Creating Politically Correct Situations Via Noble Lies

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

    Wherein we see the lies that the proponents of “social justice” have used to hysterically state their case that men are beasts, especially gainfully employed white men, and that we’re all going to die because of government “neglect.”

Hysteria and Its Discontents

Benny Huang

Jonah Goldberg should have known he would be painted as a rape apologist when he refuted the oft-repeated “one in five” campus rape statistic. The National Review Online editor was locked in a Twitter debate with Matthew Dowd of ABC News, who posited, “[O]ne out of five college women are either raped or victims of attempted rape. thats [sic] a fact.”

Well, no. It isn’t a fact. That statistic has been proven, again and again, to be nothing more than a token of feminist mythology, similar to the claim that wife-beating spikes on Super Bowl Sunday. The Department of Justice’s most recent comprehensive study of rape on college campuses concludes that the number is actually .03-in-five, making Dowd’s claim roughly a thirty-three fold exaggeration.


    As the social justice people say, “1 in five or .03 in five–isn’t that the same?”

The emotionalism that envelopes the topic of rape makes truth a commodity much less valued than concern for the victims, some of whom are genuine, and some of whom are false accusers. Ron Fournier of National Journal demonstrated this tendency to undervalue truth when he joined in the chiding of Goldberg, tweeting: “Jonah, you’re splitting statistical hairs to undermine an argument against …. rape. Let’s call it a day.”

Fournier begins by referring to the exaggeration of the problem by a factor of thirty-three as merely “splitting statistical hairs,” then makes clear that he thinks Goldberg a real heel for “undermining” an argument against rape. As if Goldberg has taken the pro-rape side of the argument! Could Goldberg be a rapist himself? Keep an eye on that fellow.

What we’ve learned from the UVA rape hoax is that a person’s opposition to sexual violence can be measured by the degree to which that person inflates rape statistics. Why then should anyone stop with the thoroughly discredited “one in five” stat? How about one in three? Four in five? One in one? If Fournier and Dowd can trot out a grossly exaggerated rape statistic then I can trot out an even more overblown one, thus rendering theirs a low-ball estimate. Who would minimize rape stats unless he was in fact a rapist sympathizer? Dowd and Fournier have some ‘splaining to do.

Some people don’t see any harm in a little hyperbole; or a lot, for that matter. They’re only telling noble lies, you see, intended to “raise awareness” about some issue that’s really, really important. How noble their lies are is very questionable, but they fact that they’re fibbing is not.

The end result of this kind of endless hyperbole is utter hysteria. Lives are ruined, freedom curtailed, and demagogues empowered when truth-challenged activists try to one-up each other with their alarmist claims. I, for one, am fed up with it. Lying for a good cause doesn’t mean that you care. It means you’re a liar.

Homeless advocates, for example, peddle some pretty suspicious facts. Mitch Snyder, the now deceased homeless advocate who made a name for himself in the 1980s with his rather overheated anti-Reagan rhetoric, liked to claim that there were three million homeless people in the United States. Considering the fact that the 1980 US Census revealed the total US population to be 226.5 million people, that would mean that a whopping 1.3% of Americans were without shelter. Incredible!

Yes, it was incredible in the strictest sense of the word. Governmental estimates of the homeless population during the 1980s ranged from two hundred thousand to five hundred thousand. As Snyder later admitted, he invented the tally because journalists had been asking him for a statistic and he wanted to give them something. Snyder’s guesstimate was wrong by at least a factor of six, if not a factor of fifteen. Journalists, of course, quoted Snyder in their articles as a recognized “expert” in homelessness.


    Publicity is always more important than fact. When a legend becomes the truth, print the legend.

The same Mitch Snyder later claimed that forty-five homeless people died every second, which would mean 1.4 billion dying every year. At that rate, it would take less than a day for those three million homeless Americans to drop dead.

So Mitch Snyder’s numbers were a little off but his heart was in the right place. If you dispute his ridiculous statistics, yours isn’t. That’s how this game is played.

Environmentalists have their own catalogue of hair-on fire scare statistics and doomsday predictions. I recall my third grade teacher telling the class that the Amazon rainforest would be completely cleared in just twenty years and I believed her. Twenty-five years have gone by and that pesky Amazon still exists. I don’t blame my teacher. I’m sure someone passed that little factoid to her and she passed it along to us, believing it to be the truth.

But it wasn’t the truth. Not remotely. In 1989, when I was in third grade, the Amazon covered 3.71 million square kilometers. Twenty years later it had contracted to 3.37 million square kilometers. By my calculations, that means the 91% of the Amazon rainforest standing in 1989 was still there in 2009.

AIDS activists are just as alarmist in their rhetoric as environmentalists or homeless advocates. During the early days of the AIDS “crisis”—which was only really a crisis if you indulged an appetite for intravenous drug use of anal sex with men—the movement’s tactic seemed to be to scare the bejeesus out of white, suburban, heterosexual America. “Anyone can get AIDS,” they claimed, which is technically true but also less than helpful. Anyone can get malaria, but Scandinavians don’t spend much time worrying about it, nor should they.

The “Anyone can get AIDS” lie was politically calculated. “As long as [AIDS] was seen as a gay disease, or worse, as a disease of drug abusers,” said CDC virologist Walter Dowdle, “that pushed the disease way down the ladder” of people’s priorities.

In 1987, Oprah Winfrey had her own bogus “one in five” warning for America: “Research studies now project that one in five—listen to me, hard to believe—one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years. That’s by 1990. One in five. It is no longer a gay disease, believe me.”

Yes, it was hard to believe, as she put it. Because it wasn’t true.

Whether it’s projections of the number of “climate refugees” there will be in a few years or the number of young black men gunned down by racist cops, there’s always someone who will hype a problem with undue hysterics. The alarmists don’t seem to think they’re doing anything wrong. Perhaps it’s because their theatrics are usually rewarded with press accolades if not more tangible items. Consequently, we end up making bad policy based on unfounded fears and indefensible prejudices.


     And Al Gore’s Arctic Ice is still there after he predicted it would be gone by now. Is he still known as the Goracle?

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45.”
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies



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