In Defense of Political Escalation
Conservatives have always brought a squirt gun to a gun fight, which is why we always lose. Taking the high road may make us feel better about ourselves, but it doesn’t win wars. And in case you haven’t noticed - we’re in a war, probably the most serious this country has ever faced. Losing this war will lead to our complete demise.
I, for one, am ecstatic to see a very small group of conservatives starting to fight fire with fire. It’s about DAMN TIME!
I am a traditional Liberal (I guess you could call me a "1990s and earlier Liberal") and yes, I greatly object to censorship, delisting, canceling, disinviting, removal from Amazon (and eBay and Target and Powells and Barnes and Noble etc.) of any book. I don't want to read a Pro-Life book, but I don't want it removed or censored. I'm still waiting for second hand copies of those "banned" Dr. Seuss books to come down low enough in price that I can afford a copy of McElligot's Pool, my favorite Seuss book of childhood. It's appalling that his works were removed from Amazon and libraries. It's also appalling that the American Library Association removed Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from the award created in her honor because a bunch of 2 dimensional thinkers screamed at them about her depictions of white settlers who were anti-Native American. Never mind that one of the women in question had seen her entire family massacred by Native Americans. Never mind that Wilder goes out of her way to show that the characters who are critical of Native Americans are less noble and tolerant than her own family, who actually hide a Native American man in their cabin when a gang of armed white men comes after him. It calls into question the integrity and legitimacy of every award they give out, including the Newberry Award.
I will always support Classical Liberal values like free speech, free thought, free expression, open debate, a free press, etc. I also don't think it is "liberal" to expose young children to drag queens. Or to free violent felons from prisons and defund the police. What on earth is Liberal about that? These are radical anarchic Leftists.
I can already hear the Whataboutery from my friends on the Left...but but what about that school in Alabama that banned "To Kill A Mockingbird"? Wasn't there a librarian in Tennessee that banned Toni Morrison? And isn't this all just made up by Fox News? etc etc ad infinitum...
Liberals will remain locked in a state of severe cognitive dissonance because it cuts so deeply against their self-conception to even entertain the notion that they have become censorious zealots (not to mention child mutilators) and just might not be "on the Right Side of History."
The idea of maximum personal autonomy has become so sacrosanct to liberals that they will even suggest sex changes to children because "Hey, it's their choice" or "Whatever they need to be happy" aka no one should be denied anything on the road to Finding their Authentic Self (TM). This is deeply irresponsible nihilism disguised as liberation. (And as with things like Defund the Police etc, whatever terrible effects come later from their policies, they likely won't be personally affected anyway.)
In a sane world, I would also argue against sending CPS to investigate these parents. We don’t live in such a world anymore. It seems like governors fighting back is the only plausible solution although, one that should be taken with caution. It’s a slippery slope and a classic case of “dammed if I do, dammed if I don’t”.
Please add Lisa Selin Davis to your list of the few brave lefties speaking out on this issue. Lisa has risked so much to try to bring nuance to reporting on this issue. And thanks Abigail for continuing to write about this, as well.
I appreciate this perspective, but my North Star is and always has been civil liberties. When you encroach on civil liberties to gain a victory for "your side," you inevitably reap what you sow. We know that bureaucracies have been corrupted by the parasitic ideas of the woke left. If you accept the legitimacy of the principle that CPS may intervene in parenting on ideological grounds - be it failure to provide "gender affirming care" or taking one's child to a drag show - that will only further empower these ideologically-corrupt institutions. These institutions will then inevitably use their expanded powers - the underlying principles of which have been endorsed by both parties - to further monitor and punish non-woke "wrong-thinkers."
This is what keeps me, as a disaffected liberal, from supporting Republicans. They use the language of civil liberties when it supports their agenda, but it remains quite clear that this is opportunistic and that civil liberties are not a sincerely held value. You can't defeat left-authoritarianism with right-authoritarianism. You can only defeat it with sincere embrace of freedom, which remains a deeply held value among (I hope and pray) a majority of ordinary Americans, as much as the ideological corruption of the professional managerial class obscures this reality. A principled civil libertarian agenda is the long game here, but it is the only one that has a chance of winning out, however long that may take.
When will people see the light? The lunatic mob of the left cannot, does not, will not work by the same rules we hold ourselves to. To complain that this tech platform won't allow my views, or that publisher won't publish isn't going to stop, if we keep trying to play by their rules, on their field, with their ball. There are always alternatives to the easiest way. I have not purchased from any of the book resellers for over five years now. Buy from the publisher, or the small shop, or the author directly. Will the title make the author the same money, will it make the NYT bestseller list? Probably not, but who cares. If the message is worth printing, print it, sell it, promote it, don't complain because the bully won't do you a favor.
As to the open of the article about Desantis and CPS, I say YES please do! There are limits to parental authority, we should all know that. The LGBTQwhatever crowd are grooming our kids, they are warping their minds, they are endangering their health and safety. Any parent that takes their CHILD to a drag queen show, a pride parade, or any of the other show/demonstration/parade where the front and center focus is sexuality, is sexualizing the child, their CHILD!!! It is abuse. Any parent that allows or worse yet pushes, gender transition on a child is not worthy of raising their child and should be investigated by CPS.
This insanity will not end by appeasing the lunatic fringe. Show some courage. Show some respect to the children. Show some integrity to reality.
Colin Wright’s banning from Etsy is not a new development. 5 or so years ago a few Gender Critical women had items on Etsy taken down at the behest of TRAs and when lots of women complained about TRA accounts selling items threatening to harm & kill TERFS they (Etsy) but they ignored us completely. Radio silence. This is why a number of us started boycotting Etsy many years ago.
I take a very hardline approach against the "transgender" activists because this mealey mouthed, pussyfooting around just isn't working. Every year, heck every week, the activists raise their demands.
On Sunday, the NYT published an article about a writer, Sandra Newman, who wrote a moderately woke book, The Men, and was then attacked for being "transphobic."
This is the comment I wrote and submitted. Of course, it was never posted.
"Everyone who's fed up with the stranglehold the woke left has on our society needs to head on over to amazon and buy this book. Let's launch it to first place on the best seller list. Send the message that the nonsense filled propaganda and censorship we've been subjected to just won't cut it any more."
"Then while you're at it, amble on over to Jennifer Bilek's excellent 11th Hour Blog which explains why all this counterfactual insanity suddenly exploded a few years ago like a carbuncle, spraying rancid pus within every institution in our society. Hint: follow the money, the big money, the big fill-in-the-blanks money.
"NYT, I challenge you to prove your institution hasn't been completely captured by the censorship of the activist left. I challenge you to print this comment. And print it in a timely manner. Thank you."
Submitted to the NYT on 6/12/22 at 5:21pm, Eastern Time.
"And last week, I was outraged to learn that my favorite, new skincare company, Biossance was contributing 5% of their sales on a particular product to some "trans" education group in Texas. So this is what I wrote:
"I've been using almost the full line of Biossance products for the past two months and love the way it's improved the look and feel of my skin. But I'm not writing to you today about your wonderful, squalane based skincare line. I'm writing about your political messaging.
"I was all set to purchase $100 worth of products on your website this morning. But then I read your company plans to donate 5% of sales for one particular product to a group called the Transgender Education Network of Texas, and I never completed the order. I believe you're making an egregious error in assuming your women customers support the controversial indoctrination of minor children in Texas or anywhere else in this country. We don't.
"When your company ventures into fraught issues like "transgenderism," you send a message that you do not respect the sex based rights of women or the reality of human sexual dimorphism. You also send the message that women only safe spaces in prisons, domestic shelters, locker rooms, spas, and bathrooms should be abolished. And you send the message that it's perfectly acceptable to sacrifice the concept of fairness in women's sport to satisfy the demands of a tiny minority of men.
"I know one young woman who "transitioned" two years ago when she started taking testosterone in college. In November, she had a double mastectomy and was extremely positive about turning herself into a man. Last month, she finally came to her senses and detransitioned in her early twenties. Now, all the skincare products in the world will not restore her feminine appearance or her long term health prospects. And as time goes on, there will be an ever increasing number, tens of thousands of these women, their friends, and families who will see every attempt to change one's sex as a dangerous and colossal mistake.
"I urge Biossance to remove that controversial offer from your website and to limit any future activism to noncontroversial movements that everyone supports such as saving the sharks and the oceans."
This is the woke boilerplate response I received. By the way, I never did place that order:
"Thank you for taking the time to write in.
"We are sorry to hear that this cause is not in line with your values, though we are proud to offer this promotion during Pride Month as it aligns with our values, and the values of Jonathan Van Ness, our beloved brand ambassador.
"If this means you no longer want to support our brand, that is entirely your choice though of course we hope you'll reconsider.
"With love and squalane,
Biossance Customer Care"
And by the way, the detransitioner whom I mentioned in my email to Biossance. Yes, she's the same young woman I wrote about on Abigail's substack before, the daughter of a deceased old friend. Destroys her appearance, her voice and, most likely, her health with male hormones. Then gets a double mastectomy last fall. And now she suddenly decides she's really a woman after all.
We must fight to win. All hands on deck. No strategy deemed too mean. If not, we lose.
What terrifies me about all this, as a married gay man living a quiet, rather conventional life, is the inevitable backlash against the lesbian and gay community who aren’t supportive of early medicalization—who see it for what it is—a medicalized form of conversion therapy. We will be lumped in with these trans activists and made to take the blame too. Our tenuous wins on the marriage front and more generally our level of acceptance by society at large could be erased by this terrible issue, which I firmly believe the trans activists will lose once enough families realize the harm it’s causing their children.
The “Truce” we need (and I want) requires us to do to them *exactly* what they do to us. Unilateral disarmament is for chumps. DeSantis is lightyears ahead of politicians and pundits on this, but he’s exactly where the normals are. He takes the oath 1/20/25, not a moment too soon.
It's really strange to see progressives convince themselves a drag show is the equivalent of watching Macbeth.
We absolutely should not “escalate” this issue, for all the reasons well stated. We are gaining ground, and there are enough affected parents and families that as more join and when they seek out answers (as I did) they should take comfort in the position you started this journey (as a leftish person who followed the story where it led and interviewed the scientists). There are enough of us I feel like we can work on state wide policies and have a voice in the next election. Unnecessarily escalating the culture wars doesn’t help us. Amplifying the voices and sharing concerns of destroyed families, and global scientific reservations and the lack of data does.
A simple solution would be to require young people to be 18 years old to attend these shows.
DeSantis is completely wrong here. The fight should be for parents rights - that is the fight that won Virginia for the Republicans, and it is a morally unassailable platform for the vast majority of the electorate.
What DeSantis is proposing is a complete reversal of that principle, and will be used as precedent for leftist institutions to take gender decisions out of the hands of parents. It would also cede the moral high ground. It would be massive mistake.
A vigorous and principled defense of the moral and legal justification for parents rights is the best strategy for conservatives on this issue, as well as curriculum related issues.