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Smearing Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson (Gage Skidmore/Flickr [1])

Forgive me for repeating myself, but this is really bothering me. I’ve said in this space on a number of occasions that a few people I know who had lived under communism are now saying that they are seeing signs in the West of communist techniques coming back. One of my friends lives in the UK, to which he defected decades ago:

Reading articles in England and listening to TV commentators, I feel I am back in my youth, in communist, totally  intolerant Hungary, where character assassination was the norm, and the  writers were just lying. Terrible. I am very pessimistic.

When I inquired further of this man and of other former East bloc citizens who have the same opinion, their analysis is always the same: that people on the Left, including within the mainstream media, have no compunction about lying and slandering people for the sake of the Cause.

We saw it this week with the way many leftists, including some prominent journalists, slandered Ross Douthat as a running dog of white supremacy [2] for saying that immigration hardliners deserve to have a voice in working out any ultimate compromise legislation. Damon Linker, a man of the center-left, got similarly hammered this week for writing that liberals are behaving stupidly and unfairly [3] by calling “racist” everyone to the right of them on immigration.

(Of course I got the same treatment for writing a blog post [4] admitting to having mixed feelings about Trump’s obnoxious shithole remark. I said that it was cruel and dismissive, but on second thought, the president, despite his vulgarity, was touching on an issue that we ought to be thinking about: what kind of immigrants do we want to admit to our country? The post was about my ambiguity about the issue, and inviting constructive reader input to the debate (which I got, from all sides). Many on the Left, though, went to town denouncing me as a hater of the poor and a racist too. Molly Roberts, an excitable young wokester working for the Washington Post, accused me [5] of saying people from shithole countries get what they deserve.

At least she did that in an opinion column. Ariana Eunjung Cha, a Washington Post news reporter, delivers an extremely unprofessional news report [6] — not op-ed column, news report — today attacking Ryan T. Anderson’s forthcoming book on transgenderism. It’s shocking. It’s mostly a farrago of LGBT activist talking points. There is no evidence — zero — that Cha read the book, which has been available for a while to media. And get this at the end:

“Amazon is giving credibility to an anti-trans book by allowing it to gurgle its way up to the #1 spot in the category of Gay & Lesbian Civil Rights History, a place it could not possibly deserve less to be,” journalist Matt Baume tweeted.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [9]

Dan Avery wrote on NextNowNext that as a result, “Many uninformed people will see this book branded a bestseller and assume it’s well-researched, objective and informative. Some of those people may be looking for advice about a loved one who’s come out as trans, or grappling with their own gender identity.” He urged people to buy other LGBT books to lower Anderson’s ranking.

The complaints may have gotten Amazon’s attention. While the company did not respond to questions about “When Harry Became Sally,” the book was no longer on Amazon’s Gay & Lesbian Civil Rights list Thursday, although it remains on the Natural Law bestseller list.

The idea seems to be that activists have a right to demand that Amazon ought to refuse to sell a book that offends them. If Cha is going to repeat Baume’s slur, ought she not offer some sort of evaluation of the claim, or provide a quote from some more neutral source who has read the book, and who can? Or offer that analysis herself by reading the thing? Or by picking up the phone and asking Ryan T. Anderson for a comment? 

You could say that Cha is simply reporting on a controversy, but she does so in an extremely lazy way, quoting a single conservative opinion writer up top, and three LGBT activists. Not only is that unbalanced, it’s also unprofessional. Anderson is a lightning rod for sure, and nobody is obliged to agree with him. But he always argues logically and respectfully. His books are well-researched, tightly argued, and so clearly written that even a journalist can follow it.

To be sure, I have not read this new one, so I’m in no position to judge it. But if Anderson’s past work is anything to go by, the Ryan T. Anderson slandered by LGBT activists and their media sympathizers is very far from the actual Ryan T. Anderson readers meet in his books.

Anderson’s response to the story:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [9]

This too shall pass, but to me, it’s one more piece of evidence that justifies the fearful observations of the emigrants from communist countries. Yes, we know that the Right is full of loudmouths who smear liberals (and conservatives who disagree with them). Shame on those people. What’s so dismaying about the emerging media environment is that institutions (e.g., academia, media) who declaim with presumed authority, are so disinterested in fair treatment of certain hot-button issues. Error has no rights in their eyes. Media bias has always been a concern among conservatives, but now it appears that it is becoming justified among the power-holders in media to flat-out lie about conservatives.

I wrote the other day that the left conflating Ross Douthat with Richard Spencer doesn’t marginalize Douthat, but draws Spencer closer to the mainstream. What I meant is that when leftist journalists and commentators dismiss views held and advocated by mainstream people as intolerably bigoted and evil, they don’t make people ashamed to hold those views. They make people conclude that the designation of certain ideas and the people who advocate them as “bigoted” is meaningless, is nothing more than leftists trying to consolidate and enforce power through lying and character assassination.

Every time I see the word “bigot” in a column or comment by a liberal, I imagine that it has the same value as the word “heretic” in public discourse in previous centuries. I have pretty much given up trying to counter those who make those assertions, because they almost certainly have no intention of trying to get at the truth, but rather simply want to shut up people who disagree with them.

Thing is, there really are bigots, and they really ought to be opposed. All this idiotic virtue signaling among the left is making it harder to resist actual bigots. Columbia University professor Mark Lilla, himself a liberal, said in his controversial book The Once And Future Liberal: After Identity Politics [12], that in his classes, students of the left, unlike their (few) right-wing counterparts, often don’t make arguments about ideas, but rather simply assert their feelings. This is a big, big problem. Here’s an excerpt from an interview I did with Lilla:  [13]

One of your most important insights is that liberal politics, by becoming driven by identity, have largely ceased to be truly political, and have instead become effectively religious (“evangelical” is the word you use). Can you explain? 

We are an evangelical people. How we ever got a reputation for practicality and common sense is a mystery historians will one day have to unravel. Facing up to problems, gauging their significance, gathering evidence, consulting with others, and testing out new approaches is not our thing. We much prefer to ignore problems until they become crises, undergo an inner conversion, write a gospel, preach it at the top of our lungs, cultivate disciples, demand repentance, predict the apocalypse, beat our plowshares into swords, and expect paradise as a reward. And we wonder why our system is dysfunctional…

Identity politics on the left was at first about large classes of people – African Americans, women – seeking to redress major historical wrongs by mobilizing and then working through our political institutions to secure their rights. It was about enfranchisement, a practical political goal reached by persuading others of the rightness of your cause. But by the 1980s this approach had given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow self-definition. The new identity politics is expressive rather than persuasive. Even the slogans changed, from We shall overcome – a call to action – to I’m here, I’m queer – a call to nothing in particular. Identitarians became self-righteous, hypersensitive, denunciatory, and obsessed with trivial issues that have made them a national laughing stock (drawing up long lists of gender pronouns, condemning spaghetti and meatballs as cultural appropriation,…). This was politically disastrous and just played into the hands of Fox News.

What the new identitarians demand is more than mere recognition, though. They demand that you see this country exactly as they do, reach the same moral judgments about it, and confess your sins (which is what the word “privilege” is a secular euphemism for). The most recent books by Ta-Nahesi Coates and Michal Eric Dyson are quite explicit about this need for repentance. The subtitle of Dyson’s is A Sermon to White America. And the use of the term woke is a dead giveaway that we are in the mental universe of American evangelicalism not American politics.

True. The hard right constantly criticizes conservative “cucks” like me who believe in fair play and reasoning with opponents, saying that we are patsys for thinking that the other side is interested in that. Best to use their own tactics against them, they claim. My view is that if we give up on the idea of commitment to truth and justice, which also requires the ability to recognize that we might be wrong (and that even people who are wrong have rights), then we have surrendered to a war of all against all.

That might be coming. But hear me: it will not have been the alt-right alone who brought it about. Those who lived under communism recognize something in the air. Pay attention.

And buy Ryan T. Anderson’s new book on transgenderism. [14]If leftists are so eager to smear him over it, you might want to see what it is they don’t want the rest of us to see. The book won’t be released until February 20, but already there’s an Amazon reviewer who can’t possibly have read the thing, but who is parroting the party line:

The entire thesis of this book is not only inaccurate, but potentially harmful to an already vulnerable and at risk community of people in this country who are consistently targets of violence. Not only is this author not a mental health clinician, but he is targeting the transgender community for political gain. In an administration that has already sought to actively limit the civil rights of law abiding transgender Americans, this will only fuel the backlash against a group of people who simply seek to live as their authentic selves. I am appalled that someone who promotes gay conversion therapy, which is banned within the APA, is now releasing this poorly researched and inflammatory book to make money and gain points with a base of people who see transgender individuals as mentally ill.

This person is not a media figure, and has almost certainly not read the book. But this is what all right-thinking people must say. You just get so fed up with this crap after a while, with this bogus Narrative, propounded from all the pulpits of The Cathedral. [15]

Yes, that’s a neoreactionary term, and it’s a useful one, because it describes something that’s true. Every day, people like Ariana Eunjung Cha evangelize for neoreaction, and they have no idea what they’re doing.

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47 Comments To "Smearing Ryan T. Anderson"

#1 Comment By dd On February 2, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

Rod, this is on a related theme, Did you see this? It has 4-letter words, but here it is: Rose McGowan gets into shouting match with Trans activist at Barnes and Noble:

“McGowan, as the woman was carted off, launched into a passionate tirade, shouting into the microphone:

“Don’t label me, sister. Don’t put your labels on me. Don’t you f—ing do that. Do not put your labels on me. I don’t come from your planet. Leave me alone. I do not subscribe to your rules. I do not subscribe to your language. You will not put labels on me or anybody. Step the f— back. What I do for the f—ing world and you should be f—ing grateful. Shut the f— up. Get off my back. What have you done? I know what I’ve done, God dammit.”

The crowd didn’t quite know what to do and began to console the actress and activist with outbursts of “We love you, Rose” and cheering.”

[16]

#2 Comment By bob On February 2, 2018 @ 12:34 pm

So it appears the supporters of biological fiction are frantically opposing a book they haven’t read. They are nothing if not consistent. Minds like this hold teaching posts at every level.

#3 Comment By James C. On February 2, 2018 @ 12:38 pm

I wrote the other day that the left conflating Ross Douthat with Richard Spencer doesn’t marginalize Douthat, but draws Spencer closer to the mainstream. What I meant is that when leftist journalists and commentators dismiss views held and advocated by mainstream people as intolerably bigoted and evil, they don’t make people ashamed to hold those views. They make people conclude that the designation of certain ideas and the people who advocate them as “bigoted” is meaningless, is nothing more than leftists trying to consolidate and enforce power through lying and character assassination.

That’s my fear. I had yet another reminder of this Stalinist circling of the wagons this week.

In the news today in Italy is only the latest attack by an illegal immigrant: in a town in the region of Marche, a Nigerian drug dealer was arrested for killing an 18-year-old girl, dismembering her, removing her organs, and stuffing her body parts in two suitcases.

The ruling Italian left’s reaction? They’re more angry at the right’s blaming them for their policy of uncontrolled borders than for the grisly murder (and the countless other crimes and safety issues reported across the country)! Charges of “hate” and “racism” came forth rather than promises to do something about the illegal immigration crisis (other than keep in the big business going and damn the communities affected).

I am also reminded of the Democrats sitting on their hands in stony silence when the weeping parents of children killed by Central American gang members were applauded in the gallery during Trump’s SOTU.

I’m convinced that the average person looks at these virtue-signalling displays by leftist leaders in politics and the media/education establishment and reacts with disgust and anger. This cutting off of legitimate outlets for discussing reasonable concerns can only feed the alt-right, and the left’s hysterical crying-wolf could become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

#4 Comment By JonF On February 2, 2018 @ 12:41 pm

There’s a huge difference between this and Communism: Communism was official, none of this stuff is. The Communists controlled the government (and most other public institutions); the ranters of the far Left and far Right do not. To be sure, intemperate rhetoric from private actors can be dangerous too when there’s too much of it (see: the 1850s) but it can’t impose anything on anyone by force majeure.
Which is why all this “Cathedral” talk is nonsense. There’s no Commitern dictating and enforcing the Party Line; no Papal bulls with an Inquisition to back them up. If officialdom has a sin, it’s not radicalism, bur excessive blandness: offend no one, be all things to all people.

#5 Comment By sponder On February 2, 2018 @ 1:03 pm

I’m sorry Rod, but as long as you continue to suggest Homosexuals are the moral equivalent of Adulterers, that is, liars and Cheats, you will be labeled a bigot.

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 2, 2018 @ 1:54 pm

Yeah, but these totalitarian freethinkers are NOT communists. They are liberals. Loud-mouthed thoughtless liberals indulging in a good deal of hysteria and self-righteousness, but liberals, nonetheless. So can we stop talking about communists are totalitarian, and liberals are free and open, and recognize that almost any class perspective, any ideology, any political insider clique with sufficient self-righteousness, is capable of lying and ignoring inconvenient truths?

I continue to believe that one of the things that went wrong with communism is Russia was Russian culture, and Russian political history. Lenin might not have meant it to be exactly that way, he may have thought he could cram western European advanced collectivism cultivated by a literate, educated working class down the throats of Russian peasants, but it don’t work like that. And ultimately, Russian autocratic traditions and culture prevailed, distilled with a certain scientific precision beyond what the sloppy monarchist and feudal aristocracies had managed.

Why is this turning up in the west at this time? Not because communism, or even socialism, is resurgent. If we do have a socialist resurgence with the working class base that sustained the populists and the SPA in the Eugene Debs era, it will not be focused on culture vulture issues. Its because pampered prosperous elites have latched onto the concept of “politically correct” and run it on a variety of infatuations and abstractions.

#7 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On February 2, 2018 @ 2:15 pm

The best Anderson vs. The Media anecdote is his Piers Morgan interview from a few years ago where Piers interviews the SSM advocate next to him on the dais and requires that Anderson sit out in the audience owing to concerns that if Morgan were sitting right next to Ryan he might catch some Natural Law cooties. It’s on You Tube and the entire interview is hilarious and frustrating. Morgan says: “So you hate the gays, huh, Ryan?” Ryan responds patiently and reasonably. “So you think gays are worse than prisoners?” Ryan responses patiently and reasonably. And so on. You really wish he’d call Morgan out on his intolerant and narrow minded narcissism. But he doesn’t. He just keeps chopping wood. He’s an incredibly patient and charitable man and I can’t wait to read his new book.

#8 Comment By KD On February 2, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

If the criteria of politics is friend/enemy, and identity politics is the politicization of identities based on purportedly immutable characteristics (Black/white, male/female, gay/straight, trans/cis), then I don’t see how truth or “fair-play” can ever figure into the equation. We are talking about struggle on the basis of inherited characteristics, not a politics that appeals to the common good or common interest. A “racist” is simply an identitarian who plays for the wrong team.

Identity politics is about maximizing ethnic nepotism and power for my tribe, and subjugation of your tribe under mine. Remember for the Left, your tribe is responsible for oppression and structural violence, so they have a free hand to lie, cheat, steal and murder in “self defense” to fight the oppressive power structures of dominance. Don’t believe me, read what their radicals say! They are more than happy to remind you that “some people” might have to die.

If you support meritocracy, you at some point for philosophical consistency have to cop to objective standards of merit. The Left opposes meritocracy and opposes objective measurements of merit. This is because groups they want to put into social dominance don’t do well on objective measures of merit, so merit has to go away in the face of “disparate impact”.

Under freedom, you end up with a competence hierarchy. The Left’s goal is to invert the competence hierarchy, and replace it with a “diverse” but inevitably incompetent hierarchy–and pretend that won’t significantly impair America’s economy, technical advances, political transparency, ability to fight wars, etc.

An incompetence hierarchy requires constant lies and scapegoating to maintain itself (e.g. hide its incompetence), and the scapegoats are the truth-tellers and the competent employees (who make the others look bad). It inevitably necessitates “purification” until the incompetence intensifies to the point of the inept late Soviet nomenklatura. The action of Google against Damore is a predictable result of what happens under this poisonous ideology.

The Left oppose anything like Truth, because it adversely affects their interests. They oppose it with power.

The right cannot avoid coming back to the concept of Truth, it is baked into any defense of freedom, as freedom inevitably leads to inequality and sorting on the basis of merit. Power is ultimately insufficient to establish a stable social order, power must be in harmony with Truth or the order will lose the mandate of Heaven, as we are seeing in this County, and as we saw in the Soviet Union.

But the tactical question of how to deal with Bolsheviks is not some abstract, conceptual inquiry. It is a practical question of the best means. Rational persuasion not on the table against a group that privileges power over truth, e.g. is up-front that it operates in “bad faith”.

I think it should be tit for tat. Most of these radical leftists have statements in the public record much more pro-pedo than anything Milo ever said. Mine the public record, and every time they come after one of our people, go hard on two of their people with pedo-smears. Give the public the choice of voting for “racists” or “pedophiles”. Now I’m not saying the pedophiles are any more over-represented in the Left than racists are over-represented on the Right, but two can play guilt-by-association.

The Conservative Movement did a nice job with Milo, and other enemies to the right. Why not employ the same tactics on some of these Bolsheviks? Do you actually think on the fateful day that they will give quarter to conservatives?

#9 Comment By PubliusII On February 2, 2018 @ 2:33 pm

Your “liquid modernity” is simply a synonym for what Eric Raymond calls “Gramscian damage.”

[17]

#10 Comment By VikingLS On February 2, 2018 @ 2:46 pm

One thing which bothers me about all this is that one writer labeling another writer a bigot knows they are sabotaging the other writer.

“Have you read The Benedict Option?”
“What, no, that guy’s a racist!”

Now nobody who knows Ross Douthat or Rod Dreher is going to agree that they’re bigots. The thing is, most people don’t know that much about Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher or Ryan T Anderson, so those labels could stick.

Maybe we need to get Rod and Ross a show on A&E.

#11 Comment By Jon On February 2, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

Or they, some of them, have a clear idea of what they are doing viz., to polarize. They want to draw swords, man the barricades, block the streets with debris as in the days of the Paris Commune of 1872. And, in so doing split apart the country.

What sort of victory is born of this? What kind of world do they seek to create? Or, perhaps in this regard they have no clue — only to create trigger points and fire away reducing all issues into a Manichean dichotomy of us and them, black and white, intellectual barricades that might one day erode into violence a taste of which we have witnessed.

Alas history repeats itself again and again.

#12 Comment By Rob G On February 2, 2018 @ 3:00 pm

“Columbia University professor Mark Lilla, himself a liberal, said in his controversial book The Once And Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, that in his classes, students of the left, unlike their (few) right-wing counterparts, often don’t make arguments about ideas, but rather simply assert their feelings. This is a big, big problem.”

SJW’s don’t debate, they emote. And in my experience it’s virtually impossible for them to discuss this kind of thing with any level of objective emotional distance. When you disagree and offer evidence and/or logical argument they simply get angry. And if you have answers for their talking points and get them off script they get really angry.

#13 Comment By Taras 77 On February 2, 2018 @ 3:18 pm

As trump would say,WaPo’s motto is: “Democracy Dies in Dankness.”

heh,heh

#14 Comment By Ben H On February 2, 2018 @ 3:20 pm

The WaPo is trash. Complete garbage. But all the baby boomer institutions are failing, hard.

Put it this way, we are seeing Watergate-COINTELPRO level corruption at the WaPo’s doorstep and they not only have managed to miss it but are actually part of the cover-up/messaging operation.

Of course that is assuming that being part of the cover up has not been their program all along.

#15 Comment By Furor On February 2, 2018 @ 3:27 pm

Where did Revolution and ideologies arise in the first place? In the West. So why are people surprised that the West has some troubling similarities with the communist bloc? Have they forgotten jacobins, socialists? Antonio Gramsci wrote that in Russia to take power, it requires a concentrated attack on big centers like Petersburg and Moscow, while taking power in Western Europe is like trench warfare. Long and gradual, and ideologues have been doing that since the 18. century. The difference between communism and liberalism is that the former is using primitive state force, while the latter is based on voluntary and decentralized actions of civil society, supported with convenient law interpretation of the courts and public offices. And the “demos” support that! I only wonder what is the end game of liberalism. I still think that it’s a civil conflict between the impoverished neo-proletariat and the educated riches of gated communities. I don’t think we’re going to have a kind of mexican freemasonry aggression

#16 Comment By J On February 2, 2018 @ 3:30 pm

This particular liberal finally agrees with you about the mainstream media’s transgender agenda.

The NYT recently published an op-ed by Jennifer Finney Boylan (a transgender woman) which talked about the recent poll showing that support for LGBT people has slightly declined.

In the comments section, the “reader picks” overwhelmingly agreed that the drop in support was solely due to the “T” in LGBT. Liberal readers agreed on the need for anti-discrimination laws but were uncomfortable with the thought policing, the push to label children as trans when in reality they might just be gender nonconforming, and the erasure of women-only spaces.

However, the “NYT picks” (the comments starred by the NYT moderator) were, of course, the few that were rabidly pro-trans.

If even liberal NYT commenters are pushing back, you have to think there is a backlash brewing. (Also see the reddit thread “Gender Critical”.)

#17 Comment By The other Eric On February 2, 2018 @ 3:56 pm

That might be coming. But hear me: it will not have been the alt-right alone who brought it about.

Technically true. It is the centrist right that supported the hard right and where willing to accept any slander as long as it lead to victory that brought the left to this stage. The reality as the conservatives have proven is it works and if the left does not want to concede America to right wing nut jobs, they need to go with what works.

#18 Comment By charles cosimano On February 2, 2018 @ 4:04 pm

Has anyone ever thought of using a tactic from the McCarthy period–suing for libel?

Seriously, I think the cases would be easy to make and if a few of these leftists found themselves being taken to the cleaners in civil court it would do wonders for teaching the others the virtue of silence.

Ok, not as much fun as having hitmen take care of them, but hey, there are folks who worry about legality. I don’t understand it, but that is the way they are and so civil libel might be a good method for them.

#19 Comment By BDavi52 On February 2, 2018 @ 4:04 pm

Of course.

What else can be said?

Of course the Progressive Left stands with hand outstretched, finger pointing, absolute outrage in their twisted visage, shouting “J’Accuse!!” (I’m reminded of Donald Sutherland’s character’s pose in the closing minutes of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” [18]). Of course that is what they do and of course that is what they do in place of thought, reason, and rational consideration. No reason for any of that, once you simply KNOW.

As Eric Hoffer pointed out almost 70 years ago, writing of True Believers: “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.” And the Devil, to the media-hyped, Liberal Progressive is everyone who doubts, questions, or even (State Forbid!) rejects the 4-Headed God (Diversity, Inclusion, Equality, and Social Justice) or the dogma it barks from every one of its talking heads.

So either — in that body-snatched world of theirs — you are “One of Us” or…. you are Evil Incarnate: a racist, sexist, heteronormative, cisgendered, colonialist, misogynistic, sexist, oppressive, 1% capitalist tool of the patriarchy. What else could you be?

So sure. No question. You have the gall to write a book casting even the least bit of shade upon the grail which is Transgenderism….you doubt (even a little bit) that a man can ‘really’ be a woman and transition to that blessed state of ‘full-self-realization’ with the wave of a scalpel and an accompanying tidal wave of drugs… well, that is heresy. And Torquemada has always been clear about what must be done with heretics.

Welcome to the 21st Century and the Endless Auto-da-Fe…have a chair we’ll judge you shortly…and quickly…and with deadly efficiency!

#20 Comment By Viriato On February 2, 2018 @ 4:15 pm

Look, I’m totally opposed to transgenderism, as I said here on numerous occasions. Based on the Washington Post article, Ryan T. Anderson’s book sounds like a great one and I will read it someday.

And yet in a society in which the elite consensus — on both the Left and the Right — is that transgenderism is the “civil rights issue of our time” — how can you expect this book to be fairly reviewed in the pages of the Washington Post? (And, to be fair, the article does not purport to be a book review; rather, it is a news report about the controversy surrounding the book).

In our society, how can you expect Ryan T. Anderson’s book to not be controversial? How can you expect LGBTQWERTY activists to not label the book “dangerous” and claim that the science behind it is “junk science”? And how can you expect people like Anderson, yourself, and I not to be branded “bigots” for opposing transgenderism?

Here’s what I’m driving at: Is it really slander for LGBT activists to call Anderson’s book “dangerous” and based on “junk science” and to call Anderson himself a “bigot?” Or is it just a sincerely held opinion among LGBT activists?

If it’s a sincerely held opinion (which it is), why whine about it? Why not simply make the case for what we believe? Why should you be troubled by someone calling you a bigot and labeling your beliefs junk science? (Besides, you’ve engaged in this kind of behavior yourself, for example when you described the transgender ideology as “trans-Lysenkoism.”)

Given that I have a clear conscience about my belief, the “bigot” label does not trouble me. In fact, considering the kind of people who are calling me a “bigot,” I consider the label a badge of honor. I would be gravely concerned and have some serious self-examination to do if such people did NOT consider me a bigot!

We simply have to accept the fact that our cultural commissars consider our views toxic. There’s no escaping that. I’m by no means that opposed to attempting rational, fair-minded debate with them (in fact, we have to do this if we are to remain free), but complaining when they call us names doesn’t seem to me to be very helpful or productive.

Finally, I think the activists actually have a point about Amazon. Anderson’s book objectively does not belong on the “Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights History” list, since the book is not about Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights History. That is, it does not advance that narrative but rather seeks to undermine it. It would be like putting David Duke’s book “My Awakening” (which I’m currently reading) on the “Civil Rights Movement History” list. (On the other hand, Anderson’s book DOES belong on the Natural Law list).

And Lord knows, I’m not saying Anderson is the moral equivalent of Duke. I’m just making an analogy. Anderson’s book is to the transgender movement as Duke’s book is to the real Civil Rights Movement, in that both books use science to refute the premises of the respective movements they address. For the record, I’m not at all persuaded that the science Duke cites in his book is accurate — and, even if it is, I think it and Duke are advancing no good purpose. I’m still at the beginning of Duke’s book, but I’m already starting to get greater insight into how malevolent that guy is. In contrast, I think (based on having read several articles by Dr. Paul McHugh) the science Anderson cites is persuasive, and I see it and Anderson as undeniably advancing a good and noble purpose.

#21 Comment By Viriato On February 2, 2018 @ 4:25 pm

@Siarlys Jenkins: “I continue to believe that one of the things that went wrong with communism is Russia was Russian culture, and Russian political history.”

If that’s so, then why has communism been equally murderous and totalitarian in every country in which it has been attempted?

#22 Comment By Anne On February 2, 2018 @ 4:57 pm

To say “virtue signaling” by liberal extremists will drive people to bigotry says something about the ones driven as well as the ones driving. I don’t like any of it. Bobby Kennedy used to have a phrase to cover these national moments of degradation, “We can do better.” Sometimes we did.

#23 Comment By VikingLS On February 2, 2018 @ 5:02 pm

“So can we stop talking about communists are totalitarian, and liberals are free and open, and recognize that almost any class perspective, any ideology, any political insider clique with sufficient self-righteousness, is capable of lying and ignoring inconvenient truths?”

Siarlys I genuinely like you but for Pete’s sake, you are a grown man, it’s time for you to leave childish things behind.

Communism didn’t fail because of Russia, or China, or Cuba, or Ethiopia, or Nicaragua etc. Communism failed because it is doesn’t work. If there was an American communism it would find a way to manifest our worst traits, for example, the idealistic denial of the blatantly obvious.

#24 Comment By Chris – the other one On February 2, 2018 @ 5:02 pm

With regards to the WaPo headline…

…I’m confused. Isn’t gender dysphoria listed as a mental illness in DSM-5?

#25 Comment By JonF On February 2, 2018 @ 5:07 pm

Re: If that’s so, then why has communism been equally murderous and totalitarian in every country in which it has been attempted?

Because Communism only succeeds in taking power in countries that are severely dysfunctional in the first place.

#26 Comment By Nate J On February 2, 2018 @ 5:38 pm

Eventually, people will tire of being called “bigots” without good reason and will soon care less about being an *actual* bigot (if it’s all the same, why walk on eggshells anymore?). Likewise, people will start to believe that “normal doesn’t exist” as the prog-left continually tells them, and they will see no problem carrying themselves very abnormally in politics or anything else.

Enter Richard Spencer.

Now, I hope conservativism can resist the urge to go full alt-right in the face of this SJW madness, but here’s the thing: the alt-right variant (mutation?) of conservatism seems to be the most capable antidote to the progressive left because it is most able to engage the culture on its own terms.

When you go to fight a war, you fight it where it is, not where you’d like it to be. So, how do conservatives fight a culture war when we’re so far away from the action, so to speak? The mainstream culture and the language of traditional conservativism seem to be separated by a vast chasm. The alt-right seems to be the little splinter group that went off to fight in the mud. I hope they, and we all, don’t lose our souls in the process.

It’s fair game to use the absurdity of progressivism against itself, but one must not wade in that mud too long or it starts to creep into your bones (eg. white identity politics).

#27 Comment By Nate J On February 2, 2018 @ 5:45 pm

@Rob G: “SJW’s don’t debate, they emote. And in my experience it’s virtually impossible for them to discuss this kind of thing with any level of objective emotional distance.”

– – –

Look no further than the subtle way “I feel…” has replaced “I think…” in the modern lexicon. In the end, that might not mean much in itself (I catch myself doing it from time to time), but it’s just of those little reminders of where we are and where we’re going.

#28 Comment By Anne On February 2, 2018 @ 5:47 pm

Viriato @ 4:15 asks the most pertinent question of all: Why not simply acknowledge the sincerely held position of opponents who think Anderson’s book is a danger to a vulnerable minority they believe requires defending, and refute that claim? If they dismiss sincere opponents as “bigots,” they are indeed being uncivil, which one can note in passing, but accusing pretty much all liberals of being wretched slanderers isn’t exactly raising the bar. I’ve always hated it when arguments descend into complaints about an opponent’s demeanor or sound of voice or what-have-you. It’s an endless journey from there back to the point.

#29 Comment By Adam Loumeau On February 2, 2018 @ 6:21 pm

I wish this phenomenon in the media was confined to topics related to LGBT issues or immigration issues. But we see the same thing regarding race and the NFL player protests and anything related to gender and party line politics. The list goes on and on.

You are doing all you can Rod to shine a light on this national tragedy. Pursuit of truth should come before all else. What will our country turn into when we can’t trust the media even a little bit?

#30 Comment By Seven sleepers On February 2, 2018 @ 8:22 pm

Have you ever argued with an Alcoholic? Mental illness does not argue from a place of truth, but a place of shame. The more right you are, the more wrong they think you are. It’s a trap. It is a fools game, arguing with people who have departed reality. They are not playing by the same rules, and you are bound to suffer more than they do.

It does seem like the Left is reaching some new low, one that seems very European. Not russian. Not even E European. It’s French Communism. It’s no wonder too, the endless garbage that floats in form that country directly into the (non-philosophically trained) english departments of the anglosopheres major universities.

As someone who did not vote for Trump and generally thinks he is a idiot savant, what the memo intimates is a level of subterfuge and coordinated, extremely well coordinated propaganda machine, that is somewhat scary.

I think to myself, if, IF Trump was NOT elected, where would we be? Honestly think about that. What level of impossibly embedded leftist machinery would have installed itself like a virus into the levers of power? Bad enough its a YEAR ON and STILL Trump cant actually ferret out all the apparatchiks burrowed in, winking, cackling and texting each other in a frenzy of whose jacobism is more obscene.

And 2020 looms…

#31 Comment By Seven sleepers On February 2, 2018 @ 8:23 pm

@Siarlys Jenkins: “I continue to believe that one of the things that went wrong with communism is Russia was Russian culture, and Russian political history.”

If that’s so, then why has communism been equally murderous and totalitarian in every country in which it has been attempted?

Bingo. But the no true scotsman is the only refuge for those who believe equality is a thing to be grasped.

#32 Comment By Baird Fulghum On February 2, 2018 @ 10:11 pm

Beloved, we battle not with flesh and blood, rather with principalities and powers in the heavenlies. The decline of America is sadly gaining momentum almost weekly. I believe that the Almighty is removing His restraining hand of common grace to hold back evil, in judgement. I am sorry my children and grandchildren must live through the consequences of the fatal wound that America has inflicted upon itself. Consolation comes in the absolute knowledge that Christ is Victor and He will bring all of His own to heaven when He stands up from His throne and brings history to it’s final chapter. Then finally finally every knee shall bow before His glory. Those who now heap disdain on His sheep and mock Him will find themselves on that day in utter desolation. This is a spiritual battle and the SJW are but pawns in the hands of the Enemy. As my grandmother used to say- It’s Friday,but Sunday is coming !”
Do not lose heart!

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 2, 2018 @ 10:19 pm

I sympathize with Rose McGowan, but she needs to learn to go full Cosimanian Orthodox on this nonsense, not get offended by it.

If that’s so, then why has communism been equally murderous and totalitarian in every country in which it has been attempted?

It hasn’t. But, there was a period when all communist parties in the world were measured by how well they followed every twist and turn of the Russian party line — one of the great errors of the 20th century. Successful revolutions were won by parties out of contact with Moscow, but some of them were roped in later due to the need to have a good source of arms to fight unnecessary and misguided U.S. intervention. (Ho Chi Minh and Mao would much have preferred and alliance with the U.S. to depending in Stalin, but the U.S. wasn’t considering it.)

Cuba, for all its faults, did not have nearly the same experience as Russia. Nicaragua, Angola and Mozambique would have been quite benign if not for years fighting U.S. and South African supported armies led by bombastic egotists who represented no ideology except the image of themselves being Top Leader. (You could call that an armed version of the motivations exhibited by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton). Outside of eastern Europe, where quite frankly local communists were put in power by the Red Army, not by in-country insurgencies, what other communist regimes are there to compare with?

I note that Czechoslovakia is a bit of an exception. The Czechs were so embittered by the way Britain and France betrayed them to Hitler that they actually gave a plurality of the popular vote to the communists after WW II. But then, the communist party that won an election was subjected to the same paranoid post-war purges as every other in eastern Europe.

The difference between communism and liberalism is that the former is using primitive state force, while the latter is based on voluntary and decentralized actions of civil society

No, the difference between communism and liberalism is that one is determined to advance the interests of the working class and the other is an attempt to make capitalism virtuous by painting over all its destructive evils with pretty pastel paintings.

And yet in a society in which the elite consensus — on both the Left and the Right — is that transgenderism is the “civil rights issue of our time” — how can you expect this book to be fairly reviewed in the pages of the Washington Post?

By challenging that fatuous premise. NOTHING is “the civil rights movement of our time.” Nothing. Take a poll of working class African Americans in any city. Just ask whether gay marriage or trans-sexual equity is the moral equivalent of the civil rights movement. You’ll get quite an earful.

When you disagree and offer evidence and/or logical argument they simply get angry. And if you have answers for their talking points and get them off script they get really angry.

Indeed. And that is when you know you have them on the ropes. That is the time to laugh again at how utterly without substance their vapid emoting is. They will get angrier and angrier, and everyone else will notice they are making fools of themselves. But for God’s sake, don’t make the mistake of getting angry with them. Keep your cool. Its what makes them look like the sorry infatuated fools they really are. As I never tire of pointing out, Lenin referred to this stuff as “infantile disorders.”

They want to draw swords, man the barricades, block the streets with debris as in the days of the Paris Commune of 1872.</i.

The Paris Commune was in 1870. By 1872 its leaders and a good chunk of the rank and file had been executed by firing squad or had escaped into exile. I believe it did extend a bit into 1871 — I've lost my copy of Marx's The Civil War in France.

Anyone who wants to build barricades in 19th century fashion seems to have missed the press release about this substance called asphalt. Streets are no longer paved with large stones that can be pulled up and built into walls that have a reasonable chance of stopping bullets.

I’m sorry Rod, but as long as you continue to suggest Homosexuals are the moral equivalent of Adulterers, that is, liars and Cheats, you will be labeled a bigot.

By who?

#34 Comment By Isidore the Farmer On February 2, 2018 @ 11:04 pm

A large chunk of the modern left would repeal the first and second amendments in a heartbeat if possible.

You all didn’t think it was just the old religion they were looking to tear down, did you?

#35 Comment By Mark VA On February 3, 2018 @ 4:57 am

Furor and Jon ask, respectively:

“I only wonder what is the end game of liberalism”, and

“What sort of victory is born of this? What kind of world do they seek to create?”

This is how I see it: in a totalitarian state, the end game is that we submit our free will to the “truth of the day”, as given to us by those in power. Once that’s done, we will be required to publicly express our happiness, support these “truths” with deeds, and teach them to our children (easily verifiable by school officials). Also, as these “truths” may often change in content and relative importance (fluidity), so must we – support it today, denounce it tomorrow;

Further, we must not expect these “truths” to be written in some permanent compendium or catechism – they will be given on the fly from on high (saves time rewriting history books). Thus, in our context (and we are not in a totalitarian state yet), this is not really about gay marriage, transgenderism, or polyamory – it’s about basic training in the practice of submitting our free will to raw power. That’s why debates are not allowed;

One trivial example from my past: about fifty years ago in my officially atheist grade school, the home room teacher, out of the blue, denounced Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was a “candy” composer for the “corrupt Vienna bourgeois”, his music is likewise “corrupt”, and we must hate it. That was the “truth of the day” given to her to teach – for all I know, she may have been a big fan of Mozart;

To sum up: the way I see it, the end game is to conquer our free will, and create a world of total subservience to raw power. But let’s not despair – antidotes do exist.

#36 Comment By Al Bundy On February 3, 2018 @ 10:10 am

I keep hearing that transgenders are repeated targets of violence. Where is the evidence for that? I’m more inclined to believe that the crazed rednecks in pickup trucks who are allegedly harassing [zem] are really just Hollywood tropes.

[NFR: A couple of years ago on this blog, I looked at a “memorial” page for MtF transgenders who had been murdered. The clear implication was that they were victims of anti-trans violence. I’m not able to find that entry right now (if someone else can, please post the link), but I recall that in most cases, the trans person was a prostitute — a line of work that is not notable for its safety. In other instances, it was not clear by any means that the person had been killed as a result of anti-trans bias. I don’t deny that it happens, but I don’t take any trans activist group’s claims at face value. — RD]

#37 Comment By grumpy realist On February 3, 2018 @ 10:39 am

Viriato–um, wrong. I suggest you look at what has happened in Japan. The Japanese Communist Party is one of the few grass-roots political parties and has done a very good job of acting as mayors of the larger cities. I see no evidence of any of them acting like Stalinists.

#38 Comment By grumpy realist On February 3, 2018 @ 10:46 am

P.S. For all those of you claiming “the Left does X” I suggest you sit down and think seriously about such blanket claims. ALL the Left? Every single individual who identifies as being on the socialism/Democratic Party/progressive axis? Really?

Just think how upset you would feel if you were lumped in with similarly grandiose and disparaging comments about “the Right.” (Which, of course, a lot of commenters on left-leaning blogs do.)

Please be accurate in your statements. “SOME of the people on the left….” or “SOME of the people on the right…” is far more accurate.

But that wouldn’t help hype up the feeling of “aux barricades!” which is what some people seem to be addicted you.

Sheesh. Please don’t act like SWJs!

#39 Comment By Pat On February 3, 2018 @ 2:27 pm

You might find Alice Dreher’s book Galileo’s Middle Finger on the tension between activists and science regarding trans issues interesting. It’s an excellent read and challenged my beliefs from both sides.

#40 Comment By John On February 3, 2018 @ 4:32 pm

Viriato makes a good point about communism’s totalitarianism globally. I think more than anything s respect for democratic principles is what keeps those impulses in check which is why I think Western Eirope’s Social democratic economics is the closest we can get to a Marxist vision without the disaster we saw with Stalin, Mak, Pol Pot, Castro, etc.

Anyway, I am fairly liberall on the cultural issues but I I find the anti-libertarian impulse to censor speech (even the most abhorrent) abhorrent. I oppose laws banning hate speech, blasphemy, or anything which the culture writ-large may disapprove of if only because the mind, heart, and (questionably existent) soul are things too dangerous to cede to civil authorities.

Rod is overreacting in this particular case. Mr Anderson’s detractors may have picked the wrong battle with him over a stupid listing but it does not involve the government. Moreover they do not ask Amazon to cease and desist from selling said book.

They are requesting that it be removed from the LGBT list, which they inexplicably think should only list books that validate our lives. In that sense they are behaving no differently from those who seek to get their news from only one source, be it Fox News, talk radio, MSNBC or a liberal web site.

It is stupid. I could just imagine what the reaction would be if the conservative Christians objected to having a liberal Episcopalians book listed as a Christian book.

I have a suggestion that can please all sides. Create a search engine for LGBT topics and then allow for the list to be sorted so one can know in advance if the book is LGBT affirming, LGBT denying, or LGBT neutral (perhaps because it includes a collection of pro and con essays).

#41 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 3, 2018 @ 9:10 pm

With radical extremists like this doxxing and excommunicating everyone else, people will conclude those they criticize are nowhere near as bad as they. And they will conclude that none of those accused of being bigots, really are.

I don’t think the culture war’s been lost. It’s just warming up.

#42 Comment By March Hare On February 4, 2018 @ 8:02 am

Well, I read all kinds of books that get me side-eyed on the train to NYC. Looks like I have another one.

#43 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 4, 2018 @ 4:39 pm

Amazon is giving credibility to an anti-trans book…

A book offering a skeptical examination of the trans- mythology has great credibility to me, regardless of what Amazon or the Washington Post have to say about it.

Being available on Amazon does not, per se, lend the slightest credibility to anything. All kinds of dubious nonsense and unsavory junk is available on Amazon.

#44 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 4, 2018 @ 7:45 pm

A large chunk of the modern left would repeal the first and second amendments in a heartbeat if possible.

A leftist who would repeal the Second Amendment is no leftist at all. Can anyone find me a copy of Lenin’s polemic “The Proletarian Revolution and the Necessity to Keep All Guns in the hands of the Okhrana”?

#45 Comment By TA On February 4, 2018 @ 11:47 pm

The Post article is “shocking”? How? It’s very even handed.

There is a controversy about the book. The Post reports that there is a controversy. The majority of the article portrays Anderson favorably or quotes him directly in benign ways.

It also quotes some people with whom conservatives disagree and/or who may be attacking Anderson unfairly. However, it’s pretty hard to write about the controversy without referring to those causing that controversy.

If the article had been entitled “Moral Warrior for Truth is Attacked by Crazy People”, it would have been right at home at Fox or Breitbart, but there would have been no question about its bias.

As a former newsroom journalist, how would you have changed the article had you been assigned it by your editor as a news piece and not an opinion piece?

[NFR: I would not have published the piece without having the reporter first read the book (which is available to the media for free), or at the very least phone Anderson for an interview to give him a chance to respond to the controversy. And I would have had her interview the activists rather than merely rely on their tweets. — RD]

#46 Comment By DRK On February 5, 2018 @ 11:37 am

Whether or not you want to believe it, transgendered people are often targeted for their gender identity. Given the number of truly hateful and dehumanizing comments on this blog every time Rod runs a story about transgendered or gender fluid people, the idea that some of this animus would cross over into physical attacks is hardly surprising. From the Human Rights Campaign:

The number of anti-LBGT hate crimes is increasing. In 2016, 6,121 hate crime incidents were reported –an increase of five percent from 2015. Of the 6,121 incidents reported,1,076 were based on sexual orientation bias and 124 were based on gender identity bias. These numbers reflect a two percent and nine percent increase, respectively.

Of the 124 incidents based on gender identity, 19 targeted gender non-conforming people, a decrease of 54 percent from 2015. Yet, of those same 124 incidents,105 targeted transgender people, an increase of 44 percent from 2015.

However, these numbers likely represent only a fraction of such cases, given that reporting hate crimes to the FBI is not mandatory. Thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the country did not submit any data.

[19]

The above quote references incidents, not offenses, which the FBI breaks out separately.

And here’s a link to the FBI’s report.

[20]

The FBI has only been tracking hate crimes involving gender identity since 2013. Since then the number of offenses has gone up every year: 2013 – 33; 2014 – 109; 2015 – 118; 2016 – 130.

#47 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 5, 2018 @ 6:51 pm

Whether or not you want to believe it, transgendered people are often targeted for their gender identity.

And the proper response is, no you may not beat up on anyone, whether you find them strange or not, whether they have a difficult medical condition or not, no matter what it is, no, you may not beat up on them.

That is different from “We must give them anything they want to make them feel normal, accepted and loved, because they have been targeted.” Actually, taking a lower profile would probably lower the rate of targeting. Now a male body insisting on walking into the girls’ locker room because “I identify as a girl” might inspire a bit of physical retaliation, and ALMOST rightly so, because any other male body that walked in there would be promptly trounced and not too gently.