For America's Journalistic Inquisitors--it's free speech that's surprising
It strikes me many journalists now all write for advocacy rather than to share objective truths or to give a balanced account of an issue so a reader can make up their own mind based on the facts at hand. It's a sad development.
I'm a Seattle Times subscriber, and had been fuming about that piece since it was published. (Note that the newspaper did not open a comments section following the article. Funny, that...)
About five hours before your strong rebuttal to the Seattle Times article appeared, I wrote to Katherine Anne Long, author of that awful piece.
I, too, included a link to yesterday's SEGM post, which adds to the rapidly growing pile of evidence proving that what Katherine Anne Long considers the "mainstream" approach to pediatric gender care is anything but:
As you can imagine, I was cheering through the first several paragraphs of your justifiably heated response to Ms. Long's journalistic drive-by shooting.
But in my message to Ms. Long, I also said "Just a side note: while I agree with Abigail Shrier’s careful approach to this particular topic, we likely do not agree on much else in the political sphere." (I beg your indulgence for what follows.) Sure enough, midway through a wonderful denunciation of Ms. Long's hit piece, you veer off into making a comparison to the 2007 publication of "The Israel Lobby," the book by Professors Mearsheimer and Walt. You call them "shameless conspiracy theorists," and say they pinned blames on "Jews," and that "the Jewish community" pushed back (as if all Jews had the very same stance) - but didn't call for book banning and the like. I remember the period rather differently: a very vocal, very powerful lobby, went (technical term here) batshit crazy, because some people with stature in the US Foreign Policy "community" had dared to challenge a taboo. Former President Jimmy Carter had provoked similar ire the year before. Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted him saying that in some ways, this was worse than South Africa.
"Carter said his new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" was meant to spark U.S. discussion of Israeli policies. "The hope is that my book will at least stimulate a debate, which has not existed in this country. There's never been any debate on this issue, of any significance.""
Here's Paul Findlay, 22-year moderate Republican congressman from Illinois (co-author of the War Powers Act) reflecting on his experience, in an article from October 2007:
"The pro-Israel lobby is not one organization orchestrating U.S. Middle East policy from a backroom in Washington. Nor is it entirely Jewish. It consists of scores of groups — large and small — that work at various levels. The largest, most professional, and most effective is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Many pro-Israel lobby groups belong to the Christian Right.
"The recently released book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” co-authored by distinguished professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, offers hope for constructive change. It details the damage to U.S. national interests caused by the lobby for Israel. These brave professors render a great service to America, but their theme, expressed in a published study paper a year ago, is already under heavy, vitriolic attack.
"They are unjustly accused of anti-Semitism, the ultimate instrument of intimidation employed by the lobby. A common problem: Under pressure, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs withdrew an invitation for the authors to speak about their book. Council president Marshall Bouton explained ruefully that the invitation posed “a political problem” and a need “to protect the institution” from those who would be angry if the authors appeared."
This goes on today, in full force. Criticism of Israeli policy, even when coming from Jews, is conflated with antisemitism. Dozens of US State Legislatures are being pushed to pass bills criminalizing support for BDS, the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement, a peaceful approach to ending what the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem now forthrightly declares to be an apartheid system. https://www.btselem.org/topic/apartheid Facebook censors Palestinian voices; During the Covid-19 shutdown of campuses across the country, Zoom prevents university organizations from including certain Palestinian speakers invited by professors.
“There is no law requiring Zoom to block the event featuring Leila Khaled,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. “Zoom’s actions, along with its later decision to block events on censorship by Zoom, show us once again that private companies who are not bound by free speech rules often use their discretion to selectively block voices. Terms of service are then used to present one-off business decisions as nothing more than the application of their rules.”
“It’s very dangerous for a third-party private vendor to be in the position of deciding what is legitimate academic speech and what is not — it violates all of the customs and norms of the academic culture,” echoed Andrew Ross, a professor at NYU and member of the American Association of University Professors. “This should concern everyone in higher education right now.”
Do you not see the screaming parallels here? In your post today, you rightly push back at the attempt to render any real discussion of trans-related issues (it goes far beyond your book) as a "third rail" of political and social life, risking the metaphorical electrocution of anyone who dares touch it. Yet you do so by elevating the very same approach, used for decades, against anyone who takes a serious look at Israel/Palestine and US policy. This weakens the argument. Judaism is not synonymous with Zionism, let alone with the most reactionary political currents in Israel. Supporting the rights of girls and women, or speaking up for biological reality, is not transphobia.
We need the freedom to discuss all these things openly and honestly. Here's a terrific site I recommend to you for a wider view of the "lobby" matter:
Long tangent, I know, but denouncing a censorious movement, by praising another... We can push back against Seattle Times hit pieces without getting lost in yet another "third-rail" fight.
It’s very easy to slur someone. Whatever the “most horrible thing you can imagine “ is, accuse them of that.
It’s very tempting to amplify a slur, too. It promotes engagement! Conflict sells copies!
Where’s journalism in all this? Reporting “the conflict”, or reporting the facts? Which would mean looking for the facts, of course.
Glad you’re out of Amazon prison. When I realised they weren’t selling it I contacted my local independent bookshop. They had it in stock & I got it the same day.
It’s really good.
The political left is all excited about this new, improved form of communism sweeping the country now. Yeah, it's bad for conservatives like me. But at some points in the future, the leftists who driving this new system will themselves get caught up in the gears. Maybe it will be their white son who is fired from his job because of skin color (gee, but I'm a Progressive, you can't do that to me!) or maybe they get canceled out as this new communism spins out of control.
The issue with Amazon is that it controls something close to 80% of book sales.
If it were a chain controlling even 5% of book sales, then arguments regarding censorship would be far more muted. But Amazon's market reach will likely continue to grow. If its sales reach in to the 90s percent of the market, then it could become de facto Savanarola.
Have many American companies controlled that percentage of a market without their being broken up?
Control of the media is a key-level of state power. See ongoing examples of the Annihilation of Memory at this free substack: https://kathleenmccook.substack.com/p/ireland-and-british-censorship-1914
I'm sorry for all of the grief these militant trans activists have caused. So far I have not seen ANY reporting saying the research you shared was incorrect or that you want these girls to have anything but happy lives now and not grow up angry and resentful because they were promised an end to their mental suffering. The militants can not argue because either they never bothered reading it. 2) They know you're right and they are afraid it will lead to the idea that if teens shouldn't transition, adults should be denied those meds and surgeries as well. 3) The activists know there isn't enough research to determine why gender dysphoria occurs, with reaserarchers losing their jobs and reputations for publishing unwelcome findings (what is unwelcome switches rapidly so one may also be shamed and ruined for a previous uncontroversial paper)
4) Since there isn't any legal oppression in American law it's imperative that it seems there is not only continuing, but WORSE torment of minorities. Ask all of the recent hate crime hoaxers. Victimhood pays off.
I've been in the LGBTQ "community" since I came out at 16. I have many trans friends who are worried for these girls. Many lesbian friends said, if they had been given an option to transition as teens they would have. They didn't and they grew to accept themselves and are grateful they waited to see if the dysphoria left and though it was excruciatingly painful to turn into a woman, they now have moved past the suffering and haven't ever wished things had been different.
Keep Telling the Teuth
In the same vein as this excellent post, I'm taking the liberty of linking to a video and superb editorial by Meghan Murphy, editor of Feminist Current in Canada, on the topic of the censoring of women's speech and speech in general regarding the trans issue.
These comments are all inane, just like the original column. Nobody apparently has any concept of what "censorship" is. Censorship is the government preventing the publication (including print, radio, TV, etc.) of anything. None of these examples have anything to do with the government preventing anything. A private organization can publish-- or not -publish -- whatever it sees fit. That's editing, not censorship. If Amazon wants to sell -- or not sell -- certain books, it can do whichever. The issue of whether companies like Facebook or Amazon are too large and have too much influence on our lives is a different issue altogether.
I appreciate your opinion but not your emotion. Every controversial book ever written has critics that say the book should not exist. In the US, those opinions are protected by the First Amendment, as is your right to write such a book and have it published. You also have a right to criticize your critics as you have here. The problem is you have not moved the conversation about the subject any further and have, instead, been forced on a tangent that probably should have been ignored. There is no harm to you, nor is their harm to your critics.
For the record, I also have qualms about this issue, but it is not my issue to decide. I leave that to medical professionals and those seeking transition. If it turns out wrong, that's what civil suits are for.
In summary, F Woke Journalists. In fact, M F Woke Journalist.
If anyone violates the EULA (End User Licence Agreement) they acquessed to when creating a social media account they are subjected to being banned from then the platform. That is certainly not censorship.