Dr Caplan

I did not plan to comment to your blog any longer, but could not resist posting to your more recent blog: 'Science Sure Isn't Golden: That Racist, Sexist Psychology Today Essay and the PT Editors'. That's where you'll find my June 2nd comment. I believe my humour in that posting would classify as facetious. The precious academic pretentiousness in the commentary / discussion was just too too much to take. Sometimes intellectuals / scientists and the like are overly impressed with their vocabulary, so that rather than seeing a pin for what it is, a simple pin, will insist on incomprehensibly labelling all of the non-existent angels on the head of it.

And I cannot resist commenting further here. To summarize what I understand from your essays and responses: "Unacceptable thought which must not be promulgated or promoted must not be spoken discussed. If the unacceptable is spoken or discussed it is therefore promulgated and promoted" - sounds like some kind of Orwellian nightmare to me.

Without once again re-stating my positions above, I want to emphasize that I am almost always 100% in agreement with the goals and purposes of those who are currently seen as left-leaning progressive politically-correct liberals. Most who know me would consider me to be more radically 'left' than yourself in the kind of issues you raise here. However, I could not disagree more strongly with the demands from those on my side of things that everyone else on the other side of things must behave according to our views- that they must be politically-correct by our standards, especially when it comes to expressing their views.

Tyranny is tyranny no matter who is burning the books. Tyrants, no matter their stripes, always believe they are right and that what they are doing is the right thing to do, and that it is for everyone's benefit. Tyranny is always rationalized. Religious tyrants wave their bibles, torahs or qurans etc. Psychiatrists pound their DSMs. Academics / scientists wave their studies and research. Feminists, gay-liberationists, ethnic-race-liberationists etc wave our wounds and victimhood. Etc.

To be clear, I did not object at all to you identifying yourself as having a teaching role on your blog. That is your choice. I just stated that I did not read your blogs in order to be taught, which is my choice. Perhaps other readers feel the same, perhaps not. I expect some PT bloggers just see themselves as commentators not as educators, just expressing their views, and that is how I read PT blogs, just as a reader, not as a student.

I began my critique by noting your self-identified role as educator because it seemed to me to be fair to critique your positions within the parameters of what you stated you wanted to accomplish - whether or not your decision to delete or censor was a sound decision as an educator. I don't believe it was. But there is no right or wrong answer of course - only a lot of opinions (and research) about what is effective teaching for learning in what kinds of circumstances. There are a multitude of teaching styles for educators from those who take a restrictive, prescriptive approach and 'inform' their students by lecturing and 'correcting' them when they fall off the teacher's prescribed path, to teachers who use a dynamic open exploratory approach by tossing out provocative facts, ideas and opinions for students to debate and consider for the purpose of forming their own conclusions. I was blessed by having highly influential teachers in my life who used the latter approach, which I find more respectful and much prefer.

I do not respond well to the former style of teaching. If you were my teacher in a classroom where we were discussing homophobia (or anything else), I would have to get up and quit your class if you decided, that you had the right to decide what I could or couldn't read, or hear, or say, or think, or believe, or feel, or consider as a student (about this topic or anything else), or that you had the right to censor any questions or ideas that I or another student might raise. You would have the school-granted authority to do that, because it would be your class to run as you wish, but I could not be a student in that class. I would have to leave. For people like me, that educational approach simply doesn't work.

An example I did not include in my critique: I have worked with young men for years as a mentor (openly gay), many of whom have started their discussions with me by telling me everything they believe is wrong with gay people - what they believe causes homosexuality. Some have said exactly what Random Intellectual stated - that there is something wrong with a gay person's brain. Many of these misinformed young men have in fact been struggling with the fact that they are gay themselves. As their mentor in that situation I cannot imagine that anything could possibly be accomplished by silencing them or refusing to hear what they had to say. Nothing would be learned by that individual or others who would be listening. To break through these cognitive 'walls', I often use all sorts of strategies, including a lot of dark sharp humour, to challenge their beliefs, usually with some success, whether it's gay men struggling with their own internal homophobia, or genuinely homophobic heterosexist straight men.

For all we know Random Intellectual is struggling with his own gay feelings. I sure wouldn't be surprised if that is the case with Happeh considering how obsessed he appears to be on the web with penises, homosexuality and masturbation.

As for humour, in my view, if there's any one thing that the rest of those involved in the various wings of the current politically correct movement could benefit most from the gay community, it is a sense of humour. Sometimes those of us on the politically correct side of things take ourselves far to seriously. We're far too earnest.

I really must stop posting here as I don't have the time and I doubt that it is going to have an effect on how you think about this issue.

I do appreciate your kind words about my writing. I expect that in no time, if I were to blog for PT, one of my essays would soon be deleted amidst great hue and cry that it would be far too radical by the 'right' and far too 'politically-incorrect' by the left. I find myself greatly restrained in writing these recent comments to you - only because if I wasn't restrained, I'd be deleted.