Again, Trust but Verify

 

Check your crazy quotes.

I don’t like when people say “don’t believe whatever you hear/read/are told” because I don’t think anyone believes whatever they hear. We all have sources we have decided to trust. After paying attention to a journalist or blogger for a while, we may conclude that he knows what he’s talking about. We assume he can back up whatever he’s saying, even if he doesn’t provide a citation.

But even the people we consider smart and educated can still fall for something untrue. I’d like to point out a few quotes that are false. You may see them and be inclined to believe them because sometimes they actually do have citations.

One is a quote from a nonexistent text by a nonexistent person. It goes:

We must realize that our party’s most powerful weapon is racial tensions. By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for centuries they have been oppressed by whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist Party. In America we will aim for subtle victory. While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavor to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negros. We will aid the Negroes to rise in prominence in every walk of life, in the professions and in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige, the Negro will be able to intermarry with the whites and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause.

The originator of this quote is supposedly Israel Cohen, a British communist writing in 1912. The publication it supposedly comes from is called A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century. The quotation appears in the Congressional Record, which makes it sound legitimate. However, it is only there because it was read by a Congressman during a debate over the Civil Rights Act. He read it in a letter to the editor in a Washington newspaper, which later apologized for printing it. The quote was traced back to Eustace Mullins, who believed in a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. There is no book called A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century, and there was no British communist author named Israel Cohen.

Please counter this quote with the truth if you ever see it.

Another fake quote that I have seen is from Catherine MacKinnon, a prominent feminist activist. She has reportedly said things along the lines of “all sex is rape.” She denies those quotes. One which may appear to be legitimately cited is “In a patriarchal society, all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” It is a quote from a book called Professing Feminism, and it is not a direct quote from MacKinnon but what the author claimed she believes. MacKinnon has said that it is hard to tell the difference between rape and consensual sex; “Perhaps the wrong of rape has proven so difficult to articulate because the unquestionable starting point has been that rape is definable as distinct from intercourse, when for women it is difficult to distinguish under conditions of male dominance”.

If you do not like MacKinnon’s point of view, be sure you are arguing against her real quotes. Do not let an argument get sidetracked by someone pointing out that you’re using fake quotes or caricatures of things she has said.

I hesitate to say “if it sounds too crazy to be true, then it probably is” because many extreme political quotes are real. For example, Prince Philip of England, an environmentalist, did indeed write, “I must admit that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.” He said some other disturbing things in an old People magazine interview I found. Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto, containing charming thoughts such as “… there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation, and destroy the male sex” is all too real. Although off her rocker, she was called “one of the most important voices of the feminist movement” by her attorney and “the first outstanding champion of women’s rights” by Ti-Grace Atkinson, president of New York’s NOW chapter in 1968, when Solanas attempted to murder Andy Warhol and another man. That’s all in her bio on a feminist website. Environmentalist and Dartmouth professor Noel Perrin did indeed claim we needed a nuclear disaster killing a lot of people to convince Americans to abandon nuclear power. (The letter to the editor responding to him is awesome, though.) North Carolina activist Kamau Kambon, who has taught college courses, said in 2005, “… how are we going to exterminate white people, because that in my estimation is the only conclusion I have come to. We have to exterminate white people off the face of the planet to solve this problem” the problem being “they are going to kill us.” So, yes, there are plenty of crazies out there to quote. Just do a quick search to make sure it’s real, or check the source if a source has been provided.

Just as I warned last week to not spread images containing lies because it does not help your point of view, I warn you now to check out quotes before posting or reposting them.

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