Thursday, April 24, 2003

Yet another reason to turn out the current administration. Basic research in the social sciences is being hindered and suppressed by ideologues.

Political suppression of sex science is nothing new. What is new is the dimension of such suppression. It is hardly surprising that lawmakers have not embraced a legalization of pornography, or a more lenient approarch toward the issue of child sexual abuse. The Clinton dismissal/resignation of Jocelyn Elders was already a new level, as conservative Reagan-appointee C. Everett Koop had previously taken a similarly liberal stance on teenage sex, seeing condom distribution as a safe defense against AIDS.

However, the abstinence-only stance of the current administration, which it carries to an international level through the United Nations, is a reactionary program of unprecedented proportions in recent US history. Multi-million dollar abstinence propaganda in schools (usually accompanied by scare pictures of sexual diseases) and "faith-based" initiatives are contrasted with self-censorship in institutions like the NIH -- and not only regarding taboo topics like pornography and pedophilia but also concerning STDs and abortion. Most liberals will see these trends as slightly disturbing, but not much more. One is reminded of the tale of the boiling frog, who does not notice his own demise as the temperature increases little by little.

The clock is being turned back on social progress. Our children are going to pay a price for this right along with their higher taxes.

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