Scientific Brainwashing Is Back
Politically correct persuasion is at your doorstep, masquerading as a scientific survey.
Last year, Science Magazine was shamed into retracting a paper written by a LGBT activist (6/06/15). The activist, Michael Lacour, a doctoral candidate at UCLA, leveraged the name recognition of Donald Green, a Columbia University political scientist, as co-author. When he heard about “irregularities” in Lacour’s survey data, Green later admitted he had not adequately supervised Lacour’s work (Nature). The retraction not only put egg on the face of the AAAS (publisher of Science), but also on all the politically-correct reporters who had celebrated Lacour’s “findings.”
Lacour had hired some of his gay friends to canvass houses in a conservative area, seeing if they could persuade them to change their views about gay marriage (12/17/14). As we pointed out at the time, it wasn’t a bad paper simply because of bad record-keeping, but because the whole design of the survey was overtly biased. Lacour was on a campaign to change public attitudes about gay marriage. A neutral scientific paper should have studied the effect of surveys on both views—i.e., seeing if supporters of gay marriage could be persuaded to change their views in favor of traditional marriage. Additionally, survey takers were all hired from Lacour’s gay activist group. A scientific survey should have sought to employ helpers from both positions, or better yet, used survey takers without a strong position. Everything else about the “experiment” was flawed, too, including the lack of adequate control, the lack of objectivity. It was an exercise in advocacy, pure and simple. Science was caught with its pants down, and repented—temporarily. Nature said that the incident created “a stigma that has haunted political science”; it was a “painful episode” one would think would shame researchers from doing it again.
Now, however, the Lacour defenders are back with a vengeance, touting new “survey” methods that allegedly prove that people can be “persuaded” to moderate their positions on LGBT “rights.” Once again, the survey takers are tainted with advocacy; success is being measured by the ability to change people’s attitudes toward leftist positions, not equally toward either position on this highly controversial subject facing society. You see it right in Nature‘s coverage: “Door-to-door canvassing reduces transphobia.” No conservative or supporter of traditional gender roles would use that word. Supporters of traditional sex roles are not “phobic” toward LGBT people; in many cases, they love them as individuals and support their rights just as they would for any citizen. They have strongly-held convictions, however, about sex and gender, particularly when it comes to whether men should be allowed to use women’s bathrooms if they declare themselves to feel feminine (whether sincerely or not); must the privacy of girls be sacrificed to the whims of political correctness? (see the latest flap over North Carolina’s law protecting bathroom privacy, and the deceitful coverage in the media about it, discussed by Family Research Council ; Frank Turek shares the conservative position at Townhall.com.)
In a democratic society, issues should be decided in the marketplace of ideas by reason and evidence. These days, however, there is a “politically correct” agenda that cannot endure opposition to the LGBT community’s goals, small as the community is (about 3% of the public). People are not allowed to differ from the PC view. The new “survey” technique is being used by confirmed advocates of the LGBT community not to reason with people, but to change them. It’s all the more dangerous when it comes with the imprimatur of science. The Nature article celebrates success in these efforts as “reduced prejudice against transgender people”—but prejudice is uninformed conviction, not reasoned conviction. The article happily quotes a social psychologist who says, “And the bonus is that it has really encouraging results for tolerance and for the rights of transgender people.”
The bias in these phrases is disturbing. Transgender people have rights, but little girls have rights of privacy, too. Their rights are being threatened by laws forcing institutions, schools and businesses to ignore very real consequences of letting anyone use the bathroom of their current gender feelings instead of their birth sex. If a burly, bearded man exposes himself in a girl’s bathroom or locker room, causing panic and distress to the girls inside, what about their rights? Should businesses and schools not be allowed to complain about it? Yet when North Carolina passed a common-sense law stating that the state could not force institutions to accommodate the LGBT person (still giving institutions the power to choose their own policies), some corporations and the federal government went ballistic, threatening North Carolina with financial punishment for daring to oppose the LGBT agenda.
Regardless of one’s feelings on this issue, it should not be the role of science to advance one view on a highly polarized cultural issue. The Nature article is filled with buzzwords that betray their bias. Try to imagine conservative scientists measuring success in these terms:
The canvassers talked to 255 voters about transgender equality, and to another 246 voters about recycling, as a control group.
About one in ten voters that were canvassed about transgender discrimination became less prejudiced….
Broockman says the magnitude of the change approximates the degree of improvement from 1998 to 2012 in the average opinion of an American towards gay and lesbian people.
Broockman plans to extend his work to other issues, such as attitudes about climate change.
….Broockman’s designs could be used to test whether attitudes towards undocumented immigrants could be changed.
Meanwhile, the transphobia study offers hope that doing so could be worth the effort.
Nature‘s reporter Heidi Ledford is not even pretending to be objective with this kind of terminology. Most likely, she is not even aware of it. But the very choice of terms is highly biased, and each position advocated is the leftist position. The phrase “undocumented immigrants,” for instance, shields the reader from whether or not a person has broken the law. The innocuous phrase “climate change” hides the advocacy of punitive measures on economies to correct for what the current consensus thinks humans have done to the planet. The word “equality” conceals the issue of whether a gender-confused person must be allowed to trump the privacy rights of those not so confused, if other methods of accommodation are possible.
New Scientist followed suit with its headline, “Re-run of controversial study shows how to cut trans prejudice.” Lacour’s revenge is on. Advocacy groups on the left have grabbed the hammer of science to force their views on the majority. They are refining their methods of scientific brainwashing.
For Fleischer, that need not bode ill for canvassing on other topics. It took him seven years to work out the right approach to talk to people about LGBT issues, he says, and he has less experience addressing attitudes toward abortion. It may take time to fine-tune the approach for other sensitive subjects.
“Talking to people” is not about engaging in the open marketplace of ideas. The agenda is set in advance. The canvassers are the change agents. The public is the lab rat. The survey questions are fine-tuned for influence in one direction. Success is measured by progress toward the agenda. Ledford quotes Brian Calfano, political scientist at Missouri State, prediction “You’re going to see a lot more of these studies going forward.”
We live in dark times. The specter of Soviet “psychopolitics” looms large. Leftists and their “scientific” change agents are driven by their inner conviction that they are smart, and the public is stupid. They are for progress, and everyone else is backward, hindering progress. They have the right views and the right methods to change the world. This kind of utopian mentality has caused untold grief and suffering just within the last century; when will we ever learn?
Here’s what you can do. When the canvasser comes to your doorstep, do an experiment on them. See if you can get them to change their views on the propriety of science acting as a change agent for a particular viewpoint. Hey, if it’s fair for them to make you their lab rat, it’s fair to reverse the roles. Every question they ask, notice how it is framed to alter your view, and turn it around to alter theirs. Tell them you are experimenting on them, and you want to publish your results. It will either drive them crazy or (hopefully) make them reconsider what they are doing.
If enough conservatives did this, and communicated with each other, we could gather a lot of interesting data about best techniques for deprogramming canvassers, cultists, and other doorbell ringers. Our published results could measure success in terms of ability to open the eyes of the blind, get them off their agenda, and teach them to reason with one another as rational, moral, considerate human beings.
Exercise: How would you frame your questions for such an experiment?
Warning: If we are too successful at this, the bigots may turn to harsher methods, such as electric shock or torture.