the teaching of traditional civics with an emphasis on activism, creating a pipeline of students eager to serve the goals of secular-progressive causes.

But how best to fix the problem is one area that remains unsettled among some scholars.

“Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics” argues that “instead of teaching college students the foundations of law, liberty, and self-government, colleges teach students how to organize protests, occupy buildings, and stage demonstrations.”

Universities in America have redefined civics to mean “progressive political activism,” and the notion of a “good citizen” is now synonymous with “radical activist,” according to the report, recently published by the National Association of Scholars, a right-of-center academic watchdog group.

After surveying curricula at four major universities as a case study the report finds they are teaching fewer traditional civics classes while placing a greater emphasis on directing free student labor to progressive organizations in large part through the rise of “service learning” and “community engagement” courses.

“The New Civics seeks above all to make students into enthusiastic supporters of the New Left’s dream of ‘fundamentally transforming’ America,” the report states, adding pet causes pushed include environmentalism, socialism, identity politics, expanding government bureaucracy, and teaching students to essentially despise America’s founding.

“I was most startled that a number of these service learning professors cited Maoist China as one of their models for instruction,” David Randall, the association’s director of communications and report author, told The College Fix in a phone interview.

Randall said the new way of teaching civics is “grossly politicized,” adding “this is a reason for the public to be alarmed.”

He pointed to a specific example at Pomona College where a service learning course, and its funding, contributed to an anti-Trump rally.

Joy Pullman, an education pundit writing on the report at The Federalist, defines this new civics as “actually anti-civics: it teaches students how to be bad citizens, how to dismantle rather than preserve and improve their country.”

“New Civics teaches young people to revolt against the country that, among other things, educated them, provided for their security against foreign aggressors, and secured liberties most people in the world never had and still don’t have: freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to a representative government dependent on citizen consent,” according to Pullman.

Reaction to the report has been mixed. Some agree it should sound alarm bells.

“It’s well-known that America’s K-12 schools are mediocre, when compared to the grammar schools of other countries. Less well known is just how mediocre our colleges are. The NAS report helps us understand why that is,” law professor Francis Buckley of George Mason University’s Scalia Law School told The College Fix via email.

But others are concerned about the report’s remedial recommendations, which include a coordinated civic literacy curriculum at the high school and college levels, a required course in traditional American civics, and a mandate that the traditional civics requirement be met only through classroom instruction. The report also suggests cutting all federal and state funding for service-learning and civic engagement at the university level.

Such recommendations pose “a severe threat to academic freedom because government officials would be imposing their judgments on college campuses rather than allowing universities to do what they think is best,” author and co-editor of Academe blog, John Wilson, told The College Fix via email.

“It’s particularly disturbing because the NAS wants the government to destroy purely voluntary programs of civic education that no students are forced to participate in,” Wilson said.

NAS’ Randall said he disagrees such oversight would hurt academic freedom.

“A state government has the right to determine what is being taught in a civics class. The setting of the syllabus is a matter appropriately governed by the state authorities,” he said. “The most basic thing is that I don’t believe the method, service-learning, has educational value. I think it is within the government’s right to provide funding only to those courses and programs that it believes have educational value.”

Another critique of the report came by way of respected law Professor Stanley Fish, who suggests the association’s call for the promotion of virtuous citizenship is akin to a political goal, much like the progressive left’s goals.

“Fostering intellectual freedom? Yes! Search for truth? Yes! Promotion of virtuous citizenship? No! Promoting virtuous citizenship is no doubt a worthy goal, but it is not an academic goal, because, like the programs the report derides, it is a political goal,” Fish argued in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece titled “Citizen Formation is Not Our Job.”

Meanwhile, some university officials have defended themselves in the wake of the report.

For example, a top official at the University of Colorado at Boulder, one of the institutions focused on in the study, has issued a statement calling the NAS report “an opinion piece” and taking issue with the characterization of CU Boulder.

“CU Boulder offers students the chance to choose from a wide variety of classes and community experiences — from courses in Western civilization to working with local K-12 students experiencing poverty and homelessness,” Provost Russell Moore stated. “Our faculty, as required by regent law and academic custom, have developed a high-quality, balanced curriculum that helps us to shape tomorrow’s leaders and positively impact humanity.”

bias, corruption, culture, education, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oversight, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal, study

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Psychological study rigged with liberal bias; researchers oblivious

Let’s try an experiment. What if we could gauge liberal leanings of the American public by tracking tech purchases? Now, before you start complaining about how disturbing or invasive such tracking might be or how suspicious and absurd it is to even ask about tracking people in such a way, let me say this: you’re right!

But this wasn’t my idea. I got the idea from a psychological study published in Psychological Science in March 2013 entitled Ideology and Brand Consumption. The study is replete with liberal bias from the researchers and they appear entirely oblivious to it. The study is not about general political leanings. No, the study particularly targets U.S. conservative political leanings. Here’s the abstract (bolding is mine):

Do mundane daily choices, such as what brands people buy in a supermarket, reflect aspects of values and ideologies? This article presents a large-scale field study performed to determine whether traits associated with a conservative ideology, as measured by voting behavior and religiosity, are manifested in consumers’ routine, seemingly inconsequential product choices. Our analysis of market shares for a variety of frequently purchased products shows that both of these measures of conservatism are associated with a systematic preference for established national brands (as opposed to their generic substitutes) and with a lower propensity to buy newly launched products. These tendencies correspond with other psychological traits associated with a conservative ideology, such as preference for tradition and the status quo, avoidance of ambiguity and uncertainty, and skepticism about new experiences.

The abstract mentions a conservative leaning three times and makes no mention of a liberal leaning. It should be no surprise that the researchers have left wing political leanings, given their description of a conservative ideology clearly stems from a liberal bias. Look at the traits the abstract lists as “associated with a conservative ideology”:

  • preference for tradition
  • preference for the status quo
  • avoidance of ambiguity and uncertainty
  • skepticism about new experiences

Plenty of conservatives would agree on a preference for tradition, but a preference for the status quo? That’s obviously a liberal point of view on conservatism, as such a term is not how conservatives typically describe themselves. Sometimes liberals can be accused of defending the status quo too. As to ambiguity, liberalism thrives on that so of course an aversion to ambiguity would get the attention of the liberal researchers. Uncertainty is a problem for every one, not only conservatives. It just depends on the context for us to see this. For example, the purpose of the social safety net (such as unemployment benefits, social security, Obamacare, etc.) is obviously meant to help people, not least of which by providing some level of financial peace and security (even if it fails to actually achieve the promises made to the American people). The social safety net is intended to reduce uncertainty and help people manage risk, and is most vocally championed by liberals. Tenure is meant to accomplish the same thing for teachers (liberals love tenure, whereas most complaints about tenure I hear are from conservative and libertarian students displeased with their liberal teachers – who dominate the academy). We all appreciate reducing uncertainty in some form, but these liberal researchers seem to have overlooked this simple and plain fact of the human condition about themselves. Skepticism about new experiences is another favorite liberal critique of conservatism, not something conservatives typically say to describe themselves. The article is written from a viewpoint that seems entirely bereft of sociopolitical balance – a liberal examination of a conservative perspective hardly qualifies as a conservative perspective.

The secondary data points mentioned in the study are also from a thoroughly left wing bias. For instance, without leaving the first page we see risk aversion mentioned, and included in the examples are the purchase of medical and auto insurance (conveniently, the social safety net most favored by liberals escapes mention as an example of risk aversion, when that is precisely its purpose). Keep in mind, in most states the purchase of auto insurance is required by law. Obamacare is a glaring example of the researchers’ political blind spot in that it mandates the purchase of health insurance. Not a single Republican in Congress voted for the Affordable Care Act. It was enacted by President Barack Obama on March 23 2010, three years before this psychological study was published. Liberals widely favored the mandate aspect of Obamacare, conservatives did not – conservatives favored health savings accounts as these would transfer control of health decisions from an insurance bureaucracy back to into the hands of the patient. The purchase of insurance is one thing, mandating it is quite another. This factor is completely disregarded in the Psychological Science article. The researchers instead thought only the “risk aversion” aspect of purchasing insurance was relevant. This is certainly true given the partisan goal of the study, but not as useful for understanding the reality of the situation as it ignored the liberal proclivity for reducing risk by favoring policies which control people’s choices.

The researchers refer to the 2005 edition of Miriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to define conservatism. They state this definition as “disposition in politics to preserve what is established” and “the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change”. This, again, is more a matter of how liberals see conservatives rather than how conservatives see themselves. Conservatism is not a “disposition in politics to preserve that which is established”. Some obvious examples would be Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court ruling highly lauded by most liberals but highly condemned by most conservatives. The same is true of Obamacare and its mandate to purchase health insurance. Conservatives are working to undo both matters of law, the exact opposite of “preserving what is established”.

On the other hand, conservatives are certainly interested in preserving the individual’s right to make his/her own decisions that don’t cause harm to others. Some examples are opposing the institution of slavery (one of the seminal issues that led to the founding of the Republican party), opposing Jim Crow (established and defended by Democrats taking liberty with other people’s rights), and supporting the expansion of civil union laws rather than allow the federal government to usurp the religious institution of marriage – which is a violation of the separation between church and state, something liberals have said for generations is vital to maintaining liberty.

Let’s return to part of the hypothetical scenario I mentioned up top – tech purchases. Consider two major consumer products in the tech market: smart phones and Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Both forms of technology give us good reason to practice patience, or exercise a “preference for the status quo” and “skepticism about new experiences” as this liberal study would suggest.

Some of us remember Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME). That was a publicly disastrous product launch for Microsoft. It left a bad taste in the mouth of Microsoft’s customers, so much that many of those customers have been cautious about upgrading to the next latest edition ever since. Windows 8 proved a similar problem in that many Windows users simply hated it, and reverted back to a previous version. This pressured Microsoft to push out the next version of the OS and many people, including conservatives, are quite happy with Windows 10 (the current latest version of the OS). Many Windows users learned to wait before upgrading to any “new” version. This group of customers will gladly let other more adventurous people test the latest version of Windows first. After the inevitable update fixing who knows how many problems (as also happened with Windows 10), this more cautious group becomes much more likely to upgrade. But according to this liberal study on conservative consumer habits this could be an example of a “preference for the status quo” rather than the very sensible patience for predictably problematic new technology to be improved.

Smart phones have a similar problem. There are customers who, for whatever reason, simply must have the latest smart phone as soon as it is released to the general public (if not before). These devices are at their most expensive retail price at this early release stage. And they typically have the same sort of quality problems as a new Windows OS. Common sense tells us with the practice of a little patience, most of these problems can be fixed and the prices for the smart phones will drop once the market is more saturated with them among the first triers. But according to the liberal study this pragmatic and reasonable self restraint might demonstrate a “skepticism about new experiences” something akin to a resistance to trying any new technology simply because it’s unfamiliar. Those of us who live in the real world can understand the benefits of new technology that it has been well vetted by the adventurous first triers. If that qualifies as “conservative” so be it.

Conservatism is a disposition to preserve freedom, not any old thing that has been established. In the conservative mindset the single greatest threat to freedom is the abuse of power. A healthy skepticism of power is fundamental to the American experiment. In the effort to preserve freedom the conservative endeavors to conserve power (use it sparingly). And how does the abuse of power occur in the grand American experiment? Quite often it happens though the offer of government assistance. Ironically, it turns out government aid usually means government making decisions for us, and a decision the government makes on our behalf is a decision we (as individuals) no longer have the right to make for ourselves. Freedom is also threatened by the abuse of freedom itself, which why we need laws in the first place. This necessitates a sort of social compact where we try to reach a balance between laws and liberties, where this balance favors liberties. The abuse of power and the abuse of freedom are best addressed by an aversion to abuse and waste, thus self restraint is encouraged in both cases, where power (the use of force) is limited or conserved (hence the term “conservative”).

Contrast this with the liberal balance between laws and liberties, which favors laws. It is not conservatives who are constantly trying to regulate various aspects of life. It is not conservatives who pushed to regulate the use of tobacco, or sugar, or speech. The ever increasing list of words we are to avoid using (for fear of offending anyone) is not an invention of conservatives; it is the hallmark of modern liberalism. (Jailing students for distributing free copies of the US Constitution is a thoroughly liberal policy.) On the one hand liberals claim to value and defend free speech when what they really mean is approved speech, which is the opposite of free speech. The ambiguity and purposeful misuse of language is the playground of tyrants. And let us not purposefully confuse the Republican Party with conservatism. The Republican Party has spent decades distancing itself from conservatives, attempting to become diet Democrats. And they have succeeded. There is scarcely a trace of conservatism left in the Republican Party of today.

The so-called resistance to change often cited as a tenet of conservatism is predictably reductive as well. Rather than acknowledge the fact change is merely different, and that difference could be either good or bad, the typically mindless liberal view is that change is automatically a good thing (that’s how the vague and vapid slogan “hope and change” was so successful for President Obama). The problem is none of us knows change is always good. Getting cancer is “change” but none of us is likely to treat that change as good. How do we know a political or social change is going to be good if we don’t examine it first? But, as mentioned earlier, in the liberal mindset recognition that life is not so simple is dismissed as a small-minded resistance to change. To suggest change ought to be vetted before we impose it on our entire society is typically dismissed as bigotry. (Consider Obamacare again: liberals dismissed health savings accounts as a solution to the problem of astronomical health care costs saying this was another example conservatives don’t care about people, whereas mandated health insurance was the preferred liberal solution, ignoring the highly likely possibility that insurance itself is the primary cause of astronomical health care costs.) That’s one of the underlying premises of this study because it’s a fundamental premise of liberalism – that conservatives are “skeptical about new experience”s and “prefer the status quo” because they don’t like change.

I learned of this study by randomly encountering an article in Psychology Today by Art Markman titled Conservatism and Product Purchase. Dr. Markman’s article didn’t address the liberal bias of this study. His interest was more on confirming a standard liberal view of conservatism. He ends his article with this.

There is evidence suggesting that conservative ideology is often taken on by people who find newness and change to be stressful.  For individuals who are anxious in  new situations, familiar products and brands are comforting.  So, the same factors that promote conservative political affiliation also seem to affect everyday purchases.

It seems to me this study and the impetus behind it was in the common liberal vein of trying to “explain away” conservatism as if it were a pathology. That’s not my description. This is the description of social psychologist Jonathan Haidt which I borrowed from the New York Times. The Times has a good article describing Haidt’s work in William Saletan’s 2012 piece “Why Won’t They Listen?“. Saletan’s article adeptly explains Haidt’s attempt to enrich American society by explaining something about human psychology that most of us simply don’t think about, or don’t think about in a well rounded way.

If actual understanding is a goal of yours, Saletan’s article is definitely worth a read. If you’re satisfied in simply telling yourself what you want to believe perhaps your social media echo chamber would be better for you.

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