On being a liberal heretic, trans-activist thought policing, and the 1st Amendment

There’s a red-diaper baby named David Horowitz, who, after many years as a prominent activist, flipped from the far left all the way to the conservative far right. He’s the editor of a right-wing journal, and the tagline on his site is

Horowitz

I used to scoff at the utter absurdity of that notion. Everyone knows that to be on the left is to value free speech, human liberty, social justice, and equality—the complete opposite of authoritarian thinking.

But I now understand what he means, despite stringently disagreeing with nearly everything he stands for politically.

I’ve been a knee-jerk leftist my entire adult life. Like many of my ilk, until recently, I had pretty much endorsed every tenet of progressive-liberal dogma as received wisdom, not bothering to give any of it much thought when it came to the voting booth, or whose side I was on in any debate about politics or social issues.

The wakeup call resulting from my kid’s temporary identification as a trans man, and, in particular, her vociferous demands for the two Ts—testosterone and top surgery—roused me from my comfortable slumber. And the awakening was an entirely rude one.

My critical thinking thus stirred, I don’t think I could shut it down again, despite now perpetually sleeping on an intellectual bed of nails. Not that I’d want to be re-anesthetized at this point, as much as I might envy the still-smug certainty of most of my friends.

I see myself now as a classical liberal, no longer a progressive. Among other things, classical liberals historically believed in and defended the freedom of speech. “Progressives”—and that includes many journalists—now seem to see their role as uber-scolds: refusing to cover alternative viewpoints, muzzling skeptical voices, sinking so low as to delete even respectful, dissenting comments submitted to the many news articles which promote the medical transition of children. This self-censorship is the case even in the United States, where we are lucky enough to have a 1st Amendment to the Constitution which enshrines our right to freely speak our minds.

first-amendment

The press, which ought to be the champion of open debate, has mostly abdicated that solemn role. This is all the more insidious in Western societies, where we are under the delusion that we actually still have a free press. In societies with overt censorship, such as China, citizens are only too aware that their access to actual facts is curtailed. In Western democracies, tacit editorial refusal to provide a platform to dissenters, thereby eschewing true investigative journalism, amounts to de facto censorship, which is all the more dangerous because the general public is not aware of it.

As a lifetime liberal, it pains me to have to turn to right-wing, conservative news sources to locate a modicum of the treasured right to free speech liberals so take for granted, while they are complicit in eroding it. But it is more and more the case that only the right-wing press—despite its massive failings (most notably, the homophobic labeling of transgender issues as part of the mythical “gay agenda”)–dares to raise thorny issues around transgenderism.

national review headline

Yesterday, writer Brendan O’Neill at the National Review wrote about the latest successful quashing of free speech—this time, forcing a retraction from the British writer Ian McEwan, who had the temerity to confess, “Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of people with penises as men.”

Can you guess what happened next? Yes, McEwan was subjected to a Twitch hunt, to that 21st-century bloodsport in which anyone who expresses an unpopular view or makes a less than PC utterance or simply misspeaks a little will be “called out” (shamed) by the bedroom-bound, Twitter-living, self-styled guardians of correct thinking. Twits went berserk over his apparently perverse linking of penises with maleness. They branded him a bigot, weird, a transphobe. Trans-rights activists put the boot in, too. Stonewall, the LGBT activist group, slammed McEwan for being “uninformed” and said his weird worldview doesn’t only “denigrate the trans experience, it denies its very existence.” Paris Lees, a trans woman and journalist, scolded McEwan, telling him his “ideas about penises are outdated.” He should apologize, the mob said.

O’Neill goes on to cite George Orwell’s 1984, which eerily predicted a future society utterly cowed by a thought-policing Big Brother. In the novel, Big Brother eventually manages to break the will of 1984’s protagonist, Winston Smith, who finally acknowledges that 2 + 2 does equal 5:

And now there’s punishment of people for saying there’s such a thing as reality, such a thing as tangible, measurable facts. This, too, is straight out of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In that novel, O’Brien, Big Brother’s torturer, ridicules our hero Winston Smith for believing in objective reality. He takes Winston to task for believing “reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right,” and that “the nature of reality is self-evident,” when in fact “whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth.”

It’s one thing, of course, for adult trans activists and their media enablers to advocate on their own behalf. But as we know, they also want to shut down any whisper of dissent about their current program of identifying gender-defiant children as young as 2 or 3 years old as “transgender,” thus helping them down a medicalized path that will almost certainly consign them to a lifetime of hormones and surgeries.

A recent example of a whisper of dissent the activist-clinician lobby wants to hush up pertains to a post on this web site. Sexologist James Cantor committed the thought crime of tweeting a link to a recent interview with a therapist who has launched an organization of professionals concerned about the pediatric transition trend, published on 4thWaveNow.

For this transgression, the WPATH horde wants to ban Cantor (who is hardly a staunch ally to the 4thWaveNow community or gender-critical feminists) from their Facebook group and force a retraction.

What, specifically, was Cantor’s sin in tweeting this link? This: the interviewed therapist opined that it might be best to postpone medical transition until an age when the brain is more fully developed in its decision-making capabilities, generally recognized to be around 25. Mind you, that opinion was one sentence in a rather moderate interview, wherein the same therapist conceded there might be some kids for whom medical transition was the right answer.

Buried in a 5000-word interview are a few sentences that have earned this site the monikers “inflammatory,” “shameful,” “transphobic,” deserving to be listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  As for Cantor, he was told that by tweeting a link he was [capital letters and all] KILLING CHILDREN.

The fact that Cantor disavowed any agreement with the 25+ suggestion, in another tweet the very next day makes no difference, because when it comes to trans activist thought policing, absolutely no critical thinking or dissent from the received wisdom around “transgender children” can be tolerated. None.

4thWaveNow is devoted in the main to intelligent discussion by parents of gender nonconforming and/or trans-identified kids about issues pertaining to pediatric transition. We have a stake in this discussion. We are hardly bystanders. These are our kids we are talking about. Yet the adult trans activists claim our kids as their own. They claim themselves as the experts on our kids, and argue for abridging our right to speak our minds about the physical and psychological well being of gender-defiant youth.

Let’s look a little closer at the particular heretical opinion that has earned such opprobrium. I’ll call it the Executive Function Heresy. Simply put, we Executive Function Heretics wonder whether, given the fact that kids and teens typically try on and discard multiple iterations of “identity;”  and given the fact that judgment, impulse control, and awareness of future consequences aren’t fully developed until the mid-20s, maybe it might make sense to wait until early adulthood to decide about making permanent body changes.

It’s not difficult to find real-life examples of why that might not be such a bad idea. A very recent case is a woman named Sasha, recently interviewed on the BBC Woman’s Hour (which actually allowed a whisper of dissent to be voiced on the show—highly unusual). Sasha had a double mastectomy at 19. Now 26, Sasha no longer identifies as a trans man, but considers herself “non binary” and, in retrospect,  wonders whether it might have made sense to look at less drastic options. As Transgender Trend points out in their post on the matter, Sasha is right around the age when the frontal lobes of the human brain are more or less fully developed. A key part of that development is the ability to reflect on decisions and experiences in a thoughtful way. A teenager, who by definition has very little prior experience to reflect upon, is highly unlikely to stop and think about how they’re going to feel ten years later.

The existence of even one young adult like Sasha ought to be enough to give pause to the pediatric transition industry (and it is an industry, supporting the careers of many thousands of activists, psychologists, doctors, and researchers around the world). But Sasha is far from alone, as we know from the detransitioned men and women who are starting to speak up about their experiences—for example, the bloggers Maria Catt and Third Way Trans.


So where does all this leave a dyed-in-the-wool lefty like me? Well, I’m still a liberal, in the classical sense. I still believe in universal health care. I support lesbian and gay people, as well as the right of transgender people to access jobs and housing without discrimination. I am a supporter of organized labor. I think corporations require strong government regulation. I recognize the reality of climate change and the disaster we’re courting, as we continue our global laissez faire capitalism, fueled by the unfettered burning of fossil fuels. And I still believe that being liberal means—or ought to mean—defending and using the right to free speech.

thought police.jpg

Actually, conservative climate change denial is good analogy for the attitude of trans activists. Meddling and tinkering with nature has got us into quite a pickle, as the Arctic melts, extreme weather events multiply, species go extinct, and the seas around us rise. Most liberals have at least a modicum of respect for the natural world, frequently decrying the damaging effects of a human technology and industrial civilization gone rogue. Yet these same liberals never seem to reflect on their support for high-tech interventions perpetrated on the bodies of kids who are uncomfortable with their stereotyped gender roles, or who become alienated from their physical selves at the onset of puberty. They never seem to question the fact that so many formerly lesbian-identified young women suddenly decide they are straight men. Rather than treading softly and looking for more natural solutions, the liberal establishment—well funded by “progressive” think tanks, foundations, and billionaires like George Soros—is empowering the juggernaut which promotes invasive surgeries and science fiction procedures like uterus transplants for trans women.

Do progressives ever ponder what might happen when climate change eventually forces human societies to downscale? What will happen to all those people who were convinced as teenagers they were born in the “wrong” body, when high-tech surgeries and lifelong testosterone injections are no longer widely available? Do they think these people will all commit suicide? Or might they learn to live, love, and make peace with themselves, as generations of gender nonconforming people have always done in the pre-industrial age? Hey, environmentalists: How can nature get it so right when it comes to biological diversity and the exquisite balance that supports life on earth, but get it so wrong for these gender-defiant young people encouraged to despise their evolution-crafted bodies?

It occurs to me that the liberal-progressive-left is also like a teenager, with still underdeveloped frontal lobes, a passion for instant gratification, and a deficit in thinking through consequences of its actions when it comes to our gender-defiant youth.

I expect this sort of childish, primitive thinking from the conservative right. Recognizing it in my own liberal tribe has been a major disappointment, and that’s putting it mildly.

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97 thoughts on “On being a liberal heretic, trans-activist thought policing, and the 1st Amendment

  1. Thank you again for a sharply insightful blog entry. I appreciate the time and care you give to these issues which will cause so much unnecessary suffering if we do not speak out. I am grateful for how you hung in there and navigated your personal situation with your daughter. She is fortunate, more than she may know at this time and I wish you both the best!

    Liked by 9 people

  2. I was a knee jerk liberal once myself. I started to develop an interest in feminism around 2010. I was bit of an SJW myself. I believed a lot of the bullshit unquestioningly. I argued alongside people now who, if they know how I now think, would consider me to be a bigot.

    I soon became disillusioned with the out of control thought policing. The cruelty shown towards otherwise ‘good allies’ who used the wrong word out of ignorance. Intent is meaningless. An apology will only result in more abuse. There is no defense. if you defend yourself, it’s just proof of your guilt. You’re always guilty. They set you up in a Kafka trap (http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=2122)

    One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…

    ^Has pretty much been my experience in social justice circles. Where it’s adherents are so obsessed with creating a safe space that they victimize and bully others.They will go so far as to bully those who they claim are victims of oppression. I see Muslim women being accused of ‘white supremacy’ because they dare to criticise Islam (http://www.cbc.ca/radio/the180/unheard-muslim-voices-banning-dangerous-dogs-and-a-plea-for-plain-language-1.3393360/speaking-up-for-unheard-muslim-and-ex-muslim-voices-1.3394359). Goldsmiths University LGBTQ and feminist societies tried to no platform ex-muslim Maryam Namazie because she is critical of Islam. The Muslim group that the LGBTQ and feminist society sided with have openly called for the murder of gays and the beheading of apostates.

    I have spoken with feminists who have accused those who want to even talk about the Cologne rapes of being ‘Islamophobes’, since the ‘disenfranchized’ rapists were only ‘punching up’ against privileged white German women. If you happen to be a member of an oppressed group, you can do no wrong, unless of course you disagree with SJW dogma, at which case you are evil and can be discarded. This is why Maryam Namazie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Maajid Nawaz are all considered to be ‘white supremacists’ and ‘porch monkeys’ by the most vocal SJWs. If there is one thing SJWs hate, it is a minority person who disagrees with them. They really hate trans people who don’t buy into the bullshit. Sexchangereget.com, ThirdwayTrans, GenderApostates, all demonized. “Trans people can be transphobic so those opinions don’t count”

    I started to become disillusioned after being repeatedly bullied over innocent mistakes. This helped me to reach the conclusion that this new breed of liberal doesn’t care about the issues, not really. What they care about is thought control. About adherence to strict, rigid ideology. Any disagreement, no matter how minor, or innocent, is perceived as a threat. And if you threaten them,you deserve to be punished. Actually *deserve* it. This has happened to me. I have been told this to my face.

    Some examples of what turned me onto classical liberalism:

    I was accused of being an ableist shitlord because I stated that I don’t care if I sound dumb when I make typos etc. Because my fingers are numb in my cold house. Well, apparently this literally harms people with poor vision and ESL, so I was a horrible shitlord, and even after I explained, I was told that my ‘defensiveness’ was proof that I was an ableist shitlord.

    Originally, I was pro-trans. I didn’t know much about it, other than that I agreed with it. I was commenting on an article about reproductive rights for trans men, and as I know someone who is gender fluid, I used the term ‘female bodied’ to refer to folks who can get pregnant. Big mistake. I was accused of being ‘transphobic as fuck’. I explained that I had been told to use the term by a trans ally, but this wasn’t good enough. I was supposed to ‘do my research’ and ‘think for myself’. The fact that I hadn’t done that before offering support made me the worst kind of bigot. And that I *deserved* all of the abuse, because my hurt feelings don’t count when I was actively harming trans women by implying that only those who could get pregnant were biologically female.

    After that, I started researching the trans movement, and I discovered radfems and GenderTrender, then Purplesagefem, Espeshulsnowflake, ThirdwayTrans, Cheki etc etc

    I had always believed unquestioningly that radfems were mean and nasty. SJWs told me that they hated trans women for no good reason. I couldn’t understand why. Now I know. After educating myself, after seeing what some people in the trans movement behave like, I can understand the distrust. When I see radfems being accused of bigotry because they won’t have PIV sex with ‘lesbians with penises’ I can fully understand why they would reject the notion that trans women are biological women.

    And radfems are not bigots. They don’t hate trans women. What they are is gender critical. What they want to do is jettison gender stereotypes. They see the harm that this can do. They don’t want to see young lesbians suffering from internalized lesbophobia and cutting their boobs off because it’s better to be a man than to be a lesbian. They don’t want to be coerced into PIV or to be victimized in a woman only safe space by a penis owner.

    You might find this recent article to be of interest:

    However, some research implies that prejudice exists at least in part in the eyes of the target. Research on microaggressions (Sue et al., 2007), for example, takes the target’s perceptions of prejudice as clear evidence of its existence: If a target perceives a slight as evidence of prejudice, then it is taken as such, even if the slight is ambiguous and its author denies it

    From Johnathan Haidt’s new paper:

    http://heterodoxacademy.org/2016/04/09/the-most-dangerous-creep/

    If I have very speshul FEELZ that your speech is hate speech, then my subjective experience trumps objective reality.

    But the biggest change, with enormous implications for how students behave when they get to college, is that intentionality is no longer necessary. All that matters is what the victim feels:]

    If I was a bully, I would claim that I was victimized constantly and reap the rewards.

    I believe in free speech. I believe in the right of people to have dissenting opinions. I prefer to destroy bad arguments with critical thought and logic vs banning, silencing and shaming people who dare to disagree. It’s one thing to shame or ban an outright bigot – someone who uses the N word with frequency, for example. It’s another thing to ban and shame someone over so-called ‘microaggressions’, which can be entirely subjective, the severity of which is determined by how upset the claimant *claims* to be.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. I just wanted to get that out. I am happy to see that more and more people are rejecting this idiotic, POMO SJW nonsense.

    P.S. Love the blog and all of the work you do.

    Liked by 14 people

      • This site is an excellent resource. I found myself arguing with transactivists a few days ago about puberty blockers and stuff.

        No one mentions that puberty blockers + SRS = sterility.

        People in the medical field, FFS, were saying that puberty blockers are totes harmless because they are ‘natural’

        Naturalistic fallacy!!!

        Yes, liberals can be anti-science. In a conversation with someone a few days ago, I was told that my belief that sexual dimorphism exists is akin to being a flat earther, as sexual dimorphism will soon be proven to be wrong.

        I mean, really?

        Liked by 6 people

      • LOL, natural = harmless! As a chemist, I know that is the mark of someone not even remotely educated. Venom, arsenic, mercury, lead, radiation, and countless other things 100% natural and organic can be very harmful, even fatal, to humans. How do people not know this stuff? And obviously we are sexually dimorphic primates who reproduce sexually, with men producing sperm and women producing ova. We have over 7 billion people currently alive who are proof of concept, and billions more have passed. Wow! Just… WOW! People should educate themselves. Unfortunately, the least educated are often the most vocal. How embarrassing!

        Liked by 6 people

      • I know the person. She is a nurse of 30 years. Used to argue SJW talking points alongside her. But she drank the koolaid…So I have since distanced myself from her and others.

        Her argument is that since puberty blockers are used to delay puberty on precocious pre-teens, that they should be perfectly healthy and ‘natural’ to use on transkids of any age.

        Liked by 1 person

      • To Jessica and everyone, about the puberty blockers and precocious puberty. Precocious puberty is a fucking disease! Sometimes it’s not known why the kid stars puberty at like age 8. But other times there something wrong with her pituitary gland. And in both situations the changes of puberty are happening in a little kid. Concrete empirical evidence that something is squeahawed.

        This is what gets me about trans, if were doing some of the most invasive medical procedures in existence, then it’s a disease. We’re certainly acting like it’s a disease. And yet the explanation of what this diseas is basically is a neologism, ‘gender identity’. And zero concrete empirical evidence of the sort we see in precocious puberty. This is so not good enough. This is not remotely within medicine’s standards.

        We’re currently in a Medical Crazy Time and it’s going to end. And all the people supporting trans are going to turn against it. In the medical world. In the news media. And there will be wall-to-wall exposés. The trans doctors careers, ended.

        Liked by 4 people

      • If I’m understanding it correctly, kids who take blockers to stave off precocious puberty take these drugs for a few years, after which time the doc stops the medication and nature is allowed to take its course. I don’t know what causes precocious puberty, but I’m guessing it’s some kind of pituitary/hormonal issue– in other words, a medical problem. Whether or not this medical problem is more harmful than the drugs prescribed to treat it, I don’t know.

        But with trans kids, there isn’t anything wrong with the kid biologically. The kid may hate his/her body, but there is nothing wrong with the body in and of itself. (Or at least nothing that the doctors can detect. Who knows? There may be some as-yet undiscovered biological component to gender dysphoria. So far, science hasn’t found an answer here.) Most of the trans kids I’ve read about seem to start blockers around age 9-11. Later, they are given cross-sex hormones. The age at which this starts appears to be lowering. Unlike the kids with precocious puberty, these trans kids NEVER experience natural puberty; the whole process is chemically induced. And these kids are on medication for the rest of their lives!

        Liked by 3 people

      • @lovetruthcourage

        I seriously doubt puberty blockers are a natural product and you are right fellow scientist! Plenty of “natural” things are bad for you and will kill you. Poison Dart frogs are natural, but I don’t recommend touching it or the place where it was sitting unless you’re got a death wish. As for “organic” things, that just means that it has carbon. With a few exceptions, any molecule that has carbon in it is organic.

        And yes, liberals can be anti-science. It is very interesting that the same people who are against teaching creationism in science class will claim that sexual dimorphism doesn’t exist and suddenly biology isn’t real because of hurt feelings.

        Liked by 1 person

    • The “precocious preteens” who are on Lupron for height issues typically stop taking these things at age 10 or 11 and nature is allowed to take its course.

      A “transkid” who starts them at Tanner Stage 2 (and that could be as young as 8 or so, my kid was there at that age already) — that kid is going to be on those “blockers” for way longer than any precocious-puberty-treated kid has ever been. Thus the push in the endocrinologist community to get age standards for hormone use lowered, because “why wait?” you know?

      The push for this is inevitable with this protocol, because deep down I KNOW these docs are worried about the potential side effects of this unresearched experiment in long-term “blocker” use. Say, from age 9 to age … 16 or some such. That is a LONG time. Ergo the push to get the upper number down. So much for “time to think about it.” I expect to see the age for administration of opposite-sex hormones continue to be pushed down, so eventually these kids ARE only on blockers for a few years. There will be blockers at something like 9 to 12 and then the hormones.

      Heaven help us. That’s progressive.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The push for this is inevitable with this protocol, because deep down I KNOW these docs are worried about the potential side effects of this unresearched experiment in long-term “blocker” use.

        You are, of course, absolutely right. Here is Dr Bernadette Wren of the Tavistock Clinic giving oral evidence to the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee last autumn:

        ‘It used to be that you could not get puberty suppression until you were 16. Now it is at any age, effectively. These things change over time, but we try to proceed in as wise a way as we can, looking at what the research shows, looking at what other countries are doing and debating with other centres of excellence, like the Amsterdam clinic, who have been the pioneers in this, as you probably know from your reading, who have not gone below 16, interestingly, and who are very nervous about it. We had the first European conference this year in March, in Ghent, and there was a lot of talk about that. They are bringing in ethicists, as are we at the Tavistock, to discuss this and to think ethically about the issues of consent about cross‑sex hormones for young people of 14 and 15; although we do not really speak about regret, about the idea that gender identity development moves across time and how these young people might feel making critical life‑changing decisions at 14; and about whether it is sound ethically in our practice to do so. ‘

        http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/women-and-equalities-committee/transgender-equality/oral/21638.html

        The programme and abstracts for the conference that Dr Wren mentions are here: http://epath.eu/conference-2015/program/.

        Liked by 3 people

      • It’s stunning, isn’t it, that the press–which obviously has the same access to these documents as we do–refuses to tell the public about the doubts and ethical concerns these doctors admit to. All we hear is that the question of “transgender children” is settled; that even very young children “know who they are,” and should never have their gender identity questioned. The conspiracy of silence is beyond belief, given the stakes.

        Liked by 7 people

      • “… although we do not really speak about regret, about the idea that gender identity development moves across time and how these young people might feel making critical life‑changing decisions at 14; and about whether it is sound ethically in our practice to do so.”

        These are the people society is looking to for guidance with children. They are evil. Full out. Ethics? We don’t need no stinking ethics!

        Liked by 4 people

      • From Dr. Bernadette Wren of the Tavistock Clinic, quoted below: “….although we do not really speak about regret….”

        Um, why not?

        Liked by 5 people

      • I don’t want to demonize Dr Wren. She does, I believe, try to be honest, within the limitations of being, inevitably, a spokesperson for her institution. Without her various public statements, we’d know rather less than we do about what is going on.

        I think when she says things like ‘we do not really speak about regret, about the idea that gender identity development moves across time and how these young people might feel making critical life‑changing decisions at 14; and about whether it is sound ethically in our practice to do so’ she is signalling that these are issues that present themselves, with the implication that they ought to be brought into the open and discussed.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The conspiracy of silence is beyond belief

        I can only begin to make sense of it by asking “Whom does it serve? and how?”

        I think the answer is extremely complex, and I can still only unravel parts of it.

        As far as the press is concerned, transgender stories are good clickbait right now. That raises a whole new question, which I am not going to try and answer here: why? Why is the public so intrigued?

        In the case of traditionally left-wing organs like the Guardian I think there is a high degree of virtue-signalling going on as well.

        Beyond that, it is clear that there are many different ways in which individuals and social groups respond to “transgender children”.

        One of the things I have come to think is that a lot of people don’t really care what happens to these young people. Same as they didn’t, and don’t, care about gay and lesbian youth. These kids are viewed as freaks, weirdos, “spoiled” people. They are not “normal”, and so to many people it just doesn’t matter very much if they are sterilised, stunted and poisoned, or scarred, or castrated.

        Of course, nobody admits this.

        Liked by 10 people

      • Artemesia, that’s how I read Dr Wren’s comments too, that these were issues they should be addressing. Also you mention The Guardian’s virtue signalling. I used to post quite frequently on their site until I found that any,post that questioned the trans agenda got deleted. My first posts were very direct, though in no way abusive. I then experimented, making posts with no more than a faint hint of interrogation. Nope, all deleted. No post that doesn’t wholeheartedly endorse whatever the trans agenda for the day may be gets through. And then they have the nerve to publish articles about the problem of campus censorship…

        I’ve given up posting on The Guardian site. It’s lost all credibility with me. Sad, because when I was a journalist I really rated their news coverage, at least on my specialist area, health and NHS politics.

        Liked by 3 people

      • @sophieijameson and others,
        It looks like there may now be a chance to question the Guardian on their censorship of gender-critical comments, which so many people seem to have experienced. In today’s paper, a big feature by the newish editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner: ‘Creating the Web We Want: How do we make the Guardian a better place for conversation?’ It invites readers to say what they think, ‘over the next few months’.

        https://www.theguardian.com/technology/series/the-web-we-want

        Here’s the page for contributing:
        http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/apr/08/how-can-we-improve-the-guardian-comments-share-your-views

        and where they outline their monitoring approach:
        https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/how-we-analysed-70m-comments-guardian-website

        They are mostly concerned with abusive comments and harassment, but today’s article also discusses their style of moderating. It praised their ‘highly skilled moderators, whose work ensures that comments abide by the community standards that are there to keep conversation respectful and constructive’ (who defines those?) but also said they ‘need to act more decisively on what material appears on the Guardian. Those who argue that this is a affront to freedom of speech miss the point. That freedom counts for little if it is used to silence others.’ Indeed… Or to tacitly endorse harms and medical malpractice, and contribute to their continuation, through refusing to allow debate around gender identity.

        I was heartened to read that most of the staff involved are women? Thinking maybe they would be more likely to be receptive to becoming concerned about the huge rise in girls and young women now trying to escape their female bodies, about the sterilisation of children?

        Like

    • Jessica, I feel for you. I’m so fed up with this. Some parents on another post were pondering whether tumblr culture had anything to do with their children suddenly deciding, out of the blue, that they were trans. Oh it does. Not only that, there are tons of self-diagnosed mental illnesses and self-diagnosed autism-spectrum kids. And there are a million labels like demi-sexuals, asexuals, aromantics, otherkin (look up otherkin, I dare you).
      It’s as if these kids can only feel valid if they belong to an oppressed minority, so their making up new ones left and right. I recommend the WTFSocialJustic blog on tumblr. It breaks it all down.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oppression Olympics is the new thing.

        Wanna be a special snowflake, claim to be trans, autistic or otherkin.

        It’s sickening. A friend of mine says that this is just a revival of the emo/goth trends of the 1990s.

        Liked by 4 people

      • One very troubling aspect of online “social justice” culture, which (IMO) doesn’t get enough attention, is that a lot of its social media ringleaders are actually underachieving twenty- and thirtysomethings, not teenagers. To an impressionable adolescent they look like knowledgeable adults, but to a responsible grownup, they’re recognizable as people whose words should be taken with several grains of salt.

        Viewing Tumblr, Twitter and Reddit through adult eyes, it’s clear to me that a lot of “social justice warriors” and online trans activists are dysfunctional and deeply unhappy people, often struggling with mental illness and un/underemployment, for whom social media bullying is a compensatory way to feel strong and powerful. I try to be compassionate and understanding of people in tough situations, but as a parent, my instinctive reaction is Get these %$&@# creeps away from my kids!

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      • Asexual and aromantic isn’t especially new and isn’t a tumblr thing (AVEN for instance was founded in 2001, Kinsey scale ‘X”s were noted long before then, etc). While I can see that people are identifying as it who aren’t (and it’s blatantly obvious at times), especially kids who are too young to really be able to tell, the problem there isn’t with the label. Don’t lump those of us who don’t experience sexual attraction (which surely you can at least see makes sense as possible,even if you hadn’t heard of it before?) in with otherkin (which, for those who really believe they in some way are the animal, pretty clearly isn’t).

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      • I know there are people who may genuinely be asexual, but the way it’s described on tumblr, you can feel sexual attraction and have sex and still be asexual. And these asexuals are angry they can’t be included in LGBT groups and feel discriminated against and oppressed. So it’s basically straight people wanting to be an oppressed minority.

        Liked by 1 person

    • “If I have very speshul FEELZ that your speech is hate speech, then my subjective experience trumps objective reality.”

      I can see how this can be abused, as you point out, and we’ve all seen it being abused by the transgenderqueer set–but yes, offense IS largely in the eyes of the target, if you will. Otherwise the putative offender would just be speaking empty words.

      I don’t know where the bright line is here. It’s probably one of those things like “I can’t define art but I know it when I see it.”

      It’s probably useless to try to come up with a universal set of standards for what constitutes offensive speech though. Because by the time we all got done arguing over what those standards should be, no one would care anymore.

      Like

    • I had a very similar experience. I joined tumblr to make friends who liked the same anime and video games as me because a lot of my real life friends weren’t into it. I got interested in feminism after a “gender studies” class and joined some of the social justice warriors. Many of the people I met were nice, but it quickly got ugly. You’re right, they do hate minorities who disagree with them and once all the autogynophiles showed up whining how oppressed they were because lesbians wouldn’t let them fuck them, everyone turned on me for pointing out how homophobic it was. I got called a vagina fetishist and that was one of the nicer insults. I also got crap for not being “inclusive enough” from a heterosexual woman who thought that she was “queer” because she liked to watch gay porno because I didn’t use the word “queer” to describe myself.

      There were a few sell-out “lesbians” defending the autogynophiles, but most of their fanclub was heterosexual women or “pansexuals”. The whole trans movement is nothing but a mindscrew. Male transgender violence against women is male violence against women, and no one is “oppressing” you by not sleeping with you. Also for all the go on about how anyone with any kind of privilege is bad, they seem to forget that it is a very privileged position for heterosexual males to bully lesbians for not sleeping with them and get all kinds of support for claiming to “feel” like a lesbian. If anyone has a fetish, it’s the autogynophiles and their cheerleaders with their obsession with dick and “female penis”.

      I think it’s very hypocritical of liberals to not allow criticism of Islam, but I’ve also noticed SJWs increasingly not allowing criticism of Christianity unless a Republican is citing it for political policy such as anti-abortion laws. And even then, you’d better be careful not to imply that abortion is a women’s issue because don’t you know that men can get pregnant too?! And transwomen have hurt feelz about the lack of uterus or any other female anatomy. Also, implying that abortion is a women’s issue means you hate women who are sterile and/or choose not to have children. (Guess what. I have a high chance of being sterile and I don’t want children.) I feel a lot of admiration for that woman describe in the article. She gets death threats for criticizing the fucked up patriarchal system that she grew up in and instead of supporting her, liberals call her a “white supremacist”, which makes zero sense. Then again, if you’re in the Kafka trap (cool article by the way) it doesn’t matter because you’re guilty no matter what and reality has nothing to do with it. If you apologize you’re guilty. If you defend yourself you’re guilty. If you disagree with me, you’re guilty. And possibly also rich and white. It doesn’t matter if the issue discussed wasn’t class or race.
      My dad is one of the few liberals I know who will criticize Islam and religion in general. (When I told him we were learning about different religions in middle school, he said, “That’s great sweetheart. Now you can learn why the world is so fucked up.” I feel that religion is just one of many patriarchal institutions, but respect him for not being afraid to state his opinion. Then again, he doesn’t use social networking and is not in any kind of academia so he hasn’t been bullied into the correct line of thinking.)

      I guess if I want to be positive about it, I thank that hell hole of a website for encouraging me to think critically and seek out real feminism. You’re right, it is never about the issues but enforcing arbitrary rules and policing language. Their idea of helping disabled people is to make sure that no one uses words like “dumb” and “idiot”. Disabled people who point out that they don’t need to be coddled like that have “internalized ableism.” I think it’s hilarious that you were told to think for yourself about trans issues, because that’s the last thing they really want.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am fascinated in the gender debate for its own merits, but a large part of why I continue to follow this issue is because people like you provide one of the rare places of open discussion on the left, and people who recognize the same contradictions. Thank you for all the work you’ve done on this issue, your daughter is lucky to have you as a parent.

    Liked by 12 people

  4. “when ideology trumps material truth”….this is the way of the world today.
    one thing: this whole transsexual movement comes from a place of conservative, ie reactionary thinking. it is not progressive at all, but regressive.
    it wants to take us back to the place where i grew up: girls did poorly at math, better at housework. that was the way we were “made.” boys were rough and tumble. you know the drill.
    my research has uncovered that the money trail for all of the sex change “research” comes from the deep pockets of people with either very strange mystical beliefs or very militaristic beliefs. look up reed erickson, james pritzker, even harry benjamin.
    so you are right to be self-examining, and delve into the ideology that you hold dear. but do not align yourself with the right-wingers. for you are not right-wing at all….
    women are biologically born with female gametes, and a man is born with male ones. that is material evidence that will never change. and it must not dictate our outcome in life, or our social status. it is just our biology. and what a beautiful biology when a man can hold the child that his female partner has birthed. that is what it is all about. procreation of humankind.
    i was called all kinds of names, like Real Woman, RadFem, lesbian such and such. these are labels that do not matter. especially when you are trying, like you are, to save your daughter and other daughters from the harm of a social contagion. like i am trying to educate people to the dangers of the treatments so people do not end up paralysed like my brother/sister.
    be brave! continue to question and enlighten us with your findings….

    Liked by 10 people

    • It gets ridiculous. I read an MtT’s account of why he knew he was a woman. He said he always felt more comfortable in women’s company and he got on better with women…

      I nearly spurted my,coffee out of my nose. “But you’re describing my husband! My great big hairy man. He loved women. Loved as in was drawn to their company, not as on cheated on me.”

      We,weren’t hot on gender stereotypes. He was the one who added all those little feminine touches to our home. But to read some delusional bloke wittering on about how he knew he was a woman because he felt things ordinary bog-standard men do made me wild. So wanting to hang out with,women makes you one … Because of course no real man wants to do things like that! Tell that to all the many men who just don’t worry about gender expectations much.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I can empathize with not fitting in, I think for men it’s hard, unless you want to be a macho jerk, to find like-minded men that you feel comfortable with. The seemingly logical step would be to join the woman side. I totally get that. But honestly I don’t think that’s the solution either. It’s a sad state of affairs, I wish we didn’t have such rigid roles between men and women, that you might think hormone therapy and surgery are your only options if you don’t fit in.

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  5. “Do progressives ever ponder what might happen when climate change eventually forces human societies to downscale? What will happen to all those people who were convinced as teenagers they were born in the “wrong” body, when high-tech surgeries and lifelong testosterone injections are no longer widely available?”

    I think this is a really good example of the inherent wisdom of “first, do no harm”. What happens to the patient if you put them on a potentially unsustainable course of treatment, but something happens that prevents them from continuing with that treatment? What if they move to a country without universal health care or lose their insurance or the treatment is cut off in some other way (there’s a shortage, the main supplier goes out of business, the treatment is no longer profitable so doctors move on)? This doesn’t even necessarily have to involve the collapse of civilization.

    Medical transitioning should only be a last-ditch step, not the first. Not the one doctors turn to ahead of regular mental health counseling and treatment.

    Liked by 14 people

    • They were already turning to drugs and medical interventions first in other areas. I worked at an internal medicine practice 20 years ago. One day at lunch I heard the head physician tell the drug rep who brought the lunch (I know!) that he’d rather prescribe antidepressants than counseling.

      It’s fashionable to blame the insurance companies but you’d think someone would have thought up a way around that by now. If, y’know, they really cared about the patients.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You go, girl. Seriously. You go.

    Right there with ya. Lifetime Democrat, every election, maybe a precious few independents snuck in there, but not many. Lifetime letter writer and protester and blah blah blah.

    Now for the first time in my entire adult life I am stymied as to who the heck to vote for, because I feel like my TRIBE has gone off into looneyland. (For the best of reasons, most of them, you know? Trying so hard to be good people. We all want to be good people. We do. I do. Nevertheless, looneyland. And I know that voting for them is going to produce further madness in the ‘child trans’ arena unless something unforeseen occurs.)

    I can’t unsee what I’ve seen, or unread what I’ve read. I can’t go back into that easy, self-congratulatory worldview. That’s why I’m ranting on here half the time, because the ground I thought was solid (eh, let’s be honest, not just solid but righteous) has dissolved beneath my feet.

    Liked by 11 people

  7. Really great post, as always! And I loved the thought police graphic. I’ve been criticizing the left on my blog as well. Or what’s supposed to be the left. These days they’re just a bunch of idiots, and I despair because I want a proper left!

    Liked by 7 people

  8. I’m right here with you all. I’m from North Carolina where the state government just passed a horribly regressive “bathroom bill” causing all sorts of flack (Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert, Paypal stopped their plans to open a center here, all sorts of revenues lost). All I see on my facebook wall from my leftie friends is protest against HB2 (House Bill 2, the name for this bill). It is an absolutely horrible bill that legalizes discrimination, but at the same time it is just galvanizing left-leaning support for trans-activists so I feel even less able to have any kind of intelligent nuanced conversation about this.

    I’m struggling to make sense of all the new ideas about gender. Are we just completely redefining gender? It seems so. I guess I’m still in the dark ages and think that gender is the same as biological sex determined by our XXs and XYs. But it seems the newspeak-way means gender is anything you think it is. Seems to me that instead of trans-gender maybe it should be “trans-gender-identity” because you can take all the hormones you want and have all the surgery you want, but I don’t think there’s a method yet to change your XX to an XY. You can’t really trans(cend) or trans(fer) or trans(istion) your actual gender, only your gender expression and gender identity.

    Are some people conflating dysphoria with their biological sex characteristics, discomfort with traditional gender roles and traditional gender expression, and general social awkwardness and coming up with the conclusion that they must be trans? It seems like that might be what’s going on with my daughter.

    I actually really don’t think she’s had any issue with her biological sex characteristics until she fell into the trans community. She was excited to buy her first bra when she was younger and although having your period is never a whole lot of fun she seemed to take that in stride, too, and seemed a little proud of being confident in how to deal with it all. However I do think she has a lot of general social awkwardness and some discomfort at being noticed for being a girl (unwanted attention from boys, etc). She’s felt weird and different for a long time because of her anxiety (a surprise fire drill or tornado drill in school could send her into fits of hysteria) and her unusual outlook on life (she’s just one of those people that sees things from a different angle from the norm but is often very insightful). I think her feeling “weird” and falling down the Tumblr hole led her to think, “I feel weird. I don’t want to be a cheerleader or prom queen. I must be trans”. She just skipped a whole bunch of steps there and came to an unsound conclusion, but she is in such a rebellious teen stage that she sure doesn’t want to listen to anything I might have to say about it all. And I don’t know how to talk about it, either.

    Back to the thought police and idealogical concerns, check out ThirdWayTrans’s piece for the YouthTransCriticalProfessionals Blog: https://youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org/2016/03/27/the-obstacles-presented-by-ideology-in-discussing-trans-issues/ . I thought he hit on some really insightful ideas.

    It’s such a weird place for me to be. I don’t really have a problem with body modification although I would never want to do it myself and would not encourage my kids to do it. I have a friend who had a nose job at her mom’s urging (friend’s nose looked just like her mom’s nose before she had rhinoplasty) and I don’t think my friend is mentally ill or nose-dysphoric.

    But at the same time I do wonder what’s going on with people like that woman who had all that plastic surgery to make herself into a living breathing human version of Barbie. Is that rational? I don’t really judge what she did for herself, but if a whole group of young women wanted to have 6 ribs removed and all sorts of plastic surgery on their faces and boobs to look like Barbie because they identified with Barbie wouldn’t we as a society say hey, wait a minute?! What about the guy who had tattoos and facial surgery to resemble a tiger and was found dead from a possible suicide? Or the young man who had surgery to make himself look like Justin Bieber and tragically died?

    It just seems very unhealthy to me. Wear whatever clothes you want. Be as butch as you want, but be who you are, don’t try to transform yourself into somebody else. Clothes and hairstyles as “gender expression”? Those go in and out of style all the time. Pink and high heels were originally boys’ and men’s style. What do the clothes you wear have to do with who you are as a person? I feel like I’m being a bit neanderthal about it all, but I’m super casual/androgynous in my jeans and t-shirts. Fashion has never been my thing. I know other people apparently _like_ to dress up and wear a dress or a suit — but just put me in something comfortable. It’s very hard for me to relate to that desire at all.

    I don’t know. I’m rambling, but I do appreciate the thoughtful community here. Wish I could be as articulate about it all, but my head is just swimming.

    Liked by 7 people

    • I enjoyed your ramblings! I didn’t know about the tiger guy. 😖 But I know that phenomenon. There was a dragon guy somebody tweeted a picture of recently. Gulp! Yeah I think all those people have something wrong with them and they need to be helped to not harm their bodies like that. Including because the people who do that stuff it doesn’t make them happy. Because, how could it? Looking like a tiger… And then they sometimes kill themselves. Yes society should be protecting them. The SJW’s would call that paternalism. But I don’t care.

      You seem to understand this whole transgender thing perfectly. Yes, it’s this crazy. And it’s all about clothes. Turned into an ‘identity’. That then somehow, like you said about skipping a few steps, leads to horrible surgeries.

      I hope your daughter will start to see through all that. As others have. Best wishes.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Transactivists are so fond of throwing the word ‘hate’ around. It may be helpful to note the following:

    ‘In a 2001 Joint Statement, the UN, OSCE and OAS Special Mandates on the right to freedom of expression set out a number of conditions which hate speech laws should respect:

    * No one should be penalised for statements which are true’

    [There is more, but this is the relevant part right now.]

    Here, to recap, are a few of the true statements that have sent the WPATH mob into such a frenzy:

    The medical treatments for children who identify as transgender are risky, not approved by the FDA, and permanent.

    More and more young people are identifying as trans, often after bingeing on social media.

    The construct of gender identity is poorly defined and lacks coherence.

    Children are often very sure of things at one moment in time and believe something completely different a week, a month, or a year later.

    There is no evidence that gender identity is innate.

    Liked by 12 people

  10. I’m here with you too (as a left-leaning Independent). Thank you for providing a haven for us critical thinkers, 4thWaveNow. Before I found your blog, I overwhelmingly found progressive liberal trans dogma that I disagreed with. And if I came across information more closely aligned with my view, it tended to be from conservative sources, which I felt uncomfortable with due to their stance on LGB issues.

    Regardless of politics, though, I believe as more people become educated about the current trend of trans-ing gender-defiant children, they too will start questioning the trans narrative.

    Hopefully, transactivists will realize that just because we disagree with them doesn’t mean we’re uneducated or right-wing bigots. It actually seems that there are a growing number of us that are on the liberal side of the political spectrum.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The transactivists are afraid of the fact that people on the left are catching on to their deceptions. Even my brainwashed daughter called me conservative and religious (which I’m neither, by far) because that’s all they can combat us with. They are scared of us on the left.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hopefully, transactivists will realize that just because we disagree with them doesn’t mean we’re uneducated or right-wing bigots.

      I think they realise this perfectly well, and it frightens them. I don’t see them bothering to attack the conservative Christian sites.

      Liked by 5 people

  11. On a slightly different topic: having read the WPATH Facebook thread, I hope James Cantor hangs in tough, if only to protect his reputation as an independent thinker. The ‘offer’ made to him by Lisa Toinen Mullin is outrageous:

    ‘James Cantor I think that many will assume that of you do not come up with a critique of that article, say within a week on your website , then it can be assumed that you agree with all of it….

    ‘Because of the damage now done to your professional reputation, it needs something like a serious critique on your own blog site AND a critique posted to that 4thwave site.

    I can, and I am sure others, will help you do it.
    Say you and I, Geena, Brynn Tannehill, Julia Serano and some others work together on a joint critique by you,’

    Follwed by a threat (disavowable, of course): ‘ Ans [sic] I must say, inevitably some will take that as a justification to complain to your employers. whether or not that is the right or wrong thing to do.’

    The bullying is blatant, and makes it very clear why most professionals are afraid to speak out on this topic – whatever they may think.

    Behind the bullying is sheer panic – it can’t be missed, that terror of the least questioning or speculation, let alone refutation and dissent. Fear of having the groundless claims and flaky arguments exposed.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. “Progressive” used to mean the far left of anarchism, communism, radical feminism, radical environmentalism etc. Now it means these weirdo SJW liberals. Perhaps you could call them progressive-liberals to distinguish them from classical liberals. You might be interested in the skeptic movement; they tackle pseudoscience- typically anti-vax and anti-GMO. Too bad most of them are scared to think critically about transgenderism because they know they will be ostracized.

    Like

      • Do you know the crazy Youtuber ramzpaul? He’s a bigot but he has one funny video where he trolls Planet Fitness on their trans policy.

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      • No, but I will search it now. Sometimes I even watch…Louder with Crowder, Lauren Southern, and read columns by Milo Yiannopoulos.

        I hate that it’s mostly right wingers who are criticizing the SJW madness. More and more lefties are starting to wake up, thankfully.

        And I don’t think the SJW feminists have a clue what modern transgenderism is even about. Or care. Take, for example, all of the TransMRAs out there. They make no secret of it. #transwomanagainstfeminists

        I even saw a sad video last week where a white woman accosted some misogynist black street preachers over what they were saying She assaulted them, they fought back, pushing her to the ground. She was arrested, and shown to be crying in the video. Now, I do agree with her that misogyny is to be discouraged, however BY HER SJW DOGMA, she got what she ‘deserved’, because according to the Oppression Olympics, black people are more oppressed than whites, so in *disagreeing* with them she was acting as an oppressor, since oppression = privilege + power, which she has, because she is white.

        This is also why SJW feminists were reluctant to criticize the rapists of Cologne, since to do so would be ‘racist’ and the rapists, being oppressed brown people, were just ‘punching up’ when they assaulted white German women.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Progressive comes from the Progressive Era. at the end of the 19 century in the US. They were reformers who were not quite socialists. I’m referring to non-Marxist socialists here. Progressive has never had anything to do with the far left. progressives want wanted social progress. Far left types wanted revolution. An interesting thing about both non-Marxist socialists in the early 20th century and the Progresses is that it wasn’t your whole life. It didn’t have this whole joining a subculture aspect to it that “the left” has had since the 1960s. In the 1960s the antiwar movement that expected you to be involved in all these other issues too actually referred to itself only as The Movement. They didn’t give it a name or attempted to define it. Why? Because they were assholes. It was THE Movement. The only one! You weren’t supposed to be involved in any other ones. Membership was identity.

      Liked by 2 people

    • There are valid arguments against GMO. For instance: GMO seeds are patented, meaning the farmer has to keep buying them year after year and can’t save them from their own crops. This may not be a huge deal to first-world farmers but it’s a disaster in developing countries. Or, because GMO seeds are patented and you have to have a license to grow them, if your crops become contaminated with their DNA you can be sued. That has actually happened, in Canada at least if not elsewhere. The big problem is that the GMO grain crops wind-pollinate and so it’s almost impossible to prevent genetic contamination. I could also get into the simple argument that we didn’t evolve to be accustomed to, say, starfish genes in a tomato, so no one really knows how our biology will respond since this is a situation we’ve never seen before. And this kind of thing is why I am not interested in the skeptic movement. They are just advancing another kind of unthinking dogma.

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      • Skeptic sort for pro-science skeptic. I wouldn’t call them unthinking though they do seem to shy away from social issues like trans, probably because someone from any political persecution can be a skeptic. I think its problematic that these seeds are patented but the problem as I see it is capitalism and not the technology of crop biotech itself. It’s a damn shame that I don’t know of any charities trying to develop patent-free seeds for use in developing countries. It would benefit the DPRK a lot since the US air force dropped bombs there meant to make the land essentially inarable in many places. I think the argument that we didn’t evolve to have starfish genes in a tomato is an appeal to nature fallacy. GMO crops go through a lot of safety testing before they’re sold in a developed country.

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  13. Thank you as always for a brave and thoughtful post. Like you, I’m a lifelong liberal, and if you had asked me five years ago whether I supported transgender rights my response would have been a kneejerk “of course.” Treating individual trans people with respect is an act of decency that costs me nothing, and at the societal level, tolerance of alternative sexualities among consenting adults is an important liberal value which remains threatened by the religious right.

    But what’s frightening and disorienting about the trans frenzy of the past few years is the way in which, almost overnight, respectable liberal opinion on transgenderism has zoomed right past “civil rights and fair treatment” and into a creepy, Orwellian abuse of ordinary language and common sense (“some women have penises, get over it.”) I’m uncomfortable with this level of thought policing even in the context of consenting adults, and doubly so in the case of vulnerable young people who are prone to all-or-nothing, black-and-white thinking.

    One of the forces driving all this, I think, is the explosive growth of social media, a “black swan” phenomenon that nobody of any political stripe could have foreseen ten years ago, as a vector for social contagion and a tool for witch hunts against dissenters. Twitter in particular, with its enforced character limit, seems almost intentionally designed to stifle nuanced and responsible discussion in favor of snark and sound bites.

    (I strongly second the recommendation of Slate Star Codex, by the way.)

    Liked by 3 people

  14. 4thwave, this is a fantastic post! I know what you mean about seeing through the rigid, uninformed mess in left-wing stuff. I was a student during the first Reagan administration. And my head was awash in received ideas. But the received ideas back then were so much better quality!😆

    I never stopped being the same kind of old time, 1920s union people socialist that I always was. But over the past few years I have definitely distanced myself from what calls itself the “left”. Including because that could mean so many crazy things. And then there is the SJW, it’s nice that they gave themselves a handy label so that we can know who to ignore, stuff Jessica described. Oh man! That’s not politics at all. That’s just using the idea of “bigotry” as a way to accuse people of “sin” or unorthodoxy. It’s just a giant club for bullying. It’s like people join up and say “yes please, bully me!” Of course they think they’re doing something good. And something good apparently in our society right now always has to be dressed up as politics, and left-wing politics. Makes me shake my head.

    The left and socialism used to be very very similar to classical liberalism, but they included injustice and suffering. Political objectives were designed to alleviate suffering. And it didn’t mean some esoteric in your head pseudo-suffering. It meant stuff like malnutrition from poverty. It meant things like violence against women. And it created the idea of prejudice. Prejudice which is now turned into some kind of crazy Godzilla monster smashing up the place. The idea of prejudice originally was created in the teeth of whole sectors of society (psychiatry for both woman hating and gay hating) devoted to creating and legitimating myths that justified seeing some people as less than human. They quietly, and I like to think pleasantly, analyzed what was wrong with the myths. And they presented evidence that they were not true. The relevant one in this context is the myth that sex roles and especially women’s weakness and stupidness were the outcome of unchangeable biology. they used their intellects, unfettered, and then they spoke out. This is the world that the US civil rights movement came from. It certainly wasn’t like the SJW world today where it’s both very bohemian and severely orthodox. ‘This is our subculture and you have to be exactly like us or we will hurt you’. We should take back all the valuable left-wing concepts, including the concepts of prejudice and bigotry, from these loony bastards.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. There is A LOT of misogyny among the far left. Look at all these angry white male “Bernie bros” who harass Hillary Clinton supporters online. They use all sorts of language that I will not repeat here, along with threats of sexual violence. This type of behavior goes back further– a couple days ago, I was reading a post by a woman who was a member of Students For A Democratic Society back in the 1960s. The males in that group and others like it basically only wanted women around to have sex with them and make coffee for their meetings.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Wonderful post, as usual. Like you, I’m a lifelong classic liberal. And the increased censorship, the runaway rigid PC on this and other issues, is an alarming trend for me, too.

    I went to college in the late 70s and, at the time, we were exposed to all sorts of ideas, including unpopular opinions, and those we would never end up agreeing with. It was part of our training in how to think critically, as one doesn’t learn much if they’re wrapped in bubble wrap and don’t hear anything that doesn’t rubberstamp our own opinions. Indeed, I am most grateful for my exposure to unpopular opinions, some I even found offensive, because familiarizing myself with such opinions and having my own criticized helped me to sharpen my own thinking as to why I held the opinions I did and how to better express them, and to modify them when they were fuzzy and ill-defined. Having my own opinions challenged and being exposed to a wide range of differnet opinions helped me to know my own opnion backwards and forwards and how to most effectively express it, after it had been honed and better defined.

    I fear that current college students, mired in a PC environment, where they are wrapped in bubble wrap, lest they be “triggered” and fly to emotional pieces if they are in the slightest way challanged, will produc millions of emotional fragile child-adults, unable to engage in any meaningful critical thought. They are like the villagers who are unable to tell the Emperor that he is not wearing any clothes, as well as being susceptible to Orwellian programming.

    It’s also a weird thing to find conservative sites to be places that allow freedom of speech, as one can express an opinion that is unpopular with the prevailing board opinions, and not have that opinion deleted, despite the conservative penchantn for black and white thinking, something which young liberals are increasingly engaging in. I also find it much easier to explain gender critical feminist thinking to conservatives and have them actual listen and not try to shut me down.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for posting the Camille Paglia interview katiesan. I think she makes a lot of good points (although her rapid fire speech is hard to listen to).

      Like

      • “People are being induced to think that all of their unhappiness, all of their unhappiness in their family life, relationships to school, relationships to society, are due to this gender issue. Well maybe it isn’t. Maybe there are many other psychological issues here that you need to get straight.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • The wheels are really starting to come off. People who insist on taking on the trappings of femininity and they can’t bear that women actually know all about it and lots of them perform it every single day.

      The misogyny is so blatant.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Katiesan: I just saw your comment after posting mine, and you and I had the same impression of that article.

        It makes me so angry that the real experiences of women who have lived it their entire lives are viewed as not real or unimportant. Most of us women do not spend our time looking in a mirror or obsessing about makeup. We have too much shit to do. And if we don’t do each thing perfectly (job, house, kids, perfect body) we are viewed as failures. Nobody faults a man for a messy house or for forgetting to take little Joey to the birthday party–it’s always the woman’s responsibility.

        Liked by 2 people

    • So if this woman has no idea what it’s like to be a trans woman and is wrong to advise them, why do trans women get upset when natal women say that trans women have no idea what it’s like to be a woman? If we women cannot possibly understand the trans woman experience, than the trans woman cannot possibly understand ours. They can’t have it both ways. What’s wrong with a woman who is very feminine teaching men who WANT to be very feminine how to do it?

      Maybe they should be careful–their misogyny is showing.

      If they want a real lesson in what it’s like to be a woman, let their employers cut their pay by 20% as soon as they legally change their gender from male to female. Let the men start talking over them in meetings and take credit for their ideas, because now that they’re women, their opinions no longer matter. And if they go to family gatherings on holidays, they should be prepared to be in the kitchen cooking and cleaning with the women instead of relaxing and watching football with the men.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Well, it is the third wave SJW feminists who support this bullshit, however, people think that all feminists are the same. They also think that radfem = SJW feminist.

        Basically, it’s the SJW feminists, the SJW transgenders etc etc, who are behind all of the identity politics that we have been seeing over the last few years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hear what you are trying to say, but in many ways the SJW philosophy of the primacy of the individual / ID politics is totally incompatible with feminism. Feminism requires the knowledge that women are oppressed as a sex class, in order to increase resources for men. The problem is not how women identify, but rather, how they are identified by others. If someone else thinks you are a woman, and therefore, exploitable, it does not matter how you see yourself. Totally irrelevant to the outcome of the interaction! Yes, many younger folks do not know what rad fem is. They only know the 3rd wave silliness. They need to do some reading. Books.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The problem is not how women identify, but rather, how they are identified by others.

        Yep I always like to ask, how is it that trans women, if ‘born women’ , are oppressed from birth, if they are raised as boys and enjoy all of those male privileges.

        I laugh when they try to say that they ‘internalize’ how girls are treated. What a load of bollocks.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. So I was checking the archives on this blog and I came across this link, regarding the “right” of trans boys to undress in girl’s change rooms…so that their gender identity will be affirmed…
    http://everyvoicecountsmi.org/136/public-comment-on-the-state-board-of-education-draft-statement-and-guidance-on-safe-and-supportive-learning-environments-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-and-questioning-lgbtq-students/comment-page-74#comments

    One thing stands out in the comments. The average person conflates LGB with the T. The LGB is getting the blame. Basically, “this is happening because gay folks are deviant”.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The transactivists just get more and more out of control! Calling a penis a male organ is basic biology, not a matter of opinion or feelings. Just because you like to call your genitals by the name used for those of the other sex doesn’t make it so, and it doesn’t make a doctor (or anyone else) “transphobic” for not playing along with that fantasy. These people are the secular equivalent of extremely religious folks who get bent out of shape if a single thing about, say, the traditional Biblical account of something is challenged by modern archaeology or scholarship. It’s ridiculous if your entire sense of identity hinges on constant validation.

    Do these people break down crying or start screaming at the teacher in biology or anatomy and physiology class when the teacher refuses to talk about “female penises” or refer to female genitalia as a penis?

    Liked by 1 person

    • These people are the secular equivalent of extremely religious folks who get bent out of shape if a single thing about, say, the traditional Biblical account of something is challenged by modern archaeology or scholarship.

      This comparison has occurred to me too. The insistence that a biological male with a female “gender identity” is really, truly a woman, in some invisible but decisive metaphysical sense, reminds me of nothing so much as the traditional Catholic dogma that the communion wine is really, truly the blood of Christ even though it’s still fermented grape juice when you look at it under a microscope.

      As I said in an earlier comment on this post, it seems like it’s no longer enough to show trans individuals outward respect and extend them legal protection against discrimination; the movement won’t be satisfied until they can make the rest of the world believe, in their heart of hearts, that “gender identity” overrides biology.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Can I just rant for a second here? EVERY DAY on NPR (the American public radio network, home of some very skilled news reporting and ostensibly a neutral source) it’s, like, all-trans-all-the-time. Morning drive time, evening drive time, every day. Long segments with a very strong social justice spin including numerous interviews from transitioned people who are oppressed and just looking for, well, justice. You know?

    I think the NC law is very problematic for multiple reasons, but the DoJ’s comparison of “right to pee” (and, more salient, right to strip down in communal locker rooms) with the overthrow of Jim Crow laws is just jaw-dropping to me. Anyone who brings up the notion that women/girls might have some rights of their own, and might have legit reasons for being concerned about natal males in spaces where natal females are vulnerable, is just shouted down as hopelessly bigoted, needlessly fearful, and on the wrong side of history. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out in the federal courts, that’s for sure. But I now believe that completely non-sex-segregated public facilities are where we are inevitably headed. (At least until/unless there is sufficient blowback from assaults from those taking advantage of the free-for-all, regardless of their “identity.”)

    At any rate, I just … continue to wonder what/who is behind the media’s relentless fascination with this issue. How much it’s virtue signaling and how much it’s the behind-the-scenes advocacy of advocates (and the money of Soros, Pritzker, et al). Why it all blew up so much, so fast.

    More and more it just feels like fighting a losing battle trying to slow a kid down on the road to transition. The cultural reinforcement of this “brave choice” is CONSTANT. Hey, hey, brave new world, we can all freely name who/what we are, and if the bodies don’t seem to match, we can easily fix all that. (So why is Rachel Dolezeal still viewed as a bad appropriating person? That’s another thing I can’t understand. Seriously. How is it any different? She obviously feels it just as deeply as a transperson. It’s only different because black people are assumed to merit autonomy, and protection from appropriation, in a way that natal female people are not. Otherkin is going to be the next wave. Mark my words.)

    End of rant. it accomplishes nothing, I know. Sometimes I just gotta get it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The most disturbing part of the DOJ suit, for me, is the bald statement on line 34 which states “Gender identity is innate.” Period. If the US courts accept this as a fact, despite there being zero evidence to support it, our Department of Justice may as well rename itself Ministry of Truth and Newspeak. Even clinicians who transition kids admit that childhood gender dysphoria remits in the vast majority of cases. Even WPATH admits this in its Standards of Care! The DOJ complaint reads like it was drafted by trans activists. Which it likely was.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed. I had the same reaction. If it’s “innate” and “immutable,” then the comparison to other civil rights struggles is justified. It HAS to be viewed that way to make the DoJ’s stated view make sense. Only … there’s no evidence for that.

        I honestly think single-user unisex facilities are the only practical and safe answer here, as expensive as this is going to be. Right now I worry about my highly gender-nonconforming daughter being harassed in the women’s room AND the men’s. (This kid barely clears 5 feet at 18, and I think she has no true idea of her physical vulnerability. I want her to have a safe place to pee, too. She’s been well-accepted and supported in HS and still uses the women’s facilities, but what happens in college is a big concern. I think unisex is the only answer. But she’s not looking for ‘identity validation’ via bathrooms, like some people.)

        Like

      • Yes. The Americans with Disabilities Act was expensive too–because it mandated things like wheelchair ramps and accessible toilet stalls, but if they could do it for the disabled population, they can do it in this situation too.

        Like

      • Sorry, but my husband has been in construction for 40 yrs. The price of wheelchair ramps and a couple of accessible toilet stalls per bathroom is peanuts compared to rows of single person unisex bathrooms, especially in major cities like ours. It is one thing, if one lives in a rural area, or small city, and we are talking about a few extra bathrooms. It is another thing when you live in a major world city with a metro area of 10+ million people and a single concert hall, stadium, or convention center has literally hundreds upon hundreds of toilets. The people screaming that they want this will back down really quick when it is time to belly up to the bar and pay that huge bill. The government will have to hugely hike taxes, and businesses will have to inflate prices, to cover the enormous expense— and all for 0.3% of the population? People say they want things, but they aren’t really willing to pay for them. I want a Maserati, but I don’t want to pay for it. This “solution” is unworkable. Heck, we have homeless veterans and seniors who can’t even get a pair of glasses.

        Like

  20. Reblogged this on Cytyzen Cypher and commented:
    This writer expresses clearly and succinctly some of the thinking that motivated me to create this blog. I don’t agree with everything here, in particular the idea that there’s some sort of Liberal Media Machine that is directed by something other than groupthink and advertising revenue. But the rise of the long dormant totalitarian left in the United States should be an alarming development to all right thinking people. And yet there are so few who seem to care…

    Like

  21. I think many of us lefty’s who have now found ourselves inexplicably on the wrong side of the kulturkampf have only ourselves to blame for letting things get out of hand. For years I was decidedly silent about certain obnoxious liberals engaged in what were blatantly unfair and illogical campaigns simply because I shared some of their goals and I felt so hounded by right wing media driven narratives that even calling myself a liberal felt like an act of defiance.

    No more. I’ve gone back to my roots and re-read some of the key marxist texts I used to be so ashamed of in the post clinton anti-liberal 90s and relearned the importance of being skeptical of any and all ideology that purports to tell you how to think about the world.

    No more of that for me.

    Like

    • I know you’ve gotten many replies on this question on other posts you’ve commented on here, but in a nutshell: I don’t know that anything I said or did was the ultimate reason she desisted. But by not agreeing to provide funds for medical transition (or the gender therapists that would have approved it), in essence, I created a space and time for her to just be with her feelings (as well as the “social transition” she created for herself, without my intervention) and get past them. The problem, as I see it, is that the current trend in every aspect of our society is to take a teen’s sudden pronouncements immediately as something to be acted upon–NOW. You can’t force a teen to change her mind on anything, but stepping back and not enabling things you don’t agree with can go a long way.

      There is no magic answer to any of this, and I am not a perfect parent. But standing firm in my own sense of authenticity and integrity, without bludgeoning her with my views, seems to have helped in our case. I also think it’s really important to support and validate “gender nonconformity” and make sure your kid knows you love her no matter what. The message I tried to give was, whatever you want to do as far as clothing, hairstyle, or activities is fine, but none of your choices mean you are literally now a boy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Also–“Lorenzo’s Oil” is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s the true story of a mother and father who became experts in their child’s very rare disorder to try to save him, and in so doing, they actually developed a treatment for the disorder that is now used to save other children–even though they were discouraged and ignored by the medical establishment. I feel like it is a very apt analogy for what the parents who contribute to 4thWaveNow are trying to do: We love our kids enough to try to find a solution to the problem that is outside the current medical paradigm. Excellent screen name you’ve chosen…

        Liked by 2 people

  22. Just discovered this site yesterday – quite a pleasant surprise. Not only am I learning about this trans business, but seeing people being self critical; rare at any time, but in this era of social contagion & group-think… marvelous!

    Liked by 2 people

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