The Political Temptation of Social Science

     The 1950’s crusade against comic books was spearheaded by Fredric Wertham, a psychologist who outlined in his book Seduction of the Innocent that comic books were negatively influencing children, and were primarily responsible for causing juvenile delinquency.  It turns out that Dr. Wetham lied about his entire study, as revealed in Information and Culture: A Journal of History:

“Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham and his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent serve as historical and cultural touchstones of the anti-comics movement in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s. Although there have been persistent concerns about the clinical evidence Wertham used as the basis for Seduction, his sources were made widely available only in 2010…. Wertham manipulated, overstated, compromised, and fabricated evidence—especially that evidence he attributed to personal clinical research with young people—for rhetorical gain.”

     The lies, distortions, and omissions lead to the infamous hearings lead by Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver in the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.  While not legislative action was taken, the pressure forced the comic publishers to self-censor to the point where only toned-down superheroes remained.

     Today, the idea of censoring comic books or declaring that they are the root of juvinille delinquency is laughed at by almost everyone, and both the left and the right are represented by comic book fans, and to a lesser degree comic book artists.  That his thesis is so universally derided is probably the major reason why the revelation of what Dr. Wirtham did has been so easily accepted.

     But what happens when the “social science” is actually popular, and the lies, distortions, and omissions that have an even greater effect, to the point of causing coercive legislation to be passed?

     Alfred Kinsey is one example of this.  He has long been accused of lying and distorting his data in order to push his preferred narrative of paradigm smashing kinky sex being normal.

     Yet despite this, people still cite Kinsey, even when they acknowledge the faults in his “research,” they still declare them to be truthful: This is the social “science” equivalent of “Fake but Accurate.”

     But this is just a single example.  How much “research” being done at universities or other “research centers” is lying, distorting, and fabricating without anyone noticing due to the only people in a position to scrutinize such work wholeheartedly agree with the final pronunciations are a small number of intellectually inbred elitists who use obfuscating lingo to insularize themselves against criticism?

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