What I Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Me. Really?

Among the things that make me crazy: one is the GOP’s obvious belief that education and academic research are dangers to be avoided at all costs.

Does evidence show that having guns in your home is dangerous? How many people commit suicide using a firearm? Are guns more lethal than other weapons? Whoa! If government allowed research into those questions, it might divest you of your God-given right to carry your AR-14 in the canned goods aisle of your local Kroger.

As Politico reported back in 2018,  

House Republican appropriators Wednesday rejected a proposal to designate millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for gun violence research, voting 32-20 to keep the language out of a fiscal 2019 spending bill.

The party-line vote marked Democrats’ latest failed bid to spur studies into preventing firearm-related injuries and deaths — and comes despite a bipartisan agreement earlier this year that the CDC is permitted to conduct such research.

Republican opposition to any and all gun research has been a problem for years, but guns are only one area of research that the party wants to shut down. Yesterday, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported on a vote from the World’s Worst Legislature stripping funding from the Kinsey Institute.(paywall)

That vote was apparently based upon “disputed allegations” by one of Indiana’s many rightwing GOP wacko’s. This one insisted that Kinsey’s research had been child exploitation and that the institute’s research into human sexuality contributed to “liberalized sexual morals, including more acceptance of homosexuality and pornography.”

According to the AP,

Alfred Kinsey, who died in 1956, produced groundbreaking sex-behavior studies in 1948 and 1953 and was portrayed by Liam Neeson in the 2004 film “Kinsey.”

Republican Rep. Lorissa Sweet claimed that some of Kinsey’s research was child exploitation as she argued for an amendment to the state budget bill against funding for the institute.

“By limiting the funding to Kinsey Institute through Indiana University’s tax dollars, we can be assured that we are not funding ongoing research committed by crimes.” Sweet said.

Democratic Rep. Matt Pierce, whose Bloomington district includes the university campus, responded that Sweet’s claims were “based on old unproven allegations of conspiracies that did not exist,” calling them “warmed-over internet memes that keep coming back.”

Pierce said the university maintained a department that ensured all research involving humans met federal laws and that the Kinsey Institute aimed to better understand human sexuality, including how to treat and prevent sexual predators and pedophiles.

All House Democrats voted against the measure; they were joined by seven (presumably more rational) Republicans. The bill  specifically prohibits any use of state money for expenses– including the institute’s on-campus facilities, research work, utilities, office supplies and maintenance of research photographs or films.

Pierce said the institute’s funding was being exploited as a “culture war” issue and that it would simply create bookkeeping problems for the university to use sources such as outside grant funding or student tuition to support it.

It is painful for those of us who belonged to the GOP when it was an actual political party to recognize its transformation into a cult whose members routinely chant “don’t confuse me with facts.” There’s a reason today’s GOP is increasingly compared to the Know-Nothing Party. This vote in Indiana’s House confirms the aptness of that comparison. 

Research and scholarship aren’t just integral to succeeding in school or in many professions. In a rational world, research informs action. Researchers gather evidence in order to test the theories and factual assumptions upon which both governments and individuals act.

Americans on the far right of the political spectrum–especially White Christian males– are frantically opposed to a number of social changes: the unwillingness of today’s women to be properly subservient, the belief that people of color and LGBTQ+ citizens are entitled to equal treatment by both the law and the institutions of civil society. They see  accurate education and the conduct of research as breeding grounds for those changes.

In every era, there are people who respond to social change by yelling “stop the world, I want to get off.” They are a minority, and would be far less threatening in the absence of several outdated structural elements of American politics–especially gerrymandering and the Electoral College–that have entrenched governance by that distinct minority.

An essay in Psychology Today quoted “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,”  for the saying“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

But is it? Let’s look at what results from ignorance: avoidance of facts and information, a skewed view of the world where you don’t want to learn more about something, a desire to label and judge something you might not fully understand, and a general lack of knowledge about the world around you.

In other words, today’s GOP.


  1. I tell most new people I grew up near Chicago because even naming Indiana as my birthplace is just too embarrassing to admit.

  2. Indiana’s infamous lax gun laws and the “…old unproven allegations of conspiracies that did not exist,,,,” regarding the Kinsey Report are old news; neither will change as long as the GOP rules Indiana politics, religion, health care and sex lives. We need to be seeking information on a much higher plain; the outcome which will certainly hurt all of us if not addressed by whatever federal authority has the responsibility to investigate and act on it. McCarthy’s giveaway of internal Capitol Building security videos of the January 6th insurrection which reveal the escape routes and security measures in the event of another attack by the MAGA faction which didn’t have full information for their initial attack. Another attack, which is more a probability than a possibility, will be better planned and carried out with the information provided in those more than 40,000 internal videos. Indiana has only one elected official in place to protect the security of the federal government activities; Democratic Rep. Andre Carson is that person. He is also there to act on any proposed laws to reinstate the ban on sale of assault weapons to the public and to protect our health care and the LBGTQ Americans on the national level.

    What thinking people know but obviously ignore is the state level control over who goes to the federal level to protect (or destroy) democracy and Rule of Law in the nation. The state of Indiana is red with embarrassment over their neglect of humanitarian service to its residents and who it is sending the the federal level. Like AgingLGirl; it is embarrassing to live in Indiana; when I could live elsewhere I always considered it was a good place to BE FROM.

  3. Kinsey’s research methodology was truly horrible and wouldn’t be replicated by any researcher in the field today. The conclusions he reached on human sexuality were no doubt skewed by the extremely flawed methodology he employed in his study of the subject. But do you completely discard Kinsey’s pioneering efforts in the field because he didn’t use the modern research techniques and protocols that were not known in Kinsey’s time? I don’t think so. Kinsey, to me, is a like lot Sigmund Freud. Further research has proven that most of Freud’s theories were wrong. But do we then ignore Freud’s contributions to psychology because his initial theories have been proven to not have validity. I don’t think so.

    If the Kinsey Institute were actually continuing Kinsey’s flawed approach to the study of human sexuality, then I would agree on defunding it. I just don’t think modern researchers at Kinsey, armed with specific protocols refined over time, are going to make the same mistakes as Kinsey did when it comes to research.

  4. Paul; I just Googled KInsey Institute_2021 Annual Report. Research it yourself and see if you learn exactly what they are researching. It is tiny print reports on staff members, congratulating one person for a clay sculpture of Kinsey.

    You are correct that their “modern researchers” are not making the same mistakes; they appear to be researching brief biographies on each other. Other than that clay sculpture which showed a picture of the sculptress sitting on the floor behind the sculpture continuing her sculpting.

  5. What can such study propose and how will we deal withe statistical analysis of gun owners who own guns and become suicidal and those who become suicidal and want to purchase a gun. Indiana is already a red flag state, so how would such studies in the area of mental health help.
    If you have a relative that is an avid gun owner and becomes suicidal it becomes almost inevitable they will use or try to use a gun first.
    It appears here however the Kinsey Institute cant be backed by its prior activities. Would the Kinsey Institute be trusted by anyone whether their studies ate valid or not.

  6. My dad and I probably own most of the guns in our Democratic District. Therefore, any research is skewed since a small percentage own most guns. Also, certain regions have more fears and would gather their safety by gun ownership versus their faith.

    C.G. Jung said the psyche (mind and spirit) was guided more by archetypes and began discrediting Freud when he split from him as a student.

    However, what’s extremely odd is Freud’s nephew came to the USA using his Uncle’s theories to teach Big Industry (Big Tobacco was the first client) and the CIA about how the mind functions.

    There must have been some validity to it, Paul. 😉

  7. To clarify, Big Tobacco hired Edward Bernays (Freud’s nephew) to use his methods to increase sales. Edward planted actresses along a televised parade route in NY to show it was cool for women to smoke. It was taboo until Bernays showed otherwise. Sales grew an immediate 150%.

    Edward Bernays became the grandmaster of US Public Relations (propaganda).

    Was it a good stunt in mind control, or was it a sex symbol?

    If you haven’t watched it, it’s worth splitting it over 3 days…


  8. Paul, “When I encounter facts of which I have previously been unaware–when I learn more about a subject–I change my position to accord with those facts.” This quote from yesterday’s post says it all. Kinsey’s work was so long ago that, of course the methodology would not be approved today. He worked with what was available. The reason the work was so important is that it was among the first attempts to scientifically understand human sexuality. We hadn’t mapped the human genome. MRI technology wasn’t available. We do research so that we can find answers. Sometimes, we get it right out of the gate, but mostly we get it wrong. That’s why medical research also requires replication. In medicine, as in all scientific endeavors, we have not failed when we disprove our theories. We’ve simply eliminated one possibility.

  9. The anti-learning philosophy has crept into the federal tax laws. Due to a 2017 change with delayed effect, businesses are no longer able to deduct research and experimentation costs in the year incurred. Instead, they must spread the deduction over five years. Other industrialized countries give tax breaks.
    Go figure.

  10. Todd’s expose’ of Bernays adds credence to Marx’s predictions about capitalism gone unchecked.

    That said, today’s blog shows that Republicans shouldn’t be in charge of ANYTHING pertaining to the betterment of ANY society, not just ours.

    You all keep showing how badly Indiana’s politics are, but just about EVERY “red” state shows similar disasters.

    EVERYTHING REPUBLICANS TOUCH DIES. Get that through your heads, people who vote for Republicans. They’re too stupid to know it, but they are killing you one way or another.

    In other news: Turns out Mike DeWine, Ohio’s governor is on the “payroll” of that goober CEO of Norfolk Southern railroad. Imagine that. So, Mike, following orders, put a monstrous plume of death into the atmosphere. Was it to hide the evidence of their corruption? It doesn’t matter. Their corruption overwhelms benefit to the people.

    So, Indiana, you are not alone. Take Greg Abbott and the Texas Grifting cowboys – please.

  11. When I saw the Kinsey headline in IBJ yesterday, my first assumption was that Republicans were just making sure the one institution in the state that could refute their culture war anti-LGBTQ policies needs to be shut down. Anti-Government and Anti-science really does sum up today’s GOP.

    Government censorship at its finest.

  12. Bob,

    I wouldn’t be crying too hard for our “poor over taxed corporations”. They get plenty of breaks for R&D including a 20% tax credit (read US Government research subsidy) while still allowing the company to write-off 100% of their cost (albeit over 5 years).

  13. What is it with the GOP obsession with other people’s genitals??? I remember the 50s when everything about sex was supposed to be a secret. How many marriages, relationships, families and lives were destroyed by this approach to the most intense aspect of human relationship?

  14. I recall reading long ago a celebration of the life of Edison, who came up (finally) with tungsten, the necessary element then for the incadescent light. A woman in the line to shake his hand said to him: “Oh, Mr. Edison! You are so bright and wonderful in coming up with the electric lamp!” Old Tom replied: “Yeah, I’m bright. I tried iron, tin, aluminum and many others in coming up with the lamp. I’m not so bright!”

    Tom may have been right in his assessment of self but wrong in what his failed efforts contributed to the overall effort , even his own. The lesson here is that those who experiment and fail serve us well by noting their failures and thus ridding experimentation of such “blind alleys” so that other experimenters and would be inventors become more efficient as a result and are spared the time and expense of pursuing the answer down the same path(s). I have often thought that those such as Bell and Edison should somehow share their fame and wealth with those who failed in their similar efforts to nab those important patents but cleared the road for those two, among others, but we only reward winners, even though the recorded efforts of “losers” may have made them “winners.”

  15. Vern,

    I’ll get the book on Sunday.

    And, just a tidbit from LittleJohn, This is something we knew already. Back in the day, maybe not too far back lol, government handlers used to tell certain gang leaders when there would be a supply of weapons coming through on the train. They would actually tell them the car and the track the train would be on at a specific time. Of course, with hardly any security, those train cars were easy pickings if you knew what you were looking for already.

    The government was involved in the spread of drugs and guns! And, this very behavior spread through most of the major urban areas!


    Details on that should be coming pretty soon. Probably names and places will have to be altered a bit.

    I’ll tell you one thing, for the government to claim a war on drugs and complain about gun violence, all they have to do is look in the mirror because they’re the ones that promoted it. It was done to decimate minority communities. And, to fund off the books wars as in the Iran Contra shenanigan from Ollie North and Ronald Reagan.

    The American government has a lot of innocent blood on its hands, and we don’t have to look that far back!

  16. if the kindey inst had the facts,do they since 1956 make the correction of population and coming outta the closet on any sexual tendancies? though many more have populated the world since 1956, madia brings out the question,and damn kinsey couldnt hide it. if ongoing studies of one subject over decades havent come to a conclusion,instead of just hammering another social-human-out of the closet issues. seems were all aware of exploitation in any form. but to vote against the making record how deranged minds have prevailed.we now have the lack of family or social standards and handing down basic principles of moral obligations. since 1956 the family is online.the majority has become ear buds and stares at the infinate glass window. the familt circle has been broken. human nature has become what it is.follow the flow of whetever socio-economic system throws at ya. seems the parent at home after school isnt even registered in any study,other than to gloss over a economic need over moral standards. since 1966 the idea of racial equality has been moving along until someone who did t like it got a social media platform and then a major news outlet to bullhorn the issue that really dosent make sense to hate society because your not happy. (or your just working for someone who wants it all)
    over my 68 years ive lived in major metro areas, went to public/cath schools,military at age 17 lives rural and partakes in face to face conversation across this country drivin truck and enjoying a decent dive. im not into shakin hands with the suits, they are impervious to any retort to thier conversations by just waving you off, while they, control the country at this point. minions of servitde have become thier door mat. reading deep into euro society and the working class and what the rich are allowed to do,would stop you cold in a heart beat. kinsey doesnt ever touch them,where they have the money and graft to epstien what they want. maybe the kinsey inst could pull some curtians away and we can get a qlimpse of what billionaires and such have behind their world. seems they have done well by buying and throwing flack..davos anyone?

  17. John:
    my first real study of the goverment and the drugs,(i lived and partied inL.A. in the 1970s)
    was about the central American war and the drug running to support it. its all black and white, and Gary Webb was real. when you live with the ones whos sold and used and the explosion of hash,coke,crack etc, it doesnt take a gov study to see where and how, but the why at that period of time. will casey and secord of usaf. dropped the radar on incoming shipments when they were cash buys in panama to support the contras. many newsreal footage atests to mercinaries coming off gov, and private planes in panama and the faces all,prior vietnam and forigien merce. it took alot of money to support what reagan couldnt get from congress. seems king geo the 1st since 1976 was the biggest drug dealer in the world,and supported the afgan war against russian,by allowing hash into the u.s. for money to buy arms from u.s. arms makers,by allowing the flow of drugs into the U.S… look at the time lines,and the small independant journalist that followed the money.. iran/contra wasnt a pimple on a good mans ass with what really supplied the money.

  18. If you can find the video of rep sweet’s speech for HB1001 it is worth watching – especially the part when Rep Pierce has the chance to speak and question her info sources. She couldn’t reference any specific sources. to back up her BS rant. Rep Pierce wasn’t as tough on her as he should have been. He should have demanded that she be able to provide actual proven sources that what she spoke of was true and not just conjecture.

    My questions for all of you are:

    1. Do you think this was an ALEC bill provided to her or did some other religious bill mill get her to sponsor this?
    2. Do you think she is actually intelligent enough to have written this bill herself?

    She is definitely a product of the far right’s plan the past few years to search for far right extremists at the local levels and then back them financially to get elected to state legislatures. Their evil plan has been working while we hear crickets from the Dem party.

  19. Education is feared by the GOP, I believe, because they do not want people to be able to see the
    failures of freshening that they parade in front of people as rationalizations for their un-governing
    ethos. The people who eat up their garbage are afraid of the complexity that makes up life, and do
    not wish to see that the world is not either/or.
    Not recognizing the difference between an edible plant and a toxic one sadly ended the life of
    Christopher McCandless, the subject of the book, and movie “Into the Wild.”
    ‘Nuff said!

  20. Jack,

    Right on target! You know, you’ve heard it and seen it in your travels, same as I have! People are not shy about talking about it, but there have been individuals who have disappeared for talking about it too intensely.

    The government, especially the right wing, we’re always afraid of insurrection by minorities. And what better way to destroy a community and the fabric of its relationships than with drugs and guns!

    If I were to use a term concerning what the government has done in this country, I would say wicked is close. And, I don’t understand why individuals seem to cover it up no matter what their color, spot, or stripe is.

    And that is why politics will never solve anything, everyone can complain about going out to vote, well, did it really prevent anything from happening?

    The reason society is rotting from the inside out has a huge connection with the rotten head of government. The fish rots from the head.

    When somebody poisons another, do you go after the one who’s poisoned or do you go after the perpetrator? We punish those that are being poisoned and the perpetrators are tiptoeing through the tulips as Tiny Tim so oddly expressed!

  21. I agree with Paul. Today’s GOP is fixated on sex. However, since the Kinsey Institute is now researching ways to prevent and treat sexual predators and pedophiles and the GOP want to stop such research, perhaps we should send their voting records to
    Q-Anon which is obsessed with pedophilia.

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