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Does “equality” rhetoric prevent gays from understanding our difference?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:07 pm - March 2, 2011.
Filed under: Random Thoughts,Science,Sex Difference

In the course of researching my dissertation, as I sought to show that Achilles’s rage represented an archetypal aspect of male behavior, I read many scientific studies on sexual difference as well as books considering those studies in the context of current cultural debates.   In their book Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women, geneticist Anne Moir and journalist David Jessel articulate the essence of this tension between sound science and politically-correct attitudes:

Recent decades have witnessed two contradictory processes; the development of scientific research into the differences between the sexes, and the political denial that such differences exist.

They write that if the reality of these differences make women angry,

. . . it is not because science has set at naught their hard won struggle towards equality; their wrath should rather be directed at those who have sought to misdirect and deny them of their very essence.  Many women in the last thirty or forty years have been brought up to believe that they are, or should be, ‘as good as the next man’, and in the process they have endured acute and unnecessary pain, frustration and disappointment.

Those passages came to mind earlier today when I was reading Christina Hoff Sommers’s, The WAR AGAINST BOYS: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.  That feminist scholar offered an argument similar to that put forward by Moir and Jessel:

I would argue that turning a blind eye to real differences and dogmatically insisting that masculinity and femininity are “created by culture” pose even more serious dangers of their own.

Science has shown that differences between men and women derive not from social construction, but our very biology.   (more…)

In 2008, Obama ran on changing Washington
Today, he’s fighting to maintain the status quo

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:59 am - March 2, 2011.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Hopenchange

One of the main reasons I disagree with my co-blogger — not to mention an apparently emerging media consensus— about the president’s prospects for 2012 is that a year hence he can no longer duplicate the formula which served him so well just shy of three years ago.

A charismatic man with a powerful presence, a winning smile and a mellifluous baritone, he could fire a crowd up with his voice, taking a nothing speech and making it seem profound, save to those who read the words after.  Hope and change worked in 2008 because people wanted change.  And Americans believed that this newcomer could effect the kinds of changes they wanted.

Unlike the then-incumbent president, he spoke well.  He hadn’t been in Washington very long and didn’t seem part of the establishment that, they believed, needed altering.  But, instead of diverting the Potomac to clean out the Augean Stables which lines its banks, he brought in more straw to feed the horses who had made the place such a mess.

The “net spending cut” he promised “throughout” campaign has become instead an exponential spending increasey.  Even his allies and ideological confrères have excoriated him for his recent budget proposal, with one calling it a a ‘Profile in Cowardice.’ Unlike his two most recent predecessors, he hasn’t even made an effort to reform entitlements which account for bulk of the outpouring of red ink from Washington.

He simply hasn’t been the change agent he promised to be.  He isn’t the new kind of post partisan politician presented to us in the presidential campaign.  Indeed, as Jennifer Rubin reminds us, his tone this week at bi-partisan gathering of governors was “sharper and more overtly political.

Commenting on a piece on how the president resembles 1980s General Motors CEO Roger Smith, Michael Barone suggests the president has deployed that rhetoric to defend the current order: (more…)