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So Let's Talk About Shutting People Up.

| 61 Comments

When I read the NY Times the hotel gave me this morning, this article piqued my attention:

Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege Earlier this month, members of the International Academy of Sex Research, gathering for their annual meeting in Vancouver, informally discussed one of the most contentious and personal social science controversies in recent memory.

The central figure, J. Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University, has promoted a theory that his critics think is inaccurate, insulting and potentially damaging to transgender women. In the past few years, several prominent academics who are transgender have made a series of accusations against the psychologist, including that he committed ethics violations. A transgender woman he wrote about has accused him of a sexual impropriety, and Dr. Bailey has become a reviled figure for some in the gay and transgender communities.

The dispute isn't any longer about the research, but about the researcher.

Earlier this month, members of the International Academy of Sex Research, gathering for their annual meeting in Vancouver, informally discussed one of the most contentious and personal social science controversies in recent memory.

The central figure, J. Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University, has promoted a theory that his critics think is inaccurate, insulting and potentially damaging to transgender women. In the past few years, several prominent academics who are transgender have made a series of accusations against the psychologist, including that he committed ethics violations. A transgender woman he wrote about has accused him of a sexual impropriety, and Dr. Bailey has become a reviled figure for some in the gay and transgender communities.

And people took action against him.

Dr. Conway and Dr. McCloskey also wrote letters to Northwestern, accusing Dr. Bailey of grossly violating scientific standards "by conducting intimate research observations on human subjects without telling them that they were objects of the study."

They also wrote to the Illinois state regulators, requesting that they investigate Dr. Bailey for practicing psychology without a license. Dr. Bailey, who was not licensed to practice clinical psychology in Illinois, had provided some of those who helped him with the book with brief case evaluation letters, suggesting that they were good candidates for sex-reassignment surgery. A spokesman for the state said that regulators took no action on the complaints.

Based on some questionable facts...

Dr. Dreger is the latest to arrive at the battlefront. She is a longtime advocate for people born with ambiguous sexuality and has been strongly critical of sex researchers in the past. She said she had presumed that Dr. Bailey was guilty and, after meeting him through a mutual friend, had decided to investigate for herself.

But in her just-completed account, due to be published next year in The Archives of Sexual Behavior, the field’s premier journal, she concluded that the accusations against the psychologist were essentially groundless.

For example, Dr. Dreger found that two of the four women who complained to Northwestern of research violations were not portrayed in the book at all. The two others did know their stories would be used, as they themselves said in their letters to Northwestern.

The accusation of sexual misconduct came five years after the fact, and was not possible to refute or confirm, Dr. Dreger said. It specified a date in 1998 when Dr. Bailey was at his ex-wife’s house, looking after their children, according to dated e-mail messages between the psychologist and his ex-wife, Dr. Dreger found.

And with meaningful professional consequences...

One collaborator broke with Dr. Bailey over the controversy, Dr. Bailey said. Others who remained loyal said doing so had a cost: two researchers said they were advised by a government grant officer that they should distance themselves from Dr. Bailey to improve their chances of receiving financing.

"He told me it would be better if I played down any association with Bailey," said Khytam Dawood, a psychologist at Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Bailey said that the first weeks of the backlash were the worst. He tried not to think about the accusations, he said, but would wake up in the middle of the night unable to think of anything else. He took anti-anxiety pills for a while. He began to worry about losing his job. He said that friends and family supported him but that some colleagues were afraid to speak up in his defense.

"They saw what I was going through, I think, and wanted no part of it," he said.

This is what it looks like when people ask why "...should the marketplace of ideas be open to those who espouse reprehensible and repugnant views?"

And it's a train wreck, morally, politically, and scientifically.

"What happened to Bailey is important, because the harassment was so extraordinarily bad and because it could happen to any researcher in the field," said Alice Dreger, an ethics scholar and patients’ rights advocate at Northwestern who, after conducting a lengthy investigation of Dr. Bailey’s actions, has concluded that he is essentially blameless. "If we're going to have research at all, then we're going to have people saying unpopular things, and if this is what happens to them, then we've got problems not only for science but free expression itself."

Some people have no problem with throttling free expression. They see it as a way of redressing what they see as imbalances in power, and see free speech as a way or reifying existing power relationships in society. I've cited Stephen Hicks before:

What we have then are two positions about the nature of speech. The postmodernists say: Speech is a weapon in the conflict between groups that are unequal. And that is diametrically opposed to the liberal view of speech, which says: Speech is a tool of cognition and communication for individuals who are free.

When you see people pushing people out of the marketplace of ideas, you're seeing speech as a weapon. And - like many mythical weapons - it is one that once used entraps and poisons the weilder.

61 Comments

It pales beside the Scott Beauchamp case.

Jadegold, you're boring me. if you're going to do drivebys, do interesting or amusing ones, can you? At some point you need to step up and contribute to debate here beyond namecalling and snark. So - I made a point in the post. I'd love to hear your counterargument.

Over to you.

A.L.

As I wrote at my blog, it seems to me that this is also a classic case of people mistaking Some for all

Northwestern investigated Bailey, but refused to reveal its findings. No condemnation, no exoneration. Is this normal? It might happen every day, but it seems strange in a high profile case where the charges were serious.

Francis, I keep getting redirected to a 'bad search' page after opening your blog. Don't know if it's a work firewall thing, or something caused by your website.

I don't know much about the guy, so I tried to update myself on his research (I'm a little cofused by the gray areas of the allegations).

It seems unfortunate that he has been attacked personally, when alot of his research appears to be subpar...

It seems alot of his trangender/bisexuality research came in a very small "pool": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Michael_Bailey/(<100 people), and many individuals were obtained these individuals from advertising, which creates a biased pool of applicants (thus making the study inaccurate).

He also has the habit of making inferences in his books that aren't based on research, such as:

"Nearly all the homosexual transsexuals I know work as escorts after they have their surgery." p. 210

That's a preety stupid phrase to use in a science-based book. There are a few more comments on that second link are damning (if he doesn't have statistics to back them up).

There are other complaints about the accuracy of his testing methods, but I don't know enough about sexuality research to make an accurate assesment either way.

whoops! cut me off early

(<100 people), and many individuals were obtained through advertising, which creates a biased pool of applicants (thus making the study inaccurate).

He also has the habit of making inferences in his books that aren't based on research, such as:

"Nearly all the homosexual transsexuals I know work as escorts after they have their surgery." p. 210

That's a preety stupid phrase to use in a science-based book. There are a few more comments on that second link are damning (if he doesn't have statistics to back them up).

There are other complaints about the accuracy of his testing methods, but I don't know enough about sexuality research to make an accurate assesment either way.

for some reason this page doesn't like me.

and many individuals were obtained through advertising, which creates a biased pool of applicants (thus making the study inaccurate).

He also has the habit of making inferences in his books that aren't based on research, such as:

"Nearly all the homosexual transsexuals I know work as escorts after they have their surgery." p. 210

That's a preety stupid phrase to use in a science-based book. There are a few more comments on that second link are damning (if he doesn't have statistics to back them up).

There are other complaints about the accuracy of his testing methods, but I don't know enough about sexuality research to make an accurate assesment either way.

note: all of this doesn't excuse false accusations, but I don't beleive he has the data to back up all of his conclusions.

Note that I'm not defending his research (haven't read the book, don't begin to know enough about the domain).

But I'm disgusted by the response as it appears in the article...

A.L.

Sorry, one last thing:

two researchers said they were advised by a government grant officer that they should distance themselves from Dr. Bailey to improve their chances of receiving financing.

This is par for the course for any reseracher living off grants. Grants are so competitive, and the goverment/corporations get so much flack for a controversial project, that even a whiff of malfeasance, forgery or controvery can kill all funding. Something as simple as an illegible notebook (literally) has destroyed careers (and those doing reserach with them).

A.L., Very interesting story. You won't be surprised that I have a slightly different take on it than you do, however. I see it as a small group of people overreacting to an (to them) emotional and personal subject and is yet another representation of the complexity of human nature. You see this sort of reaction all the time in political and social debates. There's nothing particularly philosophically Left or PoMo about it. You can select from a huge range of topics equally emotial and that result outlandish behavior from people who want to shoot the messanger because they object to the conclusions of the message (take a look at those who deny evolution as a case in point).

I think that you left out the most interesting part of the piece:

"Moreover, based on her own reading of federal regulations, Dr. Dreger, whose report can be viewed at www.bioethics.northwestern.edu, argued that the book did not qualify as scientific research. The federal definition describes “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation.” "
Here, we have the woman defending Baily, arguing as part of her defense that his work is not actually scientfic research to begin with (this in order to fight off the accusation that subjects of research were not notified). If this is a reasonable assessment, then it could be argued that opponents are not trying to stiffle scientific research but speaking out against theories without a scientific basis that they, the opponents, beleive to be damaging, in the much the same way that you would expect and desire an outcry against nonscientific theories that promote a racist view of society.

But mark, your reinterpretation doesn't touch my core issue - which that instead of challenging the assertions/ theories/ stories in the book, they went after his career - that the small group felt entitled to silence someone who, in essence, offended them.

Do you have a problem with that? I have a significant problem with it. In no small part because at the end of that road I'll assert that you get the ALF firebombing professor's homes.

A.L.

AL, yes, of course I have a problem with that. it's reprehensible. i just don't associate it -- philosophically -- with either the left or pomo thought. it's just bad --to put it mildly -- behavior.

my point was, to use your headline -- attempts to shut people come from all over the ideological map.

AL, just to continue my response/thought. My expectation is not that they felt "entitled" to smear him personally out of some principle, but out of an emotional and quite plainly wrong & misplaced response....sure, they, like all of us, are going to grab at whatever justification we can to support our emotional responses but I think you are going after the wrong set of culprits here.

But mark, I'll disagree - back in the 50's and 60's, the Right was all about censorship, restrictions on speech, etc. etc. and the Left was about "speaking truth". freedom of Speech was a core left value at one point...today, not so much. I don't see the kinds of empowered witchunts on the Right - they may try and call some advertisers, but I don't see FIRE pushing university administrations to silence speakers.

I think that acknowledging that core fact is an important step in seeing what politics looks like today.

A.L.

I dunno mark. If, a la Foucault, there is no "truth," that "discourse creates it own object" and everything reduces to power relations (and Foucault is not alone among postmodern philosophers in maintaining such), then scientific research is just one more "discourse" that supports a particular set of power relations. If you find that set of relations oppressive, it is perfectly legitimate from a pomo perspective to attack the messenger and do whatever it takes to "disrupt" or, another favorite pomo word, "subvert" his/her discourse to undermine the power relations it supports. Since your "truth" is no more or less true than the other guy's, the only thing that counts is who can use discourse more effectively. If you can enlist the discourse of powerful institutions in your cause, more power to you (pun intended).

mark, Here, we have the woman defending Baily, arguing as part of her defense that his work is not actually scientfic research to begin with

That's not quite what the defense said. She said that part of the book that was being criticized for bad science, wasn't even science at all, it was simply personal anecdotes. There were other portions of the book that were science, however, namely Bailey's actual scientific research. There were also portions of the book that the defense said were more like scientific journalism, which I believe refers to the recitation of the theories of Ray Blanchard.

All in all the book is neither fish nor fowl. See Defense of Bailey on page 41

There was certainly room for critics to call for Bailey to publish his research in a peer-reviewed journal and conduct further interviews in a scientific manner. Instead what we got is the worst of all worlds:

First, no resolution of which competing theories (or which portion of competing theories) better explains the issues. The benefits of such a resolution would perhaps best be felt by the transsexuals being protected by the outcry. Second, there is a chilling effect on further research in this area. Third, as indicated in the Blanchard link, the controversial theories are presently in circulation among the transsexual community having not been disproven by the critics.

Fred,

The problem isn't the joke you told in #16 about PoMo truth--it's that some people in the Academy write and say stuff just like that, and mean it.

Fred, I don't agree with the conclusions you draw from your premise. I don't think it follows from Foucault's analysis of discourse that it is allowable to do "whatever it takes" to undermine or subvert the other guy's truth. It's more a recognition that one's own truth stands on rather shakey ground. I don't think that pomo anaylsis unleashes a lawless free-for-all. Those who use it to justify one, I believe, are mistaken. Those--and I think this is what AL is doing--who take those who are mistaken or those who have illegitimately hijacked pomo analysis to justify their bad behavior AS legitimate proponents of pomo are also mistaken. For example, those who attack Neitzche (spelled wrong)'s thinking by attacking the use to which some Nazi propogandists put it are mistaken, in my view.

Look at it the other way around. I wouldn't use the words of Anne Coulter to attack conservatism or republicans or war supporters.

you write "it is perfectly legitimate from a pomo perspective..." I think that is a misrepresentation of a pomo perspective, at least as I understand it. I haven't read Foucault's entire body of work, but what I have read cannot reasonably be construed to condone the kind of behavior outlined in the article AL has linked to.

I feel my thinking is strongly influenced by pomo to the extent that I recognize that my opinions are ultimately based upon a set of assumptions, moral,political, social etc., that have no real unchallengeable foundation. Politics, social sciences, philosophy, etc., are not geometry. There are no self-evident axioms on which we build unchallengeble systems of though or codes of behavior. In the end we have to fall back on subjective foundations to support our belief systems. To me that is the central lesson of pomo theory. It's the atheism of philosophy.

PD, I'm sure you are correct. I have no knowledge beyond the NYT article and am unable to judge that article's accuracy. As it's not a controversy into which I'm likely to spend a lot of time digging, my ignorance will probably remain intact.

It's the atheism of philosophy.

I'd say it's the nihilism of philosophy. I'd say pancritical rationalism is the atheism of (Western) philosophy, but that's because I still think rationality is to be prized.

Without rationality, philosophy becomes amphigory and/or shallow author-entertainment, both of which it's often only a few steps from to begin with.

mark:

my point was, to use your headline -- attempts to shut people come from all over the ideological map.

Can I see the map for a minute, Lieutenant?

Criticizing people - even savage criticism - is not censorship. Even demanding that people be silenced is not itself censorship - it is nasty pro-censorship sentiment, but in itself it is not censorship, but free speech. Are you with me so far?

Censorship is possessing the credible power to silence people for their views, and using it. It does not apply to people who are "silenced" by having their views utterly discredited; getting laughed off the stage is not censorship. Censorship does not attack ideas, it attacks the person who speaks them.

Very few people possess such power in our society. Bloggers, singly or collectively, certainly do not possess such power, in spite of hysterical reports to the contrary. Our government is not allowed to exercise such power. Some in congress (from a particular ideological spot on the map) fantasize about having such power in regard to Talk Radio, but they won't get it and they're too chickenshit to use it even if they had it.

Some governments possess such power, and they tend to have a lot of admirers in this country - admirers that all come from one particular spot on the ideological map. (By the way, where is Sean Penn these days?)

Effective censorship in America is generally limited to professional fields which aim to be ideologically monolithic and are willing to use power to silence people they disagree with, without refuting those people's views. Big Media once had the power to quash almost anybody in their profession that wasn't a New Deal Democrat, but that power is mostly gone. You still find that kind of power in Hollywood, maybe, and in the so-called Humanities departments of some universities.

But not all over the map, thank God.

" my point was, to use your headline -- attempts to shut people come from all over the ideological map."

Effective censorship in America is generally limited to ....

But not all over the map, thank God.

But the attempts come from all over the map.

Why did the Pomo Left attempt to silence this guy by getting him fired?

After all, if someone says either the Sopranos is great, or it was bad, it doesn't matter to me. I never watched it and never cared about it.

Only a direct and immediate threat to position of power could generate such a witch-hunt. The attempt to get the guy fired.

Which suggests that a book saying things the PoMo left does not like is perceived as a huge threat. People are generally accurate about threat perceptions, so that in turn indicates the shaky grip the PoMo Left has on power.

"Censorship is possessing the credible power to silence people for their views, and using it.............Very few people possess such power in our society"

Rupert Murdoch, anyone?

Another form of cencorship is to control the major media outlets and, thereby only allow presentation of messages that agree with one's political views. Sure, other perspectives aren't outlawed in any way; you just don't have the opportunity to hear them.

So much for the market place of ideas.

This country is engaged in a low grade civil war. The war is over who will control the apperati of the state and reap the profits of our productivity. The war is waged not with bullets and bombs, but with the messages that flow into our heads via various media outlets. The tactic is thought control. The ranks of the opposing armies are of the zombi populace. All of the officers possessing intent - of all sides in the conflict - approve of and utilize the tactic. The end of the war will be signaled with a wimper rather than a bang.

Sorry mark, but nihilism and pure power struggle are the inevitable upshot of a philosophy that takes all "truth" (and it's always in scare quotes) to be products of power relations. Postmodernism is a classic irrationalist philosophy. And most of us believe our opinions are based on facts. We may be wrong about what the facts are or what they mean, but that does not mean there are no facts. If you believe your opinions are purely subjective, what's the point of even having them? And certainly what's the point of anyone else taking them seriously? That seems to me a philosophical position closely akin to solipsism. And as for Nietzche, his philosophy is absolutely abhorrent (I've read quite a bit and with a little time can provide lots of evidence for what I'm saying here). The Nazis didn't have to misread him very much to make the use of him they did, although to be fair, his thought is actually closer to Mussolini's than Hitler's. Just read Mussolini's speeches some time.

avedis,

Right, because no one in America can find any alternative media anywhere. What with the shuttering of NPR, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and the lack of availability of the internet these days.

I know it makes you feel better saying it, but come up with a scarier bogeyman than Rupert Murdoch.

Glen,

"Are you with me so far?"

So far, yes, Glen. But no farther, I'm afraid. That type of unwarranted condescension stops me in my tracks. It's a signal that the risk of wasting my time with a petty mind is too high to continue.

mark -

I apologize. That tone really wasn't intended for you.

I get very frustrated with some of the people in this country - United States Senators, for example - who equate criticism with censorship.

Oclarki,

A few problems;
1. most people don't have the time resources, background or inclination to search around and assess media outlets for accuracey and bias. To the contrary, what they hear most often is was they most believe and repeat. Thus, whomever controls the greatest volume of media output controls the thoughts of the populace.

2.Most humans, being herd animals, go with the crowd. Again, volume of media output gives the appearance of being the norm and the herd gravitates toward the views expressed there so as to be within conformity.

3. As some major outlets with a decided political viewpoint become more radicalized other outlets with tendencies toward opposing viewpoints must increase their own one sideness and radicalization to compete - sort of like steroids in sports. The truth is lost in the process.

Avedis, that's true temporarily.

I remember talking to a woman who'd visited east germany during the USSR days. She stopped by a beer hall and got a beer. She noticed that they had racks of newspapers available for free, and she walked over and started to pick one out, and everybody in the bar was staring at her. She put it back and tried to talk to somebody. She persuaded him that she was an american and he told her that nobody read the papers in public, they weren't good for anything but figuring out what the government wanted them to believe.

As people increasingly disbelieve the media, they will increasingly ignore the media and depend instead on rumors.

Again, I would point to the Scott Beauchamp case as an example of censorship. Whether Scott beauchamp was telling the truth, telling all lies or some where in between is immaterial--the rightwing didn't like the story and used smears, threats, and intimidation to shut Beauchamp up.

A better example than this article is what is transpiring to PZMyers.

This case is illustrative of the tactics employed by the rightwing today. The idea isn't so much as to convince the majority of the correctness or accuracy of rightwing arguments. Instead, it is to pretend the rightwing argument is a viable alternative. Thus, we get the intelligent design folks, the global warming deniers, the economic quacks, the history revisionists.

Do we really wish to balance university biology courses with intelligent design? Do we want to give equal time to historians of the Holocaust and Holocaust-deniers?

Jadegold, you've gotta stop making this stuff up. Smears, lies, and intimidation? On what planet?

I've had more intimidating things said toward me than Beauchamp ever has, and I don't feel particularly intimidated.

Take a deep breath. Note that a lot of people - on both sides - are getting stupid in how they approach issues. Ask if you want to add to that by suggesting that it's always "the rightwing" and waving the bloody shirt of a writer who almost certainly lied to his editors and to you.

Once, just once, can you address the topic at hand? Is it too much to ask of you?

A.L.

Glen: Some governments possess such power, and they tend to have a lot of admirers in this country - admirers that all come from one particular spot on the ideological map.

Sigh. So here's the thing you're missing, no one has come straight-forward to censor Bailey (that I see). Instead they're ripping apart his reputation from the ground up, which is essentially the same thing.

Are you saying that some republicans don't trash the reputations of democrats in order to avoid devates? If so, I've got two words for you: Ann Coulter (it could also be Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh... take your pick). Many of them don't call for censorship per se, but they do say things like "They're traitors and should be thrown in jail for that". Hell, Coulter even wrote and entire book based around the principle that all liberals equate to traitors.

That's basically a call for censorship, right?

I'm trying to be honest about the worst habits in the democratic party, but don't think I'm going to let anbody else get off the hook.

OOps! I'm not sure how this story slipped my mind!

From the recently released Presidential Advance Manual

"All presidential events must be ticketed or accessed by a name list method for preventing demonstrators."

"There are several ways the advance person can prepare a site to minimize demonstrators. First, as always, work with the Secret Service and have them ask the local police department to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route..."

"Once a group of demonstrators has been identified, the advance person must decide what action to take. If it is determined that the media will not see or hear them and they pose no potential disruption to the event, they can be ignored. On the other hand, if the group is carrying signs, trying to shout down the president, or has potential to cause some greater disruption to the event, action needs to be taken immediately to minimize the demonstrators' effect."

Oh MY GOD! THEY HAVE SIGNS!

Alchemist -

Maybe you've listened to Limbaugh and Hannity more than I have, but I've never heard them say that liberals should be put in jail.

As for calling people traitors, everybody in the goddamn country - including Yorkie terriers, probably - has been called a traitor over the past two years. RFK Jr. called everybody who doesn't hate oil companies a traitor, and Rosanne Barr said everybody who ever supported George Bush is a traitor. And so on and so on and so on.

But nobody goes to jail, and no censorship occurs when people say these things. People have a constitutional right to say these things.

You say I missed the point about Bailey, but that was exactly the point I was making. The people who exercise effective censorship in this country are people who can use institutional means to destroy dissenters personally and professionally because they don't want other people to hear what they're saying.

Again you have to draw basic distinctions. It would not be censorship to debunk Bailey's research and show him to be a fraud. That would effectively shut him up and ruin him, but it is not censorship.

Bloggers could hurl abuse at Bailey all day long and demand that he be locked up, but they have no power of censorship over him. They can't deny him tenure or grants. They might influence people who do have power over Bailey, but they have a right to do that. It's called free speech.

Glen: I think we see this event unfolding in different ways.

And I don't think this is a straight case of censorship (per se). The grant foundations, and academic foundations weren't disturbed by his results intially.

After he was attacked for "sexual misconduct" whomever funded his grant got skiddish (more from the fear of being linked to a sexual improprities) and started backing out.

This caused the grant officer to warn two professors that Bailey's research was being investigated very closely. This is a warning, not a censoring. As I said before, controversy kills grant proposals. He was trying to warn them that their chances of being funded are much lower if they're attached to whatever's brewing. The same thing happens anywhere people are fighting for large goverment grants, they avoid speaking out in a way that could hurt their funding.

So someone basically achieved a certain level of censuring without actually calling for censorship, which is no good. But more along the vein of other examples I gave, indirect attacks that declare someone onworthy of speaking.

I don't think this is a matter of censorship either. It has some aspects that resemble censorship, formal complaints to state and institutional authorities. I'm reminded more of SLAPP suits, a series of charges meant to intimidate and silence someone. I wouldn't consider a SLAPP suit to be censorship, but it is an unethical way to shut people up.

But I wouldn't agree with alchemist that trashing someone's reputation is "essentially" censorship. Two different problems. The Ann Coulter problem is one of tolerance.

AL: I did address the matter at hand. Frankly, the issue WRT Bailey is rather trivial. Bailey tosses out a theory that doesn't qualify as scientific research. I can see why those in that particular field are upset. Basically, Bailey is advancing a book that has little research behind it, yet Bailey's position and title suggest it is a work of scientific merit.

Smears, lies, and intimidation?

The usual cast of characters first suggested Beauchamp was an imposter. Once this was debunked, they attacked him as a "dung beetle," inferior soldier, traitor, criminal etc. Then you had them suggesting he should "watch his back" and offering money to wipe the smirk from his face.

I've had more intimidating things said toward me than Beauchamp ever has, and I don't feel particularly intimidated.

You've also never been in the military, where as an E-1 or -2, there's not a whole lot you can do if your superiors decide they want to teach you a lesson.

Ask if you want to add to that by suggesting that it's always "the rightwing" and waving the bloody shirt of a writer who almost certainly lied to his editors and to you.

I repeat, no one (not you or I) knows if Beauchamp was telling all lies or the truth or something in between. The entire problem with this affair is that the rightwing immediately leapt to a conclusion because they didn't like the story Beauchamp was telling. They smeared, lied and used intimidation.

No, Jadegold, you didn't. You're playing tu quoque.

OK, I think some time on the bench might encourage you to rethink the manner of your participation here.

You'll be welcome back September 22.

A.L.

I see little importance in Baily's book (haven't read it and never will), but I am rather depressed by the manic denunciations of it. All in all it is a tempest in a teapot exposing academia as the last place to seek freedom of speach of diversity of ideas. Dumpster diving for grants has turned the process into prostitution.

A perfect case in point is the publication of "The Bell Curve", by Herrnstein and Murray. The upshot of the book is that a child is more likely to thrive and succeed as an adult if it has a nurturing home with both a mother and a father - blasphemy to the feminazis. A minor point it makes is that differing racial groups have different mean IQs, among other things. This was siezed upon as apostasy by the PC crowd which did its best to lynch the authors. The book is sound and really somewhat disturbing. It caused an incredible uproar - you can't say that!

Thanks, Glen. Appreciated.

Alchemist -

If we're talking about the politics of personal destruction, take a look at the state of play in l'affair Beauchamp. Several people (besides the individual above) have called this an example of censorship, or the spirit thereof.

TNR hasn't been silenced by critics, of course; their deathly silence is self-imposed. Beauchamp remains at liberty to talk to them, but if he has they're not saying. He's not getting booted out of the Army, or even getting a serious black mark on his record.

The victim so far is Robert McGee, the person who revealed (to Ace of Spades among others) something that TNR had not told their readers but have since admitted to be true: That Beauchamp was married to a TNR staffer. For that he was summarily fired from TNR, and trashed in a filthy manner at Huffington Post for his sexuality.

I've known McGee on the internet for years as "Throbert McGee", and he's never made any secret of his sexuality. On the contrary, you can't get much further from the closet than he is. I'm not saying that what happened to him was censorship, but he's the only one who has lost his job and he is being smeared - FOR HIS SEXUALITY - when he did nothing except tell the absolute truth.

It's interesting what kind of attacks so many people on the left resort to in these situations, especially when they get gay people in their crosshairs, but that's another story.

Anyway, McGee told the truth - about something that TNR was very stupid to think they could keep concealed - while other people are stonewalling or lying, and he's the one who got nailed. He's been singled out to be the Linda Tripp of the whole affair.

That how the real shutter-uppers roll.

The article contained a quote very critical of Bailey by the Stanford professor Ben Barres. It did not mention that Ben himself is a transsexual.

I have appreciated Steve Sailer's writings for many years. A couple of years ago, if you googled his name a load of critical pages would come up near the top posted by transsexuals simply because he wrote an approving review of Bailey's book. It was a very coordinated attack.

I have also appreciated Glen's writings for many years, but haven't seen any new posts for a few months. ;-(

Mark, have you read Steve Sailer's stuff?

From what you have written here, I suspect that you might like it.

Glen Wishard #36: "Bloggers could hurl abuse at Bailey all day long and demand that he be locked up, but they have no power of censorship over him. They can't deny him tenure or grants. They might influence people who do have power over Bailey, but they have a right to do that. It's called free speech."

You still just don't get it.

Have you ever heard of little somethings called "slander", "Libel", "defamation of character", etc?

These are legal terms. Look them up. There are very good reasons that the civil courts (especially) recognize them as legitimate causes of action.

So, no Glen, "freedom of speech" doesn't mean you get to go around saying whatever you want by way of abuse of another party.

One of the reasons you can have a judgment levied against you for any of the above civil infractions is that the plaintif proves that your actions caused - what is in effect - a censorship; that is a loss of reputation that may have lead to a loss of employment, advancement, etc, etc, etc.

This whole Bailey thing sounds an awful lot like the Swift Boat nonsense.

Big surprise, AL........people do nasty underhanded things to knock opponents out of the game. Happens every minute of every day all across the globe from corporate politics to love triangles to political power bids.........

Glen W. #43; I've known McGee on the internet for years as "Throbert McGee", and he's never made any secret of his sexuality. On the contrary, you can't get much further from the closet than he is. I'm not saying that what happened to him was censorship, but he's the only one who has lost his job and he is being smeared - FOR HIS SEXUALITY - when he did nothing except tell the absolute truth.

Glen, you're actually someone's idea of a parody, aren't you?

I followed your links and read. You can't seriously believe that some how this McGee character is in any way shape or form a reputable individual than Beauchamp. You can't seriously be making the judgment that he is less reprehensible and more believeable than Beauchamp.

You do understand that a Marine reservist is in no position to comment on what is - or is not - likely to be happening in Army units in Iraq.....Marines....Army.....not the same..............

as I was saying about media, zombis, etc......(#25).

"Sorry mark, but nihilism and pure power struggle are the inevitable upshot of a philosophy that takes all "truth" (and it's always in scare quotes) to be products of power relations."

Back in the day, when I associated with such academics far more than I do now, some of them told me matter-of-factly that the reason they were so attracted to pomo theories was precisely because of their revolutionary utility. No surprise when I started noticing that these academics used pomo rhetoric to lie and distort facts, and to defame and silence those they disagreed with.

avedis - are you kidding?

McGee - whatever his opinions or predilections - brought some facts to the table, which no one has denied, and which have in fact been confirmed.

Apparently (although I have no direct evidence) TNR is taking legal steps to silence him - which is truly funny given their chestbeating about the faux-"The Army is silencing Beaumont so we can't verify his claims" outrage.

Want to run that comment back through and try again?

A.L.

The facts (such that they are) McGee brought to the table (such that it is ) have no material bearing whatsoever regarding the veracity of Beauchamp's stories.

McGee's information has only been used to create innuendo designed to cast doubt on - and silence - Beauchamp.

avedis - what?

Are you really suggesting that those facts (and I love the snide dismissal 'such as they are') are immaterial? In any case in a court of law they would be deemed significant. In any political discussion of an issue like this, they would be significant.

The reason they create innuendo is that TNR has been less than forthcoming - and it's amazing to me how often media companies with their hands in the cookie jars just clam up - about the process by which these stories came to be published.

This is a weak defense, avedis, and I doubt you would be so impassioned about presenting it if you didn't know that.

A.L.

avedis -

Like I said, I've known Throbert since I first started to take the internet seriously (around 2002) and I judge him by his substance, not his demeanor. Like you, he loves to be outrageous. Unlike you, he does it at his own expense and not everyone else's. Call him reprehensible all you want.

But he told the truth, and the people who tell something-less-than-the-truth fired him for it. They have since admitted to what he said in print, to their evident anger and embarrassment. They obviously think this information was relevant to the situation.

They probably have a legal right to do what they did, but they reap no benefit to conscience or credibility. They are busted all the way down the line, and as soon as they sober up from their hate-fit - against "wingnuts", Bill Kristol, bloggers, and persons of "reprehensible" orientation - they are going to have to deal with what they have done to themselves, and to the people who used to trust them.

Dr. Conway and Dr. McCloskey also wrote letters to Northwestern, accusing Dr. Bailey of grossly violating scientific standards "by conducting intimate research observations on human subjects without telling them that they were objects of the study."

When I was at U. the Psych Dept. did this regularly. Their most famous exploit was "teahouse" research, crawling under toilet dividers in public restrooms to monitor homosexual activity. Although they got caught and beaten once or twice, no one ever said that what they did was professionally unethical.

Retraction: it was the Sociology Dept. that did this, and because individuals in the published study could be identified, it was considered unethical: Tea Room Study.

I will add that the Soc Dept. folded a few years later due to lack of funds - each dept. at the U. funds itself, which I have learned is a most excellent policy.

We are starting our own Satire provided to us by Shirley Spammer.
How the intersex community has been damaged by these TRUTH tellers
http://www.intersexualite.org/AliceDreger.html

I feel that Dreger and Bailey deserve NO serious response from most of us at this point. What Dreger has done in my opinion is use her social status and her normborn privilege to caricature me and in so doing it has been crafted into a genetic definition of me as disordered sexually. This is a very dangerous caricature. What Shirley Spammer and Andrew Kerr have done in the following satire is simply mirror back what they are doing; but, of course, there is no real danger there because it is not to be taken seriously as a scientific, truthful article. What Dreger and Bailey have done is very serious and even though it is a caricature, a perversion of what I am, it will end the lives of many like me in the future because of having a DSD or more precisely: a genetic birth defect suitable to be eliminated from the gene pool.

Dreger and Bailey are the only ones with the TRUTH. All others are liars or erroneous. That ends the discussion. Freedom of expression only applies to the ones doing the research and speaking about us and for us - never to us the actual subjects. Like Sophie Siedlberg has so clearly pointed out, when we the subjects object, then the objection is the subject of another clinical study of the squeaks of the labrats. By accident of birth, we have no access to their Ubermensch truth. This is our disclaimer. We don't pretend to have the truth. Only those who speak for us do.

The first two in ours series:
Professor Rike Mengele Fatbastard and Dr M. Alice Doormat De Vile Are Innocent!!
“When Professors are branded neo Nazi scum and liars”

Access to the articles in this series
http://www.intersexualite.org/AliceDreger.html#anchor_68

This isn't about telling an unfortunate truth or unpopular ideas. There's a multitude of reasons why at a public meeting of sex researchers shortly after the publication of "The Man Who Would be Queen," Dr. John Bancroft, then director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, said to Dr. Bailey, “Michael, I have read your book, and I do not think it is science.” Likewise Alice Dreger herself has said: "I should correct the misperception that I’m a defender of Professor Bailey." (panel discussion on KQED's "Forum" show, Aug. 22, 2007)

First, there's the theoretical basis. There is a huge difference between a classification system and causality (what makes something happen). Bailey relies on the work of Raymond Blanchard, which at best (and this is/has been disputed) shows that the population of male-to-female transsexuals includes the following two groups: those who like to have sex with men, and those who are viewed to be aroused by cross-dressing. Blanchard makes a huge leap in asserting that wanting to have sex with men or some sort of autoeroticism is the cause of transsexualism in these two groups. (Blanchard did see these two groups as only a portion of the MTF transsexual population.) In the 20 some years since Blanchard started with this classification system, no one has replicated his work, a key part of the scientific process. In fact, Prof. Joan Roughgarden, Professor of Biological Science at Stanford University, author of "Evolution’s Rainbow," concluded: "if you go back to Blanchard’s work, you again do find that the existence of these two clean-cut categories is a figment of imagination… because Blanchard sent out a bunch of questionnaires, and he has three different studies in which the results of the questionnaires are tabulated, and you see a scattering of all sorts of answers to the questionnaires. And trying to find that they coalesce into two distinct clusters is really an exercise in pure imagination." (panel discussion on KQED's "Forum" show, Aug. 22, 2007) Perhaps this contributes to why prior to Bailey's book, Blanchard was only of interest to a few people at all and even specialists in transsexuality rarely cited his work.

Bailey goes further than Blanchard and asserts these are the two -- and only two -- causes of MTF transsexualism -- and that if you say that your life experience doesn't match these models, you're lying. Which needless to say, makes Bailey's theory un-disproveable -- taking it out of the realm of the "scientific," despite Bailey's repeated assertions in TMWWBQ and elsewhere about the scientific nature of his inquiry. For example, the book's subtitle is "The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism" and it's inside jacket promises "Based on his original research, Bailey's book is firmly in the scientific method."

Then there's the shoddy nature of Bailey's "field research" for the book, which in its entirety consisted of talking to a handful of transsexuals at a local bar, and the startling conclusions Bailey reached based on that. To make an analogy, imagine a researcher who:

- drew conclusions about the entire population of black women based on a half-dozen women he met while "cruising" a local bar (Pg. 141 of "The Man Who Would Be Queen") (because he didn't know how to locate other black women, despite the presence of several organization for black women) and based on that sampling

- argued that white women "aspire (with some success) to be presentable, while [black women] aspire (with equivalent success) to be objects of desire" (Pg. 180)

- argued black women "tend to have a short time horizon with certain pleasure in the present being worth great risks for the future" (Pg. 184)

- argued that black women "might be especially well suited to prostitution" (Pg. 185)

- argued the black women are "especially motivated" to shoplifting (Pg. 185)

- argued those who were black women "are much better looking than most" of those who aren't, and that he can tell the difference between light-skinned black women and dark-skinned white women based on whether he found them attractive (Pgs 141-142, 180-182)

I doubt we'd be debating whether those findings were politically incorrect and recognize the shoddy "research" for what it was.

The general public doesn't see the slight of hand that converts a questionable taxonomy developed within a scientific framework into an non-scientiific opinion about a reason why.  Nor the slight of hand that takes what is at most, anecdotes from a highly non-random sample, and turns them into assertions about an entire population.

Frankly, some transsexuals have hurt the case for the many justifiable criticisms of Bailey's work by their over-zealous behavior. But I hope one might see how assertions such as the ones above, might be enraging to a population that already is marginalized and discriminated against. People whose lives are affected by a book that says that the story they've been telling about themselves is a lie, and that asserts that they are especially suited to criminal activity, have clear reason to be concerned. They are right in thinking "with friends like Bailey, who needs enemies?" Especially when Bailey continues to assert that transsexuals are "better suited than genetic women are" for prostitution (panel discussion on KQED's "Forum" show, Aug. 22, 2007).

"The reason they create innuendo is that TNR has been less than forthcoming............."

Yes. Agreed. This certainly is a failing of TNR and by failing this way TNR has invited the type of innuendo that it is receiving. Very unwise and suspicious behavior on TNR's part.

Of course, this relates to a post you did a while ago about transparency in media and TNR is making your point.

Still I don't think that innuendo should be substituted for actual proof.

BTW I don't have a horse in this race. I don't give a hoot about Beauchamp one way or the other. His stories could be true, but maybe they're not. Nothing he has said effects my opinion of the war, our troops or anything else.

I am interested in the topic of your post and, more salient, what conotes "silencing".

For every Murdoch there's a Soros.

Some of us in the intersexed community are discussing the following
topic. I thought I would share this with you. Please feel free to
share this with anyone who might be interested. (This was sent to an
intersex support group after some members expressed concerns about
Dreger's recent paper which once again outs Anjelika as intersexed,
i.e. having a DSD - cryptochordism is very definitely a DSD and
Anjelika was born with this DSD and it is revealed once again in
Dreger's article.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Members,

I have been very upset by what I consider to be the abuse of an
intersex research subject in Bailey's very small sample of
autogynephiles. I was so concerned that I called Anjelika Kieltyka
and had a long conversation with her. Here is what I found out from
Anjelika herself.

1) She adamantly opposed being used as a representative of
autogynephilia herself because she knew she did not fit the category
herself.
2) She formally expressed this opposition and challenged Bailey for
using her medical information in a way that she felt was manipulative
and inaccurate
3) She is intersexed but has identified more as trans
4) She is a femme lesbian (what I had suspected all along)

She is very angry that Dreger, who is an intersex activist, has
perpetuated this false description of her as an autogynephyle in her
recent article on the Bailey controversy because she invited Dreger to
come to speak to her personally and Dreger refused and would only have
a telephone interview.

She feels totally abused by what Dreger has done and intends to expose
her and Bailey for the continued abuse of her when they should have
known all along she was intersexed.

Manipulating medical information about a person who is intersexed to
try to prove anything about Male to Female transsexualism is
fraudulent because the research subject is not MALE to begin with but
intersexed.

Kind regards,
Curtis E. Hinkle, Founder of the Organisation Intersex International
http://tinyurl.com/2kv4dw

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