by Paul R. Hollrah –
As a longtime observer of politics and politicians, I find that there are two primary things I look for in candidates for president of the United States.
I discovered the first of these when I served as deputy campaign manager in former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s presidential exploratory committee in 1986-87. I found myself wondering why so many really talented people would drop everything in their lives and move to Chicago to support a dark-horse candidate for the presidency… even though that candidate, by any possible measure, was the best prepared, most experienced, and most capable man ever to seek the presidency in U.S. history.
The answer to that question came to me as I watched a discussion between William F. Buckley and Sidney Hook on Buckley’s PBS program, Firing Line. When Buckley asked Hook about what he saw as the essential qualities of true leadership, Hook replied, “It is simply this: It is great intelligence, in combination with great moral courage.
The second thing I look for in a presidential candidate has to do with their ability to field any and all questions with clarity and self-assuredness. I want to be confident that my candidate will always know exactly what to say, and to say it in such a way that people of all political stripes and all economic classes will understand the response. What I don’t want is a candidate who will constantly have me sitting on the edge of my chair, wondering what he will say next.
A straw poll at the recent CPAC conference in Maryland produced the names of seventeen potential candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination. The top ten on the list were, in order of popularity: Senator Rand Paul, Governor Scott Walker, Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, former Governor Jeb Bush, former senator Rick Santorum, Senator Marco Rubio, real estate developer Donald Trump, former Hewlitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Governor Chris Christie.
Of these ten, only six meet the above standard. These are: Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, and Carly Fiorina. However, my favored candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, went on to prove days later that nobody’s perfect.
In a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo, Dr. Carson was asked if he thought being gay was a matter of choice. Using the prison system to support his point of view, Dr. Carson said, “… a lot of people who go into prison straight – and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
In this instance, Dr. Carson’s point was well taken. However, he can’t be expected to know everything. He is apparently unaware of a report published in the May 2005 edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, prepared by Dr. Ivanka Savic and a team of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. That study goes a long way toward proving, clinically, what thinking people have always known, instinctively… which is that homosexuality is not a “chosen” lifestyle; it is, in fact, genetic.
According to the report, “Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researches have shown that homosexual and heterosexual men respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that gay men respond in exactly the same way as women.”
The two chemicals used in the study were an odorless testosterone derivative contained in men’s perspiration and an odorless estrogen-like compound found in women’s urine, both of which have long been suspected of being human pheromones… pheromones being “chemicals emitted by one individual to evoke some behavior in another of the same species.”
It has long been known that certain aromas cause certain sections of the brain to “light up” when measured by a brain imaging device that tracks blood flow in the brain. In fact, as the New York Times has reported, Dr. Savic and her colleagues have shown in earlier research that the two chemical compounds impact the brain quite differently from all other scents.
The estrogen-like compound, although it caused a reaction in the normal smell-related sections of the female brain, had a different impact on male subjects. It created a reaction in the male hypothalamus, that section of the brain that governs sexual behavior – but with one exception. When the Swedish researchers added homosexual males as a third test group they found that the gay men responded to the two scents in exactly the same way as women.
Conversely, the research showed that the testosterone derivative found in men’s perspiration caused just the opposite reactions. It activated the normal smell-related regions of men’s brains while activating the hypothalamus of female – and homosexual male – subjects.
Taken in context with a 1991 report by Dr. Simon LeVay, which showed that a small region of the hypothalamus is twice as large in heterosexual males as it is in females or in gay men, the new Swedish report sheds interesting new light on homosexual behavior.
Finally, it is important to note that, although pheromones are detected through our olfactory organs, through our sense of smell, the odors in question are not detectable or describable as we might detect and describe the aroma of a charbroiled steak or a bouquet of flowers.
Perfume manufacturers have long attempted to create fragrances that would act as human pheromones. However, as the Times reports, those hopes were dashed several years ago when it was discovered that a tiny structure in the nose that allows other animals to detect pheromones, the vomeronasal organ, is largely inactive in humans – which would seem to indicate that human pheromones are there, they exist in the form of odors, we can’t smell them, but our bodies still detect their presence and our brains react to them.
The Swedish research is far from being a definitive answer to the question of homosexuality, but it is important new information that can help us to understand the phenomenon.
What Dr. Carson should have said in response to Chris Cuomo’s question is, “Yes, there is clinical research which tends to show that homosexuality is genetic… many are apparently born with that sexual orientation.
However, we must also recognize that many men and women enter the prison population as heterosexuals, but come out homosexuals… suggesting that, at some point, they chose to engage in homosexual behavior. What this tells us is that there is much we still don’t know about the homosexual phenomenon.” March 15, 2015