User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by John Stossel

        Seven academic journals were recently hoaxed into publishing ridiculous studies on topics like "rape culture and queer performativity" in dog parks.
        The editor of only one of the journals, Roberto Refinetti of Sexuality and Culture, agreed to talk to me about the hoax and whether academics learned anything from being duped.
        The hoaxers had said their experiment showed that "making absurd and horrible ideas sufficiently politically fashionable can get them validated at the highest levels of academic grievance studies."
        Refinetti says the experiment proved nothing. "You're deceiving people without much of a reason."
        I told him I thought the hoaxers had good reason. "Their hoax woke us up to the fact that some academic journals publish nonsense."
        The paper Refinetti's journal accepted, called "Going in Through the Back Door," claimed to show you can reduce "straight male homo-hysteria and transphobia through receptive, penetrative sex toy use."
        "It's not your everyday article," replied Refinetti in my new video about the hoax, but he says Sexuality and Culture "is a specialized journal that deals with sexuality and culture."
        Why publish this particular paper, which claims penetration by sex toys "will decrease transphobia and increase feminist values"?
        "What is the problem with that?" asked Refinetti. "It is a statement that could be correct. It's nothing really absurd or unusual."
        But if it only "could" be correct and it's not unusual, why publish it?
        "That's an issue in publication. That's the specialization. We've been doing that for maybe 100 years," responds Refinetti.
        Seems silly, I suggest.
        "What is silly? Is the respiration mechanism in an ant not silly?" countered Refinetti.
        "But that's facts," I tell him. "It breathes this way or that way. This is speculation."
        "Is it a speculation? If it were just a statement, a thesis not tested, we wouldn't do anything with it," replied Refinetti.
        To help them decide what to publish, journals submit papers to "expert" reviewers.
        In the case of the bogus sex toy study, Refinetti's reviewer wrote, "I'm just overwhelmed, which is a sign of a marvelous paper."
        I suggested to Refinetti that his reviewer was an idiot.
        "They made up data that he or she wished he had! So he says, wow, these people did a study that I wanted to do, and they got the results that I thought should be there!" answered Refinetti, seeing no problem.
        It would be more obvious that claims in hoax papers like that were silly if the academics wrote in plain English instead of pretentious and politically loaded language. This is from the dog rape paper: "Inferring from the lessons relevant to human and dog interactions to suggest practical applications that disrupt hegemonic masculinities."
        "That's one thing they like these days, disrupt masculinities. I don't like that concept," said Refinetti.
        "Is there such a bias here that, instead of knowledge, we're just putting political correctness?" he asked, basically rephrasing my question. "In some areas, that is the case, but that's my feeling. I wouldn't do anything until I can document it."
        Refinetti pointed out to me that many things society once considered ridiculous or unworthy of study are now accepted.
        "Let's question our assumptions... When homosexuality was considered a mental illness, people pushed (back). Psychiatrists got together and said, it's a perfectly fine thing to choose, and not to call it mental illness. That's the type of thing that a journal in sexuality and culture does: discuss."
        To discuss is good. 
        But today, journals of this sort seem to be mostly advocacy disguised with obscure academic jargon. They're filled with words such as bropropriating, otherization, performativity, androcentrism, matrix of domination, ableism, kyriarchy, intersectionality, etc.
        The hoax article Refinetti accepted said, "Some feminists assert the dildo was an oppressive tool of the patriarchy."
        "Ah, the jargon," he replied. "(But) it's just describing that some women think that using the dildo is a man's idea," said Refinetti. "That is a correct statement."
        I assume it is.
        But like so much of what today's academics write, and what journals treat as neutral science, it reinforces only one side of the political spectrum.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by John Stossel

    Do you pay enough taxes? What is enough?
    When asked on "60 Minutes," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn't seem to have a specific tax rate in mind, but then she said, "back in the '60s ... you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent."
    Suddenly, 70 percent tax rates are a progressive plan, although Rep. Ilhan Omar added, "We've had it as high as 90 percent."
    She's right.
    That was the top tax rate when I was a kid, and today, many Democrats say if we'd just raise rates on rich people, government would have plenty of money to pay for our wonderful programs.
    But it's a myth. What progressives don't say, perhaps because they don't know it, is what economic historian Dr. Phillip Magness explains in my new video: "No one actually paid anywhere close to those rates."
    For more than a decade, Magness has researched old taxes.
    He discovered that America's 90 percent tax bracket didn't bring in much extra money. That's because rich people found loopholes.
    Then, because of that, and because the high tax rates discouraged work, President Kennedy backed a bill that lowered the top rate to 70 percent.
    But it turned out that the 70 percent rate wasn't very real either.
    "A millionaire on average would pay 41 percent," says Magness, because of "all these deductions and exemptions and carve-outs that are intentionally baked into the tax code."
    If you look at newspapers of that time, you see ads promoting things like free $2,499 ocean cruises.
    "(B)asically take a vacation around the Caribbean," explains Magness, "but while you're onboard the ship you attend, say, an investing seminar or a real estate seminar, and then write off the trip."
    Some rich people bought musical instruments for their kids and deducted the cost because, say, a clarinet would supposedly provide "therapeutic treatment."
    Instead of investing in ideas that might create real wealth, rich people hired accountants to study the tax code.
    "Who can afford the best accountants? It's always the wealthy," says Magness.
    Today, our top tax rate is 37 percent. A dozen years after President Kennedy's tax cuts, Ronald Reagan proposed reducing the 70 percent rate, saying, "Our tax system could only be described as un-American."
    "Democrats actually agree with him," recounts Magness. "Reagan goes to the table and says, 'Let's make a deal ... cut the rates ... and in exchange, we'll consolidate the tax code."
    They did.
    Surprise -- the lower rates brought in just as much money.
    It turns out that tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product stays about the same no matter what the top bracket is. Higher tax rates don't necessarily get rich people to pay more taxes.
    "They'll change where they earn their income," economist Art Laffer told me about what he'd once said to President Reagan. "They'll change how they earn their income. They'll change how much they earn, when they receive the income. They'll change all of those things to minimize taxes."
    President Trump, who in some years paid zero income tax, understands that. Before he became president, I asked him about a proposed tax hike. "Look, the rich people are going to leave -- and other people are going to leave!" he told me. "You are going to end up with lots of people that don't produce. And then, that's the spiral. That's the end."
    That happened in Europe, recounts Magness: "France attempted a massive tax on its wealthiest earners. ... the business people left in a mass exodus from the country."
    But today's progressives are selective when they look at history. On TV, Ocasio-Cortez said, "Under Republican administration ... Dwight Eisenhower, we had 90 percent marginal tax rate."
    I asked Magness what would happen if the U.S. were to return to those rates -- while also eliminating the deductions that came with them.
      "You're asking for an economic disaster," he answered. "I ask the question: Do we leave (wealth) in the private sector where the market decides? Or do we subject it to corrupt politicians?"
    Please, let's leave most of America's wealth in private hands.
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by Walter E. Williams

    Some Americans have much higher income and wealth than others. Former President Barack Obama explained, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." An adviser to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has a Twitter account called "Every Billionaire Is A Policy Failure" tweeted, "My goal for this year is to get a moderator to ask 'Is it morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire?'" Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in calling for a wealth tax, complained, "The rich and powerful are taking so much for themselves and leaving so little for everyone else."
    These people would have an argument if there were piles of money on the ground called income, with billionaires and millionaires surreptitiously getting to those piles first and taking their unfair shares. In that case, corrective public policy would require a redistribution of the income, wherein the ill-gotten gains of the few would be taken and returned to their rightful owners. The same could be said if there were a dealer of dollars who -- because of his being a racist, sexist, multinationalist and maybe a Republican -- didn't deal the dollars fairly. If he dealt millions to some and mere crumbs to others, decent public policy would demand a re-dealing of the dollars, or what some call income redistribution.
    You say, "Williams, that's lunacy." You're right. In a free society, people earn income by serving their fellow man. Here's an example: I mow your lawn, and you pay me $40. Then I go to my grocer and demand two six-packs of beer and 3 pounds of steak. In effect, the grocer says, "Williams, you are asking your fellow man to serve you by giving you beer and steak. What did you do to serve your fellow man?" My response is, "I mowed his lawn." The grocer says, "Prove it." That's when I produce the $40. We can think of the, say, two $20 bills as certificates of performance -- proof that I served my fellow man.
    A system that requires that one serve his fellow man to have a claim on what he produces is far more moral than a system without such a requirement. For example, Congress can tell me, "Williams, you don't have to get out in that hot sun to mow a lawn to have a claim on what your fellow man produces. Just vote for me, and through the tax code, I will take some of what your fellow man produces and give it to you."
    Let's look at a few multibillionaires to see whether they have served their fellow man well. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, with a net worth over $90 billion, is the second-richest person in the world. He didn't acquire that wealth through violence. Millions of people around the world voluntarily plucked down money to buy Microsoft products. That explains the great wealth of people such as Gates. They discovered what their fellow man wanted and didn't have, and they found out ways to effectively produce it. Their fellow man voluntarily gave them dollars. If Gates and others had followed President Obama's advice that "at a certain point" they'd "made enough money" and shut down their companies when they had earned their first billion or two, mankind wouldn't have most of the technological development we enjoy today.
    Take a look at the website Billionaire Mailing List's list of current billionaires (http://tinyurl.com/yd6mme37). On it, you will find people who have made great contributions to society. Way down on the list is Gordon Earle Moore -- co-founder of Intel. He has a net worth of $6 billion. In 1968, Moore developed and marketed the integrated circuit, or microchip, which is responsible for thousands of today's innovations, such as MRIs, advances in satellite technology and your desktop computer. Though Moore has benefited immensely from his development and marketing of the microchip, his benefit pales in comparison with how our nation and the world have benefited in terms of lives improved and saved by the host of technological innovations made possible by the microchip.
    The only people who benefit from class warfare are politicians and the elite; they get our money and control our lives. Plus, we just might ask ourselves: Where is a society headed that holds its most productive members up to ridicule and scorn and makes mascots out of its least productive and most parasitic members?
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by John Stossel

     If you are an American college professor, the way you get a raise or tenure is by getting papers published in "academic journals."
        The stupidity of these journals says a lot about what's taught at colleges today.
        Recently, three people sent in intentionally ridiculous "research" to prominent journals of women studies, gender studies, race studies, sexuality studies, obesity studies and queer studies.
        "The scholarship in these disciplines is utterly corrupted," says Dr. Peter Boghossian of Portland State University. "They have placed an agenda before the truth."
        To show that, hoaxer and mathematician James Lindsay says, "We rewrote a section of 'Mein Kampf' as intersectional feminism" and got it published in Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work.
        For another paper, they claimed to have "closely" examined genitals of 10,000 dogs in dog parks to learn about "rape culture and queer performativity."
        Boghossian had assumed, "There's no way they're gonna believe that we did this!"
        But the journal Gender, Place & Culture did, calling the paper "excellent scholarship."
        Seven journals accepted the absurd papers, as I show in my latest video.
        Hoaxers Boghossian, Lindsay and Areo Magazine editor Helen Pluckrose explain the reason for their trick.
        "We think studying topics like gender, race and sexuality is worthwhile and getting it right is extremely important," says Lindsay
        But researchers of these topics have gotten lazy and political, they say. "A culture has developed in which only certain conclusions are allowed -- like those that make whiteness and masculinity problematic," Lindsay says.
        Reach politically "correct" conclusions and you can get most anything published.
        "Kind of a last straw happened," says Lindsay. "There was this paper well-funded by the National Science Foundation that studied 'feminist glaciology.' It said glacier science is sexist."
        As a glaciologist giving a TED Talk put it, "the majority of glaciological knowledge that we have today stems from knowledge created by men about men within existing masculinist stories."
        What?
        One paper suggested the solution to sexism in glacier science is "feminist paintings of glaciers and feminist art projects," says Lindsay. They praised art projects like one where they "hooked up a phone line to a glacier so you could call the glacier on the phone and listen to it." That was "the last straw" for him.
        Lindsay adds, "What appears beyond dispute is that making absurd and horrible ideas sufficiently politically fashionable can get them validated at the highest levels of academic grievance studies."
        The hoaxers didn't get to finish their experiment because The Wall Street Journal's Jillian Kay Melchior noticed the absurdity of the paper on dog humping. She exposed the hoax before all 20 journals weighed in.
        What upsets me most is what happened -- or rather, didn't happen -- next.
        No university said it would stop using those journals, and no journal editor publicly said, "We must raise our standards."
        "Think about if you did this to civil engineers with bridge building," says Boghossian. "They would've thanked us, right? Because they're driving over the bridges with their families, so they don't want the bridges to collapse."
        But the journal editors, instead of admitting that they sometimes publish nonsense, attacked the hoaxers. They accused them of doing "unethical research."
        A dozen of Boghossian's colleagues at Portland State University criticized him anonymously in the school newspaper, which depicted him as a clown. He's become a pariah at his own school.
        "I've been spat on ... physically threatened," he says.
        Instead of applauding him for exposing nonsense, Portland State threatened him.
        I called the school asking for an interview, but it declined.
        How can a college criticize the hoaxers but revere ridiculous journals that publish nonsense?
        "When you live in these tight ecosystems, this stuff makes total sense," says Boghossian. For people in the tiny bubble of academic thinking, "there's a pervading rape culture; men are bad -- the whole ball of wax."
        It's been going on for some time. A physicist once submitted a nonsense paper claiming gravity is just a "social construct." The journal Social Text published it. That embarrassed the journal, but 20 years later, it is still going strong.
        At universities, "scholarship" has gotten even crazier.
        The real "hoax" is on students who pay thousands of dollars for useless degrees in fields that end in "studies."
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by Walter E. Williams

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims that "the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change." The people at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree, saying that to avoid some of the most devastating impacts of climate change, the world must slash carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and completely decarbonize by 2050.
    Such dire warnings are not new. In 1970, Harvard University biology professor George Wald, a Nobel laureate, predicted, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." Also in 1970, Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist, predicted in an article for The Progressive, "The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years." The year before, he had warned, "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." Despite such harebrained predictions, Ehrlich has won no fewer than 16 awards, including the 1990 Crafoord Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' highest award.
    Leftists constantly preach such nonsense as "The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile." "The 3rd rock from the sun is a fragile oasis." "Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day." These and many other statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmentalists. Worse yet, this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to the nation's youth from kindergarten through college. That's why many millennials support Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
    Let's examine just a few cataclysmic events that exceed any destructive power of mankind and then ask how our purportedly fragile planet could survive. The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, in present-day Indonesia, had the force of 200 megatons of TNT. That's the equivalent of 13,300 15-kiloton atomic bombs, the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in World War II. Before that was the 1815 Tambora eruption, the largest known volcanic eruption. It spewed so much debris into the atmosphere that 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer." It led to crop failures and livestock death in the Northern Hemisphere, producing the worst famine of the 19th century. The A.D. 535 Krakatoa eruption had such force that it blotted out much of the light and heat of the sun for 18 months and is said to have led to the Dark Ages. Geophysicists estimate that just three volcanic eruptions -- Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947) -- spewed more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide !
into the atmosphere than all of mankind's activities during our entire history.
    Our so-called fragile earth survived other catastrophic events, such as the floods in China in 1887, which took an estimated 1 million to 2 million lives, followed by floods there in 1931, which took an estimated 1 million to 4 million lives. What about the impact of earthquakes on our fragile earth? Chile's 1960 Valdivia earthquake was 9.5 on the Richter scale. It created a force equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The deadly 1556 earthquake in China's Shaanxi province devastated an area of 520 miles.
    Our so-called fragile earth faces outer space terror. Two billion years ago, an asteroid hit earth, creating the Vredefort crater in South Africa, which has a diameter of 190 miles. In Ontario, there's the Sudbury Basin, resulting from a meteor strike 1.8 billion years ago. At 39 miles long, 19 miles wide and 9 miles deep, it's the second-largest impact structure on earth. Virginia's Chesapeake Bay crater is a bit smaller, about 53 miles wide. Then there's the famous but puny Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is not even a mile wide.
    My question is: Which of these powers of nature could be duplicated by mankind? For example, could mankind even come close to duplicating the polluting effects of the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption? It is the height of arrogance to think that mankind can make significant parametric changes in the earth or can match nature's destructive forces. Our planet is not fragile.
    Occasionally, environmentalists spill the beans and reveal their true agenda. Barry Commoner said, "Capitalism is the earth's number one enemy." Amherst College professor Leo Marx said, "On ecological grounds, the case for world government is beyond argument."
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM