Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Operating Concept: Ignorance Is Bliss

Conservative columnist Dinesh D'Souza sometimes comments on our blog, mainly he pastes his columns into the comments, sometimes he changes it a little or says something in the discussion, I think -- we had an impostor once pretending to be him, but somebody did confirm via email that he was putting at least some of these comments here himself. So I don't know if THIS was him, it may be someone else copying a column of his that can be found HERE.

At any rate, he makes a kind of case here that strikes me as just a little weird.
Why are secular liberals so unhappy? This question is provocatively discussed in Arthur Brooks' new book Gross National Happiness. Brooks is a sociologist and statistician at Syracuse University. I am reading his book while vacationing with my lovely wife on the beautiful island of Santorini. So it's natural for me, watching the most beautiful sunsets in the world, martini in hand, to think about the question of happiness.

I guess I could be called a secular liberal my own self, at least I play one on TV. I have not been to this particular Greek island, but I would agree that it is very pleasant to relax along the Mediterranean with the lovely wife. Not his lovely wife, though I don't know, she might be pleasant to relax with, too. And I would be sipping a martini right now, but I have a rule, never before breakfast.

It's early as I write this, WPFW is playing some big-band jazz on the radio, a pot of coffee is full and waiting for me, and and I am in the mood to think about happiness, too.
Brooks' book is full of interesting data. We learn, for instance, that money does buy happiness, but only upto a point. Poor people and poor countries are unhappy, and by the self-description of the people involved. So the movement from grinding poverty to the comfortable middle-class brings a huge gain in happiness. But interestingly economic improvement at this point brings diminishing marginal returns. This is not to say that rich people aren't happier: they are. But not by very much.

Brooks also shows that, in his own words, "people who say they are conservative or very conservative are nearly twice as likely to say they are very happy than are people who call themselves liberal or very liberal. Conservatives are much less likely to say they are dissatisfied with themselves, that they are inclined to feel like a failure, or to be pessimistic about their future." Conservatives' mental health is far better than that of liberals.

The traditional literature in social psychology has found that bag ladies and millionaires rate their life satisfaction about the same. And lottery winners rate it higher than most immediately after winning, and lower than most after a year or two. Life satisfaction is not the same as happiness, though I think you will find that self-reports of happiness levels are easily influenced by wording and contextual cues. It could be you could ask rich and poor people questions that would find more happiness among rich people. Like, you could have a questionnaire that asked "Aren't you glad you have a lot of expensive stuff?" and rich people might be more likely to say yes.

As for the idea that conservatives are happier, I'm sorry but Border's isn't open yet so I don't have Brooks' book in front of me, but the Internet is open and there is a 2006 study of this topic done by Pew Research HERE. This must be what he cites, it does show conservatives expressing more happiness than liberals. The report says it's always been that way, Republicans report being happier than Democrats, conservatives are happier than liberals, religious people are happier than nonbelievers.

I can see that. Liberals are always worrying about things. They worry about poor people, needless wars, the ethics of torture, the failing economy, they worry about philosophical questions and difficult issues about how to live as a person of conscience in a world that rewards greed. Worrisome stuff, being a liberal. Conservatives, on the other hand, have the comfort of knowing that whatever their way of life is, it's the best. Whatever country they live in, it's the best country. However they do things is the right way, and people who do differently are simply misguided, misinformed, or evil.
Equally fascinating, Brooks notes that "faith is an incredible predictor, and cause, of happiness. Religious people of all faiths are much, much happier on average than secularists." Specifically, 43 percent of those who attend church weekly or more call themselves "very happy," versus 23 percent who attend seldom or never. Observant Jews and Christians are by Brooks' measure the happiest people in America.

Again, it must be very comforting to have your opinions delivered to you from a pulpit or holy book. All that thinking that nonbelievers have to do is just tiring, difficult work, figuring everything out for yourself, treating every situation uniquely.

The moral to draw from these surveys seems a simple one to me: thinking is hard. People who think, worry. Caring about things is hard and takes away from your ability to be self-indulgently happy. People who think and care have to struggle with issues, have to treat special cases as special. Those who take their opinions from authority, on the other hand, have the warm happy feeling of knowing that they are right without checking, they can generalize across situations without fear, because they have the protection of their authorities and their peer group.
So why are secular liberals in general so miserable? I offer two reasons. The first is that liberals are political utopians. They consider human nature to be wonderful, and they expect freedom to be used wonderfully well. So they are always bitterly disappointed when they discover that this is not the case. Conservatives, by contrast, have a dimmer view of human nature. So their expectations are more modest. When things don't turn out half-badly, conservatives are pleasantly surprised. They are happier because it takes less to make them happier.

It's not too hard to figure out why religious people are happier. Belief in God gives people a powerful sense of higher purpose in life. It assures people that the universe is in the benign hands of a omnipotent, omniscient, and compassionate higher power. It offers people a code for how to live. It gives us a reason to hope in cosmic justice, which is better than the imperfect justice of our terrestrial world.

So was that two reasons, or one? Dinesh, is that your first martini?

I will accept for myself the term secular liberal, though I have never called myself that and don't know what it means. But somebody has to make the counterpoint, and here I am, I went to bed early and now I'm up early and there's nothing else to do.

I could almost halfway-agree with him on these paragraphs. I think human nature is good and expect that free people will behave well, and yes I am somewhat bummed when they, for instance, re-elect the worst President ever. Bummer, there goes my happiness rating. I think that education and open, fair debate, facts and arguments clearly presented to the public would result in correct political decision-making, and as a stereotypical secular liberal I criticize the big-business media for packaging our national debates as another brand of intellectual dog food. Dinesh is saying that conservatives expect everything to be dumbed down, they really will vote on the basis of whether a guy wears an American flag lapel pin, and so they are happy with the way things are. Life is easy for them, and they're happy.

And if religious people are happier, as he says, because they live in a dream world, then okay, that's the way it looks to me, too. Sure the world is a big mess, but the Apocalypse is coming, so yippee, we're so happy, we're all going to be called up in the Rapture.

Listen, it comes down to this again. Thinking people worry.
By contrast, secular people have little to hope for. They are sure that they came from nowhere--the chance product of random mutation and natural selection--and are going nowhere. They know that terrible things happen, and they don't believe there is any purpose in this. No wonder that secular people have so few children: they have much less reason than religious people to believe in the future.

And they think about what they're doing.
So why is an atheist like Richard Dawkins so frequently wearing a conspitated scowl? And why am I usually smiling? Some may attribute these differences to our genetic temperaments. Others may put it down to the fact that I live in sunny California, eating healthy nouvelle cuisine and going on walking tours in Santorini. Dawkins, by contrast, lives in dank, rainy England and eats abominable English food. ("May I offer you some more kidney pie, Professor Dawkins? It's somewhat bland, I know, but perhaps it will work as a laxative.")

But Arthur Brooks would probably say that our temperaments are also the consequences of two very different worldviews, one producing the wholesome optimism of What's So Great About Christianity, the other the angry bitterness of The God Delusion. Read Brooks' new book yourself to see if he's right.

I've seen Richard Dawkins and he doesn't wear a "conspitated" scowl. In fact he's a cheerful handsome man, bright and quick.

It's too easy to portray "secular liberals" as gloomy. If I understand the kind of people he's talking about, these are people who experience life firsthand, who tend not to accept somebody else's explanation for things, people who empathize with others and care about them, people who give thought to important questions.

Basically, this article is comparing the happiness of little piggies who live in straw houses and little piggies who make their houses of bricks. The straw-house-piggies pick up whatever ideas their friends have, whatever they catch on TV, and then they are free to dance and sing and be happy. The brick-house piggies spend all their time making bricks and putting together a solid structure, they hear the straw-house piggies singing in the streets, but they are not satisfied with the conservative straw house, the weak arguments, the absence of facts, the obedience to authority, the greed and self-indulgence.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that any bigot can make something appear to be "scientific" to promote a propaganda. For example, the study at hand.

May 28, 2008 3:09 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

derrick scribbles,

The sad thing is that any bigot can make something appear to be "scientific" to promote a propaganda. For example, the study at hand.

Wow, that is some really deep thought there...

There are arguments to be made against both the Brooks book and Mr. D'Souza's opinions, but sadly you have not made those arguments, opting instead for hurling epithets.

May 28, 2008 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a theory for you, Jim:

Both liberals and conservatives believe things that are not empirically verifiable. The difference is conservatives believe in God, liberals believe in the goodness of man.

The difference is that the liberals' belief requires a blind faith because it is regularly disproved by experience while the beliefs of conservatives are generally reinforced by experience.

More than sheer ignorance, the liberals simply refuse to acknowledge reality. The self deception is depressing.

May 28, 2008 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(May 28) -- Police in Israel are investigating the burning of hundreds of New Testaments in a city near Tel Aviv, an incident that has alarmed advocates of religious freedom.

Investigators plan to review photographs and footage showing "a fairly large" number of New Testaments being torched this month in the city of Or-Yehuda, a police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said Wednesday.

News accounts in Israel have quoted Uzi Aharon, the deputy mayor of Or-Yehuda, as saying he organized students who burned several hundred copies of the New Testament. The deputy mayor gave interviews to Israeli radio and television stations after word of the incident surfaced about two weeks ago.

Soon he was talking with Russian, Italian and French television stations, "explaining to their highly offended audiences back home how he had not meant for the Bibles to be burned, and trying to undo the damage caused by the news (and photographs) of Jews burning New Testaments," The Jerusalem Post reported.

Aharon told CNN on Wednesday that he collected New Testaments and other "Messianic propaganda" that had been handed out in the city but that he did not plan or organize a burning. Instead, he said, three teenagers set fire to a pile of New Testaments while he was not present. Once he learned what was going on, he said, he stopped the burning.

The episode has worried defenders of Israel's minority population of Messianic Jews, who consider themselves Jewish but believe in the divinity of Jesus, as do Christians. It also has concerned evangelical Christians in North America, Europe and Asia, who visit Israel by the hundreds of thousands.

Calev Myers, an attorney for Messianic Jews in Israel, told CNN he plans to file a formal complaint Thursday with the national police at the request of the United Christian Council in Israel, an umbrella organization for a few dozen Christian organizations outside Israel.

"I hope the people who are responsible for breaking the law will be indicted and prosecuted," he said.

About 200 New Testaments were burned, Aharon said, but he saved another 200.

His goal was to stop attempts to distribute Christian literature in the city, he said.

Myers, however, said he doubts that Messianic Jewish missionaries distributed the New Testaments. He said it's not clear how the volumes found their way into homes in Or-Yehuda.

The deputy mayor told CNN he respects the New Testament and would not do what has been done to the Jews in the past -- a reference to Nazi burning of Jewish and other books in the 1930s, and other occasions when Jewish texts, including sacred ones, were burned.

Myers said his complaint will ask the authorities to investigate possible violations of two Israeli laws. One forbids the destruction or desecration of any religious icon or item that a group holds sacred. Another bans people from speaking publicly in a way that offends or humiliates a certain religion.

Both laws are meant to prevent people from inciting religious violence, he said.

The burning controversy has unfolded against the backdrop of other instances that Myers cited as examples of discrimination against Messianic Jews in Israel.

About two months ago, the teenage son of a Messianic pastor was severely injured when a package delivered to his home exploded, Myers said. In addition, several rabbis urged students to boycott further participation in a Bible competition after they learned that one winner -- a high-school student in Israel -- was a Messianic Jew, he said.

Groups such as the Anti-Defamation League have sharply criticized the burning of New Testaments.

"We condemn this heinous act as a violation of the basic Jewish principles and values," said Rabbi Eric J. Greenburg, director of interfaith policy for the Anti-Defamation League. "It is essential that we respect the sacred texts of other faiths. The Jewish people can never forget the tragic burning of sacred Jewish volumes at many points in history."

"While there may be legitimate concerns of proselytizing, these matters must be addressed through the proper legal channels," Greenburg said in a statement. "It is unacceptable and not legitimate to burn someone else's sacred texts."

CNN's Shira Medding in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

May 28, 2008 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a liberal, of course I think, Orin!!

You just believe in anything that Bible tells you without giving it a second thought.

(So... did you put any homosexuals to death lately, Orin?)

Oh, one more thing, to Maggie's PA:

I know plenty of conservatives who do not believe in a God. It's not a matter of religion, it's a matter of wealth and power for conservatives.

May 28, 2008 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad people hurl epithets because if they hurled epitaphs it would really hurt.

May 28, 2008 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The sad thing is that any bigot can make something appear to be "scientific" to promote a propaganda."

Truth is, this is the current liberal strategy. I guess they're the "bigots" being referred to here. On virtually every issue, liberals now claim that their position is the one derived from scientific research.

It won't last long, however. The mainstream press is beginning to wake up to the strategy and is turning on them.

Truth is, science has always required the restraint of morality. It's a story as old as the hills. Science can enable us to do many things but it should never make value judgments.

May 28, 2008 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derrick says it's a matter of wealth and power for conservatives. I don't know whether that's true or not, but I'm not sure what he's basing that statement upon.

However, here are 2003 figures reported by CNN of the wealthiest US Senators. I can't find an equivalent information for 2008, or I'd post it.

Senate millionaires
John Kerry, D-Massachusetts: $163,626,399
Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin: $111,015,016
John Rockefeller, D -West Virginia: $81,648,018
Jon Corzine, D-New Jersey: $71,035,025
Dianne Feinstein, D-California: $26,377,109
Peter Fitzgerald, R-Illinois: $26,132,013
Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey $17,789,018
Bill Frist, R-Tennessee: $15,108,042
John Edwards, D-North Carolina: $12,844,029
Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts: $9,905,009
Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico: $7,981,015
Bob Graham, D-Florida: $7,691,052
Richard Shelby, R-Alabama: $7,085,012
Gordon Smith, R-Oregon: $6,429,011               
Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island: $6,296,010

May 28, 2008 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am basing my statement done by pastor and novelist Robin Meyers. Look it up, the book is called,
"Why the Christian Right is Wrong".
Take a look at the chapter titled,
"Rich Chicken Hawks for Jesus" then you'll see the correlation, instead of just looking it up on

You can find the book at:

Have fun.

May 28, 2008 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting to see that AnonFreak and Maggie always leave messages at the same time? Hmm.

So, Maggie... killing people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong is "moral" to you?????
(the death penalty).


May 28, 2008 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, another thing AnonFreak...

So, what you have made clear by your typical copy-and-paste method is that Democrats are in deep much more responsible with how they spend their and our country's money, thus stimulation the economy and getting us out of this republican-faulted recession? Yup, that's what I thought.

Well, I am off for the night as(so I won't be responding anymore) I need to teach a Catholic Bible study at my church. Go Wednesdays!


May 28, 2008 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops! My typos:



Have a great night, everyone.

And remember... "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". M.L. King, Jr.

May 28, 2008 6:05 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

D'souza is dreaming. I always see Dawkins with a smile on his face. And Dawkins notes that when D'souza gives a speech he screams at the top of his lungs just like Hitler used to. Its the sort of thing you do when you don't have any substance to back up what you have to say. In contrast Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris speak calmly and with self assurance, the way one talks when you know you're right.

Mental health professionals used to believe that pessimists were pessimistic because they had an unrealistic view of the world. When they studied optimists and pessimists they found the opposite was true. Pessimists have a realistic view of the world and their role in it. Optimists on the other hand had a very distorted view of the world. They thought things were better than they were, blamed their mistakes on others and took credit when credit wasn't due. For example if an optimist worked with a group on a project he'd think "they couldn't have done it without me" when the reality was he played an inconsequential role. Most conservatives are optimists, they deny their is anything wrong with the world, they deny global warming, social inequity, and that when they die its the end, there is nothing more.

May 28, 2008 6:38 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Classic examples of optimists living in denial are Orin and Red Baron/anon-freak/maggie.

Red baron laughably threatens to stop commenting thinking he's going to upset people with that when the reality is he and his tripe are despised. Apparently he's realized that now as his childish "I'm gonna take my toys and go home" threat to stop commenting didn't last very long.

Orin is hilarious in his pompous posts where he makes nebulous baseless assertions and thinks he's really telling people something rational and important.

May 28, 2008 7:03 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

I believe it was John Stuart Mill who said, "Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than to be a pig satisfied."

Discuss among yourselves.

May 28, 2008 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SAN FRANCISCO (May 28) - Barring a stay of a historic California Supreme Court ruling, same-sex couples will be able to wed in the state beginning June 17, according to a state directive issued Wednesday.

Beginning June 17, just over a month after the state Supreme Court reversed a voter-approved gay marriage ban, same-sex couples will officially be able to get married in California.

The state said it chose June 17 because the state Supreme Court has until the day before to decide whether to grant a stay of its May 15 ruling legalizing gay marriage.

Gay-rights advocates and some clerks initially thought couples would be able to wed as early as Saturday, June 14. The court's decisions typically take effect 30 days after they are made.

The guidelines from Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, to the state's 58 county clerks also contained copies of new marriage forms that include lines for "Party A" and "Party B" instead of bride and groom. The gender-neutral nomenclature was developed in consultation with county clerks, according to the letter.

"Effective June 17, 2008, only the enclosed new forms may be issued for the issuance of marriage licenses in California," the directive reads.

May 28, 2008 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going along with that:

State Court Recognizes Gay Marriages From Elsewhere

A New York appellate court ruled Friday that valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples must be legally recognized in New York, just as the law recognizes those of heterosexual couples solemnized elsewhere. Lawyers for both sides said the ruling applied to all public and private employers in the state.

Even though gay couples may not legally marry in New York, the appellate court in Rochester held that a gay couple’s 2004 marriage in Canada must be respected under the state’s longstanding “marriage recognition rule,” and that an employer’s denial of health benefits had discriminated against the couple on the basis of their sexual orientation.

“The Legislature may decide to prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages solemnized abroad,” a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled unanimously in rejecting a 2006 lower court decision. “Until it does so, however, such marriages are entitled to recognition in New York.”

For more than a century, the court noted, New York State has recognized valid out-of-state marriages. Moreover, it said that the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest judicial body, has said the Legislature may enact laws recognizing same-sex marriages. “In our view, the Court of Appeals thereby indicated that the recognition of plaintiff’s marriage is not against the public policy of New York,” the court held.

As a practical matter, the marriages of thousands of gay couples entered into outside the state have been recognized in recent years by many state and local agencies and by private employers for purposes of allowing health and life insurance coverage, child care and other benefits. But others have resisted doing so voluntarily, pending the outcome of numerous cases in the courts.

Friday’s ruling, legal experts said, was the first by an appellate division court, and would make the recognition of valid out-of-state gay marriages mandatory across New York. It was not clear whether Monroe County and Monroe Community College in Rochester, the employer in the case, would appeal.

Daniel DeLaus Jr., the county attorney for Rochester, said his office was reviewing the decision and would decide whether to seek an appeal.

Jeffrey Wicks, a lawyer who represents the plaintiff, Patricia Martinez, said that New York had recognized common-law marriages, even marriages of closely related people that might not be allowed in the state. “There’s a long tradition in New York of recognizing marriages that couldn’t be performed in New York,” he said.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented Ms. Martinez, a word-processing supervisor at the college, hailed the ruling. The union called it “the first known decision in the country to hold that a valid same-sex marriage must be recognized.”

“This is a victory for families, it’s a victory for fairness and it’s a victory for human rights,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the N.Y.C.L.U. “Congratulations to all same-sex couples validly married outside of New York State: You are now husband and husband, wife and wife. Now we need to work toward a New York where you don’t have to cross state or country lines to get married.”

The New York City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, the first openly gay leader of the Council, also applauded the ruling. “If this is saying companies have to do it, it’s a tremendous step forward in recognizing the diversity of families in New York City.”

New York City already extends marriage benefits to workers in domestic partnerships, and under a law passed in 2002, it provides all city benefits and services to same-sex couples whose unions are recognized by other jurisdictions. But the city has no power to impose such rules on private companies.

In 2004, the Council adopted legislation sponsored by Ms. Quinn that would have required large companies doing business with the city to provide equal job benefits to domestic partners. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vetoed the bill, and while the Council overrode the veto, the mayor said it violated state and federal laws and would prove costly to taxpayers. He sued successfully to block it in a case decided in 2006 by the Court of Appeals.

Mayor Bloomberg’s office declined to comment on Friday’s ruling, saying it had not seen the decision.

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo also declined to comment, noting that his office may be involved in an appeal as the traditional defender of state agencies. Monroe Community College is a branch of the State University of New York.

In the past, Mr. Cuomo has said that state law requires that marriages performed in other states, and in Canada, be recognized in New York.

In the case before the appellate division in Rochester, Ms. Martinez and her partner, Lisa Ann Golden, formalized their longstanding relationship in a civil union ceremony in Vermont in 2001, and were married in Ontario on July 5, 2004.

A few days later, Ms. Martinez applied to Monroe Community College for health care benefits for her spouse. In November 2004, the college’s director of human resources, Sherry Ralston, denied the application, contending that the state did not recognize the marriage as a matter of law and public policy.

Ms. Martinez sued in 2006, arguing that her constitutional and civil rights had been violated. A State Supreme Court justice, Harold Galloway, dismissed the lawsuit in August 2006, saying the state did not recognize same-sex marriages. The state, he wrote “currently defines marriage as limited to the union of one man and one woman.”

But the appellate court disagreed, citing the century-old “marriage recognition rule” applying to heterosexual couples and noting that the Court of Appeals had implied that the Legislature could adopt a law legalizing same-sex marriage.

In early 2006, the court said, Monroe Community College had begun extending health-care benefits to Ms. Golden under a new contract provision. However, the judges held, the plaintiff was entitled to unspecified monetary damages for the period during which the benefits were wrongly denied.

Danny Hakim and Ray Rivera contributed reporting.

May 29, 2008 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're DONE, Warren/Anon!


An “Ex-Gay” Therapist’s Credibility and Career in Tatters

A few years back, Warren Throckmorton, an erstwhile psychologist and full-time blogger from a tiny Christian school, filmed a noxious “ex-gay” video, “I Do Exist.” The documentary begins at New York’s porn palaces on 8th Avenue - with the seedy atmosphere shot deliberately to signify gay life.

Not long into the video, we were introduced to a nutty exorcist who is known to extract demons from the anuses of gay men. In his typical slippery way, the public relations conscious Throckmorton fails to identify the woman as an exorcist (as she was identified in two other movies, “One Nation Under God” and “Chasing the Devil,” with apparently less truth challenged producers)

Later in the movie, we meet Noe Gutierrez, who had supposedly gone from gay activist to “ex-gay ” spokesperson. For several minutes, he prattles about his tale of transformation - essentially becoming “living proof” that ex-gays exist. Well, last week he renounced his testimony, meaning that as an ex-gay he doesn’t exist. History, once again, has repeated itself, with the latest so-called “ex-gay” leader coming out of the closet. This has happened so many times that this story line, quite frankly, has become somewhat stale. I mean how many times can we see this rerun before people get it?

Unfortunately, this professional humiliation hasn’t stopped Throckmorton from hawking his fictional movie - or just giving it away on his website. Lacking basic integrity and personal responsibility, this slick charlatan persists in retailing ruin to desperate and vulnerable people.

One would think that a person who talks incessantly about values would have the humility to admit he was wrong and repent for his sins. How about a new movie, “I Don’t Exist”? That, however, would take solid character - something that is sorely lacking in Mr. Throckmorton’s duplicitous career. He still has not come forward with success stories from his alleged 250 clients. He is also not upfront about his cozy relationships, over the years, with right wing extremists like Bob Knight, Peter LaBarbera and Richard Cohen. (One wonders how many of these fringe elements are on his “Fav Five” speed dial? )

In promoting this fraudulent video, Throckmorton is mirroring the behavior of the American Family Association, which sells “It’s Not Gay,” a title that features failed, orgy-loving Michael Johnston. Until “I Do Exist” is expunged from his website or a new version is made with the real Noe Gutierrez story, Throckmorton is no better than a shameless con artist or backcountry huckster. What kind of man claims to be moral and Christian, while consciously misleading people?

Of course, the oleaginous Throckmorton is using semantic tricks to cover his retreating behind. Dr. Duplicity spins his failure by saying it was “a snapshot in time involving 5 people who had reported shifts in sexual orientation.” Well, Mr. Throckmorton, the sun has set on your movie, just like your fading and fringe career. If you have a shard of sincerity or a modicum of morality, you’ll extinguish every trace of this false film and apologize to the possible victims you may have damaged.

It is time for Throckmorton to redeem himself by acknowledging - without qualification -that “ex-gays” only exist in his wild and overactive imagination. Until this time, he lacks the credentials and credibility to be taken seriously in rational discussions of sexual orientation.
Last month, Throckmorton was scheduled to speak on a panel at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting. No doubt, his goal was to pose in front of the APA’s logo and make his junk science appear sound. At the last minute, the symposium was aborted after fellow panelist, Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, withdrew.

The experience embittered Throckmorton, who promptly went on a “Sour Grapes Media Tour,” portraying the APA, in right wing publications, as fearful of an honest debate. However, if Throckmorton and his right wing cronies really want a truthful discussion, why don’t they propose hosting one of their own forums at Focus on the Family? Perhaps, it’s because they are petrified of allowing their flock to hear what APA experts really have to say about sexual conversion programs.

Throckmorton also fails to mention that he lacks the substance to be taken seriously. He has yet to write a book, conduct a genuine study or show empirical evidence that would legitimize his efforts.

Instead of laboring in the lab, Throckmorton eschewed hard work and rented a video camera to film the fragile. The catastrophic climax to his B-movie monstrosity was a predictable end to his directing debut. That he continues to direct the right wing’s ex-gay efforts shows their desperation and how far they are willing to go to spin science to justify their dubious political efforts.

May 29, 2008 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True cult mentality. True cult tactics.

Oh, yes. Once you've joined the gay cult, you can't be permitted to leave it or even suggest that it is possible. And anyone else who suggests it is possible is evil.

The reason such a reaction is necessary: the gay life isn't as gay and joyful as its adherents claim. Drastic action is necessary to prevent those who suddenly stop being pepped by the propaganda and realize they've become a part of something sick from leaving it behind.

May 29, 2008 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"zoo who said" (also known previously as "anonymous") have gone back on your word never to post on this blog site again. I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away from the glare of the spotlight on your ego. You speak your usual puerile silliness: "the gay life isn't as gay and joyful as its adherents claim". Please go away...again. You speak crap!!

May 29, 2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

zoo who said...

"Once you've joined the gay cult, you can't be permitted to leave it or even suggest that it is possible. And anyone else who suggests it is possible is evil."

-Weren’t they evil to begin with for being in the gay cult?

May 30, 2008 1:46 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dinesh D'Souza says...

"So why are secular liberals in general so miserable? I offer two reasons. The first is that liberals are political utopians. They consider human nature to be wonderful, and they expect freedom to be used wonderfully well."
Since when do liberals consider the human-nature of conservatives to be "wonderful?"

May 30, 2008 4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We complain when Anon quotes Dinesh without ascription. In the same vain, a few posts back, is a lengthy paste from Wayne Besen's Truth Wins Out site.

Although I agree with Mr. Besen on ex-gay issues, and disagree largely with Mr. Throckmorton, I would rather spend the afternoon with the latter.


May 30, 2008 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's embarrasing how often I confuse homophones when not paying attention.

I meant "vein", not "vain."


May 30, 2008 7:54 AM  

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