Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
A legislative panel held a hearing this morning to consider the issue of a ban on "gay conversion therapy." Here are a few questions lawmakers should ask before supporting a counseling censorship bill that would put legislators with no medical expertise in the position of judging appropriate medical treatments:
First, supporters of the counseling censorship ban cite several specific practices that are part of some kinds of "conversion therapy" ("a variety of shaming, emotionally traumatic or physically painful stimuli..." as one supporter of the ban has put it) that they consider to be harmful:
- Is it these particular practices that are the problem?
- What about conversion therapy that does not engage in these practices?
- Why not ban these particular practices? Why ban all conversion therapies?
- If these practices are what is the problem, then why not ban these particular practices in any kind of therapy?
- Why does this bill ban all conversion therapy, not just conversion therapy that engages in these particular practices?
Second, according to information from supporters, a lot of people have undergone conversion therapy. That would indicate that there must be a lot of psychologists who offer it:
- Are there really that many bad practitioners in the psychological profession. If so, is there some larger problem in the profession?
- Have these psychologists had a voice in the doings of the associations of which they are a part that now publicly oppose this kind of therapy?
- Are they members of these associations at all? How representative are the associations who oppose this kind of therapy of the larger body of psychologists?
Third, if conversion therapy is to be banned because of "health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior," wouldn't that implicate some of the LGBTQ orientations this bill is intended to privilege? These very pathologies seem to be overrepresented in many LGBTQ populations--apart from any conversion therapy. One report, for example, asserts that as many as 40 percent of transgender adults report having attempted suicide. Doesn't the logic of this argument call non-traditional sexual orientations themselves into question?
Fourth, let's assume that harm to some individuals (not all, there are a number of people who have benefited from some form of conversion therapy) has in fact occurred.
- Is that sufficient reason for banning a practice?
- Are supporters of the counseling censorship bill in favor of banning any practices which sometimes result in harm to the patient?
- There are many medical procedures that are considered risky because of high rates of harm to the patient, and there are many types of patients who are particularly at risk for certain surgeries (such as the elderly). If resulting harm is the test, should all these procedures be banned?
Finally, if there were no demonstrated harm from conversion therapy, would supporters still oppose it?
The arguments for the counseling censorship bill is fraught with ubiquitous appeals to authority (a large array of professional associations oppose it), and the fact that public opinion polls are against it. Since when are appeals to opinion polls considered an appropriate way of determining the integrity of medical procedures? In fact, the very rhetoric of those who pretend to be acting on behalf of science--which includes not only ad populum appeals and appeals to authority, but also emotional appeals--belies a very unscientific attitude toward the issue.
One also wonders whether the people who now oppose gay conversion therapy would automatically change their minds if professional associations changed their opinions and supported it instead (as they once did before they were politically pressured to change their positions). In other words, if these associations changed their minds tomorrow, would these people drop their support for these counseling censorship bills? If we index the integrity of medical or psychological procedures to such things, then we would have to say that there was nothing wrong with conversion therapy when it had professional and public support.
It is tempting to conclude that the reason for censoring psychological counselors has little to do with these arguments and more to do with the ideologies the opponents seem to represent. But ideology should not be the determining factor for deciding the integrity of medical or psychological practices.
Saturday, June 06, 2020
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
When you scoop that spoonful of mashed potatoes into your mouth this Thanksgiving, just think of all of the Indians that had to die so that you could enjoy turkey and dressing with your family.
Or at least that's how some would have it.
It wasn't too long ago that Thanksgiving was considered a time to celebrate the things we had in common. But in recent years the holiday has been given over, like so many other things in our culture, to the politics of grievance. Everything, including holidays, must be sacrificed to the gods of resentment.Read the rest here.
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Saturday, November 16, 2019
The Chapel, he says, is "the largest classical chapel built in America in seventy years. It must also be the most beautiful."
... [T]he cheek—the audacity—of a liberal arts college circa 2019 choosing to build and give such prominence to an explicitly Christian chapel. It even features a cross on the roof above its main entrance. Talk about transgressive! In a brochure about the chapel, we read that Hillsdale College since its founding “has been dedicated to the immemorial teachings and practices of the Christian faith. It is dedicated as well to high learning, moral formation, and the perpetuation of civil and religious liberty.”I was at Hillsdale last year when the chapel was still under construction and saw only the exterior--and that still mostly shrouded in all the trappings of construction. Still you could tell that the building meant something and meant it very resolutely.
Kimball goes on to contrast Hillsdale's resoluteness with the flacid and equivocal, if not toxic moral posturing of so many other institutions of higher learning (even, we should point out, the ostensibly Christian ones):
Most older colleges and universities were founded to promulgate such “immemorial teachings and practices.” How many would dream of acknowledging them today? Stone by stone they have dismantled that foundation. New-age nostrums such as radical environmentalism, racial grievance-mongering, or sex-in-the-head gender mania are pursued with a fervor that seems almost religious in its intensity, but they offer sparse support for the teetering edifice they have excavated.Read it here.
Sunday, November 10, 2019
Thursday, November 07, 2019
In other words, imagine what things would have been like had this election been fully nationalized. The fact that Republicans were able to do as well as they did in an off-year election in a red state bodes well for Republicans in legislative races in 2020 and is an indication of how well Trump will do in Kentucky in 2020.
I can't think of a good reason that won't be the case in other red states. And if you have Elizabeth Warren threatening to take away the cushy union health insurance of blue collar workers in places like Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Trump might stand a good chance of winning again.
Monday, October 07, 2019
For all the certainty about the fact that Trump violated laws, it is curious there has been so little discussion about the laws themselves.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
All this means is that disagreeing with the fashionable opinions of liberals is now considered a thought crime, and is to be dealt with by hurling epithets like "transphobic." Just say the word and all those bigots who don't take their gender ideology medicine scatter.
Saturday, August 17, 2019
It is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, and we're already being subjected to dreamy reminiscences about it from people whose accounts cannot really be relied upon because they are based largely on memories of people who were in a drug-induced stupor.
If you were on drugs, Woodstock seemed great. Of course, if you were on drugs, anything seemed great ...Read the rest here.