2019-03-19 13:00:00

Seven academic journals recently published papers that were actually hoaxes designed to show the absurdity found in such academic fields as gender studies, race studies, and queer studies. The hoaxers intentionally submitted papers that were ridiculous. One included gibberish about rape culture in dog parks. Another was a section of Hitler’s Mein Kampf re-written with feminist buzzwords.

Six journal editors would not talk to Stossel, but one—Roberto Refinetti, editor in chief of Sexuality and Culture—agreed to an interview.

He condemns what the hoaxers did: “You’re deceiving people without much of a reason.”

Stossel says he thinks the hoaxers had good reason not to go to the review board first. “Their hoax woke us up to the fact that some academic journals publish nonsense,” he says.

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2019-03-19 13:00:00

Seven academic journals recently published papers that were actually hoaxes designed to show the absurdity found in such academic fields as gender studies, race studies, and queer studies. The hoaxers intentionally submitted papers that were ridiculous. One included gibberish about rape culture in dog parks. Another was a section of Hitler’s Mein Kampf re-written with feminist buzzwords.

Six journal editors would not talk to Stossel, but one—Roberto Refinetti, editor in chief of Sexuality and Culture—agreed to an interview.

He condemns what the hoaxers did: “You’re deceiving people without much of a reason.”

He complains, “If you’re going to do your research with people, you have to propose your research, submit to a body called an Institutional Review Board.”

One of the hoaxers, Peter Boghossian, was found guilty by his employer (Portland State University) of violating its rules requiring him to get approval for the experiment. Of course, since the Institutional Review Board would have insisted that the researchers inform the journals that they were being tested, the test wouldn’t have worked.

Stossel says he thinks the hoaxers had good reason not to go to the review board first. “Their hoax woke us up to the fact that some academic journals publish nonsense,” he says.

Refinetti’s journal, for instance, published the hoax paper titled, “Going in Through the Back Door: Challenging Straight Male Homohysteria, Transhysteria, and Transphobia Through Receptive Penetrative Sex Toy Use.”

The paper touted “encouraging male anal eroticism with sex toys” because it would help make men more feminist.

Sexuality and Culture published that paper after its reviewers praised it glowingly. One called it “an incredibly rich and exciting contribution…timely, and worthy of publication.”

Refinetti defends his journal, saying that it publishes mind-expanding questions.

“What is the problem with [the subject of the paper]? I don’t see a problem….It’s nothing really absurd or unusual,” Refinetti says.

He also says: “Let’s question our assumptions, because maybe we’re making assumptions that we shouldn’t be making….When homosexuality was considered a mental illness. People pushed, the psychiatrists got together, and said…’it’s a perfectly fine thing to choose and not to call it mental illness.’ So that’s the type of thing that a journal in sexuality and culture does, is discuss.”

Discussion is good, Stossel agrees. But in journals today, it seems that only certain conclusions are permitted. The hoaxers complain that in many university fields: “A culture has developed in which only certain conclusions are allowed, like those that make whiteness and masculinity problematic.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that in some places that is correct,” Refinetti agrees.

“Is that a problem?” asks Stossel.

Refinetti replies: “How big of a problem is it? Is it worse than hunger? Is it worse than people shooting each other?”

But a lack of diversity of ideas does make it harder to find truth—and more likely for ridiculous ideas to thrive. Today’s colleges have an extreme lack of diversity: A National Association of Scholars report found that professors at top liberal arts colleges are 10 times more likely to be Democrats than Republicans.

Refinetti says that’s not surprising.

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2019-03-13 04:01:00

Do you pay enough taxes? What is enough?

When asked on 60 Minutes, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t seem to have a specific tax rate in mind, but then she said, “back in the ’60s…you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent.”

Suddenly, 70 percent tax rates are a progressive plan, although Rep. Ilhan Omar added, “We’ve had it as high as 90 percent.”

She’s right.

That was the top tax rate when I was a kid, and today, many Democrats say if we’d just raise rates on rich people, government would have plenty of money to pay for our wonderful programs.

But it’s a myth. What progressives don’t say, perhaps because they don’t know it, is what economic historian Dr. Phillip Magness explains in my new video: “No one actually paid anywhere close to those rates.”

For more than a decade, Magness has researched old taxes.

He discovered that America’s 90 percent tax bracket didn’t bring in much extra money. That’s because rich people found loopholes.

Then, because of that, and because the high tax rates discouraged work, President Kennedy backed a bill that lowered the top rate to 70 percent.

But it turned out that the 70 percent rate wasn’t very real either.

“A millionaire on average would pay 41 percent,” says Magness, because of “all these deductions and exemptions and carve-outs that are intentionally baked into the tax code.”

If you look at newspapers of that time, you see ads promoting things like free $2,499 ocean cruises.

“(B)asically take a vacation around the Caribbean,” explains Magness, “but while you’re onboard the ship you attend, say, an investing seminar or a real estate seminar, and then write off the trip.”

Some rich people bought musical instruments for their kids and deducted the cost because, say, a clarinet would supposedly provide “therapeutic treatment.”

Instead of investing in ideas that might create real wealth, rich people hired accountants to study the tax code.

“Who can afford the best accountants? It’s always the wealthy,” says Magness.

Today, our top tax rate is 37 percent. A dozen years after President Kennedy’s tax cuts, Ronald Reagan proposed reducing the 70 percent rate, saying, “Our tax system could only be described as un-American.”

“Democrats actually agree with him,” recounts Magness. “Reagan goes to the table and says, ‘Let’s make a deal…cut the rates…and in exchange, we’ll consolidate the tax code.”

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2019-03-12 12:50:00

On 60 Minutes, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) recently said “people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.”

Anderson Cooper then asked her what a “fair share” would be.

Ocasio-Cortez responded that in the past, “Sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60-70 percent.”

Soon, that became the progressive plan.

But economic historian Phil Magness, of the American Institute for Economic Research, says that progressives miss an important fact: The high tax rates that America had in the past actually didn’t bring in much revenue.

When rates were at 70 percent, Magness tells John Stossel, “A millionaire on average would pay 41 percent.”

That’s because rich people find loopholes. When America had its highest top tax rates, newspapers ran ads like “Cruise for free…$2,499 value.”

Magness explains: “Basically [you could] take a vacation around the Caribbean, but while you’re onboard the ship, you attend, say, an investing seminar or a real estate seminar—then write off the [whole] trip.”

Stossel says that deductions became so complex that rich people, instead of investing in, say, a precursor to the iPhone, hired accountants and tax lawyers to study the tax code. Some also worked less.

This led President Ronald Reagan, with bipartisan support from Democrats, to lower rates and remove deductions. That began the path to the 37 percent top rate that rates that we have today.

Despite the lower rates, federal government revenue—as a percentage of the economy—is still about the same as it was when the top rate was 70 percent. It’s even about the same as it was when the rate was 90 percent.

Stossel asks Magness about the claim that “the government will collect more and do good things.”

“You’re asking for an economic disaster,” Magness replies. More money will be wasted in the hands of government. “Do we leave it in the private sector where the market decides? Or do we subject it to corrupt politicians?”

Stossel says: Let the market decide, even though that means some get really rich, because economic growth benefits everyone.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-03-12 13:00:00

On 60 Minutes, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) recently said “people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.”

Anderson Cooper then asked her what a “fair share” would be.

Ocasio-Cortez responded that in the past, “Sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60-70 percent.”

Soon, that became the progressive plan.

But economic historian Phil Magness, of the American Institute for Economic Research, says that progressives miss an important fact: The high tax rates that America had in the past actually didn’t bring in much revenue.

When rates were at 70 percent, Magness tells John Stossel, “A millionaire on average would pay 41 percent.”

That’s because rich people find loopholes.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-03-06 05:01:00

If you are an American college professor, the way you get a raise or tenure is by getting papers published in “academic journals.”

The stupidity of these journals says a lot about what’s taught at colleges today.

Recently, three people sent in intentionally ridiculous “research” to prominent journals of women studies, gender studies, race studies, sexuality studies, obesity studies, and queer studies.

“The scholarship in these disciplines is utterly corrupted,” says Dr. Peter Boghossian of Portland State University. “They have placed an agenda before the truth.”

To show that, hoaxer and mathematician James Lindsay says, “We rewrote a section of Mein Kampf as intersectional feminism” and got it published in Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work.

For another paper, they claimed to have “closely” examined genitals of 10,000 dogs in dog parks to learn about “rape culture and queer performativity.”

Boghossian had assumed, “There’s no way they’re gonna believe that we did this!”

But the journal Gender, Place & Culture did, calling the paper “excellent scholarship.”

Seven journals accepted the absurd papers, as I show in my latest video.

Hoaxers Boghossian, Lindsay, and Areo magazine editor Helen Pluckrose explain the reason for their trick.

“We think studying topics like gender, race and sexuality is worthwhile and getting it right is extremely important,” says Lindsay

But researchers of these topics have gotten lazy and political, they say. “A culture has developed in which only certain conclusions are allowed—like those that make whiteness and masculinity problematic,” Lindsay says.

Reach politically “correct” conclusions and you can get most anything published.

“Kind of a last straw happened,” says Lindsay. “There was this paper well-funded by the National Science Foundation that studied ‘feminist glaciology.’ It said glacier science is sexist.”

As a glaciologist giving a TED Talk put it, “the majority of glaciological knowledge that we have today stems from knowledge created by men about men within existing masculinist stories.”

What?

One paper suggested the solution to sexism in glacier science is “feminist paintings of glaciers and feminist art projects,” says Lindsay. They praised art projects like one where they “hooked up a phone line to a glacier so you could call the glacier on the phone and listen to it.” That was “the last straw” for him.

Lindsay adds, “What appears beyond dispute is that making absurd and horrible ideas sufficiently politically fashionable can get them validated at the highest levels of academic grievance studies.”

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2019-03-05 14:50:00

Three academics conducted what they call a “grievance studies” experiment. They wrote fake papers on ridiculous subjects and submitted them to prominent academic journals in fields that study gender, race, and sexuality.

They did this to “expose a political corruption that has taken hold of the universities,” say the hoaxers in a video which documented the process.

John Stossel interviewed James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian who, along with Helen Pluckrose, sent so-called research papers to 20 journals.

They were surprised when seven papers were accepted. One claimed that “dog humping incidents at dog parks” can be taken as “evidence of rape culture.” It was honored as “excellent scholarship.”

Another paper rewrote a section of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf as intersectional feminism.

Stossel assumed that the journals would apologize for publishing nonsense and question the quality of their scholarship. But instead they criticized the the hoaxers, complaining that they “engaged in flawed and unethical research.”

Of course, that was the point of the hoax.

Boghossian is unapologetic, telling Stossel the hoax shows “scholarship in these disciplines is utterly corrupted … they have placed an agenda before the truth.”

When Stossel suggests, “maybe you are just conservative hacks looking to defend your white privilege.” Lindsay replied “I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life.” Boghossian added, “Nor have I.”

Stossel says what upsets him is that after the hoax “no university said ‘we’re not gonna use these journals’ and no editor publicly said, ‘we have to raise our standards.'”

Instead, Portland State University began disciplinary procedures against Boghossian.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-03-05 15:00:00

Three academics conducted what they call a “grievance studies” experiment. They wrote fake papers on ridiculous subjects and submitted them to prominent academic journals in fields that study gender, race, and sexuality.

They did this to “expose a political corruption that has taken hold of the universities,” say the hoaxers in a video which documented the process.

John Stossel interviewed James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian who, along with Helen Pluckrose, sent so-called research papers to 20 journals.

They were surprised when seven papers were accepted. One claimed that “dog humping incidents at dog parks” can be taken as “evidence of rape culture.” It was honored as “excellent scholarship.”

Click here for full text and downloadable versions.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
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Follow us on Twitter.
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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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2019-02-27 05:01:00

When I hear “welfare payments,” I think “poor people.”

But America’s biggest welfare recipients are often politically connected corporations—like America’s sugar producers.

The industry gets billions of dollars in special deals while deceitfully running ads that say, “American farmers don’t get subsidy checks.”

That ad confused me. If they “don’t get subsidy checks,” then what is America’s multibillion-dollar sugar program?

“It costs taxpayers nothing,” claim ads from the American Sugar Alliance. “We are a no-cost program, no cost to the taxpayer.”

“That’s absolutely bogus,” says Ross Marchand of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance in my newest video. Americans “pay as customers and they pay as taxpayers.” He’s right.

We pay several billion dollars extra every year, with “all of that money going to that handful of rich politically connected growers.”

Several companies—Amalgamated Sugar, Michigan Sugar, and Western Sugar Cooperative—get three forms of handouts:

1. Subsidies when sugar prices fall below a certain level.

2. Protection from foreign competition (a limit on imports).

3. A guarantee that prices stay high (the sugar program imposes quotas on how much sugar may be produced in America).

“These are Stalin-style price controls and supply controls,” says Marchand. “It does not help anyone.”

Well, it helps big sugar.

The price of its product is roughly doubled by these rules, so Americans pay the politically connected owners about $4 billion dollars extra.

Why does such a scam persist?

One reason it hasn’t been repealed is, well, Washington rarely repeals any handout. But also, this one costs most of us just $10 or $20 a year. We won’t go to Washington to lobby over that.

But companies that get the subsidies sure do. Creighton University economist Diana Thomas says, “Each American sugar farmer made roughly $3 million a year extra” from America’s sugar program. “Each is willing to spend a lot of time and money making sure that the law stays that way.”

Finally, Big Sugar is very good at deceiving politicians and the media.

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2019-02-26 14:30:00

The U.S. sugar program is “Stalin-style price controls,” Ross Marchand of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance tells John Stossel.

The U.S. government uses a complex system of loans, domestic quotas, and limits on how much sugar we can import. The goal is to control the price of sugar.

Stossel calls it “welfare for the rich.” Economists say the program costs consumers billions a year. And yet the sugar industry makes videos that say “it costs taxpayers nothing.”

Economist Vincent H. Smith writes that the “Stalinist-style,” supply control, “substantially increases U.S. prices–on average U.S. sugar prices are about twice as high as world prices.”

Yet politicians from sugar-producing states defend the program. “It basically allows our sugar industry to compete with other countries that are heavily subsidized by their home countries,” Senator Marco Rubio said in an interview with Fox News.

Stossel takes Rubio’s claim to Marchand, “It’s only fair to our sugar producers who don’t get subsidized, who can’t compete with these subsidized countries.”

Marchand replies, “Is it fair for customers to pay double the world rate for sugar? Is it fair for taxpayers to have to bail out a handful of super rich super-connected sugar processors? No.”

Ryan Weston, representing the Sugarcane Growers, goes on TV programs and says, “we are a no cost program, no cost to the taxpayer.”

“That’s absolutely bogus, taxpayers do pay the cost,” retorts Marchand. When sugar prices drop, “Government will buy sugar from the sugar processors and sell it to ethanol producers at a below market rate. Who’s paying the difference? Who’s footing the bill? U.S. taxpayers.”

Why aren’t people upset with these crony capitalists?

In a video produced by Learn Liberty, Economist Diana Thomas explains that the U.S. sugar program cost each of us “about $10 more on sugar products a year. So we don’t even notice it.” But sugar producers will lobby hard for their special deal because “each American sugar farmer made roughly $3 million dollars a year extra.”

The people who do notice the price controls most are candy makers. According to an Iowa University study, 20,000 American jobs a year are lost because of high sugar prices. Marchand says, “there is one candy cane producer left in Ohio. That’s absolutely ridiculous. And look at all those jobs.”

Stossel challenges Marchand by saying that it’s probably good that we eat less sugar and candy. Marchand replies, “the fact that sugar is in everything means that healthy and unhealthy products alike are going to cost more.”

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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