- - Thursday, August 9, 2018


As a white man, I have grown weary of charges of toxic masculinity and worse. As a lifelong registered Democrat I am pained to write that the toxicity and harassment (with the possible exception of the commander-in-chief) appears to come from Democrats. (“UGA dean apologizes to Twitter mob congratulating GOP nominee Brian Kemp,” Web, July 30).

I read somewhere that the best strategy for dealing with toxic and harassing Democrats is simply to not apologize. Apologizing leaves the apologizer one down — which is the intent of the social-justice mobs. Such a strategy certainly would be painful in the short term, but in the long term might well serve to detoxify Democrats and attenuate harassment nationwide.

As B.F. Skinner demonstrated long ago with rats, rewarding behavior increases its frequency and not rewarding behavior decreases its frequency. Straight white men apologizing constantly to the mob appears only to reward and encourage more harassment.

And, by the way, if the absence of rewards doesn’t work, there is always traumatic avoidance conditioning.


Professor of psychology emeritus

Florida International University


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