We live in an age, it has been rightly observed, where the concerted deliberate effort to delegitimize the notion of objective facts and scientific evidence in order to create a highly ignorant population, easy to manipulate, has met with considerable and troubling success. While it is worth noting that foreign agents trolling U.S. social media pursue this objective with gusto, knowing it can only lead to societal chaos in this country (and allied Western nations like the U.K.) the actual history of the agenda goes back further than that. Indeed it’s arguable that if one considers organized religion in the conversation, the effort has gone on for centuries. After all, in the Middle Ages the population was kept deliberately illiterate specifically because the Church wanted to ensure that they had to take the word of the Priest/Church for what God said since they couldn’t read it themselves. The advent of the printing press had a hand in changing that dynamic and it’s no coincidence that the Protestant reformation wasn’t far behind.
Fast forward to the last 50 years and if there’s one overarching theme to the messaging of Evangelical (and many Catholic) thought-leaders it’s that only they can be trusted as a source of truth, just like the priests of the 1300s. Listen to movement conservative media (which overlaps to a very great degree with those theocrats I just mentioned) and you get one repeated refrain: any claim that does not affirm what they have told you to think can be assumed to be an “agenda” by lying liberals in the media, the sciences, the universities and so forth. It’s circular reasoning of course but it’s highly effective. The fascinating thing for future historians to debate is whether the Oligarch Cabal made of of billionaires like the Kochs and the Mercers are the ones who co-opted the theocrats, or the other way around. What is obvious though is that the MC/Dominionist co-optative carry water for each other. The billionaires provide all the money the Dominionists need to build and hold power (including winning political offices) and in return the Dominionists freely mingle Randian economics with their theology in a way that would make you think that there’s a whole book of the Bible endorsing laissaz-fare economics and cutthroat capitalism. That mix of blind faith and big money keeps at least a third of all voters safely enclosed in a thought bubble that votes almost as one – and has an outsized influence even beyond that group in any point where ignorance is common.
A great current example of this can be found in the varied reactions to the latest policy report from the American Academy of Pediatricians. The policy strongly supports the medical and scientific validity of what is called the Gender-Affirmatve Care Model which they summarize thus:
transgender identities and diverse gender expressions do not constitute a mental disorder;
variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of human diversity, and binary definitions of gender do not always reflect emerging gender identities;
gender identity evolves as an interplay of biology, development, socialization, and culture; and
if a mental health issue exists, it most often stems from stigma and negative experiences rather than being intrinsic to the child(Continued below...)
They go on to comment as follows:
There is a limited but growing body of evidence that suggests that using an integrated affirmative model results in young people having fewer mental health concerns whether they ultimately identify as transgender.
In contrast, “conversion” or “reparative” treatment models are used to prevent children and adolescents from identifying as transgender or to dissuade them from exhibiting gender-diverse expressions. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has concluded that any therapeutic intervention with the goal of changing a youth’s gender expression or identity is inappropriate. Reparative approaches have been proven to be not only unsuccessful but also deleterious and are considered outside the mainstream of traditional medical practice.
The paper is long-ish and rigorously footnoted (94 in all) backing each claim with objective scientific research. While, being a product of Pediatricians, it is focused on children and youth, the principles outlined are applicable to the subject of gender dysphoria and transition in general regardless of age. Naturally, the fact-denying crowd cannot abide science that reaches conclusions that do not align with their traditional doctrines.
Outfits like The Heritage Foundation swing into action to be sure the sheep know what they are supposed to think, feasting on the ignorance of followers who never bother to educate themselves because they know their opinion will be formed for them and injected right into their brain. Among the tools in the arsenal of these con artists are their set of fake doppelgängers of legitimate organizations, one of which is the American College of Pediatricians. A legit sounding name, right? It’s anything but. While the AAP is 60,000 strong, led by the best and most qualified professionals in the field, the ACPeds is a house shop of the right wing political machine made up of about 200 people, not all of them pediatricians or even licensed doctors. Those doctors who are involved are and handful of theocrats wo, like Dr. Paul McHugh years before, superimposed their (mostly Catholic) religious doctrines over their scientific knowledge and walked away from the AAP back in 2002 after the organization endorsed the legitimacy of LGB/T parenting of adopted and foster children.
But it serves it’s purpose in that it gives Dominionist leaders a credible sounding (to those who don’t know the score) citation of “scientists who disagree with the radical liberal agenda” of the actual scientific professional organization. As you surely recognize, the AAP doesn’t have an “agenda” beyond promoting the best-practices in the care of the youth of this country. But that agenda runs counter to the doctrines of the religionists and so it must be challenged, lest the sheep realize they have been lied to. Ultimately, though, anyone who speaks for or cites for support the ACPeds is working for the supremacy of Theology over science and you shouldn’t believe their claims on any subject, whether it’s an LGB/T issue, or climate change, or economics, or the time of day.
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