No, Ben Carson, Being Gay Isn’t a Simple “Choice”

On Wednesday, 2016 Republican presidential prospect Dr. Ben Carson told CNN anchor Chris Cuomo that being gay was “absolutely” a choice. He cited “people who go into prison straight and when they come out, they’re gay.”

Beyond the surprise gut-punch of rhetorically lumping me in with prison inmates, Dr. Carson’s words angered me because they muddied the waters of an already murky scientific and cultural debate.

In a limited sense, Dr. Carson does have a point. Insisting all homosexual behavior comes from innate desires oversimplifies humans’ complex tapestry of emotions and sexualities. But that’s why Carson can’t generalize in reverse that sexual orientation is completely choosable.

As a neurosurgeon, he should appreciate the dangers of making blanket statements about science we still don’t understand well. Major studies on sexuality’s causes so far point to a complex interplay of several interacting genes and environmental factors such as prenatal hormone exposure.

In other words, the deeper you dig, the grayer the picture gets, discrediting Carson’s claim further.

The example of people in prison doesn’t help Carson’s case either. This case is part of a widely-studied sociological phenomenon of straight-identified men engaging in homosexual behavior out of situational convenience; not because they’ve chosen to identify as gay. There’s a huge difference between these people and others who feel an unalterable attraction to the same sex.

If Carson was right, and being gay were “absolutely” a choice, then Alan Turing, the British computer science pioneer who broke the Enigma Code, shortened World War II by 2-4 years, and saved 14-21 million lives in the process, would never have put himself at risk of chemical castration. We wouldn’t hear about so many high-profile “success stories” from the ex-gay conversion therapy movement coming out of the closet… again. And the over 13,600 service-members unnecessarily discharged from our military under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” would never have put their careers in danger by choosing to be gay.

Read the rest at Rare…

Proof That Rich Pay More Than Their Fair Share of Taxes

Just because the rich can afford to pay more in taxes doesn’t mean they aren’t paying their fair share.

While some call for a more progressive tax code in which the rich “pay their fair share” in taxes, it is almost always left unclear exactly what is meant by “fair share.” Is it fair to ask the top one percent of income earners, who earned 15 percent of wealth in 2011, to pay at least 15 percent of the taxes? They actually paid 24 percent of all federal taxes, with an average federal tax rate of 29 percent.

In contrast, the average federal tax rate for the bottom fifth of income earners is only two percent and they paid less than one percent of federal taxes in 2011, the last year for which data is available from the Congressional Budget Office.

Liberals say that rising inequality is reason enough to raise taxes on the rich. They typically neglect to mention that more income for the wealthy means they carry a greater burden of federal taxation.

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner…