TLO Exclusive: Oklahoma State Rep Josh Cockroft is a plagiarist…

josh cockroft jeans

The last time we really covered Oklahoma State Rep Josh Cockroft was when the Batman impersonator introduced legislation to wipe out the arts in Oklahoma. Knowing that, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that he apparently steals other people’s thoughts and words and tries to pass them off as his own.

Yesterday, an Ogle Mole alerted me to a recent blog post that Cockroft published under his own name on his website titled “The Case For Traditional Marriage.”

Here’s the intro:

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear an appeal to a federal district court’s earlier ruling, essentially removing Oklahoma’s ban on homosexual marriage.

I, as well as multiple other state officials, immediately expressed my outrage to the blatant disregard of the very moral fibers upon which this country was founded and for the gross overreach of the federal judicial system. In an issue which boils down to state’s rights, three individuals in a federal district court overturned what 1.1 million people stated in defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

I have spent the last several days stating and restating my personal opinion, but for this column, I want to take a step back and look at this issue from a practical standpoint, ask a few questions and provide answers on this important issue.

What is marriage, why does traditional marriage matter for public policy, and what would be the consequences of redefining marriage?

Yes, those are interesting questions. In fact, they are so interesting that Ryan T. Anderson with the Heritage Foundation asked the same exact questions in his 2013 article “Marriage Matters: Consequences of Redefining Marriage” and abstract “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It?”

If marriage policy is going to be based on principle, Americans need to answer three questions:

What is marriage?
Why does marriage matter for public policy?
What would be the consequences of redefining marriage?

Okay, that has to be a coincidence, right? There’s no way Representative Cockroft – an elected conservative official who represents the people of Oklahoma – would stoop so low as to blatantly steal someone else’s work and pass it off as his own, right?

The answer is apparently so. We found numerous examples in Cockroft’s blog post that are blatant, word-for-word, copy-and-paste, unattributed ripoffs from Ryan Anderson’s 2013 abstract. For example, Cockroft wrote in his blog post:

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the indisputable truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father. Marriage even predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. Marriage has public purposes that even go beyond its private purposes. This is why a majority of states have attempted to affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Notice how he included the phrase “I believe?” I think he did that to lead the reader to believe that those were his original, deeply personal thoughts on the issue. Well, check out this passage from Ryan Anderson’s article:

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father. Marriage predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. Marriage has public purposes that transcend its private purposes. This is why 41 states, with good reason, affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.

You know what, I could buy the excuse that Cockroft simply forgot to credit the author, but the dude literally went and changed three or four words. For example:

Anderson: It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father.

Cockroft: It is based on the indisputable truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father.

Basically, Cockroft switched out the word “anthropological” to “indisputable.” I guess you can’t blame him. Since he doesn’t believe in evolution or science, anthropology is probably a meaningless science to him. Or better yet, maybe he plagiarized someone else who plagiarized the original author?

Regardless, here’s another example:

Anderson: Marriage predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. Marriage has public purposes that transcend its private purposes. This is why 41 states, with good reason, affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Cockroft: Marriage even predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. Marriage has public purposes that even go beyond its private purposes. This is why a majority of states have attempted to affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Give Cockroft some credit on this one. He was probably too lazy to copy-edit the “41 states” claim, so he switched it to “majority.” Classy.

Here’s another rip off:

Anderson: Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children. While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing.

Cockroft: Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children. While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing.

This part cracked me up:

Anderson: Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

Cockroft: This is a fact which gets lost in the talking points: Promoting traditional marriage does not at any time ban any type of relationship. Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

Yes, it is a point that gets lost… especially when you blatantly copy and steal someone else’s copy points and take credit for them.

Here’s another funny one:

Anderson: In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that marriage is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This view reduces marriage primarily to emotional bonds or legal privileges. Redefining marriage represents the culmination of this revisionism and would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds.

Cockroft: Also, it is an entirely selfish view to say that marriage is all about you. In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a view that a marriage is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This reduces marriage to a system to approve emotional bonds or distribute legal privileges.

Know what else is selfish? Stealing some other dude’s work and pretending that you wrote it. Just for giggles, let’s include one final passage:

Anderson: Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and would deny, as a matter of policy, the ideal that a child needs both a mom and a dad. Decades of social science, including the latest studies using large samples and robust research methods, show that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. The confusion resulting from further delinking childbearing from marriage would force the state to intervene more often in family life and expand welfare programs. Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

Cockroft:Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this view, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds. Redefining marriage further distances marriage from the needs of children and denies the ideal that a child needs both a mom and a dad. Decades of research show that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. The confusion resulting from further delinking childbearing from marriage would force the state to intervene more often in family life and expand welfare programs. Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is. In other words, if an individual has an emotional connection to a rock or even (although it now sounds outrageous) a young child, then government could recognize and give the definition of marriage.

Wow, I bet Anderson will even roll his eyes when he reads Cockroft’s ad libbing on that one. Yes, the government is eventually going to allow people to marry consenting rocks. Maybe Cockroft should stick to plagiarizing?

Anyway, there are plenty of other blog posts by Cockroft on his website if you want to look around. If you spot anything else, let us know.

Also, I sent Cockroft a tweet to see if he’d comment on any of this. He sent me the following DM.

cockroft

He doesn’t follow us on Twitter, so I wasn’t able to reply, but I’m sure he’s aware of it now. If he responds, we’ll update you.