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Posts for November, 2009

Purdue Professor Spews “An Economic Case Against Homosexuality”

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2009

Purdue Professor of Library Science Bert Chapman wrote an article on his TownHall blogsite in which he sought to lay out an economic argument against the civil rights and liberties of gay men.

His premise is that AIDS is expensive so gay men should be denied any benefits, both from the government and from private employers. (He is all for “the biblical condemnation of the homosexual lifestyle”, but he seems unaware that Lesbians exist).

The money wasted on AIDS research could be returned to taxpayers or transferred to more worthwhile areas of public health research such as cancer, heart disease, and combating pandemic conditions like H1N1 flu.

Chapman’s rant is factually flawed, poorly contrived, based on false assumptions, and is void of exactly what he thinks an alternative might be (e.g. let sick people die in the street?).

Not only does he seem to think that all gay men have AIDS, the poor man also appears to think that US AIDS relief spending in Africa is somehow related to gay men. And in a leap of irrationality, Chapman suggests that gay people getting married would lead to increased rather than decreased sexual disease transmission.

Naturally, some Purdue students aren’t pleased. They expressed concerns about gay students and about the university’s commitment to non-discrimination policies.

But I think the bigger issue is that Purdue has a Professor of Library Science who seems incapable of researching even the most basic of facts. As an advocate for information access, Chapman has an obligation to use the information ready at his fingertips rather than rant on uninformed.

Which brings me to my favorite response. Kevin Casimer, a senior in the College of Liberal Arts, made a tongue in cheek economic case for getting rid of librarians. Frankly, of the two, his argument was stronger.

Getting rid of librarians makes economic sense. Walmart trusts people to check out their groceries, so surely we could implement self-checkout at our libraries. Replacing librarians with minimum wage workers to put books back on the shelf and assist people with self-checkout would save billions. This process could even generate new income if we allowed police to access these systems and fine those who don’t return books. Of course, a degree of service would be lost without librarians. However, I think we’ll manage locally as long as someone teaches the new workers to be as helpful as the last Purdue librarian I spoke to who offered to “help me do a search on ‘the Google.’”