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Suggesting Anti-Gay Book for Inclusion in University Reading Program = Sexual Orientation Harassment?

That's what Ohio State University (Mansfield) professors J.F. Buckley and Norman Jones are alleging, in a complaint that they have filed with the University. A conservative OSU reference librarian (Scott Savage) suggested that several books be included in the first-year reading program; one of the books -- The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian -- is apparently anti-gay.

The professors claim in a formal complaint filed with OSU that this suggestion, and the librarian's arguments in its defense (which were apparently not otherwise anti-gay, not that this should matter), create a "hostile environment" for them based on their sexual orientation. (The complaint has been referred to as a sexual harassment complaint, but it's really a sexual orientation harassment complaint, see the first paragraph on page 2 of the Ohio State harassment policy.)

Here are copies of the relevant documents, attached to an Alliance Defend Fund letter written on behalf of the librarian. (The ADF, as readers may know, is a public interest law firm that generally approaches things from a cultural/religious conservative perspective.) My summary above relies on the copies of the documents, not on the ADF's own accounts.

The university is now investigating the complaints. It's quite sad, I think, that these university professors are responding to offensive ideas not just by arguing against them, but by trying to coercively suppress them (apparently, according to the ADF's letter, with considerable support from their colleagues). I expect that the university will promptly dismiss the complaint, since even under the university's own policy such speech is not prohibited -- among other reasons, the speech wasn't "based on a person's protected status," since the statements weren't about the complainants, and weren't targeted towards the complainants because of their sexual orientation. But it reflects badly on the complainants that the complaint is even being filed.

Oh, and one related item, from a message during this debate written by another professor, Hannibal Hamlin (no, not the Hannibal Hamlin): "On the matter of homophobia, I think you should be rather careful, Scott. OSU's policy on discrimination is not simply a matter of academic orthodoxy, but a matter of human rights." Yes, reference librarians, professors, students, everyone: On matters of certain viewpoints that are prohibited by university policies, we think you should be rather careful.

Thanks to commenter Gaius Obvious for the pointer.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Accusing Librarian of Sexual Orientation Harassment
  2. Scott Savage Cleared:
  3. Interesting Tidbit About the Ohio State (Mansfield) Controversy:
  4. Suggesting Anti-Gay Book for Inclusion in University Reading Program = Sexual Orientation Harassment?
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Lovely. So when my 1st Amdt. prof gave us Bin Laden's fatwa to read for class, did she advocate the killing of Americans, because Bin Laden does?

How do you get to be so sensitive that even a suggestion of including a contrary opinion in the curriculum prompts you make an administrative complaint?
4.14.2006 3:32am
Justin (mail):
I agree that the reaction here was overblown (assuming all the facts are correct - all we've seen so far is a complaint, and as a lawyer, I've noticed many complaints tend to get the facts wrong), but I *haaaaate* this oft repeated logical fallacy:

"It's quite sad, I think, that these university professors are responding to offensive ideas not just by arguing against them, but by trying to coercively suppress them."

Look, analogizing back to the school library thing, you don't have time to actively dismiss every crackpot racist and bigot. Or, analogizing another way to a more extreme but similiar logic, should the OSU faculty respond to a position to make a Jewish-global conspiracy book mandatory reading by saying "good idea, but we can balance it with a book that says Jews aren't half bad after all?"

In the end of times, the optimal strategy to bad ideas is sometimes *not* to present a logical argument against them, but to ignore or minimize them. While we should be careful to protect free speech in making such decisions, that doesn't mean that more speech is always a nonnegative thing as a matter of practical consequence.
4.14.2006 4:17am
Justin (mail):
I should note that my above comment should not detract from EV's overall point, with which I agree with. And while books like Kupelian's is rediculous and pathetic drivel (the type of stuff I wouldn't even bother responding to unless I was bored), they should be treated with contempt, but not with prosecution or punitive action.
4.14.2006 4:19am
BobN (mail):
I doubt that a sexual harassment complaint is the way to handle this fellow's book suggestions. It's impossible to know the interpersonal relationships at a distance, but there is no question that some of the suggestions are anti-gay crap. Not crap because they're anti-gay, but just crap because they're crap.

If these are his serious suggestions for "conservative ideas", either he is remarkably unqualified to make suggestions or there is little on the right of academic value. I would hope that conservatives here would agree with me -- a dyed-in-the-wool liberal -- that the former is the case.
4.14.2006 4:26am
Bruce Wilder (www):
On the evidence presented on Mr. Savage's behalf, one would have to conclude that he behaved unprofessionally, in carrying out assigned committee work. Does that get 1st Amendment protection?
4.14.2006 7:58am
Simon (391563) (mail) (www):
Suppose a student goes to the library and asks this fellow for a good book on the role of Judaism in Western European history, and he (Savage) hands him a copy of the Protocols. Protected academic/workplace speech? Or actionable incompetence?
4.14.2006 9:00am
Cornellian (mail):
Presumably Savage's suggestion ought to be rejected as idiotic but not otherwise subject to discipline unless it also entails him not doing his job, e.g. suggesting The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as first year reading material for World History 101 on the role of the Jews in Western Civilization. I think that would be different than him simply saying he thought the Protocols was a great book and worth reading. However, that would be discipline for incomptence, not hate speech.
4.14.2006 9:07am
Matty G:
Simon:

I guess it depends how you look at it. Certainly if the librarian ONLY suggested the protocols and called it the "definitive history" or something like that, it would be odd.

But I doubt you would argue that the Protocols DIDN'T have an effect on western European history in relation to jews, no? Anyone researching the "role of Judaism in Western European history" would probably want to take a look at the protocols, not as scholarly work but as historiographical background, right? Censoring the work would LIMIT one's understanding of the subject matter at hand.

But ultimately, the protocols is a ridiculous choice for the librarian not because it's false, but because it's a limited subject matter, not different than the diary of anne frank. Any librarian who is asked for "a good book on" and gives someone something other than a survey text should probably be removed for librarial(?) incompetence, not ideological viewpoint.
4.14.2006 9:10am
Public_Defender (mail):
The difficulty with gay rights issues is that your perspective on the merits determines your perspective on the rules of discussion.

All conversations have rules. All decent people would agree that it's OK to criticize pedophiles. All sane people would also agree that we have the right to punish* others (at least socially) for racist or anti-Semitic comments

If being gay is morally the equivalent of being Jewish, then it's OK to punish anti-gay comments. Wouldn’t everyone agree that a librarian should at least be criticized for trying include a book that treated Judaism as an evil on the Freshman reading list? But if you take the perspective that being gay is itself immoral, then a whole different set of rules apply.

Can anyone come up with a system of rules of discussion that does not depend on the speaker's view of the underlying merits?



*There are several levels of rules for the discussion of any topic--what comments deserve social disapproval, what comments deserve financial and job-related disapproval (say, firing or reprimanding someone), and what comments deserve civil or criminal penalties from the state.
4.14.2006 9:12am
davod (mail):
Justin:

Have you read Kupalian's book?
4.14.2006 9:20am
johnt (mail):
Slice it as you will some free speech is more equal then other free speech, despite protestations there's no such thing as PC. If psuedo Indians and Colunbia professors can say what they want about 9/11, including wishing for more such incidents, maybe a book not advocating gay marriage can be squeezed in to the university open mind world of ideas. As to the quality of the book, what ever happened to "people deciding for themselves"? Where's Voltaire when we need him?
4.14.2006 9:26am
davidbernstein (mail):
Since it's about as clear as it could possibly be that the librarian did not in any way "harass" the complainants, but they publicly claimed he did, and not just as part of their complaint, any thoughts on whether he could, as the ADF letter implies, successfully sue for defamation?
4.14.2006 9:58am
Simon (391563) (mail) (www):
Matty:

I take your point, but to preserve my own: I would argue that the Protocols are not only inappropriate because they are "limited," as you correctly observe, but because, in some meaningful way, they are "wrong." And I want to preserve -- at some level -- the right for us, and for colleges, to make those sort of distinctions.

Should Savage be fired? No, probably not. But should this incident be taken into account if he applies to sit on the First Year Steering Committee? I'd say yes, even if it means that at some level the university is retaliating against him for the actions described here.

Which means, of course, that if we truly believe these actions are protected in some way that he ought to have a cause of action. (Consider what would happen if his offense was stating that he had voted for Bush.) But should he? I'm skeptical.
4.14.2006 9:59am
davidbernstein (mail):
Oh, and one of the complainants also stated that he no longer feels "safe" on campus, implying that the librarian was a violent gay-basher.

BTW, it was pretty foolish from a professional point of view to mix serious scholarly suggestions (Bat Ye'or) with political tripe.
4.14.2006 10:00am
stranger from a strange land far away (mail):
I think professors J.F. Buckley and Norman Jones ought to be sued for libel (or would it be slander to maliciously file bogus complaints?)
4.14.2006 10:23am
PersonFromPorlock:
If the purpose of the Academy is to provide students with answers, then 'correct' texts are important. But if its purpose is to teach critical thinking, then 'bad' texts are as important as 'good' ones, or maybe moreso.

The 'Protocols' may say nothing true about the Jews, but one understands the history of the Jews in Europe better by reading them; and the most vile racist rantings reveal the racist, if not his targets. We appear to be headed for a regime where, amusingly, it will be impossible to teach about bigotry (except that it's B-A-D) because the source documents will be verboten.

Whether "The Marketing of Evil" is in fact bigoted, I don't know. But if it is, then it's banning doesn't logically follow unless the object of education is Right Thought.
4.14.2006 10:27am
bluecollarguy:
Let's try it from a different perspective.

How about if we call station house Fahrenheit 451 to the library to "rescue" the students from Dawkins' anti- religious bigotry.

I would be able to hear the howls of "speech" from these same professors in Ct.

The academy is in bad shape if the professors in question here are representative of any significant portion of their bretheren.
4.14.2006 10:28am
karrde (mail) (www):
I would like to ask the question:

In what way is the book in question "anti-gay"?

Does it make discrimination against homosexuals a normative reference for moral thought?

Does it engage in arguments which assume that homosexual behavior is inherently evil?

Does it engage in derogatory remarks about homosexuals without ever seriously considering their claims to social acceptability in society?

Does it disagree with leaders of the homosexual movement about the desirability of legal/cultural change that they advocate?

I assume that the book wasn't recommended solely because of its commentary on sexual norms of society. Why was it recommended?

Was it recommended with any specific reasons or commentary about its usefulness as a learning tool? If so, what were the comments?

The letter cited above claims that the professors used Amazon.com reviews as evidence of the book's anti-gay slant in their charges against Mr. Savage. Did they find any reviews in more serious publications about the book? Or can Amazon reviews be considered authoritative for faculty discussion of a book?

In my position at the University I currently study at, I've seen some discussion of textbooks by academic departments. (Happily, Calculus textbooks tend not to inflame heated debates that might draw in sexual-harrassment charges.) However, I would hope that the instructors had skimmed the books in question to get a grasp of thier central thesis and argument style, rather than depend on the reviews available at Amazon.

Did anyone do that in this case, before responding to allegations of anti-gay-ness of the books?
4.14.2006 10:34am
rbj:
Simon,
to pick up form Matty (and myself as a librarian), one could point to the Protocols due to their effect on how some (many?) Europeans have towards Jews (pograms, Holocaust) but the librarian would be seriously remiss if he did not point out that the Protocols were a work of fiction, i.e, that book is not what it purports to be. It would be almost like handing someone the DaVinci Code if he asked for a history of the Holy Grail (although Brown's book is always classified under fiction.)
4.14.2006 10:53am
Ken Arromdee (mail):
If being gay is morally the equivalent of being Jewish, then it's OK to punish anti-gay comments. Wouldn’t everyone agree that a librarian should at least be criticized for trying include a book that treated Judaism as an evil on the Freshman reading list? But if you take the perspective that being gay is itself immoral, then a whole different set of rules apply.

Right now, we have no idea what it means for the book to be "anti-gay". It could say all homosexuals should be burned at the stake. It could also just make claims about homosexuals that are the equivalent of complaining about Islamic countries in a book about Islam. Or it might claim that homosexuality is evil in some theological sense without advocating that anything should be done to homosexuals.

Only when we know that can we decide what kind of Judaism book this one is comparable to.
4.14.2006 10:55am
HMS B:
So much for academic freedom - unless you are a hard line liberal.

By the way, OSU is not the only place where university professors are seeking to quash unwanted viewpoints:

Cincinnati Post Article
4.14.2006 11:00am
AppSocRes (mail):
Two university professors are attempting not just to censor others, but to punish them for daring even to hint at the existence of heretical works. This is beyond medieval.

Just as disturbing, there seem to be some posters to this thread who are not only unappalled by the situation but seem to think that they have an appropriate system for censoring the contents of university libraries. I'd like any one of these persons to explain what advantage their system of censorship might have over any other, e.g., one I might suggest, in a way that is completely rational and will be accepted by all Volokh readers.
4.14.2006 11:07am
Freder Frederson (mail):
The 'Protocols' may say nothing true about the Jews, but one understands the history of the Jews in Europe better by reading them; and the most vile racist rantings reveal the racist, if not his targets. We appear to be headed for a regime where, amusingly, it will be impossible to teach about bigotry (except that it's B-A-D) because the source documents will be verboten.

Can you point to one instance where someone has objected to inclusion of the Protocols where they were used in their proper historical context--I doubt it. Now there may be some ridiculous examples out there where people get all bent out of shape by the use of the word "niggardly" (which of course has a completely different entomology than its homonym and is no more derogatory to black people than saying "a chink in the armor" is derogatory to people of Chinese descent) or the inclusion of Huck Finn in High School curricula. But such things rarely, if ever, happen in higher education.
4.14.2006 11:17am
IB Bill (mail) (www):
It's a category error to compare Protocols to Marketing of Evil, or even the homosexualist movement to the authentic civil rights movement.
4.14.2006 11:21am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Savage was put under “investigation” by OSU’s Office of Human Resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel “unsafe.”

Perhaps the complainants could be punished under a "group libel" theory for implying that homosexuals are a weak and pathetic victim class that can't take any criticism or political opposition.
4.14.2006 11:38am
Thomasly (mail):
There seems to be some suggestion that the books Savage suggested were inappropriate for some reason. Explaining how these books differ from, say, Jimmy Carter's, won't be as easy as some seem to think.
4.14.2006 11:39am
RBG (mail):
The Alliance Defense Fund's press release suggests that the conservative librarian may have been making these suggestions facetiously: "Savage made the recommendations after other committee members had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective, by authors such as Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver." Isn't it possible that he figured the only way to make the other members of the committee realize their bias was to propose an equally lopsided mix of books that liberals would find as offensive as conservatives would find the other proposals. In other words, I'm not sure we should be assuming that the librarian identifies with the views expressed in any or all of these books. And assuming that he was attempting to make a political point, it looks as if his colleagues and the university played right into his hands, no?
4.14.2006 11:42am
PersonFromPorlock:

Can you point to one instance where someone has objected to inclusion of the Protocols where they were used in their proper historical context--I doubt it.


I think there have been some such but I can't recall specifically. My point is more that if we insist such sources can only be studied with warning flags attached ("in their proper historical context," as you put it), we are teaching 'what to think' rather than 'how to think'. Becoming foolishly attached to foolish ideas and then disabused of them is all part of the college experience.
4.14.2006 11:43am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Lawsuit: stupid. Moving on ...

What is the "First Year Reading Program" at OSU, and what are its stated goals and guidelines, if any?

Would a book advocating gay marriage, let alone the book in question, fit those goals and guidelines?
4.14.2006 11:48am
K T Cat (www):
Operation Bookworm will have to be cancelled now. The moonbat professors are on to us! We'll have to find a new way to indoctrinate students other than recommending four mainstream books.

Curses! Foiled again!

:-)
4.14.2006 11:57am
Joe7 (mail):
Let's not overlook one thing; the complaining professor's claims are likely complete lies. I find it highly unlikely they actually feel "unsafe". Ticked off maybe, but "unsafe"; nonsense.
4.14.2006 12:01pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Just as disturbing, there seem to be some posters to this thread who are not only unappalled by the situation but seem to think that they have an appropriate system for censoring the contents of university libraries. I'd like any one of these persons to explain what advantage their system of censorship might have over any other, e.g., one I might suggest, in a way that is completely rational and will be accepted by all Volokh readers.

Even from the ADF's filing, (which of course has to present Mr. Savage's argument in the best possible light) it is extremely unclear what the basis of the sexual harrassment claim is. The ADF filing implies it is simply Mr. Savage's book recommendations, but never directly states it. It sounds like Mr. Savage got a bug up his ass when the committee rejected his original suggestion to the reading list (Freakonomics), felt he was dissed by all those leftist, snooty professors and set about painting himself as the poor, oppressed rightwing librarian trying to bring balance to the leftwing indonctrination and decided to submit a list of books by a bunch of rightwing kooks (and yes I am calling Santorium a rightwing kook) just to make a point.

It sounds more like that somewhere along the line, Mr. Savage lost his cool, and called the professors "fags" or some other such derogatory term, and that is the basis of the sexual harassment lawsuit, not his silly list of books.

And by the way I love how the ADF characterizes the list as leftist--Dawkins I'll give them, but the rest? The wife of the Republican governor of California, a former president? Jared Diamond really gets me. I assume that the book in question is Guns, Germs and Steel. In what way is that book leftist? Because it advocates the theory that the European dominance of the last 500 years of world history is due more to geographic and genetic luck (and the fact that we liked living in close proximity to our pigs, chickens and cows) rather than our moral, intellectual, and religious superiority over the savage races of the world? Where is Marx, Lenin, Sartre, or even Upton Sinclair?
4.14.2006 12:01pm
JosephSlater (mail):
IB Bill has pretty much proved Public Defender's point.

And it's not "censorship" in any meaningful or objectionable sense to object to the inclusion of book that preaches bigotry (assuming, arguendo, that is the case) in a limited set of books that are required reading. Professors aren't "censoring" every single book in the world arguably relevant to their field that they don't require students to read.

On the other hand, I can see the argument that threatening to discipline an employee for suggesting that a book be required is going too far.
4.14.2006 12:01pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
If I were teaching a modern European history class, I might well encourage students to read The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and then ask them a series of questions:

1. If you were organizing a plot to take over the world, would you write it down?

2. If you did, would you characterize your intentions as evil, as the speakers in Protocols do?

3. If your conspiracy had any significant influence over governments, would you have allowed this book to have seen the light of day?

4. How would you prove "conspiracy too weak to suppress the book" isn't the same as "no such conspiracy exists"?

I suspect that anyone that didn't find Protocols laughably absurd is probably too deranged for rational discussion anyway.

The bigger problem is that homosexual activists are terrified of any serious debate on the subject--hence the need to engage in suppression of free speech.
4.14.2006 12:07pm
Rob Crocker (mail):
I think if we really want to inform this discussion then we also need the list of books recommended by the other professors who are arguing about the academic qualifications of books like Tha Marketing of Evil.

One of the books was supposedly written by Maria Shriver and another by Jimmy Carter. Anyone have the original list?
4.14.2006 12:11pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
My point is more that if we insist such sources can only be studied with warning flags attached ("in their proper historical context," as you put it), we are teaching 'what to think' rather than 'how to think'. Becoming foolishly attached to foolish ideas and then disabused of them is all part of the college experience.

I don't understand your point. Do you think the Protocols should be introduced in college courses as though they are actual historical documents produced by the Elders of Zion because some people actually believe this and then let college students figure out they are actually forgeries penned by the Romanov secret police and there are no Elders of Zion? Should we also teach as fact David Irving's lies about the Holcaust along with the proven historical facts about the holocaust? Should every science class teach every theory that has been disproved along with the valid one and then require the students to figure out which one is correct?
4.14.2006 12:17pm
Justin (mail):
Clayton, the publishing of the Protocols of the Elders of Zions in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s by Henry Ford led to a wave of antisemetism in the United States, which was one of the reasons given by military commanders why they didn't bomb the death camps (which they knew about) - they didn't want to undermine support for the war at home by making it "about the Jews."

So are you insulting Americans as particularly deranged, or do you find the increased death toll laughable?
4.14.2006 12:20pm
OutofHigherEd (mail):
I'm surprised so many are surprised at the professors' actions; I'm sure they would be surprised too.

Many, if not most, academics are in the job NOT to deal with anything they don't like. They teach the classes, write the exams, and grade students so they don't have to encounter any ideas that they don't already approve.

Any deviation from this is simply unthinkable and, in their opinion, unconsciousable, so of course they took action.

There is a ideological requirement in most departments, unspoken, but there and if you don't like it, please seek employment elsewhere. I did!
4.14.2006 12:23pm
A Law Unto Himself (mail):
To respond to Freder Frederson:

So a priori, a book by a former President can't be leftist, but a sitting Senator is a "leftwing kook"?

Consistency, thou art a jewel...
4.14.2006 12:23pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
So a priori, a book by a former President can't be leftist, but a sitting Senator is a "leftwing kook"?

Considering that the last time this country elected a president that could even remotely be called "leftist" was 1944 (and I would argue that FDR was the only "leftist" president ever elected in this country--and by international standards he was barely leftist), yes a book by a former President--at least one written by any president other than FDR, can't be leftist, as much as Jimmy Carter is now a favorite whipping boy of the right. And I called Santorium a rightwing kook, not a leftwing one.
4.14.2006 12:32pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton, the publishing of the Protocols of the Elders of Zions in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s by Henry Ford led to a wave of antisemetism in the United States, which was one of the reasons given by military commanders why they didn't bomb the death camps (which they knew about) - they didn't want to undermine support for the war at home by making it "about the Jews."
It did not lead to a wave of anti-Semitism. That was already present. The Klan's revival in the early 1920s included a significant anti-Semitic element (which had not been present in the first rise of the Klan after the Civil War). I have a copy of the Protocols published in the early 1920s by something called the "Christian Nationalist Crusade of Los Angeles." (As they say about academic departments that include the word "science" in their title--they usually aren't a science at all.)

All of the reasons that I have heard for failure to bomb the death camps--I've never heard this one. Where did you find it?

It is amusing (but unsurprising) to see a liberal like you arguing in favor of censorship, because the masses are just too stupid to read and think for themselves.

So are you insulting Americans as particularly deranged, or do you find the increased death toll laughable?
No, I deny that Protocols could have persuaded anyone to violence or even hatred that wasn't already inclined that direction by their own emotional problems.

The bigger and more interesting aspect of this case, however, is the blatantly totalitarian nature of the attempt to suppress dissent about homosexuality at Ohio State. Someone as terrified of multiple perspectives as these professors probably suspects that a serious debate would leave their position in ruins. Or at least liberals would have insisted that this was the case if a university in 1963 had similarly responded to a faculty member suggesting Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth.
4.14.2006 12:39pm
Tony (mail):
Hm, I guess my comment about the Protocols hit a nerve, because it was deleted, though not before it engendered a flurry of reaction. (It was about #5 at the time I wrote it.) I understand that "exaggeration" is discouraged here, but I wanted to raise a point about the division between what is considered legitimate opposition to an opinion and what is considered unacceptable libel or simply trash.

As a gay man, it is plain as day that there is really no debate as to whether homosexuality is "acceptable" or not. It's not even the right question. I'm born with it, I'm stuck with it. It is, in itself, neither good nor bad... it simply is. And no, Clayton, I was not molested - I was gay before I knew what sex was, before I even knew the basics of the birds and the bees. One can legitimately discuss the implications of fact for American culture, discuss the ways both good and bad that people of similar bent form communities, ande even the (very real) pathologies of those communities, if one starts from the position of recognizing the basic humanity of the people involved.

But to start with the presupposition that this orientation is a consequence of "evil", as this book appears to do... well, that's right up there with young-earth creationism as an intellectual foundation. If a suggested text is going to be based on something so flatly counterfactual, what IS off limits? What COULD be a legitimate basis for a human rights complaint? One might answer that this "harrassment" complaint is not the correct basis for challenging ANY book on the reading list, and I would accept that. But is there a good alternative?

For a university to leave this book on the reading list with the goal of providing balance... well, I couldn't imagine a better example of "relativism" overwhelming common sense. To include this book would be to admit no academic standards whatsoever, and I am dead serious when I say that the Protocols would be a better choice.
4.14.2006 12:47pm
hey (mail):
I love the arguments brought to bear against Mr. Savage, especially the complaints about the lack of rigour and vetting of the books (mainly Kupelian's). You may be able to say alot of things about Jimmy Carter (or rather his staff) and Maria Shriver (or rather her ghost writer) but rigour and vetting won't be included in any positive list. Seriously, the entire argument, as put forth in the proffessors own emails (if accurately transcribed), highlights the unseriousness of the "harrassment" complaint.

As to how you'd think of Jared Diamond as "leftist"... they were likely discussing Collapse rather than Guns, Germs, Steel, which can be taken as an inherently leftist critique of our current society. It's a slightly more scholarly and better written version of Earth in the Balance. Collapse definitely has a specific viewpoint.

The questioning of Maria Shriver as a "leftist" seems especially ignorant for this blog. I mean, come on, do you seriously think that anyone is as stupid as to believe that "wife of a Repiubican governor" is a sufficient or complete definition of Maria Shriver??? How stupid do you assume that everyone else is? It's obviously her husband that defines her politics, rather than the fact that her father was one of the prototypical limousine liberals, ran as one of the most leftwing serious candidates for US President, and that her other relations are the most prominent political family in the United States, who move further to the left with every year and every passing generation? McFly?

I seriously hope that Mr. Savage sues the University and the accusers for their scurrilous charges and attempts to damage his career and reputation. Unless they can produce other emails that give substance to their "fears" they deserve to lose and be hit with a very large judgement on the order of several million dollars (given their attempts to make Mr. Savage unemployable and remove his current high salary and benefits).
4.14.2006 12:50pm
Justin (mail):
While Maria Schriver is a "democrat" the idea that she's a "leftist" is absurd on its own, regardless of who she married.
4.14.2006 12:53pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
JosephSlater: I think Public Defender made a good point, and there's no easy answer.

I also haven't read Marketing of Evil or Protocols. I will read the former (ordered it from Amazon yesterday) and won't read the latter, for personal reasons. I didn't realize David Kupelian runs WorldNetDaily. Had I known that, I wouldn't have ordered his book.

What I have read is the complaint, including the email exchanges. Scott Savage's little email should have offended no reasonable person ... but alas, we're dealing with college professors here (no offense to our esteemed hosts). These are people who have some of the best jobs in the world, and manage to find things to get upset about.
4.14.2006 12:59pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As a gay man, it is plain as day that there is really no debate as to whether homosexuality is "acceptable" or not. It's not even the right question.
In short, you refuse to even consider any discussion of it legitimate. I suppose that you should be glad that 40 years ago, straight people were more open to debate about this than you are.

I'm born with it, I'm stuck with it. It is, in itself, neither good nor bad... it simply is. And no, Clayton, I was not molested - I was gay before I knew what sex was, before I even knew the basics of the birds and the bees.
The belief that "I've always been gay" is widespread among homosexuals, but that you believe it doesn't make it true. A serious debate about the subject would be very worthwhile, especially because there seems to be a lot of different forms of homosexuality. For example, this incident is an extreme example of the S&M gay subculture--but even in the less extreme forms, it is pretty clear that someone has a serious confusion about pain, pleasure, sex, and domination. (Gee, rather like you might expect if someone's first sexual experiences involved pain, pleasure, sex, and domination.)

Unfortunately, there will be no serious debate about this subject, because homosexuals will not allow it at a place like Ohio State, or just about any other university.
4.14.2006 1:01pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

While Maria Schriver is a "democrat" the idea that she's a "leftist" is absurd on its own, regardless of who she married.
She is on the left end of the spectrum--maybe not as far left as you, but certainly not a centrist, or on the right. The right side of the spectrum includes conservatives and libertarians; the left includes liberals, progressives, populists, and communists.
4.14.2006 1:03pm
Justin (mail):
"Leftist" doesn't mean anyone past the 50% mark of the political center, and you know it.

Indeed, when "leftists" get attacked for believing in outrageous things, and liberal bloggers respond that they're making straw men arguments, the rejoinder tends to be, "well maybe I wasn't talking to you. I was talking about leftists, the cooks to the left of you - what, you agree with them""
4.14.2006 1:12pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

"Leftist" doesn't mean anyone past the 50% mark of the political center, and you know it.
I would not have used the term "leftist" to describe Maria Shriver. Some people use the terms "left" and "right" in a larger categorization, and in that sense, Shriver is on the left end of the spectrum because she is left of center.


Indeed, when "leftists" get attacked for believing in outrageous things, and liberal bloggers respond that they're making straw men arguments, the rejoinder tends to be, "well maybe I wasn't talking to you. I was talking about leftists, the cooks to the left of you - what, you agree with them""
At least when I write, I try to carefully distinguish leftists from liberals, even though both are on the left end of the spectrum. Liberals still believe in private property (except when big corporations want it, ala Kelo) and freedom of speech (at least in the abstract) while leftists do not.
4.14.2006 1:21pm
Tony (mail):
Clayton writes:
The belief that "I've always been gay" is widespread among homosexuals, but that you believe it doesn't make it true. A serious debate about the subject would be very worthwhile...

Tell me, does there exist a subject which, in your mind, is so settled in the minds of reasonable people that "serious debate" is not "worthwhile"? Or are you of the belief that all knowledge and understanding is up for grabs?

I ask this as a frank and unapologetic postmodernist who is inclined to be skeptical of everything, yet even I recognize that some subjects are so in-your-face obvious that continuing to debate them is a waste of time.

I didn't even have to click on your link to the castration incident to know what you had linked to. This is getting off on a tangent, but you know what my reaction to that story was? I looked up "castration" on Wikipedia and learned quite a bit about the long history of voluntary castration in spiritual contexts, and concluded that perhaps labelling it as pathological was premature. Maybe, like homosexuality itself, it's a deeply rooted expression of primal drives that we still only dimly understand, something that is part of what makes us human. (I also can't help but notice that you gravitate to this, rather than the more timely and widespread spectacle of heterosexual Catholics around the world flagellating themselves and getting nailed to crosses this weekend. Eeech... I'd take castration over that any day, thanks! Those Catholics must be "confused", no surprise when they're confonted with the violence and gore of crucifixion from early childhood, no?)
4.14.2006 1:22pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
Trying to make this case one of high Constitutional principle really does require some highly unlikely readings of what is going on.

Savage, the Librarian, was a member of a University Committee tasked with choosing books for a specific course. As an employee of the University, serving on that Committee, he had a professional employee's duty to aid the committee's work. That means behaving cooperatively, and it means that his suggestions ought to reflect the application of professional standards. This was not a platform for personal expression, where he would deserve the full panoply of 1st Amendment protection; this was professional work.

Obviously, we don't know all that went on here. On the basis of incomplete evidence, though, it appears Savage, in making the four "suggestions" was being an ass, and failing in his duty, as an employee, to cooperate productively in the work of the Committee, of which he was a member.

Savage's supervisor probably ought to have reprimanded him for inappropriate and unprofessional conduct, and, I presume, if that had happened, nothing further would have ensued. We don't really know if it happened, although there is a hint that his supervisor defended his conduct, when complaints were made.

Sexual harassment regulations are being used here to draw attention to his unprofessional conduct and to "punish" him personally with an embarassing investigation, which Savage is trying to summarily suppress.

Is there any reason for a court to intervene here? The University will investigate the complaint, and act according to its own procedures in the matter. Is there any evidence put forth that the University procedures in the case of such a complaint are not likely to resolve the question properly? Does the University need a judge to intervene here?

Is it really necessary to have a judge intervene in the University's administrative investigation of an employee's professional and on-the-job conduct?

I think it might very well be that the University's sexual harassment regulations and procedures lend themselves to abuse, and maybe they are being abused here. The notion that there might be a libel claim does not seem as far-fetched as the first amendment claim, and there may be other recourse in Ohio labor law or University or State policy.

But, really, is the remedy for abuse of sexual harassment regulation, an abuse of 1st amendment claims?
4.14.2006 1:25pm
Ken Arromdee (mail):
But to start with the presupposition that this orientation is a consequence of "evil", as this book appears to do... well, that's right up there with young-earth creationism as an intellectual foundation.

We don't know that the book does this. We only know that the book has the word "evil" in its title.

The book could be
-- using the word as a rhetorical exaggeration
-- using the word seriously in reference to gays, but in some way that falls short of harassment (for instance, they may believe that God prohibits homosexuality but not want to do anything to homosexuals)
-- using the word seriously in reference to some group that is smaller than all gays (for instance, particular groups of gay activists)
-- using the word in some technical way (for instance, according to original sin, all people are "evil")

It's also possible, as someone pointed out, that the book is in fact saying that gays are evil, but that the librarian proposed it as a way of pointing out that the accepted books are as bad as this one rather than because he agrees with the sentiment.

And I would be very wary of judging a book on the basis of an amazon.com review quoted by one of its opponents.
4.14.2006 1:27pm
frankcross (mail):
Pretty amazing stuff.
This is the logical consequence of Robert Bork's new approach that censorship is a necessary condition of freedom.
4.14.2006 1:30pm
Elais:
Clayton,

Is there any 'serious debate' about heterosexuality? Would you be eager to put up for 'debate' your own sexuality? Are you really heterosexual? How do you know? Were you born heterosexual? Were you converted to heterosexuality?
4.14.2006 1:34pm
Admin - Gun Law News (mail) (www):
The librarian's suggestion makes perfect sense if you believe that it is the university's job to teach how to analyze and think.

Professors J.F. Buckley and Norman Jones reaction makes perfect sense if they believe their job is to teach WHAT to think.

Students should be taught first how to analyze the belief systems of their teachers and reject any teacher that wishes to teach them what to think.
4.14.2006 1:40pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Tell me, does there exist a subject which, in your mind, is so settled in the minds of reasonable people that "serious debate" is not "worthwhile"? Or are you of the belief that all knowledge and understanding is up for grabs?
I would say that the flat Earthers are not going to be taken very seriously on a college campus...or anywhere else. Universities are filled with faculty taking positions that the real world finds at best, bizarre, and yet here's a position that leads to harassment charges.

I ask this as a frank and unapologetic postmodernist who is inclined to be skeptical of everything, yet even I recognize that some subjects are so in-your-face obvious that continuing to debate them is a waste of time.
You mean a subject that you are emotionally invested in, and therefore can't afford to have seriously questioned.
4.14.2006 1:40pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton,

Is there any 'serious debate' about heterosexuality? Would you be eager to put up for 'debate' your own sexuality? Are you really heterosexual? How do you know? Were you born heterosexual? Were you converted to heterosexuality?
I love when homosxuals put their foot in mouth this effectively.

1. I don't find the "homosexuality is unnatural" argument persuasive, because lots of "natural" behaviors are uncivilized and brutal. Watching two male ducks fight over mating rights to a female until they unintentionally killed her--that's a "natural" behavior. But I think I can say with high certainty that heterosexuality is "natural." Whether homosexuality is "natural" or not, I can say with certainty that mammalian species that are not heterosexual do not reproduce.

2. I know that I am heterosexual because those are my preferences, and I grew up in a society where homosexuality was generally accepted, with only a small amount of negativity towards it.

3. Was I born heterosexual? Probably. It appears to be the default setting for just about all mammals.
4.14.2006 1:46pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Those emails, and many of the comments here, confirm every conservative stereotype about academia as a bastion of bigotry and narrowmindedness.
4.14.2006 1:50pm
anonymous coward:
I think we're fairly safe in supposing "The Marketing of Evil" is junk: see here. (If the conservative postmodernists among us--and you know who you are--want to claim there's no good reason to dismiss this out of hand, go right ahead--you're not doing your movement any favors.)

I agree with the comments above that note Savage was being an idiot but that the harassment complaint is not appropriate either.
4.14.2006 1:52pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Savage, the Librarian, was a member of a University Committee tasked with choosing books for a specific course. As an employee of the University, serving on that Committee, he had a professional employee's duty to aid the committee's work. That means behaving cooperatively, and it means that his suggestions ought to reflect the application of professional standards. This was not a platform for personal expression, where he would deserve the full panoply of 1st Amendment protection; this was professional work.

Obviously, we don't know all that went on here. On the basis of incomplete evidence, though, it appears Savage, in making the four "suggestions" was being an ass, and failing in his duty, as an employee, to cooperate productively in the work of the Committee, of which he was a member.
It does not appear to me that Savage's suggestions were any less professional than the other members of the committee, who apparently see the First Year Reading project as some sort of political indoctrination activity.

Look, if the objection was that Savage's suggestions were not scholarly works, okay, that might be a worthy suggestion. But suggesting works by Maria Shriver and Jimmy Carter isn't exactly setting a high standard for academic rigor.

I realize that it is a great source of frustration to professors to realize that their beliefs aren't generally held by those outside the ivory tower. This insistence, however, that the purpose of a university is to tell students WHAT to think, rather than teaching them HOW to think, is discrediting the entire notion of a liberal arts education.

I do not want universities turned entirely into high-end trade schools (computer science, electrical engineering, math, physics, chemistry)--but this sort of creeping totalitarianism makes me very skeptical of the rest of these institutions.
4.14.2006 2:00pm
Tony (mail):
Clayton writes:
You mean a subject that you are emotionally invested in, and therefore can't afford to have seriously questioned.

You probably don't remember, but I've been engaging you, reading your posts, following your links, and seriously listening to your arguments on soc.motss and elsewhere for FIFTEEN YEARS. At times I've been called, by my peers, "so open minded that my brains fell out".

I suppose it's a sort of masochism that I have kept returning to your writing, because I believe in the critical approach and genuinely welcome dissent... to a point. But there comes a time when it's simply over and done with, when there is nothing more to be listened to.

So playing the closed-minded card with me is a little ridiculous.
4.14.2006 2:04pm
von (mail) (www):
Professor:

It looks to me that we're missing copies of several of Savage's e-mails in the link you provide. Accordingly, in assessing the claim of harrassment, it seems that we have only some of the relevant materials. I think it's a mistake to reach a conclusion on this matter until we see all the e-mail records relating to this episode, including the follow-up emails that Savage apparent sent to his detractors but which have not been produced.

von

P.s. I would agree with your conclusion if the linked e-mails consituted the entire universe of e-mails. Since they apparently do not, I can't join you yet.
4.14.2006 2:09pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Tony writes:


I didn't even have to click on your link to the castration incident to know what you had linked to. This is getting off on a tangent, but you know what my reaction to that story was? I looked up "castration" on Wikipedia and learned quite a bit about the long history of voluntary castration in spiritual contexts, and concluded that perhaps labelling it as pathological was premature.
I don't think that's premature. I've read about hermits out in the Egyptian desert castrating themselves, and that sounds like someone with some pretty serious problems.


Maybe, like homosexuality itself, it's a deeply rooted expression of primal drives that we still only dimly understand, something that is part of what makes us human.
Talk about making my point for me. You are so prepared to defend this deranged behavior because the alternative is to acknowledge that there are appropriate limits--like not castrating someone. I don't even think this is appropriate punishment for rapists.


(I also can't help but notice that you gravitate to this, rather than the more timely and widespread spectacle of heterosexual Catholics around the world flagellating themselves and getting nailed to crosses this weekend. Eeech... I'd take castration over that any day, thanks!
You are revealing more about yourself than I could ever imagined. I find the whole flagellation and crucifixion thing bizarre and even repulsive. Jesus died on the Cross for Christians to take on their sins--once. There's no need for any Christian to do this today, and it accomplishes nothing. But you know, as bizarre and repulsive as some of these actions are--when the weirdoes who have themselves nailed to crosses are done at the end of the day, everything still works. And you would rather be castrated?

Those Catholics must be "confused", no surprise when they're confonted with the violence and gore of crucifixion from early childhood, no?)
Yup. We were visiting Mission San Jose many years ago, and my daughter was about three years old. Her reaction to a traditional Catholic crucifix with Jesus covered in blood was terror. This is definitely part of the sacrifice Jesus made--but there are age appropriate items, and there are age inappropiate items.
4.14.2006 2:14pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I suppose it's a sort of masochism that I have kept returning to your writing, because I believe in the critical approach and genuinely welcome dissent... to a point. But there comes a time when it's simply over and done with, when there is nothing more to be listened to.
Yeah, that's certainly how many people feel about homosexuality. Fortunately for you, the majority is more open minded than a bunch of OSU professors, and the majority isn't prepared to silence the homosexual perspective (which is constantly pounded into us through newspapers and popular media). We do draw the line at being forced to recognize gay marriage.
4.14.2006 2:18pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
I have it on superb authourity that The Marketing of Evil is a very good book.

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 2:26pm
Cornellian (mail):
I seriously hope that Mr. Savage sues the University and the accusers for their scurrilous charges and attempts to damage his career and reputation.

Yeah, that will teach everyone how wrong it is to supress speech.
4.14.2006 2:43pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Let me echo the sentiment an earlier commentor: The problem with The Marketing of Evil isn't that it's antigay, but rather that it's a conspiratorial (what would you expect from WorldNutDailey) piece of crap.

See my earlier post on the matter.

When the rightwingnuts start talking about Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen's After the Ball as some sort of "Holy Grail" blueprint for the "homosexual agenda" you know you are dealing with cranks.
4.14.2006 2:45pm
frankcross (mail):
Cranks get free speech too.
4.14.2006 2:51pm
Sydney Carton (www):
I think that in many of the comments, a serious point has been lost.

It doesn't matter what book it was, what the title was, how evil or bad the book's contents were, or whatever.

The mere listing of an idea (in the form of the book's title, or even quoting the book itself) is not sexual harassment. It is not harassment of any kind. Period.

How many people can play this game? Will feminist professors who harp about the glories of womanhood and the evil of the patriarchy now be sued for sexual harassment? Who is safe in this universe? This revolution will devour its children. No thoughts, no expressions are safe, if this is successful.

I find it amazing that the liberal commentors on this blog don't understand that. Zeal for their cause has blinded them.
4.14.2006 2:53pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
Boy, that link anon? gave to the first chapter of The Marketing of Evil was a stunner. Thanks! What an excellent and useful piece of writing. Based on that excerpt, every Ohio State freshmen should read The Marketing of Evil. Lots to think about and discuss there! Kupelian even predicted this incident:
You might wonder: Where and when will this "gay rights" public relations steamroller stop? The end game is not only to bring about the complete acceptance of homosexuality, including same-sex marriage, but also to prohibit and even criminalize public criticism of homosexuality, including the quotation of biblical passages disapproving of homosexuality.

In other words, total jamming of criticism with the force of law. This is already essentially the case in Canada and parts of Scandinavia. "Why?" you might ask. "I thought gays just wanted equal rights and to be free to do what they want in their own bedrooms." No, they've had that for years.

Their campaign will not end until Christians and other traditionalists opposing homosexuality are shut up, discredited, and utterly silenced – and all because of a little factor we've forgotten about in our cleverness, namely this: In truth, there is something wrong with homosexuality.
I hope Tony (among others), who sounds like a lovely and reasonable man reads and understands what Kupelian is trying to say. Kupelian is giving the responsible Christian viewpoint on homosexuality. He is compassionate, warm, understanding and forgiving.

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 2:55pm
Cornellian (mail):
A little bit of Googling is more than enough to let you know that "The Marketing of Evil" is the kind of paranoid conspiracy theory that only a nut like Michael Savage could take seriously. No one could seriously suggest it's appropriate for a first year college curriculum. I can't imagine that anything Jimmy Carter would write would be appropriate either, so maybe Ohio State has bigger problems than one over excited librarian.
4.14.2006 2:57pm
Michael O'D (www):
My question is for Eugene Volokh and the other administrators of this site more than for the various commenters here. Eugene, your original criticism of the lawsuit was from the principled position that it's a silly, over-sensitive attack on open debate in universities, regardless of the merit of the ideas under attack.

Now re-read Clayton's comments. They have degenerated into a gay-bashing diatribe. Granted, he isn't calling for blood or pouring kerosine onto stacks of logs, but the tenor of his comments is openly hostile to the very idea of homosexuality. He thinks people like Tony are deluding themselves.

Here's my question. What is it like, Eugene and VC administrators, to link arms with such people as our Clayton? Perhaps your offense at this lawsuit really does stem from the principled position that leftish academic intolerance is baleful. I don't doubt that some conservatives legitimately hold that view, without more--and I think they probably have a point. (Sydney seems to fall into this category.) But what is it like to realize that many of your fellow travelers are simply bigots?
4.14.2006 2:57pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
Michael O'D,

I'm afraid that it is your characterization of Clayton which is bigotted.

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 3:03pm
MDJD2B (mail):
...the use of the word "niggardly" (which of course has a completely different entomology than its homonym...

When people confound "entomology" with "etymology" it bugs me! :)
4.14.2006 3:15pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
Clayton Cramer: "Look, if the objection was that Savage's suggestions were not scholarly works, okay, that might be a worthy suggestion. But suggesting works by Maria Shriver and Jimmy Carter isn't exactly setting a high standard for academic rigor."

A reasonable guess about what went on, from the record we have, would be that Savage first suggested Freakonomics -- a perfectly sensible suggestion, a serious book, which might be a good introduction for Freshman to serious academic thinking -- and that suggestion was not treated with what Savage regarded as sufficient respect. So, Savage made his 4 suggestions, escalating the confrontation.

Savage may have been provoked, but that should not excuse bad behavior. And bad behavior should not be an automatic claim on 1st amendment privilege.

A sexual harassment claim does not seem appropriate here either, but unless there is some evidence that the University is not competent to figure that out, and deal appropriately with the charge and those, who made it, I see no reason for a Federal court to intervene. Administering a University is hard enough, without groundless Federal Court intervention in what appears to be a rather trivial personality clash.
4.14.2006 3:16pm
MDJD2B (mail):
My point is more that if we insist such sources can only be studied with warning flags attached ("in their proper historical context," as you put it), we are teaching 'what to think' rather than 'how to think'. Becoming foolishly attached to foolish ideas and then disabused of them is all part of the college experience.

A good history professor (or other professor) generally places the works he is teaching in some sort of context. It is not illegitimate for a teacher to point out that a work is outside the mainsream of thought in a field, that it contains errors, or that the errors portray individuals and groups in a worse (or better) light than appropriate. The question is whether this is done with the appropriate judgment and balance. Considering four works that portray Jews in a more or less bad light-- The Protocols, Oliver Twist, The Merchant of Venice, and Gogol's stories-- a good teacher would approach these in different ways. None should be banned from university curricula, but all should be taught by teachers who advise students to be skeptical of their depictions.

The same thing could be said of books portraying other ethnic groups. Nights with Uncle Remus, Puddinghead Wilson, and Uncle Tom's Cabin might all be included in curicula, but hopefully not without some instrution that they do not represent an accurate depiction of the life of Black Americans in the 19th century, and hopefully with some balance that would nudge students toward a different view.
4.14.2006 3:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Michael O'D writes:

They have degenerated into a gay-bashing diatribe. Granted, he isn't calling for blood or pouring kerosine onto stacks of logs, but the tenor of his comments is openly hostile to the very idea of homosexuality. He thinks people like Tony are deluding themselves.
You seem to be openly hostile to the idea that homosexuality is not healthy. You also seem to think that people like me are deluding ourselves. So what makes your beliefs justify suppressing ideas you don't like?

That's the difference between us: I wouldn't try to suppress your ideas. I just want there to be a serious debate about this subject; you and a bunch of OSU professors want debate about this subject shut down completely.
4.14.2006 3:34pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Bruce Wilder writes:


A reasonable guess about what went on, from the record we have, would be that Savage first suggested Freakonomics -- a perfectly sensible suggestion, a serious book, which might be a good introduction for Freshman to serious academic thinking -- and that suggestion was not treated with what Savage regarded as sufficient respect. So, Savage made his 4 suggestions, escalating the confrontation.

Savage may have been provoked, but that should not excuse bad behavior. And bad behavior should not be an automatic claim on 1st amendment privilege.
But what was the "bad behavior"? Suggesting books that provide some balance to what was otherwise a left of center bias? If that is "bad behavior," stop demanding my money to fund your leftist circle jerk.


A sexual harassment claim does not seem appropriate here either, but unless there is some evidence that the University is not competent to figure that out, and deal appropriately with the charge and those, who made it, I see no reason for a Federal court to intervene. Administering a University is hard enough, without groundless Federal Court intervention in what appears to be a rather trivial personality clash.
It went from "a rather trivial personality clash" to a serious matter when the gay thought police started a sexual harassment claim against Savage. When a public institution starts to decide whether to discipline someone for expressing a political opinion, that's a First Amendment violation.

I am not surprised that you wouldn't want the federal courts sticking their nose into how a public university operates. Why, they might actually insist that OSU follow the law: tolerate freedom of speech and equal protection of the law--and then the entire leftist control of the academy would start to collapse.
4.14.2006 3:41pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
In this comment, Michael O'D calls Clayton Cramer's rather innocuous comments a diatribe, and then calls Clayton a bigot. Then he tries to threaten Prof. Volokh into disassociating himself from Clayton. It's attempted academic censorship in real time!

Unfortunately for Michael, Prof. Volokh and others are likely to read what Clayton actually wrote, rather than relying on a biased summary, before making up their minds. (This is apparently not standard procedure at Ohio State.) Then they will see that what Michael wrote was nothing more than clumsy intellectual thuggery.

But don't give up, Michael! Keep on libeling people who disagree with you, and keep on trying to intimidate people who partially disagree with you. Keep on showing us just how tolerant and open-minded liberals really are.
4.14.2006 3:44pm
FXKLM:
Michael O'D: There are vile people on every side of every political issue. Finding yourself in agreement with a person you find distasteful on a particular issue has nothing whatsoever to do with the underlying merits of the position.

Note that this is a different issue from mainstream anti-war activists who directly ally themselves with Stalinists like ANSWER. Eugene Volokh simply happens to agree with bigots on a particular issue; he is not openly cooperating with them or endorsing their organizations. There is no shame in that.
4.14.2006 3:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Michael O'D writes:


Here's my question. What is it like, Eugene and VC administrators, to link arms with such people as our Clayton?
What makes you think that he has? Because he hasn't censored what I have written here? You are just proving my point about how some people can't tolerate dissent or disagreement--they think any opposing viewpoint, no matter how moderately or calmly expressed, is a heresy deserving of suppression.

Why can't you tolerate any criticism of homosexuality? The left is allowed to engage in not just calmly worded criticisms of Christianity, capitalism, private property, President Bush, the decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq--but even criticisms that are neither calm nor fair: BusHitler; Fahrenheit 911; Piss Christ; burning of the American flag; etc. ad nauseam. And you can't tolerate even the criticisms of homosexuality that I have posted here? Why is your skin so thin? Perhaps you know something that you are having trouble admitting to yourself?
4.14.2006 3:49pm
MDJD2B (mail):
As a gay man, it is plain as day that there is really no debate as to whether homosexuality is "acceptable" or not. It's not even the right question. I'm born with it, I'm stuck with it...It is, in itself, neither good nor bad...it simply is.

Assuming for the sake of argument that sexual orientation is innate, this does support or refute any argument with regard to the appropriate status of homosexuality in society. Whether a given sexual orientation should be discouraged, tolerated, accepted, or promoted does not follow from whehter it is biologically based.

By analogy-- if the propensity to alcoholism were biologically based in some or all alcoholics to a greater or lesser extent, this would not argue either for toleration of copious alcohol intake or for euthenasia of people that carry a gene that makes it especially likely that they will engage in such behavior.
4.14.2006 3:49pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

A good history professor (or other professor) generally places the works he is teaching in some sort of context. It is not illegitimate for a teacher to point out that a work is outside the mainsream of thought in a field, that it contains errors, or that the errors portray individuals and groups in a worse (or better) light than appropriate. The question is whether this is done with the appropriate judgment and balance. Considering four works that portray Jews in a more or less bad light-- The Protocols, Oliver Twist, The Merchant of Venice, and Gogol's stories-- a good teacher would approach these in different ways. None should be banned from university curricula, but all should be taught by teachers who advise students to be skeptical of their depictions.
Yup. It would be good if students were taught to examine all assigned works with skepticism and care--not just the ones that fail to conform to the left's current definition of Revealed Truth. From reading the emails that flew back and forth at OSU, I find it rather difficult to believe that the professors involved are going to encourage that with the left of center books that they are assigning.
4.14.2006 3:54pm
Broncos:
To the Baby Boomers,
You've been great parents, and we appreciate all that you've given to the world.

But it's sad that you're wasting your last few productive years like this. Seriously.

In the name of apathy,

truly yours,
Gen. X
Gen. Y
4.14.2006 3:55pm
Richard Nieporent (mail):
I guess academic freedom doesn’t count for a mere librarian. It only works for professors such as Ward Churchill, Nicholas De Genova, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. I find it sad that many of the people commenting on this blog conflate the recommendation of a book with sexual harassment. Nobody said that you don’t have the right to be offended by his choice of book. If it bothers you then by all means speak out against it. However, if you believe in free speech, being offended does not give you the right to try and get someone fired. If that was the criteria then shouldn’t Ward Churchill and Nicholas De Genova be fired? Yes I realize that in your opinion an attack on Gays is a worse offense than an attack on Jews or any other group. Like George Cantor’s discovery of different orders of infinity you have discovered different orders of offensiveness with attacks on Gays being the highest order. However, the rest of us understand that we can't have some groups more equal that other groups. Either we protect free speech or we don't. There is no middle ground.
4.14.2006 3:56pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I do not want universities turned entirely into high-end trade schools (computer science, electrical engineering, math, physics, chemistry)--but this sort of creeping totalitarianism makes me very skeptical of the rest of these institutions.

As a chemist and currently getting my masters in civil engineering (and someone who was disgusted by the lack of intellectual rigor in law school), I am heartily offended by the notion that the hard sciences are nothing but "high-end trades". What kind of liberal arts, elitist, nonsense is that? Is an education only worthwhile or useful only when it isn't practical? Does enlightment only come from the liberal arts.

If I can figure out who you really are I plan to sue you for discrimination, you anti-technite bastard!
4.14.2006 4:05pm
Federal Dog:
"But what is it like to realize that many of your fellow travelers are simply bigots?"


Well, gee whiz. One can ask this same exact question to any group of people, including self-proclaimed "progressives." What point are you trying to make here?
4.14.2006 4:06pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

By analogy-- if the propensity to alcoholism were biologically based in some or all alcoholics to a greater or lesser extent, this would not argue either for toleration of copious alcohol intake or for euthenasia of people that carry a gene that makes it especially likely that they will engage in such behavior.
By the way, that's the analogy to homosexuality that I find most persuasive. There's no question that alcoholism has a genetic component. It is arguable, but I think not absurd, to suspect that early exposure and use of alcohol probably plays some part in why some people who may be prone to it become alcoholics.

I don't hate alcoholics anymore than I hate homosexuals. I've worked for functional alcoholics--guys with important jobs who had (even by their own admission) serious problems with controlling their use of alcohol. But just because some alcoholics don't let it destroy them, doesn't blind anyone to the fact that alcoholics are more likely to end up damaging themselves, their families, their friends, and anyone that has the misfortune to get in their way.

I blog frequently about the enormous damage that alcohol ends up doing in our society, and yes, there are jobs that I would not want an alcoholic to do. Does that make me a alcoholophobe? Would I be upset if a university made it a form of harassment to criticize alcoholism or alcohol abuse? Yes, I would.

Does this seem absurd? Less absurd than it would have seemed in 1960, if you had told someone that a day was coming when it could get you in trouble to criticize homosexuality.
4.14.2006 4:08pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As a chemist and currently getting my masters in civil engineering (and someone who was disgusted by the lack of intellectual rigor in law school), I am heartily offended by the notion that the hard sciences are nothing but "high-end trades". What kind of liberal arts, elitist, nonsense is that? Is an education only worthwhile or useful only when it isn't practical? Does enlightment only come from the liberal arts.

If I can figure out who you really are I plan to sue you for discrimination, you anti-technite bastard!
I used the phrase "high-end trade school" not as an insult, but because these are all useful subjects for other purposes--where the liberal arts are primarily for the purpose of making us into better citizens.

I majored in chemistry when I first went to USC. I work as a software engineer. My BA and MA are in History. I get to play all sides of this one!
4.14.2006 4:12pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I'll go on record as agreeing with Michael O'D that Clayton's comments about gays are bigoted diatribes. Having said that, I don't think that they should be censored, and I didn't take Michael to be saying that.

Michael did wonder why some weren't disassociating themselves from Clayton's arguments (which is not a "call for censorship" in real time or otherwise). And Michael asks a reasonable question.

It really goes back to Public Defender's point, which explains much of this thread. IF you think discrimination against gays is like discrimination against blacks, Jews, Catholics, etc., then it's entirely reasonable to ask sensible/sane people, even those on the opposite side of the political spectrum from you, whether they might consider denouncing such speech. But, if you think discrimination against gays is like, say, discrimination against pedophiles, then you wouldn't feel that way.

Clayton repeatedly places himself on one side of that fence. But it's just as legitimate, by any objective standard, to place oneself on the other side.

Oh, and in my personal opinion, Clayton, you're dead wrong. And I must say, I hear in your tone sometimes a tacit admission that your side is losing this battle.
4.14.2006 4:14pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

IF you think discrimination against gays is like discrimination against blacks, Jews, Catholics, etc., then it's entirely reasonable to ask sensible/sane people, even those on the opposite side of the political spectrum from you, whether they might consider denouncing such speech. But, if you think discrimination against gays is like, say, discrimination against pedophiles, then you wouldn't feel that way.
Oddly enough, most Americans are in the second category. They don't hold any ill-will towards homosexuals, and wouldn't want them to be beat up, thrown in jail, or fired from a job for their orientation (with a few rather specific exceptions)--but they don't find the analogy to race or religion persuasive--and interestingly enough, this is especially true among blacks in America. More than a few civil rights activists have explicitly rejected this analogy. Even Rep. Barney Frank has explicitly rejected the gay to black analogy.
4.14.2006 4:21pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Oh, and in my personal opinion, Clayton, you're dead wrong. And I must say, I hear in your tone sometimes a tacit admission that your side is losing this battle.
We lost the battle in the universities, no question. Some people insist on looking at the greater tolerance of homosexuality among the under-30 demographic as a sign that homosexuals are going to eventually win the fight among the general population. I rather doubt it. When I was under 30, and my knowledge of homosexuals was from the very pro-gay media coverage, I didn't understand what the big upset was. But as with most things, you get older, you learn, and you discover that an ounce of experience is worth a pound of theory.
4.14.2006 4:23pm
Managingeditor:
I've read the book. It's not bigoted in any way. It does however contain facts and a point of view contrary to those presented by homosexual activists and those among them that are attempting to thwart debate via censorship and intimidation. My guess is that the majority of Americans would agree with the author in principle albeit not always agreeing with his style. I'm also guessing that a good bit of the objection to the book is its open appeal to Christian values.
4.14.2006 4:25pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
Clayton Cramer:
"what was the "bad behavior"? Suggesting books that provide some balance to what was otherwise a left of center bias?"

Savage's bad behavior was: suggesting some books, which were clearly inappropriate -- not serious suggestions, but books chosen for their predictably inflammatory effect on other committee members, affecting the collegiality and effectiveness of the Committee.

Pretty early on, Savage involved FIRE in his e-mail exchanges. It seems quite possible Savage was just playing agent provocateur here, creating a controversy, for the purposes of advancing a reactionary political agenda.
4.14.2006 4:26pm
FXKLM:
JosephSlater: I can't agree with you or Public Defender on this. The issue would be precisely the same if we were talking about racial discrimination. The issue isn't really whether the book should not be added to the curriculum, it's about whether the reaction to Savage was reasonable. There are a number of different ways the OSU professors could have responded:

1. Argue that the book should not be added to the curriculum - I don't think anyone, even those who support adding the book, would argue that there is anything improper about arguing against the book's inclusion

2. Argue that Savage was morally wrong to suggest adding the book - I think most people would concede that this was also reasonable

3. Argue that Savage should be fired - This is probably the toughest question, but it isn't really implicated here anyway OR

4. File a complaint against Savage claiming that they were personally harmed by Savage's actions - This is what actually happened, and the professors were clearly wrong to do it. If Savage had recommended adding Mein Kampf to the program and a Jewish professor filed a complaint, the professor would still be wrong. Recommending the book was an academic exercise, and it was not intended to offend or harrass any particular individual. Retaliating against Savage with a harrassment complaint is wrong. The moral status of homosexuality or discrimination against homosexuals is irrelevant.
4.14.2006 4:30pm
Colin (mail):
I agree with Michael, and with JosephSlater. The problem with extreme, and often vicious rhetoric like Cramer's is that it poisons the dialogue. Many people who are interested in this discussion, and sympathetic to Volokh's argument, may see comments like Cramers and assume that the call for "academic freedom" is merely an excuse to rant about homosexuality. Of course that's not the case with Prof. Volokh's argument, but frequent (and to my mind vile) commentors can taint the more serious points being made upthread.

Of course neither Volokh nor anyone else has any actual responsibility or duty to disassociate themselves from Cramer's hysteria. But I think that the professor's argument is diluted when his most vocal backers conflate his argument with a separate and noxious message.
4.14.2006 4:31pm
Michael O'D (www):
Ben and Clayton:

I'll make my position more plain this time, since you failed to apprehend it the first time. I don't wish to stifle your views, here or elsewhere. I don't think anyone should censor your arguments or those of other social conservatives. I think you should be allowed to express them in blogs, on television, in universities, and from hilltops. You make a more convincing case for your opponents than your opponents ever could.

If I were a principled conservative, I would deplore the use of my academic freedom argument as a convenient vehicle for your gay-bashing. (I do not mean that I would censor your views. I mean that I would express my disagreement with them.) Maybe Eugene and the other VC-ers disagree. They're entitled to, but their credibility takes a hit.
4.14.2006 4:31pm
Elais:
Clayton

I find it laughable that you assumed I was homosexual. I am heterosexual and have always been that way. I view homosexuality the same way. There nothing wrong or 'unnatural' about either.

1. Sexuality is natural. Reproduction is not completely tied to sexuality. Homosexuals can certainly reproduce, they aren't sterile or anything. As far as I know, no mammallian species is exclusively homosexual. How that is an arguement against homosexuality? Some mammalian specials are bisexual.

2. I know I am heterosexual. If you grew up in a society with little negativity about homosexuals, how did you get your current anti-gay bias?

3. How is heterosexuality a 'default' setting?
4.14.2006 4:41pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Colin writes:

I agree with Michael, and with JosephSlater. The problem with extreme, and often vicious rhetoric like Cramer's is that it poisons the dialogue.
If you think my arguments (that homosexuality is a symptom of trauma) or my positions (that what consenting adults do in private is none of the government's business) are "extreme" or "vicious," then you better get out more. I would guess that I would be considered a liberal on this subject by at least 30% of Americans.

Michael O'D writes:


Ben and Clayton:

I'll make my position more plain this time, since you failed to apprehend it the first time. I don't wish to stifle your views, here or elsewhere. I don't think anyone should censor your arguments or those of other social conservatives. I think you should be allowed to express them in blogs, on television, in universities, and from hilltops. You make a more convincing case for your opponents than your opponents ever could.
Like I said to Colin, you need to get out more.
4.14.2006 4:41pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton Cramer:
"what was the "bad behavior"? Suggesting books that provide some balance to what was otherwise a left of center bias?"

Savage's bad behavior was: suggesting some books, which were clearly inappropriate -- not serious suggestions, but books chosen for their predictably inflammatory effect on other committee members, affecting the collegiality and effectiveness of the Committee.
What made them "clearly inappropriate"? Freakonomics was inappropriate for what reason? The other books were inappropriate because they didn't fit in the with leftist orientation of the professors?
4.14.2006 4:42pm
Kendall:
By the way, that's the analogy to homosexuality that I find most persuasive. There's no question that alcoholism has a genetic component. It is arguable, but I think not absurd, to suspect that early exposure and use of alcohol probably plays some part in why some people who may be prone to it become alcoholics.


So you're saying if an alcoholic never drank alcohol in the first place he's unlikely to become an alcoholic? The difference between comparing a form of substance abuse to sexual attraction is quite obvious I would think. If everyone in society was one gender (and reproduction occurred through vast sperm banks or egg repositories) in some twisted science fiction world everyone might very well grow up gay for lack of a choice in the matter. However, if at any point a person of the opposite sex were to make themselves known in that society its entirely possible more typically patterns of sexual attraction might arise.

Beyond that, one can abstain from a substance in the first, but we shouldn't feel the need or point to separate ourselves from a particular gender because its frankly impossible to do so. I've never met a person who was born with a need from birth to drink alcohol but I have met a number of gay virgins.
4.14.2006 4:43pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton

I find it laughable that you assumed I was homosexual. I am heterosexual and have always been that way. I view homosexuality the same way. There nothing wrong or 'unnatural' about either.
"On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog." Sorry, but I've had commenters change sexes before to try and win arguments. A straight person wouldn't be able to ask those questions with a straight face.

1. Sexuality is natural. Reproduction is not completely tied to sexuality. Homosexuals can certainly reproduce, they aren't sterile or anything. As far as I know, no mammallian species is exclusively homosexual. How that is an arguement against homosexuality? Some mammalian specials are bisexual.
Care to name some examples of mammalian species (outside the primates) that engage in sex for non-reproductive purposes?

Your claim about bisexual mammals is amusing. There are dominance rituals that are similar, and if you crowd rats badly enough, they start to engage in those dominance rituals. Please list mammals (other than humans) that engage in either anal intercourse or oral intercourse.

I'm waiting.

2. I know I am heterosexual. If you grew up in a society with little negativity about homosexuals, how did you get your current anti-gay bias?
I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and found out that the propaganda was lies.

3. How is heterosexuality a 'default' setting?
Let's see: because 98% or females and 96% of males are heterosexual? Sounds clear enough to me.
4.14.2006 4:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Kendall writes:
So you're saying if an alcoholic never drank alcohol in the first place he's unlikely to become an alcoholic?
Hmmmm. A person with a tendency towards alcoholism never drinks alcohol. Will he become an alcoholic? Is this a trick question?

The difference between comparing a form of substance abuse to sexual attraction is quite obvious I would think. If everyone in society was one gender (and reproduction occurred through vast sperm banks or egg repositories) in some twisted science fiction world everyone might very well grow up gay for lack of a choice in the matter. However, if at any point a person of the opposite sex were to make themselves known in that society its entirely possible more typically patterns of sexual attraction might arise.
There are situations where homosexuality is actually pretty common, not because sailors and prisoners are disproportionately inclined towards the same sex, but because in the absence of the opposite sex, men (and perhaps to a lesser extent, women) find other ways to express their sexuality. This sort of "situational homosexuality" pretty clearly demonstrates that particular behaviors can be learned.

Beyond that, one can abstain from a substance in the first, but we shouldn't feel the need or point to separate ourselves from a particular gender because its frankly impossible to do so.
Who talked about separating yourself from a particular gender? You know, it is possible (at least for straight people) to work with someone of the "right" sex without having sex with them. I work with women every day, but there's only one woman that I have sex with--and I don't even work with her!

I've never met a person who was born with a need from birth to drink alcohol but I have met a number of gay virgins.
This almost reads like, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." I've never met a person who was born with a need from birth to have sex--with either sex. If you are arguing that a gay person from birth feels a need to have sex with another person --I would suggest a marble count (or perhaps some questions about early childhood experiences) is in order.
4.14.2006 4:58pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
Cramer's statements aren't extreme, aren't vicous and aren't gay-bashing. If you think they are you are either skimming or not thinking deeply enough. To say it in the least offensive way: Homosexuality, for most homosexuals, is non-optimal. For one thing, it seriously hampers their ability to reproduce. Reproduction is a key feature of life itself. Many people, both hetero and homo sexual, want to reproduce and have trouble doing so, whether it is the simple trouble of not being able to find a suitable mate, or the more difficult fertility questions. This is a personal tragedy. Other aspects of the typical homosexual lifestyle are also non optimal or unhealthy.

Now, if you believe that homosexuality is unhealthy - and there are plenty of good reasons to so believe - than it is loving to try to change that behavior, just as it is loving to try to change smoking behavior and alcoholic behavior. I grant you that condemnation does not work well for this. But if there are some people whose unhealthy behavior hurts others, such as the minority of people who drink and also drive, and the minority of smokers who smoke in bed and the minority of homosexuals who target underage people, both children and teens, then it is perfectly correct to condemn that subset behavior.

Those who call Clayton, Kupelier and I bigots are failing to acknowledge the loving and strong ethical and moral underpinnings of our stance. Mothers Against Drunk Driving are not anti-alcohol bigots. They are adressing real problems that harm real people. So are we.

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 5:01pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Other aspects of the typical homosexual lifestyle are also non optimal or unhealthy.
That more than 20 years after AIDS was conclusively linked to unprotected anal sex there is still an enormous number of new cases developing is a pretty strong piece of evidence that there's something very broken in at least a large minority of homosexual men. IV drug abusers are still getting AIDS--and I don't think anyone would argue that the IV drug abuse subculture isn't engaged in a terribly destructive behavior--of which this is a symptom.

What excuse do gay men have for the continuing spread of AIDS today? It can't be ignorance. If there is anyone that doesn't know that AIDS is spread (readily) by unprotected anal sex, then they are too stupid to buy bread at the market without assistance.

It can't be that the required supplies aren't available. Condoms are legal and readily available without prescription--unlike clean needles.

It isn't a lack of choice. There is homosexual rape in this country, but not anywhere near enough to explain the continued spread of AIDS among gay men.

Any rational person would look at this and conclude that, like IV drug abusers who share needles, there are a LOT of gay men who don't care whether they or their partners live or die.
4.14.2006 5:09pm
JosephSlater (mail):
FXKLM:

I don't think you and I disagree I said in the first of my two posts in this thread that I understood the argument that filing a discrimination complaint was an over-reaction and not the proper response. If the facts are that the discrimination complaint was based on the suggestion of the book and that alone, I will say that is WAS an over-reaction and not the proper response.

Clayton and Wince and Nod:

Describing homosexuality as a result of abuse, as a disease, as a pathology, etc. is indeed bigoted in the minds of an increasing number of Americans.

And Clayton, I'm willing to make a bet with you that in the not too distant future, even more Americans will agree with me, and not you, about this issue. For example, look at gay marriages in Mass.; more and more heterosexuals are attending them, and seeing them for the loving events that they are. Age and experience with this issue will bring wisdom, not the bigotry you're preaching.
4.14.2006 5:13pm
John Lederer (mail):
This whole discussion astounds me...and frankly scares me.

I would never have thought that academics would assert that some ideas are "verboten" and the introduction of them by suggesting a book or otherise, grounds for discipline, so long as those ideas were not a direct appeal for illegal action.

I guess I was wrong. What is the line? Subtlety? He can be disciplined but not put on the rack ? Since these things shouldn't be indeterminate surely there is a list somewhere of proscribed ideas -- other wise there would be a fundamental denial of due process wouldn't there be?

Does the ability to punish extend simply to the academic setting? If he went to a bar after hours and suggested the reading of one of these books could he still be punished?

Must he suggest the wrong books, or is it just enough to denigrate the right books. Would a deprecatory comment about Jimmy Carter be enough to bring on punishment. How about William Clinton? Howard Dean? Howard Zinn?.

Come on. Be fair. What are the boundaries of when one can be profesionally disciplined.
4.14.2006 5:16pm
anonymous coward:
Peculiar argument, that Eugene or other Conspirators should explicitly dissociate themselves from displeasing commentators in their threads. Socially conservative commentators represent themselves; who else would they represent?

If it upsets you to read opinions you find noxious (not a wholly unreasonable reaction to parts of the present thread), perhaps you should invest in a "page down" key before you delve into discussion fora.
4.14.2006 5:17pm
Max Kaehn (mail) (www):
I can say with certainty that mammalian species that are not heterosexual do not reproduce.

That's a straw man argument. You're reducing the matter to a proposition of "a species is either entirely homosexual or entirely heterosexual". In the real world, natural selection can favor genes that cause some individuals to be homosexual and to care for their heterosexual siblings or those siblings' children. Have you read Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene?

Care to name some examples of mammalian species (outside the primates) that engage in sex for non-reproductive purposes?

Dolphins. Weasels.
4.14.2006 5:21pm
chez Diva (www):
Colin wrote: "Of course neither Volokh nor anyone else has any actual responsibility or duty to disassociate themselves from Cramer's hysteria. But I think that the professor's argument is diluted when his most vocal backers conflate his argument with a separate and noxious message." (bolding by Diva)

Colin, I fail to see where the professor's argument is affected or degraded by the "rants" of those commenting. His argument is the same and it is not intrinsically tied to the opinions or arguments of those commenting.

As for the topic at hand, this is just another glaring example of overly PC Liberals living by their own standards and their version of the Golden Rule, Do as I say, not as I do. Liberals can ban books they disagree with but if anybody they disagree with attempts to do the same e.g "ban a book" - then they are called bigots, sexual harassers, homophobic, intolerant and the list goes on and on.
4.14.2006 5:21pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Michael, you're mistaken. I understand your position perfectly. You hope to use social intimidation rather than official action to silence those who disagree with you. But then, you're a law clerk, not a university professor. In a faculty committee meeting, the line between social and official intimidation is quite blurry.

You accused me of gay-bashing. I hope that you're more precise in your legal research than you are in your comments here. Before this post I've commented in this thread exactly twice, and neither of those posts says anything about homosexuality. Your thinking is sloppy: I disagree with you, therefore I must agree with Clayton, and you think Clayton is evil, therefore I must be evil, too. That's not intellectual discussion; it isn't even logical. It's just sloppy.

I think it points to a larger underlying problem for your side: You know very little about the people on my side. You don't really know what we believe, you don't know how we think, and you don't know how we view the world. And you think that's a good thing, because our thoughts are evil, evil, evil, so you had better protect your delicate mind from our polluting influence.

I bet that I know far more about your beliefs than you know about my beliefs. I can't claim any special credit for that; I didn't have a choice. I was force-fed your worldview over years of higher education. I never believed it, but I came to understand it through sheer volume of exposure.

If your mind is flexible enough to try and see how little you really know about me and Clayton, here's a challenge: Go back and find some actual words that Clayton wrote in this thread that you think constitute an "anti-gay diatribe." Go on, I dare you. Colin can try this, too: Quote the exact words that you consider to be "extreme, and often vicious rhetoric."

All you really mean by that is that he disagrees with you, so you're going to call him nasty names until he stops talking. And that worked pretty well on campus, didn't it?

But this isn't campus. So I think that you should quote some actual words, or admit that the nasty things you said about him were baseless. An apology would be good, too.
4.14.2006 5:22pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton and Wince and Nod:

Describing homosexuality as a result of abuse, as a disease, as a pathology, etc. is indeed bigoted in the minds of an increasing number of Americans.
Well, at least those with .edu mail addresses, like you. You'll notice that in EVERY state where the voters have had a chance to vote on this, they have voted to prohibit gay marriage. EVEN IN CALIFORNIA.


And Clayton, I'm willing to make a bet with you that in the not too distant future, even more Americans will agree with me, and not you, about this issue. For example, look at gay marriages in Mass.; more and more heterosexuals are attending them, and seeing them for the loving events that they are. Age and experience with this issue will bring wisdom, not the bigotry you're preaching.
That's why you had to force it on one of America's most liberal states, in a place where there was no practical way for voters to stop it before marriages started to take place.

I'm sure that there are gay men and even more so, lesbians who see these as "loving events" and a permanent, faithful relationship. But one of the first marriages under the new Massachusetts law was, by the description of one of the participants, an "open marriage." The article is no longer free at the Boston Herald website, but I quoted the interesting text at the time:
Yarbrough, a part-time bartender who plans to wear leather pants, tuxedo shirt, and leather vest during the half-hour ceremony, has gotten hitched to Rogahn, a retired school superintendent, first in a civil commitment in Minnesota, then in Canada, and now in Massachusetts, the first U.S. state to recognize gay marriage.

But he says the concept of forever is "overrated" and that he, as a bisexual, and Rogahn, who is gay, have chosen to enjoy an open marriage. "I think it's possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner, not in the polygamist sense," he said. "In our case, it is, we have, an open marriage."


I've read too many accounts over the years in soc.motss where homosexual men have referred to a "wife" or "husband"—but that's just who they go home to after a night of sex with strangers in gay bars and rest stop restrooms.
4.14.2006 5:22pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
JosephSlater,

To describe my position as biggotted is itself bigottry. I don't want to punish homosexuals or homosexual behavior. I would rather help them. After all, it really could've been me. And hopefully, if it was me, someone would have the kindness to help. I am very happy with my wife and our kids. The homosexual lifestyle sounds horribly lonely and inhumane to me. So I would want some help. But if you call everyone who wants to help a bigot, what are you? If you punish and socially ostracize those who want to help, what are you? Have an open mind. Think carefully, which you haven't so far, preferring insults. Don't you think some homosexuals would like to change?

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 5:26pm
Max Kaehn (mail) (www):
The homosexual lifestyle? Where did you get the idea that there is a single homosexual lifestyle?
4.14.2006 5:29pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


I can say with certainty that mammalian species that are not heterosexual do not reproduce.



That's a straw man argument. You're reducing the matter to a proposition of "a species is either entirely homosexual or entirely heterosexual". In the real world, natural selection can favor genes that cause some individuals to be homosexual and to care for their heterosexual siblings or those siblings' children. Have you read Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene?
I'm familiar with Dawkins' claims. There's no question that there are genes that may not have survival value themselves, but are linked to traits that do. Schizophrenia, for example, seems to survive because sisters of schizophrenics tend to have larger than average numbers of children. Why?

So tell me: where are the examples in the animal kingdom where individual members engage in anal intercourse or oral intercourse with the same sex? Sorry, you are going to need an actual source to convince me.



Care to name some examples of mammalian species (outside the primates) that engage in sex for non-reproductive purposes?


Dolphins. Weasels.
Source, please. If you can find one for dolphins, I don't find that completely startling—they are smart creatures, much like primates. Still, I want something more than assertion for such an astonishing claim.

By the way: how do you know that they are engaging in sex for non-reproductive purposes? Failure to get pregnant doesn't mean much.
4.14.2006 5:30pm
Kendall:
I work with women every day, but there's only one woman that I have sex with--and I don't even work with her!


Of that I have no doubt. I'm workng with a definition here. Alcoholism, your example is a tendency. This tendency is triggered by the consumption of alcohol, if one does not drink alcohol in the first place, or take the first "sip" one does not become an alcoholic.

You tried to analogize that to homosexuality. Homosexuality is a sexual attraction to members of the same sex just as heterosexuality is a sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex. Presumably if who would be sexually attracted to other men (gay) never met another man he would never have homosexual attractions to act on. This however is impractical.

I'm not saying gays cannot be celibate, of course gays can be so. But comparing homosexuality (orientation caused by attraction to something ever present) to alcoholism (a dependancy on alcohol which is caused only after drinking in the first place) seems rather ridiculous. One seems to be somewhat passive in that a person needs take no particular action beyond their daily life to trigger it, and one requires active steps on the part of an individual.
4.14.2006 5:31pm
Jamesaust (mail):
I don't believe this action warrants an investigation considering the only "crime" here is to suggest a book title. That said, the book in question to an academic setting because:
(a) by denoting people one does not agree with as "evil," one undermines the very purpose of academic inquiry, and
(b) this book - based upon my leafing-through bookstore review, is less 'meticulously' researched than the DaVinci Code.

What's particularly sad is that there are so many good, provocative 'conservative' title to suggest. The only real "crime" seems to be the ineptness of this "professional librarian."
4.14.2006 5:33pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Clayton:

Ah, I have an "edu" ending to my e-mail, so therefore my opinions must be discounted. Unlike, apparently, your stories of what you've "read in soc.motss" or seen in San Francisco. You can do better than ad hominem arguments, can't you? FWIW, I grew up in a small town in the midwest and practiced law for over a decade before entering academia. I'm sure I've met as many gays and lesbians as you (and I'm guessing I know more better). So save the mau-mauing for people that might actually be swayed by it.

Oh, and arguing by anecdote about one gay marriage is pretty pathetic too. But if you like that, here's one to match. My sister got married to her partner last year outside Boston, and they're doing just great thank you. It's not just a matter of gays and lesbians seeing these as loving events: a whole bunch of straight folks, like me, my wife, my son, my mother, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law (all from Michigan, not San Francisco, mind you) and many other heterosexuals in attendance all saw this as a loving event. And there's going to more such events.

Sure, I know the results of the gay marriage amendments the Republican leadership trumped up to get part of their base out to push GW over the edge. "Marriage" is a hot-button issue. But by pretty much any other metric, as you sometimes admit yourself, gays and lesbians are clearly winning more acceptance.

Look at employment discrimination laws, for example. More and more states and cities now prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as to more and more companies simply by policy where not required by law.

And you ignored the part of my post you quoted: you're not just against gay marriage, you're describing homosexuality as a result of abuse, as a disease, as a pathology. And that, to the minds of many, is bigotry. I don't want you censored, but it's not inapproprate for folks to call you on it.
4.14.2006 5:37pm
Kendall:
Wince and Nod -

Think carefully, which you haven't so far, preferring insults. Don't you think some homosexuals would like to change?


I'm curious as to what you would say if a heterosexual person had a similar desire? Would you consider it a healthy option for a straight person to seek to be attracted to the same sex because for them it might be easier and make more sense?
4.14.2006 5:37pm
Max Kaehn (mail) (www):
Try Bruce Bagemihl, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. Or take a look at the Wikipedia entry on Homosexuality in animals.

By the way: how do you know that they are engaging in sex for non-reproductive purposes? Failure to get pregnant doesn't mean much.

Copulating outside of estrus.
4.14.2006 5:38pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
"You seem to be openly hostile to the idea that homosexuality is not healthy."

Hostile? More 'common sense says it isn't'. I mean we are talking about adult people being sexually attracted to other adult people in totally acceptable WAYS. The only complaint is the gender combinations of the two adults.

The recent study about X gene expression in mothers with multiple gay sons brought the question up simply: What if much of male homosexual desires stems from the mother simply passing on an X gene with the 'i like men' parts still turned on? Totally normal desire being expressed in a son rather than a daughter. How can it be 'healthy' for a woman to be naturally attracted to men, but not for a man to be naturally attracted to same by the exact same biological mechanism?

"You also seem to think that people like me are deluding ourselves."

Well you definitely see what you want to see - you snatch at anything that reinforces your 'molestation causes homosexuality' hypothesis and ignore anything that points to proto-gay boys being more easily approachable and identifiable by molesters. And what 'nondeluded' person uses a point example in an honest discussion when they know that examples of sexual abuses by heterosexuals are so common place that many aren't even really considered news worthy?

You complain about 'emotional bias' when you are the poster child for same just from the other side.

If I were a librarian handing out a book titled 'The Marketing of Evil' but it was about evangelican Christianists would you be as supportive of its distribution as a basic informative text on the subject of modern Christianity?

Honest discussion requires honest participants dedicated to truth, not agendas.
4.14.2006 5:42pm
anonymous coward:
If we conducted thousands of outstanding empirical studies and found that lesbianism was strongly correlated with a healthy "lifestyle" (by whatever definition we're using--I'm not entirely clear on that part), would we conclude it was good to try to convert as many hetero women as possible to girls?
4.14.2006 5:43pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The homosexual lifestyle? Where did you get the idea that there is a single homosexual lifestyle?
He means the one that, if not followed by a majority of gay men, is certainly followed by an awfully large minority. Meth mixed with Viagra for orgies. Random pickups in rest stop restrooms. Guys lying face down in a bathhouse while complete strangers who never even see them face to face sodomize them. These are high risk activities--the adult equivalent of a child who eats candy until he gets sick--almost like someone has been emotionally frozen at a very young age. Why do I find the high rates of reported child sexual abuse among homosexuals surprising?

Guys who get a sexual thrill from being whipped, cut, and burned--and guys who get a sexual thrill from whipping, cutting, and burning others. (Choice quote from a police officer in article in the San Francisco Chronicle in the early 1990s, about San Francisco Police Department's efforts to recruit officers in a leather bar: "At least we don't have to teach them about the use of restraint devices!") Hmmm. Pain. Humiliation. No choices. Why do I find the high rates of reported child sexual abuse among homosexuals surprising?

Men who find sexual excitement from contact with excretory products. (You know things are bad when you read an article shocked by someone's sexual behavior in that well-known publication of Moral Majority--Playboy.) Most boys get past their fascination with this sort of thing pretty young. Hmmmm. Why I do not find the high rates of reported child sexual abuse among homosexuals surprising?

Look, you live in the San Francisco Bay Area for a while, you discover that the "homosexuals are just like you and me, except for who they love" stuff is just lies. There are doubtless gay men and lesbians who are, other than their sexual partner, pretty normal, but from all that I have seen living too close to Ground Zero, they are the weirdoes.
4.14.2006 5:44pm
Elais:
Clayton,

1. Bonobos (a species of monkey/chimpanzee) engage in non-reproductive sex as well as same-sex. I don't know if they engage in oral or anal sex specifically. There is that famous same-sex Penguin couple. I don't know if they engage in sex.

2. What propaganda? And isn't propaganda equivalent to lies? Truthful propaganda seems an oxymoron to me.

3. What I meant was, is there any medical/genetic studies that prove that heterosexuality is the 'default' setting? What is the 'red flag' genetically that determines if you are homosexual or heterosexual? They haven't proven conclusively that homosexuality is exclusively nature or nuture. As far as I know they haven't proven what determines sexuality itself, so how is citing percentages proof that heterosexuality is the 'default' setting if there is no indication of how sexuality is determined? They've done studies that indicate that fetuses are female by default until testosterone kicks in during development. I see no such study about sexuality.
4.14.2006 5:45pm
Federal Dog:
"Pretty early on, Savage involved FIRE in his e-mail exchanges. It seems quite possible Savage was just playing agent provocateur here, creating a controversy, for the purposes of advancing a reactionary political agenda."


You are, of course, merely assuming this for some reason, but your assumption says a lot about many contemporary academics that is evidently correct. It takes very serious reactionaries indeed to file harassment claims and threaten suit over a freaking reading suggestion.
4.14.2006 5:45pm
Max Kaehn (mail) (www):
Genes for homosexuality do not have to piggyback on other survival traits; they can act directly. Consider a gene for sexual attraction to men that causes women to mate more often and men to prefer men; the gene will propagate by making its female carriers have more offspring, up to the point that the gene crops up too often in the potential mates for its female carriers. Similarly, a gene that prevents men from having offspring and redirects their paternal instincts into caring for their sisters' children will support the survival of those children.
4.14.2006 5:47pm
anonymous coward:
"Look, you live in the San Francisco Bay Area for a while, you discover that the "homosexuals are just like you and me, except for who they love" stuff is just lies."

Sadly, Clayton, you're describing the sexual proclivities of quite a few of my 100% straight friends...
4.14.2006 5:47pm
Kendall:
Men who find sexual excitement from contact with excretory products. (You know things are bad when you read an article shocked by someone's sexual behavior in that well-known publication of Moral Majority--Playboy.) Most boys get past their fascination with this sort of thing pretty young. Hmmmm. Why I do not find the high rates of reported child sexual abuse among homosexuals surprising?


Either provide a source for the outrageous claim of a statistically signifigant portion of the homosexual community COMPARED TO THE HETEROSEXUAL COMMUNITY being at all interested in coprophilia or please stop trying degrading your claims with information that seems unsupportable.
4.14.2006 5:48pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Ah, I have an "edu" ending to my e-mail, so therefore my opinions must be discounted.
Where did I say that? You might want to go back and re-read what I wrote. I said that your view was popular in the university setting, but not outside of it.

And your claim about the gay marriage controversy being ginned up by the RNC is nonsense. YOUR SIDE caused it by having the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court impose gay marriage on Massachusetts. This generated a firestorm of concern across the U.S.
4.14.2006 5:49pm
Elais:
Clayton,

Google for any straight porn sites and you'll see the exact same stuff. There are straight men out there who apparently like to see women have sex with horses or straight men who like to slap women around a little. Men, gay or straight seem to have a higher tolerance for violence and pain. I don't see how you've proved your point, if you have one.
4.14.2006 5:49pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Either provide a source for the outrageous claim of a statistically signifigant portion of the homosexual community COMPARED TO THE HETEROSEXUAL COMMUNITY being at all interested in coprophilia or please stop trying degrading your claims with information that seems unsupportable.
Homosexuals actually have a name for it; "the dirt scene." Back when I used to read a lot of the effluent press, you would frequently see ads from homosexuals looking for others in the "dirt scene." Straights into that sort of thing never seemed to advertise for it. I wonder why?

And why are you bothered by coprophilia? Are you getting all prudish and puritanical on us?
4.14.2006 5:53pm
BobN (mail):

I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and found out that the propaganda was lies.


Lest anyone be misled, Clayton lived in Rohnert Park, a good hour and a half from SF, hardly a hotbed of homosexual culture. His "homosexual experience" consists, as far as I can tell, of reading nasty emails sent to him in reponse to his nasty ideas and nasty posts in response to his nasty posts. Oh, and listening to Rush. A LOT, I suspect.
4.14.2006 5:53pm
Kendall:
And your claim about the gay marriage controversy being ginned up by the RNC is nonsense. YOUR SIDE caused it by having the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court impose gay marriage on Massachusetts. This generated a firestorm of concern across the U.S.


"Your side"? I don't think every person who supports the SJC of Massachusetts is a liberal or a leftist and I do believe the state legislature has since tacitly endorsed the ruling of that court. I also wonder what makes you think the SJC of Mass. takes orders from anyone on the other end of the political spectrum from you? I'm reasonably sure those judges were not coerced into the decision or else surely one of their fellow court members would be decrying the undue influence. Either support your inflammatory remarks or please refrain from making them.
4.14.2006 5:54pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I'm curious as to what you would say if a heterosexual person had a similar desire? Would you consider it a healthy option for a straight person to seek to be attracted to the same sex because for them it might be easier and make more sense?
Let's see: lesbians are perhaps 1-2% of the population; straight men are about 46% of the population. Homosexual and bisexual men are about 3-4% of the population; heterosexual women are about 50% of the population.

How, exactly, would turning a straight man or woman gay make it easier for them to find a mate? It would reduce the available supply from 46% or 50% of adult population to low single digit percentages.
4.14.2006 5:55pm
Kendall:
And why are you bothered by coprophilia? Are you getting all prudish and puritanical on us?


Why won't you provide a source? its a claim you've pretty commonly repeated, you even had it on your blog a couple years ago. But you've never sourced it that I can see.
4.14.2006 5:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


By the way: how do you know that they are engaging in sex for non-reproductive purposes? Failure to get pregnant doesn't mean much.



Copulating outside of estrus.
This can also be failure to properly understood the chemical and behaviorial cues.
4.14.2006 5:56pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Clayton:

Of course you were using the "edu" address to imply that I was out of touch with what "real folks" think. Again, I think it's you that are increasingly out of touch. And I disagree with you about what motivated the gay marriage amendments. But debating either of these points is too far afield from the original point of this thread to be productive.
4.14.2006 5:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If we conducted thousands of outstanding empirical studies and found that lesbianism was strongly correlated with a healthy "lifestyle" (by whatever definition we're using--I'm not entirely clear on that part), would we conclude it was good to try to convert as many hetero women as possible to girls?
Since lesbians have substantially higher rates of substance abuse, I think you are going have to some problems finding those studies.
4.14.2006 5:57pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton:

Of course you were using the "edu" address to imply that I was out of touch with what "real folks" think. Again, I think it's you that are increasingly out of touch.
That's why no state where "one man, one woman" initiatives have been put to a vote of the people has taken your position. EVEN IN CALIFORNIA!
4.14.2006 5:59pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Kendall:

Oh, I'll admit it. The Supreme Court of Mass. does exactly what I tell it to do (in e-mails with an .edu address). And Volokh thinks HE has a conspiracy ...!

Getting back to the point, can we all agree that this wasn't a good suggestion for a book to read, but filing a harassment complaint in response to the suggestion wasn't a good way to react?
4.14.2006 6:00pm
anonymous coward:
"How, exactly, would turning a straight man or woman gay make it easier for them to find a mate?"

Physique (femme guys, women basketball players, so forth).
4.14.2006 6:01pm
Kendall:
Let's see: lesbians are perhaps 1-2% of the population; straight men are about 46% of the population. Homosexual and bisexual men are about 3-4% of the population; heterosexual women are about 50% of the population.
How, exactly, would turning a straight man or woman gay make it easier for them to find a mate? It would reduce the available supply from 46% or 50% of adult population to low single digit percentages.


I'm not sure its a numbers question. afterall, isn't it a claim of "your side" that homosexuals have on average 100s of sexual partners a year? (it seems most of my gay friends are SLIGHTLY behind that with 1 at most...) in truth I believe there is one person meant for you regardless and that you're just as likely to find that one person regardless of your sexual orientation.

But the question is not on the practicality. The issue is the exact one Wince and Nod raised. Wink and Nod, as well as NARTH and Exodus claim to believe in tolerance for other views. its just a matter of giving psychiatrists and psychologists the tools to treat patients with sexual orientation issues in a manner the patient feels in consistent with their religious view point. In other words, as long as the patient doesn't want gay affirmation therapy reparative therapy should be portrayed as just as good.

I'm simply asking if this tolerance of viewpoints other than gay affirmation therapy should be applied to other situations. If we should encourage people to have to option of going one way on the sexual spectrum (regardless of the efficacy of such efforts) should we have the option of encouraging people to go the other way if that is the patient's wish?
4.14.2006 6:03pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton,

1. Bonobos (a species of monkey/chimpanzee) engage in non-reproductive sex as well as same-sex. I don't know if they engage in oral or anal sex specifically.
So how do you know if it is intentionally non-reproductive sex, or just failure to recognize the cues for reproduction? (And I agree that primates do show some real similarities to people on this.)


There is that famous same-sex Penguin couple. I don't know if they engage in sex.
If they are raising a penguin, but not having sex, that doesn't make them homosexual.


3. What I meant was, is there any medical/genetic studies that prove that heterosexuality is the 'default' setting? What is the 'red flag' genetically that determines if you are homosexual or heterosexual? They haven't proven conclusively that homosexuality is exclusively nature or nuture. As far as I know they haven't proven what determines sexuality itself, so how is citing percentages proof that heterosexuality is the 'default' setting if there is no indication of how sexuality is determined? They've done studies that indicate that fetuses are female by default until testosterone kicks in during development. I see no such study about sexuality.
There have been some societies where homosexuality has not been taboo--or even looked down upon, right? So why do those societies still overwhelmingly end up heterosexual?

Oh yeah, classical civilization isn't a particularly good example for your side.
4.14.2006 6:03pm
anonymous coward:
Clayton: "Since lesbians have substantially higher rates of substance abuse, I think you are going have to some problems finding those studies."

You realize I was asking a hypothetical question, don't you honey?

[Original query: If we conducted thousands of outstanding empirical studies and found that lesbianism was strongly correlated with a healthy "lifestyle" (by whatever definition we're using--I'm not entirely clear on that part), would we conclude it was good to try to convert as many hetero women as possible to girls?]
4.14.2006 6:03pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
I'm familiar with the documented claim that dolphins engage in homosexual behavior. So do heifers. In heifers it is a sign of sexual maturity, and that they miss the bull. If the farmer would allow the bulls to freely mingle with the cows and heifers, as happens in nature, the behavoir would never be observed. Once the bull is introduced the behavoir ceases.

In dolphins, I understand it to be dominance behavior, as it is for baboons. In bonobo, such behavior is a conflict avoidance mechanism. The claim that sexual behavior is not exclusively about reproduction is, I believe, correct.

What I have never heard documented is any other species which engages in exclusively homosexual behavior.

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 6:04pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


I'm not saying gays cannot be celibate, of course gays can be so.
And at least among homosexuals who are very interested in doing so, about half are successful at changing not just behavior, but also orientation. If this was strictly genetic, and there was no learned behavior, I would not expect the success rate to be that high.

Of course, it is possible that there are multiple causes of homosexuality. There might be homosexuals who are truly "born that way" and others who are that way as a result of trauma. There might be some that choose it because they can engage in casual sex without having to put any effort into romancing the opposite sex. (Although I understand from my daughter that even this is being abandoned by much of her generation.)
4.14.2006 6:06pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
Kendall,

Lots of heterosexual people try out homosexuality. I wouldn't do that, I don't think it's a good idea, I won't recommend it, but I don't want it to be against the law.

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 6:09pm
Kendall:
And at least among homosexuals who are very interested in doing so, about half are successful at changing not just behavior, but also orientation. If this was strictly genetic, and there was no learned behavior, I would not expect the success rate to be that high.


I believe you meant, very interested, have an 80% rate of writing publicly on the desire to do so, are hand picked by a ministry, and are self reporting.
4.14.2006 6:09pm
frankcross (mail):
As is so often the case, the use of anecdotes enables people to grab whatever evidence is convenient for their position.

My general review of the more rigorous research (don't have time to pull up links but it can be found at google scholar and elsewhere) is:

Male gays have more sex partners (though not as many more as often claimed), lesbians have less.

Research in animals shows homosexual behavior generally, but it's complicated. Bonobos, for example, clearly engage in homosexual behavior with great frequency and it's used as a form of friendship. Though I hardly think the animal kingdom is a good cue (lots of coprophilia there)

Lesbians show higher rates of partner abuse, though male gays have less.

Gays do have higher rates of other pathologies, like substance abuse (though this is plausibly ascribable to social condemnation of the practice rather than intrinsic to homosexuality).
4.14.2006 6:10pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

And at least among homosexuals who are very interested in doing so, about half are successful at changing not just behavior, but also orientation.


This is crap and I think Clayton knows it. This misrepresents what Spitzer said.
4.14.2006 6:13pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Lest anyone be misled, Clayton lived in Rohnert Park, a good hour and a half from SF, hardly a hotbed of homosexual culture. His "homosexual experience" consists, as far as I can tell, of reading nasty emails sent to him in reponse to his nasty ideas and nasty posts in response to his nasty posts. Oh, and listening to Rush. A LOT, I suspect.
I've probably listened to Rush about 20 minutes, total.

Sonoma County for a while had the second highest AIDS rate in California. Yes, the place had a large gay population, and it wasn't unusual to see women engaged in some pretty passionate kissing. The place was awash in pink triangle stickers.

Out on the Russian River, the "alternative" chamber of commerce was formed by the straight merchants. My wife took her class out to the recycling center along the river--and wondered why a cop was standing there. It turns out that men were so busy having sex on the beach that it was becoming a bit of a problem, and so this cop's job was basically to tell gay men to go find a room. (I suppose he would have arrested them if they didn't stop.)

There was many gay bed and breakfasts and gay resorts out there--and when word came out that one of them had been sold, and the new owner was planning something not specifically catering to homosexuals, there was an uproar about it--the nerve! Oh yeah, you would see the "size matters" bumper stickers on cars outside that B&B.
4.14.2006 6:13pm
AppSocRes (mail):
Because this whole thread has gotten so off-topic I might as well throw in a little socio-biological argument that may amuse some and appall others:

Let's assume that (as most now seem to think) there is a strong genetic component to homosexual behavior in men. Then, as Wilson has suggested, this must have had some strong adaptive capacity at the population-level during some time in early human history, since otherwise individual males with this genotype would be less likely to pass their genotype on to the next generation than would males with a different non-homosexual genotype. Absent some population-level selection in its favor, the homosexual genotype(s) would fade out of the human population.

Now let's switch to more recent times. The homosexual genotype(s) seems to express itself at a constant rate of about 1% - 4% in all modern human population phenotypes. (I'm typing quick here, so I can go on a long vacation. Pardon the lax use of scientific terms. I think my main argument will still hold.) Probably this is because social pressures have forced homosexuals to marry and reproduce.

If homosexual behavior is completely unsanctioned there will be little pressure for heterosexual sex among homosexuals. As a result the selection against the homosexual genotype(s) will increase.

Everyone will wind up happy: Current homosexuals can be as sexually wild and crazy as they want. Persons opposed to homosexual behavior can look forward to an essential elimination from the human gene pool of genetic tendencies towards homosexual behavior within not too many generations.

The only complications: sperm banking, spontaneous mutations, and closeted homsexuals who marry and have kids.
4.14.2006 6:13pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I'm simply asking if this tolerance of viewpoints other than gay affirmation therapy should be applied to other situations. If we should encourage people to have to option of going one way on the sexual spectrum (regardless of the efficacy of such efforts) should we have the option of encouraging people to go the other way if that is the patient's wish?
Well sure--we're not like homosexuals, who are terrified of people being given this choice. I rather doubt that it is going to work. I've talked to a few homosexuals over the years who said, "Believe me, if I had any choice on this, I'd be straight." I can't imagine too many straights choosing to become gay.
4.14.2006 6:16pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

If they are raising a penguin, but not having sex, that doesn't make them homosexual.


That penguin couple does have sex.
4.14.2006 6:16pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
Kendall,

Actually, back before the APA took it off the list of disorders, psychologists had a slightly better success rate helping patients change from homosexual to heterosexual than they did helping alcoholics. That was before NARTH and Exodus. This has not changed in studies since then. And I sure the old joke applies: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. But the light bulb has to want to change.

Yours,
Wince
4.14.2006 6:18pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I believe you meant, very interested, have an 80% rate of writing publicly on the desire to do so, are hand picked by a ministry, and are self reporting.
Not according to the presentation that I saw by the psychiatrist who did the study--and who also led the removal of homosexuality from DSM-III.

Obviously, there's a selection bias involved anytime you sample people who have gone through such therapy. But my point remains: if there was not an element of learned behavior involved, there wouldn't be a 50% success rate.
4.14.2006 6:19pm
BobN (mail):
Wow... bumperstickers about penis size!!

Now there's a basis for a logical argument.

By the way, I've seen that bumpersticker. One of the young women who worked in my mailroom had it on her car. I guess she must have been a gay man in disguise!!!
4.14.2006 6:20pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo said: "If I were a librarian handing out a book titled 'The Marketing of Evil' but it was about evangelican Christianists would you be as supportive of its distribution as a basic informative text on the subject of modern Christianity?"

Bob, there are hundreds if not thousands of professors who spout anti-Christian hatred in classrooms every day, and we pay many of them tax dollars to do so. If you think that Clayton would get hysterical about a librarian handing out an anti-Christian screed, then you really don't understand the conservative perspective.
4.14.2006 6:21pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Everyone will wind up happy: Current homosexuals can be as sexually wild and crazy as they want. Persons opposed to homosexual behavior can look forward to an essential elimination from the human gene pool of genetic tendencies towards homosexual behavior within not too many generations.

The only complications: sperm banking, spontaneous mutations, and closeted homsexuals who marry and have kids.
Unless, of course, it is a response to sexual trauma in childhood. Suddenly, you can see why groups like NAMBLA have until recently been tolerated by a lot of homosexual activists. Someone has to make the next generation of gay men. Unfortunately, you can count on straight men to help make the next generation of lesbians.
4.14.2006 6:23pm
Perseus:
One of the objections to including the book raised by Professor Norman Jones is that "the book is not scholarly and is designed to be incendiary." So if--as Professor Jones argues--the expert that Savage cites in favor of the book, Judith Reisman, is not especially credible because she is a "fringe scholar" who only has a PhD in communications, then I take it that Professor Jones would likewise object to including the political screeds writings of someone like Noam Chomsky because Chomsky only has a PhD in linguistics and whose writings are no less incendiary. Somehow I doubt it.
4.14.2006 6:24pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


Bob, there are hundreds if not thousands of professors who spout anti-Christian hatred in classrooms every day, and we pay many of them tax dollars to do so. If you think that Clayton would get hysterical about a librarian handing out an anti-Christian screed, then you really don't understand the conservative perspective.
I went to Sonoma State University. I didn't get hysterical there, and stuff quite a bit worse than that was being said in the classrooms by professors speaking WAY outside their areas of expertise.
4.14.2006 6:25pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Frank Cross: From the data I've seen, it does seem like the median male homosexuals has had more sexual partners than the median male heterosexual, but only by a factor of 1.5 to 3 (rough estimate). It also seems like the median lesbian has had about the same number of sexual partners (the nominal counts are a little higher, but I suspect very far from significantly so) as the median female heterosexual.
4.14.2006 6:26pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Huck Finn may be an annagram for something else.

Switch H and F and interpret "nn" as "m".

That twain was a sly one.
4.14.2006 6:29pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Question: is there anyone who can track down what emails were sent by Scott Savage (besides the first one with the book recommendations) so that we can see the rest of the conversation? At this point we’re only being given a small part of the picture and without knowing (a) what Savage wrote in his other emails that are referred to but not shown and (b) what other communications were sent to him, I cannot be certain that this is indeed an overreaction although I suspect it may be.
4.14.2006 6:32pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Was Mark Twain gay?
4.14.2006 6:34pm
anonymous coward:
Those concerned about a gay man's promiscuity might encourage him to stop being a slut, rather than tell him to sleep with women. But...nah, we all know correlation is causation, right?
4.14.2006 6:34pm
Max Kaehn (mail) (www):
This can also be failure to properly understood the chemical and behaviorial cues.

Concealed ovulation is a primate trait. Dolphins don't have it.
4.14.2006 6:36pm
Colin (mail):
Diva,

Colin, I fail to see where the professor's argument is affected or degraded by the "rants" of those commenting. His argument is the same and it is not intrinsically tied to the opinions or arguments of those commenting.

I agree with you. I don't believe that the professor's argument itself is affected at all. He made his point, clearly and well, and left it for public comment; the after-commentary doesn't twist what he wrote. But I think it does dilute it by affecting the perception of that argument.

A reader, previously unfamiliar with EV or the VC, who stumbled across this post might read it, consider it, and take away the arguments that the professor made. Or they might skim it and delve into the commentary to see where the discussion wound up, and see post after post by Cramer and others insisting that, as an example of vicious rhetoric, gays by their very nature are really into coprophilia and child abuse.

I don't think it's implausible that a reader might come across the comments and perceive that the academic freedom argument is merely a container for invidious and ugly rhetoric. It's not true, at least as far as the Conspiracy bloggers are concerned, but it's a possible source of confusion. I think that frequent readers are well aware that Cramer's views are not shared by the Conspirators on this issue; in fact, I think I recall a post where one of the regular bloggers explicitly said that he liked Cramer's thoughts on Second Amendment issues, but not on homosexuality. (I apologize if I misremember.)

I merely wanted to say that Michael had a valid point about the tenor of some comments dragging down an otherwise interesting and insightful post. I don't think it's unreasonable that EV might want to clarify matters by saying, "These comments do not reflect my thoughts or my arguments." If it were my site, I would feel very uncomfortable being supported by commentors who also use the soapbox to air out ugly rhetoric. But it's not my site, and I certainly don't think that Volokh or any other blogger here needs to draw those lines. As you said, no commentor's bigotry actually affects the professor's argument-merely the perception thereof.
4.14.2006 6:40pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
There is a new book out about the Spitzer study and this article highlights some interesting facts featured in it.

Here is a recent quotation from Spitzer whom Cramer has endorsing the notion "about half [of homosexuals] are successful at changing not just behavior, but also orientation."


Indeed, when asked Scientific American Mind's question — "Do gays have a choice?" — Spitzer replies, "They have a choice whether to go into therapy, about whether they adopt a gay lifestyle, whether they tell their friends and their family. They don't have a choice as to whether their basic sexual orientation is gay or straight — that they don't have a choice about."
4.14.2006 6:44pm
Golambek (mail) (www):
There are still large parts of the country where people face tremendous social pressure to deny that they are gay. To be more precise, the accepted line is that everyone is straight and homosexuality is unforgivably disgusting behavior. You may lose your job, your parents may kick you out of the house, your friends may stop talking to you, and random people may think it's a good idea to beat the crap out of you.

So, unsurprisingly, people tend to get awfully hot about books that spread that story - especially in hateful ways and especially in freshman seminars. Context matters.

Does that mean that someone suggesting freshmen read a book presuming that homosexuality is "evil" should be disciplined? No. But I would prefer to see this book used only in a more sensible context (possibly in an upper division seminar on a relevant topic, in the context of books taking a different approach) and I don't have the same contempt for the complainants that some others do.
4.14.2006 6:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

From the data I've seen, it does seem like the median male homosexuals has had more sexual partners than the median male heterosexual, but only by a factor of 1.5 to 3 (rough estimate).
Remember that STD transmission potential is exponentially related to number of different sexual partners, so a doubling of the number of partners per year roughly quadruples the number of infected people in a population. A relatively small number of highly promiscuous men can run up the STD rates quite impressively.

I've seen homosexuals claim that gay men aren't any more promiscuous than straight men would be--if they could find so many willing women. That is probably true. It is, however, an argument in favor of discouraging either homosexuality or irresponsible sexual practices. There seems to be about as much chance of one as the other.
4.14.2006 6:49pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And your claim about the gay marriage controversy being ginned up by the RNC is nonsense. YOUR SIDE caused it by having the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court impose gay marriage on Massachusetts. This generated a firestorm of concern across the U.S.


"Your side"? I don't think every person who supports the SJC of Massachusetts is a liberal or a leftistWill members of the Conservatives For Imposing Gay Marriage Through Judicial Decision please stand up? You know, even among Democrats gay marriage is pretty controversial.

and I do believe the state legislature has since tacitly endorsed the ruling of that court.
More accurately, legislative deadlock prevented them from taking the steps that a majority of Massachusetts voters wanted.

I also wonder what makes you think the SJC of Mass. takes orders from anyone on the other end of the political spectrum from you? I'm reasonably sure those judges were not coerced into the decision or else surely one of their fellow court members would be decrying the undue influence.
I think you have a reading problem. I didn't say that anyone coerced the Mass. SJC; I said the SJC forced the legislature to recognize gay marriage. Go up and re-read it above.

Either support your inflammatory remarks or please refrain from making them.
You might want to take a reading comprehension class.
4.14.2006 6:54pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Those concerned about a gay man's promiscuity might encourage him to stop being a slut, rather than tell him to sleep with women. But...nah, we all know correlation is causation, right?
My primary concern is the same concern that I have about people who insist on smoking or eating unhealthy diets or drinking to excess--why do I have to pay taxes to support self-destructive habits?

I'm not thrilled about homosexuality, but what consenting adults do in private is, to my mind at least, not properly the government's business. Nor is it legitimate for the courts to force my government recognize your behavior.
4.14.2006 6:57pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

There are still large parts of the country where people face tremendous social pressure to deny that they are gay. To be more precise, the accepted line is that everyone is straight and homosexuality is unforgivably disgusting behavior. You may lose your job, your parents may kick you out of the house, your friends may stop talking to you, and random people may think it's a good idea to beat the crap out of you.
I've never lived somewhere like that. I've never even lived somewhere where people were under social pressure to deny being gay.

Did you grow up in the Middle East?
4.14.2006 6:58pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Golambek said:
There are still large parts of the country where people face tremendous social pressure to deny that they are gay. To be more precise, the accepted line is that everyone is straight and homosexuality is unforgivably disgusting behavior.

That's kinda like another quote I read somewhere about a group under tremendous social pressure to conform:
They're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of [the city].

That was a statement by an Assemblyman---a government official, speaking at City Hall---in a major US city. Earlier, the city's Council of Supervisors had officially condemned the group for its negative influence on the city's politics.

Isn't that horrible stuff? Shouldn't people like that be criticized? Ostracized? Punished? Can you imagine that such flagrant intolerance could still exist in modern America?

If you agree, then call up Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and take him to task for his flagrant bigotry---against evangelical Christians.
4.14.2006 7:06pm
Elais:
Clayton,

I'm not sure what 'side' you think I'm on and anyway I never used classical civilation as an arguement. Besides, even if homosexuality was more accepted in classical times I don't recall it being aaccepted as a permanent 'lifestyle'. Wasn't there was a strong expectation to get married and have children?
4.14.2006 7:10pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Indeed, when asked Scientific American Mind's question — "Do gays have a choice?" — Spitzer replies, "They have a choice whether to go into therapy, about whether they adopt a gay lifestyle, whether they tell their friends and their family. They don't have a choice as to whether their basic sexual orientation is gay or straight — that they don't have a choice about."
I also rather doubt that most people make a conscious choice about their sexual orientation. A lot of what you enjoy or don't enjoy is learned behavior. I suspect that just about everyone likes sweet stuff, but beer, for example, is a learned pleasure. I find beer really quite unpleasant. Other people love it--of course, I don't think I ever had beer until my mid-20s.

I know a woman who HATES chocolate--and says that many women of her generation growing up in malarial areas of Texas share that dislike, because it was common to give kids quinine (which is quite bitter) in chocolate. The negative association stuck with them.

Some of the research on fixated pedophiles suggests that these are often kids who were molested just as they were entering puberty by someone who was not much different in age from them. It doesn't take a lot of effort to imagine how someone whose first sexual experiences were pleasurable might imprint on the associated behavior. Sad to say, I've talked to way too many adults whose first sexual experiences
were prepubescent, and the results were not pleasurable--and many are still terribly scarred by it.

Now, I've mentioned before a study done for the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health. The goal was to study substance abuse among homosexuals in the Bay Area, and they put some real effort into getting a representative sample--and it turned out to be a pretty high income group. Yet 48% of the lesbians and 28% of the gay men reported sexual abuse as children. [EMT Associates, Inc., San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alcohol and Other Drug Use Anonymous Survey Vol. I, p. 24]

Those are pretty startling numbers--and it doesn't take a lot of thought to see why being sexually abused as a child might affect one's sexual orientation as an adult. Indeed, it would be surprising if it did not have some impact. Add in the complexity of how different people respond to the same stimuli or traumas, whether a child was five, or twelve, or fourteen, and you can see why a wide variety of outcomes might well be possible--and to call this a "choice" would be like when the IRS says that you have a "choice" about paying income tax.

As I have said repeatedly in this thread and others, it may be there are multiple causes of homosexuality, and I have noticed the scattered evidence that at least suggests an appropriate research topic because of the curious relationship between groups like NAMBLA and homosexual activists (until it became politically inconvenient in the early 1990s).
4.14.2006 7:13pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton,

I'm not sure what 'side' you think I'm on and anyway I never used classical civilation as an arguement. Besides, even if homosexuality was more accepted in classical times I don't recall it being aaccepted as a permanent 'lifestyle'. Wasn't there was a strong expectation to get married and have children?
Classical civilization's homosexuality was actually a lot closer to pedophilia. Adult, high status men took generally low status teenagers under their tutelage, and the adult man used them for his sexual pleasure. Roman society, for example, tolerated a man sodomizing another male, but to be the recipient--to be a catamite--completely unacceptable, because the recipient was effectively being a woman (a low status position).

The modern notion of homosexuality as two rough equals would have been pretty bizarre to the classical period. Yeah, I know that there are a lot of gay men where one of them is the "top" and the other is the "bottom" but I don't get the impression that this is as rigidly defined as sodomite/catamite was in the classical period.
4.14.2006 7:17pm
Managingeditor:
Guys, give it a bloody rest! What a bunch of wankers.
4.14.2006 7:24pm
BobN (mail):

I've never lived somewhere like that. I've never even lived somewhere where people were under social pressure to deny being gay.


You don't notice any difference between Sonoma County and Boise, Idaho?

Put a rainbow flag on your car, Clayton.
4.14.2006 7:26pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Dudes, why so people still talk to Clay Kramer? Seriously...
4.14.2006 7:43pm
anonymous coward:
Just in case anyone else has lived a similarly sheltered existence, yes, there are many, many places (and many, many families) in America where being gay is, like, totally un-cool.
4.14.2006 7:50pm
chez Diva (www):
Colin,

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

I am a new reader to this blog and I could easily determine that the "gay issue discussion" was an obvious hijacking of the thread. I would hope that other's would be mature and intelligent enough to do the same. For those who think this thread is about "bashing gays" then I would suspect that they already had pre-concieved notions as to what they would find here and then they would simply take what they saw in the comments and mold it to fit their preconceived ideas about "conservatives", the professor or whomever they viewed as their "political" nemesis.

It's a shame that the discussion has focused on the "gay" aspect when the real focus should be on the fact that an individual is being persecuted because he recommended a book that the overly PC and the Liberals thought might be "anti-gay", yet no one is persecuted when anti-christian, anti-american and/or anti- fill in the blank with anything the Liberals abhor is discussed in universities - Ward Churchill comes to mind.
4.14.2006 7:55pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
As I pointed out on an earlier thread, can't we just agree that homosexual acts are disgusting--unless they are between two (or more) hot chicks.
4.14.2006 8:18pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Clayton,

Julius Caesar was husband to every wife and wife to every husband.

No wonder the Romans killed him.
4.14.2006 8:35pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Clayton and others,

Jew hatred peaked in America in 1944. Pictures of the camps released in late '44 and in '45 and after put an end to that particular hatred as a mass movement in America.

One data point. My mother who is alive and lived through the WW2 era as a 20 something thought that the camps were not bombed because Rosevelt did not want to make it a Jews war. Something that Hitler claimed about Rosevelt. i.e. that Rosevelt was fighting a Jew's War. Luckily you don't hear those arguments much in respectable circles these days.
4.14.2006 8:44pm
SLS 1L:
Of what relevance is animal behavior to anything? Seriously, do we want to be taking our sexual cues from penguins one way or the other?
4.14.2006 8:46pm
Steve in CA (mail):
I hate to feed the trolls, but there's one thing I actually don't get about Clayton Cramer's "arguments" here: He refers a few times to S&M, bondage, etc., as either inherently "disordered" or inherently "gay." Why? I think those things, in various forms and to various degrees, are pretty common among heterosexuals. We don't all have boring sex lives, regardless of what "the gay thought police" want you to think. And I don't think spanking your girlfriend or tying up your wife means you're going to catch The Gay.
4.14.2006 8:47pm
SLS 1L:
Clayton:
Now, I've mentioned before a study done for the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health. The goal was to study substance abuse among homosexuals in the Bay Area, and they put some real effort into getting a representative sample--and it turned out to be a pretty high income group. Yet 48% of the lesbians and 28% of the gay men reported sexual abuse as children. [EMT Associates, Inc., San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alcohol and Other Drug Use Anonymous Survey Vol. I, p. 24]
Assuming these statistics are accurate and that they support your claim about the origins of gay sexual orientation, why does this support your proposed policies? Isn't the natural move from "these people are victims of abuse" to "we should be nice to them and make their lives easier," not to "we should stigmatize them and deny them legal rights"?
4.14.2006 8:56pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
BTW victims of sexual abuse are much more likely to abuse drugs.

Heroin

Let me second SLS 1L:
Isn't the natural move from "these people are victims of abuse" to "we should be nice to them and make their lives easier," not to "we should stigmatize them and deny them legal rights"?
4.14.2006 9:32pm
Elais:
chez Diva

This has become a bit sidetracked no?

I've 'lurked' on at Volokh for several months and I have noticed that there is a lot of liberal/lefty bashing here. Not surprising given that Volokh is perceived to be a right-wing blog.

It seems to me that many here rush to defend conservative viewpoints while at the same time berating liberal views in the name of 'free speech'. I often get the feeling conservatives don't really want 'free' speech, but only 'conservative' speech to be presented. I don't know of any extremely conservative college or campuses being forced to accept liberal/left-wing viewpoints. Seems like a double standard.

The original issue seems to have been blown way out of proportion.
4.14.2006 9:51pm
Elais:
Clayton

How young did women marry in classical times? Were there a lot of 'child brides'?
4.14.2006 9:54pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Elais:
I don't know of any extremely conservative college or campuses being forced to accept liberal/left-wing viewpoints. Seems like a double standard.

Probably because there aren't more than a handful of conservative colleges. And of the few that exist, I don't think that any have speech codes.

If you're sensing a bit of conservative anxiety over free-speech issues, maybe it's because we went to college (and in some case work in colleges) where liberal "tolerance" is enforced with an iron fist. Liberal speech control on campuses is real, and it has been going on for nearly 20 years. There is no conservative parallel.
4.14.2006 10:01pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
If you're sensing a bit of conservative anxiety over free-speech issues, maybe it's because we went to college (and in some case work in colleges) where liberal "tolerance" is enforced with an iron fist. Liberal speech control on campuses is real, and it has been going on for nearly 20 years. There is no conservative parallel.

All I can say to this is, give me a fucking break. "Liberal speech control" is a deluded figment of your paranoid, conservative imagination. Let's see--Professor Volokh--Oh, he's a professor at that hotbed of liberalism UCLA. And how about Ann Althouse--hippy and commie U, University of Wisconsin. Admittedly, Mr. Fascist Glenn Reynolds is only a Professor at the University of Tennessee. But hey, he only advocates genocide, so you really couldn't have him at a university that has a grand tradition of being a radical leftist university. No, Berkely, that absolute paragon of radical leftist, Marxist, anti-American treasonous disgusting, speech control university can only scrape up John Yoo, that architect of Bush adminstration torture as a tenured faculty.

Yep, universities, especially public ones, sure hate you righties.
4.14.2006 10:23pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Feder, go ask Mr. Scott Savage whether the speech codes are real. Or ask these kids whose pro-life display was vandalized by a group led by a women's-studies professor. Look at voting registrations of professors. Look at the wacky-left stuff that some of these professor teach. Look at what some of these professors say in public, without repercussion. Look at the FIRE web site.

Go educate yourself. Then come back and tell me that it's all in my imagination.
4.14.2006 10:37pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Go educate yourself. Then come back and tell me that it's all in my imagination.

Gee, look at this website (operated by a professor at UCLA), Instapundit (professor at UT), Ann Althouse Blog (UW). Show me how oppressed the Young Republicans are on Campus. Or how liberal the entire Greek system is (except for the Black fraternities--oh sorry there is no race-based discrimination in the fraternity/sorority system). And for all your bitching about the "liberal" professors, where are all the liberal business and economics departments?

Quit your fucking whining and act like an adult. For every poor pr-life student who has their crosses ripped down, some slacker has his anarchist poster ripped down by some frat boy or young republican. But instead of whining and crying about it and making a federal case of it, he just shrugs it off, and plans his next action.
4.14.2006 10:52pm
Michael Friedman (mail):
I've always found Clayton Cramer's approach to homosexuality rather obsessive and slightly distasteful. And then I read posts by some of the people arguing with him and I have to rethink.

Tony commented

Tell me, does there exist a subject which, in your mind, is so settled in the minds of reasonable people that "serious debate" is not "worthwhile"? Or are you of the belief that all knowledge and understanding is up for grabs?

Certainly. For example, one thing that in my mind 'is so settled in the minds of reasonable people that "serious debate" is not "worthwhile"' is that people who have themselves castrated for sexual gratification are seriously sick.

Tony, however, who proudly tells us
And no, Clayton, I was not molested - I was gay before I knew what sex was, before I even knew the basics of the birds and the bees. One can legitimately discuss the implications of fact for American culture, discuss the ways both good and bad that people of similar bent form communities, ande even the (very real) pathologies of those communities, if one starts from the position of recognizing the basic humanity of the people involved.

is apparently more open minded.

I didn't even have to click on your link to the castration incident to know what you had linked to. This is getting off on a tangent, but you know what my reaction to that story was? I looked up "castration" on Wikipedia and learned quite a bit about the long history of voluntary castration in spiritual contexts, and concluded that perhaps labelling it as pathological was premature. Maybe, like homosexuality itself, it's a deeply rooted expression of primal drives that we still only dimly understand, something that is part of what makes us human.

Interestingly enough, Tony apparently agrees with Cramer on this - voluntary castration is apparently somehow related to homosexuality... and that's apparently somehow a good thing. In an extension that Cramer would probably disagree with, "it's a deeply rooted expression of primal drives that we still only dimly understand, something that is part of what makes us human."

Strangely enough I feel no primal drive to have my testicles removed, with or without video cameras.

I just find it amazing though that someone who apparently supports homosexuality and feels that it is OK and normal would claim that this kind of insane self mutilation is somehow related.

Maybe Clayton isn't as out in left field as I always thought he was.
4.14.2006 11:11pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
<blockquote>
Admittedly, Mr. Fascist Glenn Reynolds is only a Professor at the University of Tennessee. But hey, he only advocates genocide, so you really couldn't have him at a university that has a grand tradition of being a radical leftist university.
</blockquote>
Please point to an instance of Glenn Reynolds advocating genocide.
4.14.2006 11:22pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Also, Freder, by "Fascist," do you mean "Conservative you don't like?" You should look up the entry in wikipedia for that word or something. Your misuse of it reveals your lack of self control AND ignorance.
4.14.2006 11:24pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Please point to an instance of Glenn Reynolds advocating genocide.

Well, here you go, because those barbarian Injuns wouldn't stop fightn', the good perfessor says we were justified in wiping them out, every last man, woman and child. And those Godless Muslims better take heed, what we did to the Sioux and Apache, we can do to them, too.
4.14.2006 11:51pm
Elais:
Ben Bateman

How would you approach making colleges 'neutral' or 'broad' politically? How would you create a campus environment where every opinion is respected, but does not go unchallenged? Is that even possible? It seems things are extremely polarized these days, with strongarm tactics being used to force a person, group, campus whatever to accept a certain viewpoint.

It would seem that every subject, every professor, every student, every text would have to be slapped with a 'conservative' or 'liberal' label to be able to tell whether a campus is truly 'fair and balanced' and then how would you 'correct' any imbalance found in liberal and conservative universities/colleges?
4.14.2006 11:53pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Also, Freder, by "Fascist," do you mean "Conservative you don't like?" You should look up the entry in wikipedia for that word or something.

Well no, I mean nationalistic, extremely militaristic and authoritarian view of the world. To try and equate fascism with some kind of economic theory is an execise in futility. I know Reynolds claims to be a Libertarian, but I find that laughable.
4.15.2006 12:00am
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Not according to the presentation that I saw by the psychiatrist who did the study--and who also led the removal of homosexuality from DSM-III.


That wasn't Dr. Robert Spitzer was it because on slide 39 of his presentation he said:

Misuse of Study Results

To assume that it shows that homosexual orientation is changeable by most highly motivated individuals.

Isn't that what you've just done?
Obviously, there's a selection bias involved anytime you sample people who have gone through such therapy.

But my point remains: if there was not an element of learned behavior involved, there wouldn't be a 50% success rate.

Clayton, these people weren't sampled at all - they were 274 'successes' referred to Dr. Spitzer out of a claimed pool of tens of thousands or more. So to use the phrase '50% success rate' is misleading:

The study wasn't about 'behavior' it was about affectional orientation.

274 people supposedly changed from a self-reported predominately homosexual affectional orientation to a predominately heterosexual one were culled from the hundreds of thousands of such conversions claimed and even finding these was difficult and took over 16 months (slide #11 of Dr. Spriter's presentation)

Slide #11 also explains:

74 subjects were excluded, most commonly because there was a change in behavior and self-identity, but no change in sexual attraction, or the individual was not predominantly homosexual, or the change was less than 5 years duration.

Of the remaining 200, 47% of the men and 66% of the women had actually engaged in bisexual behavior previous to treatment. They were bisexual in their 'behavior'.

slide #29 shows that only 29% of the men had reduced their same sex attractions to 'minimal'.

Slide #31 shows that of the 147 men who made the study 'cut' only 33 were archtypical gay men with no prior sexual interest in the opposite sex and only 22 of these convincingly presented a change to predominately opposite sex function.

So out of many thousands of so converted people, of 274 of them claiming such a conversion less than half were able to convince a doctor in a phone conversation that was indeed the case and even of those only a small minority were men who actually claimed no previous heterosexual desires.

You really consider that a '50% success rate'? Sounds more like a very rarefied occurence that as you point out might actually reflect that a small minority of people with same gender affections are that way for a different reason than the majority or are just better at deluding themselves and the researcher. I don't think these few exceptions proves any rule you would like to acknowledge.

I wonder what the success rate would be if there was a concerted effort to change left-handed people to right-handed? What would a tiny number of touted'successful changes' where the majority of even those turn out to be false really say anything useful about the majority?

Oh and though you didn't reply to me, since the discussion is about a book being recommended and not class room rhetoric your answer really doesn't address my question does it?
4.15.2006 7:43am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
To try and equate fascism with some kind of economic theory is an execise in futility.

Actually, historic fascism does have an economic element, if Wikipedia can be trusted (emphasis added):
Fascism in many ways seems to have been clearly developed as a reaction against Communism and Marxism, both in a philosophic and political sense, although it opposed democratic capitalist economics along with socialism, Marxism, and liberal democracy...Fascism is also typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic. The fascist state regulates and controls (as opposed to nationalizing) the means of production.

Then there's Merriam-Webster (emphasis added):
[A] political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
4.15.2006 7:49am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Ah, forgot to mention that the first quote is from Freder Frederson's most recent comment
4.15.2006 7:54am
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Yet 48% of the lesbians and 28% of the gay men reported sexual abuse as children. [EMT Associates, Inc., San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alcohol and Other Drug Use Anonymous Survey Vol. I, p. 24]

Those are pretty startling numbers

Yes and I've help you understand these numbers are far from 'startling' in the past. As you know they did not randomly select the participants most were self-selected from gay newspaper ads or referred from city counseling services. I sent you that information from one of the people who conducted the study, remember?.

As to the numbers the Russell study in 1983 of a random sampling of San Francisco women found 54% had experienced childhood sexual abuse. Wyatt in 1985 found 62% of Los Angeles county women reporting abuse. These are of just the general population of women. So the 48% of a self-selected and counselor-solicited participant study that happens to involve gay women is 'startling' in what way that these studies are not?

With such a high prevalence of abuse in general how can any conclusions of causality be made by similar numbers in the gay community? You know this but it doesn't matter how many times these issues are brought up to you, you just wait a while and trot out the same old data that you know isn't really 'startling' or representative at all but merely titillating like your other examples in this thread.
4.15.2006 8:18am
Freder Frederson (mail):
Actually, historic fascism does have an economic element

And if you were to define Western liberal democracies by the conditions during the same time period, you would say that it included economic regimentation. The U.S. and Great Britain acheived a much higher degree of centralization of their economies during World War II than Germany or Italy ever did (granted, this was partially due to the extreme corruption, cronyism, and incompetence of the German and Italian governments).
4.15.2006 10:08am
SG:
Freder,

Read that Glenn Reynolds quote again. He's advocating avoiding genocide. Recoginzing that it can happen, sure, but advocating avoiding it.
4.15.2006 12:12pm
Fred (mail):
Bruce Wilder wrote

A sexual harassment claim does not seem appropriate here either, but unless there is some evidence that the University is not competent to figure that out, and deal appropriately with the charge and those, who made it, I see no reason for a Federal court to intervene.


I would say that the university's failure to immediately dismiss the charges would indicate quite clearly that it is NOT competant to deal appropriately with the charge...
4.15.2006 1:53pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
<blockquote>
Please point to an instance of Glenn Reynolds advocating genocide.

Well, here you go, because those barbarian Injuns wouldn't stop fightn', the good perfessor says we were justified in wiping them out, every last man, woman and child.
</blockquote>
Freder, I think you understand perfectly well that the link you provided doesn't point to advocacy of genocide. It makes a conditional prediction, but you can hardly point to anything resembling a moral justification.
4.15.2006 2:04pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Freder, I think you understand perfectly well that the link you provided doesn't point to advocacy of genocide. It makes a conditional prediction, but you can hardly point to anything resembling a moral justification.

Oh really, the way I read that is that the "barbarians" brought genocide on themselves by refusing to submit to the will of "civilized" society. And it seems to me that he is clearly implying that genocide is sometimes necessary and justified. He certainly seems to be justifying the genocide of the American Indian.
4.15.2006 2:41pm
Patrick Rothwell (mail):
If there is any fixed star in the Volokh Conspiracy constellation, it is that Clayton Cramer will write endless anti-gay rants if given the excuse. Homosexuality: Cramer's idée fixe!

As to the merits of the case, I am in complete agreement with Eugene's post, but there is still a larger consideration here. One one level, if the University of North Carolina can assign Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed - which doesn't even qualify as genuine ethnography - to all incoming freshmen as it did a few years ago, then it certainly seems to me that political trash like "The Marketing of Evil" is at least as serviceable as a starting point for spirited freshmen discussion, no?

But, on another level, why are some universities now requiring all entering freshmen to read and discuss tendentious books of little or no academic value in the first place?
4.15.2006 3:27pm
Cornellian (mail):
If there is any fixed star in the Volokh Conspiracy constellation, it is that Clayton Cramer will write endless anti-gay rants if given the excuse. Homosexuality: Cramer's idée fixe!

And more specifically:

1) He'll claim to be able to speak authoritatively on the subject because he once lived less than 100 miles from San Francisco

2) He'll make some gratuitous, inflammatory statement, such as implying that NAMBLA is in charge of bringing the next generation of homosexuals into existence (as he did in this thread) but when you'll call him out on it, he'll claim he's being criticized for opposing same sex marriage

3) He'll quote some news account of a gay man engaging in some exotic sexual activity, such as group sex, as if that proved that all or even most gay men engaged in that activity

4) His collection of news accounts recited in great detail for purposes of #3 indicate a fascination with the idea of men having sex with each other far beyond that of any other purportedly straight man you know. Lesbians barely merit a passing reference in anything he posts

Just bear in mind the above four points and you don't have to read (much less reply to) anything he posts on the subject. It's all covered here.
4.15.2006 4:47pm
Kendall:
Wince and Nod -

Actually, back before the APA took it off the list of disorders, psychologists had a slightly better success rate helping patients change from homosexual to heterosexual than they did helping alcoholics. That was before NARTH and Exodus. This has not changed in studies since then.


any way you can possibly source that?
4.15.2006 6:01pm
SG:
"Freder, if you drop that heavy object, you'll break your foot. It happened before to _somebody_."

Would you agree that my statement does not advocate breaking your foot, nor does it express approval of _somebody_ having broken their foot in the past? In fact, by giving a warning, it implicitly expresses a desire to avoid having your foot broken.

The fact that you read Glenn's statement differently says more about you than it does Prof. Reynolds.
4.15.2006 6:52pm
alessandra (mail) (www):
regarding:

"Can anyone come up with a system of rules of discussion that does not depend on the speaker's view of the underlying merits?"

Off the bat, I would say no, because neither education, nor religion, nor a body of laws and rules can exist without morality, without determining what is right or wrong.

Theoretically in a democracy, this moral determination should be achieved by a fair debate. But more often than not, this is not what happens.

In practice, morality is determined by the rule of the jungle in a democracy, that is, the most powerful groups determine what is right or wrong, usually by the ability to stifle debate or opponents, or to misguide and misinform the masses about perspectives on issues. Long-lasting prevailing incorrect and harmful ideas are a result of a vicious circle of lack of information or criticism or selfishness or insensitivity from the masses who then give support to the immoral discourse powerbrokers (in law, education, or the media, for example).

At OSU, there cannot be any debate on the issue of homosexuality (and consequently of sexuality), and views on the subject must by shaped by totalitarian control of speech, which amounts to passing down ignorance as education. This entails a totalitarian destruction of not only speech, but the criminilization of knowledge and debate itself.
4.15.2006 6:53pm
Cornellian (mail):
In practice, morality is determined by the rule of the jungle in a democracy, that is, the most powerful groups determine what is right or wrong, usually by the ability to stifle debate or opponents, or to misguide and misinform the masses about perspectives on issues. Long-lasting prevailing incorrect and harmful ideas are a result of a vicious circle of lack of information or criticism or selfishness or insensitivity from the masses who then give support to the immoral discourse powerbrokers (in law, education, or the media, for example).

I would say a more precise way of putting that is that powerful groups determine what is permissible and impermissible not what is right and wrong. Those groups sometimes comprise a majority, but often don't. You don't need a majority to win in a democracy, just a substantial minority, better organization and, in our media saturated society, more money. Sometimes that leads to bad decisions, but it's the price of living in a democracy. We already have the only plausible check on that situation, namely a constitution that prevents majorities from doing certain things, partly by outright restrictions, such as the First Amendment, and partly by dividing government horizontally into 3 branches, and vertically into federal and state.
4.15.2006 6:59pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Elais wrote:
How would you approach making colleges 'neutral' or 'broad' politically?. . .

It would seem that every subject, every professor, every student, every text would have to be slapped with a 'conservative' or 'liberal' label to be able to tell whether a campus is truly 'fair and balanced' and then how would you 'correct' any imbalance found in liberal and conservative universities/colleges?

It wouldn't require such a draconian solution. To start, universities would simply need to recognize that they are politically out of balance. Their faculties are completely out of step with, and often hateful towards, the donors and taxpayers who support them. Simply admitting that fact would be a giant step forward.

Next, increase information flow, which is part of what we're doing here. Put a spotlight on the real wackos, and humiliate them. Let donors and taxpayers see the filth they're funding.

Then drastically reduce the flow of federal funds to universities. Let individual states, donors, and students support the universities directly. The people who pay for universities should have a strong say in what they're paying for, but the intervening federal bureaucracy removes accountability.

On the long term, the only way to maintain the system is the honesty and intellectual integrity of the professors themselves. The core problem with modern academia is not such much that it's liberal, but that it's completely out of touch with---and ignorant of---what most of the country is thinking. Mr. Savage tried to point that out to his fellow committee members by referring to the Amazon rankings of the books he suggested, but the response was typical of modern academia: proud ignorance. They don't know what the rest of the country is thinking, and they don't care, because anyone who doesn't think like them is evil, evil, evil.

If you closely read the email from Mr. Savage that we have, I think you'll conclude that he is not particularly conservative. The fault for which he will be lynched is that he is intellectually honest. He simply couldn't stomach playing along with the idea that reading Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver is some sort of bold and intellectually stimulating experience.

He refers specifically to the sixties, and I know exactly the point that he was trying to make: In their youth, the sixties kids who now have tenure saw themselves as boldly overcoming the cloistered and unchallenged orthodoxies of their elders. But today they simply cannot imagine that they have created a new orthodoxy, and their orthodoxy is every bit as sclerotic and flabby as the orthodoxy that they conquered in their youth. They're like communists: They honestly believe that their revolution will last forever, and can never be legitimately challenged. They know that they are right, right, right, and everyone who disagrees is wrong, wrong, wrong. They are the antithesis of what academicians should be.

I don't know how we clean the stables of these intellectual cowards and midgets. But it's going to be ugly, because the current situation cannot stand. Taxpayers and donors will not fund these people indefinitely.
4.15.2006 7:25pm
SLS 1L:
SG: but compare
SG, if you drop that heavy object, Guido here will be forced to break your foot. See that guy over there? He dropped a heavy object, and Guido broke his foot.
4.15.2006 11:40pm
Elais:
Next, increase information flow, which is part of what we're doing here. Put a spotlight on the real wackos, and humiliate them. Let donors and taxpayers see the filth they're funding.


Would that include places like Liberty University or Bob Jones University?

What 'filth' do you object to? Liberal 'filth'?

The people who pay for universities should have a strong say in what they're paying for, but the intervening federal bureaucracy removes accountability


Not sure how that will translate into a 'fair and balanced' university. It seem like letting the people decide will result in an even worse situation. A 'one note' university, with the tune being set by the people. You assume that people wouldn't want a university that reflects their own narrow view, regardless if that is conservative or liberal? How would you guarantee 'fair and balanced' if the 'people' wind up demanding one political ideology?

What exactly is the country thinking? There is a helluva lot of thinking people, but they aren't all of one mind or one thought. One cannot generalize in one fell swoop that they all think the same thing. The most I think can be said is that most people would want their kid to get the best education.

How is Mr. Savage intellectually honest? He maybe be BSing himself.

I judge from your tone that you feel that the 'liberals' are right right right and that everyone else is wrong, wrong, wrong. Cannot the same be said for conservatives? That conservatives believe that they are right right right and everyone else is wrong? Not quite a great arguement.

You are using a great deal of venomous language. Don't suppose you can tone done the emotional rhetoric?
4.16.2006 1:04am
SLS 1L:
Ben Bateman: why should we expect that in a "balanced" university, academics' political views will reflect those of "the people"? Academics are experts in a particular area of study; their views are supposed to be different from those of laypeople. If laypeople are poorly informed (as they are), but academics are better-informed (as they should be, if politics is related to their area of study, as it is in a vast number of disciplines), then academics' political views will differ systematically from those of voters in general. They won't necessarily be better views, but they will be systematically different.

I agree that universities have moved too far to the left, but demanding that academics' political views mirror those of the public would be even worse.
4.16.2006 2:08am
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Elais:
Would that include places like Liberty University or Bob Jones University?

Sure, except that I doubt that they receive much federal funding.
What 'filth' do you object to? Liberal 'filth'?

There are so many examples I'll just pick a few off the top of my head: openly anti-semitic rallies led by professors, classes in porn, calling the 9/11 victims "Little Eichmanns", and open hatred in general towards this country, its people, and its traditions. If you want more examples, I'm sure that there are some books with plenty of them.
Not sure how that will translate into a 'fair and balanced' university. It seem like letting the people decide will result in an even worse situation. A 'one note' university, with the tune being set by the people.

There are many people, and many universities. People can fund what they want to fund. Don't you think that's preferable to forcing people to fund viewpoints that they hate?
I judge from your tone that . . .

Don't even bother finishing that sentence. I'm not interested in discussing the stereotypes that you want to project onto me. I wrote some actual words. Judge those.
You are using a great deal of venomous language. Don't suppose you can tone done the emotional rhetoric?

What specific language do you find venemous or emotional?

SLS 1L: For me, it's axiomatic that you shouldn't force people to fund ideas that they hate. If you disagree, then please list the ideas that you hate that I should be able to force you to fund.
4.16.2006 2:59am
SLS 1L:
Ben B.: The government forces people to fund stuff they hate all the time. Here are a few things I hate that the government funds (and should be allowed to force me to fund): the Iraq war, agricultural subsidies, abstainence-only sex education, the postmodern doctrine that all "truth" is socially constructed (their scare quotes, not mine).

Also, they're probably funding the education of the graduate students next door whose party is keeping me awake now. I hate that too.
4.16.2006 3:38am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Ben,

in your perfect world nobody would be taxed to subsidize a cause they do not support. But the best government we've come up with is a majoritarian democracy. Presently, we are fighting a war (which I happen to support, but), that half the country would just as soon not pay for. Do you propose we give them back their money? We compromise the freedom of our wallets by entrusting it in part to the judgment of our elected leaders. The notion that it's possible to run a country by having taxpayers pay only for things they like is patently absurd.
4.16.2006 3:42am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Freaking Stanford, beat me to the punch.
4.16.2006 3:44am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Freder:

And if you were to define Western liberal democracies by the conditions during the same time period, you would say that it included economic regimentation. The U.S. and Great Britain acheived a much higher degree of centralization of their economies during World War II than Germany or Italy ever did (granted, this was partially due to the extreme corruption, cronyism, and incompetence of the German and Italian governments).

The Wikipedia entry on the New Deal states that Fascism was originally spoken of as an economic philosophy:
"Fascism" in the 21st century has very strong connotations of mass murder and death camps, making it a highly loaded term. However in the 1930s it was treated as a technical term regarding how much control in a capitalist system the government should have over business.

That Fascism began as an economic movement is indisputable. How it differs or resembles European social democracy and the New Deal depends on the types of control, not the levels, that each economic system prescribes.
4.16.2006 6:42am
Federal Dog:
"Quit your fucking whining and act like an adult."


If you have such difficulty reading dissent, I invite you to consider that you are not obliged to. Feel free to take your own advice.
4.16.2006 8:40am
alessandra (mail) (www):
Michael O'D: "My question is for Eugene Volokh and the other administrators of this site more than for the various commenters here. Eugene, your original criticism of the lawsuit was from the principled position that it's a silly, over-sensitive attack on open debate in universities, regardless of the merit of the ideas under attack.

Now re-read Clayton's comments. They have degenerated into a gay-bashing diatribe. Granted, he isn't calling for blood or pouring kerosine onto stacks of logs, but the tenor of his comments is openly hostile to the very idea of homosexuality."
---------------------------------------
Whence we conclude that pro-homosexuals are working to criminilize any view-point that exposes how dogmatic and ignorant their set of theories on human sexuality is.

Anyone who questions any of your pro-homosexuality tenets is automatically framed as saying a « gay-bashing diatribe ». This hysterical vilification is what poisons an academic department and the pursuit of knowledge and leads to the OSU event that generated this tread.

Michael O'D: "Here's my question. What is it like, Eugene and VC administrators, to link arms with such people as our Clayton? […] But what is it like to realize that many of your fellow travelers are simply bigots?"

It’s not any different than realizing many fellow travelers are so intellectually weak and dishonest they must characterize anyone who disagrees with them as « full of hate » or any other ad hominen attack, when it’s clear as day light that’s not the motivation for questioning your extremely dogmatic hermetic views on homosexuality (or any other aspect of human sexuality).

Clayton is putting forth questions for debate that you want to suppress and censor, moreover that you want to vilify, but not discuss. A perfect form of bigotry.
4.16.2006 1:11pm
alessandra (mail) (www):
SLS 1L:
Ben Bateman: why should we expect that in a "balanced" university, academics' political views will reflect those of "the people"? Academics are experts in a particular area of study; their views are supposed to be different from those of laypeople.
====================================
But the more dogmatic they are, the more they employ cognitive selection regarding their "knowledge," which will always be fundamentally shaped by their values and politics. In other words, "knowledge is not wisdom," and not that infrequently academic departments are more about orthodoxy than intellectual progress.
4.16.2006 1:27pm
CaptDMO:
Suggesting Anti-Gay Book for Inclusion in University Reading Program = Sexual Orientation Harassment?
Desperately grasping at outside "thought law"= Freshman Orientation Harassment!

Ben Bateman,
I judge from your tone that .. ..,
Don't even bother finishing that sentence. I'm not interested in discussing the stereotypes that you want to project onto me. I wrote some actual words. Judge those.

Let it be known to all present here, I am sooooo going to plagerize that for elsewhere!

And yes, I offically de-lurk.
4.16.2006 2:02pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Mike and SLS: Yes, of course in a democracy people will end up paying for things they hate. Our system is designed to minimize that in two ways:

First, once upon a time we had the idea of limited government. The fewer areas a government is involved in, the fewer cases you'll have of people being taxed for something they don't like.

Second, we have this majority-rules idea. As Churchill said, it's the worst form of government, except for all the rest. If government must fund something (such as, for example, the Iraq war) then at least we've minimized the number of people who are unhappy.

But that's nothing like what we have in academia today. How many people want to fund Ward Churchill, or a queer studies department? I would guess that it's in the low single digits.

That doesn't mean that a majority of the public should approve of each professor and each department at every moment. Despite all the hatred that academia pours on them, Americans are very tolerant people. I think that they're perfectly willing to tolerate some fringe professors, as long as they're part of a generally acceptable overall faculty.

But the who pay for it should make the ultimate decision, both in the direction and range of views that they want to fund. If you don't like the inherent problems of majoritarianism, then join with me in arguing that the government should get out of non-essential areas, such as most higher education. Get the government out of the picture, and donors, alumni, and students can all vote with their feet and dollars. If a bunch of far-lefties want to fund a super-liberal university like Berkeley, then they can spend their dollars that way. And if some ultra-conservatives want to fund Bob Jones University, then they can do that, too.
4.16.2006 3:24pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Ben,

I largely agree with you. I don't see a problem, generally speaking, with the government attaching strings to the money it gives to schools. Moreover, insofar as you suggest that we petition government to (1) exercise greater discretion over the spending of taxpayer funds in academia; and (2) to altogether decrease its role in funding colleges, I think I agree. That is of course a long way from giving individual taxpayers an "axiomatic" veto power over things they don't like. :)
4.16.2006 3:55pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
alessandra, I'm not sure I fully understand your post, but allow me to respond to what I think it says. The statement that academia often stands for orthodoxy rather than progress does nothing to compel the conclusion that its orthodoxy should be tempered with a dose of the "public" opinion.

98% (or something very close) of American economists believe that rent-control is inefficient, and ends up harming low-income tenants. It's a safe enough bet that the support for rent-control among the general population is substantially higher. (At least it was in my 1st year Property class). Does that mean that experts should be somehow forced to accept non-expert opinions, purely because the latter are more numerous?
4.16.2006 4:00pm
Elais:
Ben,


I'm not sure what stereotype you are, except perhaps a conservative who doesn't like liberals. But you are correct that I should judge your words.

Language I find venomous. 'Wacko', 'humiliate them', 'filth', 'evil evil evil', 'intellectual cowards and midgets'. Doesn't exactly sounds like the language of love does it? It's not even impartial language.

If you are what you eat, perhaps we all are what we type?
4.16.2006 6:54pm
Elais:
Elais

I also thought one of the foundations of going to a university is not only to learn, but to broaden your intellectual and life experience, not to look in a mirror and admire your own opinion.
4.16.2006 6:57pm
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
Elais wrote:
I also thought one of the foundations of going to a university is not only to learn, but to broaden your intellectual and life experience, not to look in a mirror and admire your own opinion.

Yes, that was the theory twenty or thirty years ago, and it's still a common excuse. But only an excuse.

If broadening your intellectual experience is such a wonderful thing, then maybe the professors who want to lynch Mr. Savage should try it on themselves. That's why this story strikes such a chord. In his email, Mr. Savage was calling his colleagues' attention to how narrow their own thinking was. That's exactly what academicians should do. But the other professors didn't merely refuse to broaden their intellectual horizons; they were indignant at the very idea that they should do so.

Maybe you could ask Larry Summers about how much interest in intellectual breadth and diversity he found at Harvard.

The intellectual breadth argument still held some force fifteen or twenty years ago. But today it's just a cliche. On any issue that touches politics, today's academy isn't about intellectual breadth; it's about ideological purity and conformity.
4.16.2006 7:54pm
Elais:
Ben,

I think the ideological 'purity' and 'conformity' is far more in force in conservative/religions colleges. Do you suppose that if so-called 'liberal' colleges weren't so narrow as is claimed, that conservative colleges wouldn't exist in the first place?
4.17.2006 1:19am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Elais,

Most sectarian colleges existed before the leftward trend in elite private and public academia. (Most are seminaries, I suspect.) But yes, the commonality of narrow ideology at major universities will create market niches that entrepreneurs will seek to fulfill.

Comparing the intellectual diversity and the degree and means of enforcement of such at sectarian and nominally nonsectarian colleges would make a fascinating study.
4.17.2006 3:57am
JosephSlater (mail):
We are now far, far, afield from EV's original reasonable point that, whatever the merits of this book, filing a harassment charge for suggesting its inclusion is a poor response. Of course any thread here touching on gays and lesbians will bring out Clayton talking about all those dirty things gays do, and any thread on higher education will bring out folks who just hate the fact that highly educated people tend not to be homophobic.

But let's be clear on one thing: liberals in academia, like liberals everywhere, are very much aware that some folks in the country are homophobic. That fact is really pretty hard to miss. We hear you, we understand what you're saying, and we think you're wrong. But to get back to one point of this thread, it's better to meet speech with other speech.
4.17.2006 11:22am
Ben Bateman (mail) (www):
JosephSlater:
But let's be clear on one thing: liberals in academia, like liberals everywhere, are very much aware that some folks in the country are homophobic. That fact is really pretty hard to miss. We hear you, we understand what you're saying, and we think you're wrong.

I disagree. You don't understand conservatism's thinking on homosexuality if you think that 'homophobic' summarizes it.
Elais:
I think the ideological 'purity' and 'conformity' is far more in force in conservative/religions colleges.

How would you measure that empirically?
4.17.2006 6:53pm
Elais:
Empirically?

Noting mission statement of said college/university. Survey of texts offered in courses. Number and nature of student associations. Analysis of applications used in the submission process.
4.17.2006 7:59pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Add one more category: the treatment of dissidents. In one sense the comparison between sectarian and nominally nonsectarian schools is apples and oranges. The former are expected to discriminate with regard to hiring and admissions on ideological grounds - but only if a) the reason for discrimination is in the bylaws, and b) the reason is clearly tied to the school's ideology. A Baptist seminary woudl be PC for excluding blacks, questionable for excluding amillennialists, and not PC at all for excluding atheists or Catholics.

In the realm of civil discourse, sectarian and nonsectarian institutions are apples and oranges. Do students shout down speakers they don't like, or otherwise engage in hysteria-driven protests? Destroy campus publications they don't like? Besiege a professor with crank phone calls in the middle of the night? (That happened at the University of Texas/Austin once to a Professor Alan Gribben.) Demand the ouster of college officials because they express beliefs that have no bearing on their academic qualifications? (*cough* Lawrence Summers *cough*)

One more thing: keep a score on each category being assessed. Two colleges could have the same hypothetical Political Correctness score and differ widely in how PC manifests on those campuses.
4.17.2006 11:32pm
Federal Dog:
"Noting mission statement of said college/university. Survey of texts offered in courses. Number and nature of student associations. Analysis of applications used in the submission process."


Perhaps you would furnish a link to this study? Or is this all speculation based on preconceived personal opinion?
4.18.2006 8:52am
Elais:
Federal Dog,

What I listed are possible empirical studies that COULD be done in response to Clayton's question. I did not claim they already existed. Please follow the thread more closely.

Alan K Henderson,

Interesting suggestions. That ties into the problem of attempting to identify text, students, professors, behaviors etc as skewing to a partisan ideology in order to ensure more 'fair and balanced' campuses that many seem to feel being too 'liberal' for their tastes. I wonder if conservative/religious campuses would appreciate demands to make their own campuses more welcoming of liberal ideology?
4.19.2006 2:12am