Bari Weiss Interview: Courage in the Face of Book Burners

 

I’m once again recommending a podcast from Bari Weiss. This one is an interview with Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: Teenage Girls and the Transgender Craze, her piece of investigative journalism (remember when that used to happen?) on the topic of the exploding “trans” movement afflicting young girls.

I have purchased the book but not yet read it. I’ll undoubtedly write about it after I do.

I think the transgender movement is the forced confession of wokism, serving the same function as it did under Stalin, that of forcing compliance and breaking the spirit of those who dare speak out against an obvious fiction. It’s O’Brien’s “2+2=5,” something so absurd that conceding it, even under duress, is a betrayal of one’s own conscience.

The podcast can be heard here: Honestly with Bari Weiss: Courage in the Face of Book Burners.

Ms. Shrier’s descriptions during the podcast of truly Orwellian progressive public school policies regarding gender identity are chilling and need to be heard. And this comment of hers was, I thought, spot-on (31:35):

The major political battle ahead of us is not conservative versus liberal. It’s really conservative and liberal versus the woke. They don’t believe in free speech. They don’t believe in equal protection. They don’t believe in due process.


PS I don’t normally subscribe to online services; there’s simply too much worth reading that doesn’t require a subscription. But I just subscribed for a year of Bari Weiss’s substack, because I want to support her efforts. I think she is distinguishing herself as a standout voice for free speech and free inquiry.

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  1. KevinKrisher Coolidge
    KevinKrisher
    @KevinKrisher

    I haven’t read the book, but I have read some articles that advocate sexual reassignment surgery for people who believe they are transgender.  The articles pointed out that (1) sexual reassigment patients tend to be satisfied with their outcomes when surveyed shortly after their surgeries, and (2) untreated transgender people have a higher incidence of suicide and other problems when compared to non-transgender people.

    Neither of these points seems very persuasive.

    First, almost all surgery patients are satisfied with their outcomes when surveyed shortly after their surgeries. The main concern with gender reassignment surgery is long-term satisfaction, which to my knowledge has never been consistently measured.

    Second, it is not necessarily true that untreated transgenderism causes suicidality or other psychological problems. It would more persuasive to argue that psychological problems may cause or at least contribute to the perception of transgenderism.

    I suspect that gender reassignment surgery will someday join lobotomy and all of the other ill-fated attempts to surgically treat what is, in most cases, a mental illness. It would be safer and healthier to encourage transgender people to live their lives as their preferred gender without undergoing surgery, to the extent that they could do so without compromising the privacy or safety of others.

    • #1
  2. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    KevinKrisher (View Comment):

    I haven’t read the book, but I have read some articles that advocate sexual reassignment surgery for people who believe they are transgender. The articles pointed out that (1) sexual reassigment patients tend to be satisfied with their outcomes when surveyed shortly after their surgeries, and (2) untreated transgender people have a higher incidence of suicide and other problems when compared to non-transgender people.

    Neither of these points seem very persuasive.

    First, almost all surgery patients are satisfied with their outcomes when surveyed shortly after their surgeries. The main concern with gender reassigment surgery is long-term satisfaction, which to my knowledge has never been consistently measured.

    Second, it is not necessarily true that untreated transgenderism causes suicidality or other psychological problems. It would more persuasive to argue that psychological problems may cause or at least contribute to the perception of transgenderism.

    I suspect that gender reassignment surgery will someday join lobotomy and all of the other ill-fated attempts to surgically treat what is, in most cases, a mental illness. It would be safer and healthier to encourage transgender people to live their lives as their preferred gender without undergoing surgery, to the extent that they could do so without compromising the privacy or safety of others.

     

     

    One thing Ms. Shrier emphasizes — and something I’ve read elsewhere — is that the current wave of so-called rapid onset gender dysphoria differs from what has traditionally been thought of as gender dysphoria. In the past, those who sought gender “reassignment” were typically older, and had spent years coping with whatever psychological discomfort ultimately informed their decision to seek medical intervention.

    In contrast, what she describes in her book is a sudden increase in young women asserting a previously unevidenced dysmorphia. She argues, and I’m pretty sure she’s right, that this behavior is of a piece with other peer-driven “social contagions” among young girls, such as eating disorders, self-cutting, and, most tragically, suicide. One driver appears to be social media, where “trans” “influencers” (and I can’t tell you how much it disgusts me to use those two words together) celebrate embracing “trans” identity. Peer groups join in the affirmation, pressure their members to demonstrate their commitment by seeking medical intervention, and reward those who “come out” as trans.

    Let’s just say, this isn’t your grandfather’s transsexuality.

    • #2
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hank, thanks for the link and the recommendation.  I hope to have a chance to listen to this one soon.  I’ve appreciated the work of both Weiss and Shrier in the past, though I have major disagreements with both of them.

    I am familiar with Shrier’s position from previous interviews, and I’m pretty sure that Weiss agrees.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  My impression is that they support “transition” in adulthood, but not in childhood.

    I do not consider this to be a viable position, for three reasons.

    My first objection is ideological.  In my view, the acceptance of “trans,” even in adulthood, is a manifestation of the same sexual confusion that previously led to the feminist and homosexuality movements.  I oppose both of those.  I am not inclined to make common cause with anyone who supports any of these ideas.

    The second objection is a question of practical biology.  In my view, “transition” means surgical, chemical, and hormonal mutilation, whether in an adult or a child.  In my view, adults who wish to do this are either clinically insane, demon possessed, or (unlikely) engaging in a very bizarre form of LARPing.  I do not think that is should be accepted as normal in any way.  I think that it should be banned, frankly, to protect crazy people from themselves, in much the same way that we intervene to protect anorexics or cutters.

    Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, I think that you lose the ability to successfully oppose it in children.  I understand that one can argue that children lack the mental capacity to make such a decision.  But on the other hand, a proponent arguing on behalf of such a child can point out that “transition” in adulthood will irrevocably cause the child seeking such “transition” to lose an opportunity for a more successful “transition.”  There are important hormonal and physical changes that occur during puberty that are, I think, irreversible.  A “transition” at the age of 25 is not going to give the same result as a “transition” at 12 or 13.

    My third objection is a question of practical culture and law.  Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, it seems to me that you also concede that everyone else must treat such a “transitioned” person as a member of — what is it, “zir”? — new apparent sex.  This is part of the essence of the Wokeist position, in my view.

    For this reason, I find both Weiss and Shrier to be part of the woke.  They don’t seem to realize it, perhaps because the Overton window in their bubble has shifted so far to the left that, to them, their position seems centrist.  To me, it seems far-Left, though not quite as looney Left as the proponents of child mutilation.

    I may be wrong.  I’d appreciate your critique of these thoughts. 

    • #3
  4. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Hank, thanks for the link and the recommendation. I hope to have a chance to listen to this one soon. I’ve appreciated the work of both Weiss and Shrier in the past, though I have major disagreements with both of them.

    I am familiar with Shrier’s position from previous interviews, and I’m pretty sure that Weiss agrees. Correct me if I’m wrong. My impression is that they support “transition” in adulthood, but not in childhood.

    I do not consider this to be a viable position, for three reasons.

    My first objection is ideological. In my view, the acceptance of “trans,” even in adulthood, is a manifestation of the same sexual confusion that previously led to the feminist and homosexuality movements. I oppose both of those. I am not inclined to make common cause with anyone who supports any of these ideas.

    The second objection is a question of practical biology. In my view, “transition” means surgical, chemical, and hormonal mutilation, whether in an adult or a child. In my view, adults who wish to do this are either clinically insane, demon possessed, or (unlikely) engaging in a very bizarre form of LARPing. I do not think that is should be accepted as normal in any way. I think that it should be banned, frankly, to protect crazy people from themselves, in much the same way that we intervene to protect anorexics or cutters.

    Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, I think that you lose the ability to successfully oppose it in children. I understand that one can argue that children lack the mental capacity to make such a decision. But on the other hand, a proponent arguing on behalf of such a child can point out that “transition” in adulthood will irrevocably cause the child seeking such “transition” to lose an opportunity for a more successful “transition.” There are important hormonal and physical changes that occur during puberty that are, I think, irreversible. A “transition” at the age of 25 is not going to give the same result as a “transition” at 12 or 13.

    My third objection is a question of practical culture and law. Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, it seems to me that you also concede that everyone else must treat such a “transitioned” person as a member of — what is it, “zir”? — new apparent sex. This is part of the essence of the Wokeist position, in my view.

    For this reason, I find both Weiss and Shrier to be part of the woke. They don’t seem to realize it, perhaps because the Overton window in their bubble has shifted so far to the left that, to them, their position seems centrist. To me, it seems far-Left, though not quite as looney Left as the proponents of child mutilation.

    I may be wrong. I’d appreciate your critique of these thoughts.

    Jerry,

    You will be surprised to know that I am more than happy to critique your thoughts. ;)

    > My impression is that they support “transition” in adulthood, but not in childhood.

    Shrier was asked (by a caller/writer) during the interview why she did not spend more time speaking positively of adult “trans” people. Her response was that she didn’t feel it necessary to express her view on issues beyond the one she was engaging, which is the faddish (my word) embrace of “trans” behavior by young girls.

    I do suspect that both Weiss and Shrier support the right of adults to pursue so-called sexual reassignment surgery, to engage in cross-dressing and other transvestite behavior, etc. I support that right as well, but…

    I do not think that is should be accepted as normal in any way.

    Nor do I. I think that, in its more extreme forms, it’s a sign of psychological or emotional problems. But then, I might say the same of radical piercing or even tattooing, yet I wouldn’t seek to ban adults from either of those activities.

    I want to draw a distinction between a few different things:

    1. allowing adults to practice superficial transvestitism;
    2. allowing adults to engage in chemical or surgical procedures in pursuit of their transvestitism;
    3. allowing children to practice superficial transvestitism;
    4. allowing children to engage in chemical or surgical procedures in pursuit of their transvestitism; and
    5. insisting that anyone have to take any of it any more seriously than he or she wishes.

    I am completely comfortable supporting point one: men have been dressing up as women forever, and I don’t care; many women dress as men, and I don’t care.

    I am generally tolerant regarding point two, though I wouldn’t be offended by laws prohibiting dysphoria-driven surgical amputations and the like. I think such laws would probably fall within the purview of our liberal but not libertarian society.

    I’m ambivalent about point three: some little boys like to dress up as girls but grow out of it, some little girls like to pretend they’re boys. Most of them grow out of it. I think it should be left to parents to decide how much of that kind of thing they want to tolerate.

    I’m unambiguously opposed to number four, and would make it illegal.

    I’m unambiguously opposed to number five, think the whole “trans” thing is a harmful farce, and reject it and all the social compulsion garbage associated with it.

    And I also reject the implication I think I read in your post, that one can not tolerate people going down various “trans” paths without somehow endorsing or lending credence to the beliefs or claims of the “trans” community or otherwise declaring it “normal.” I can tolerate the behavior while thinking the people engaging in it are abnormal and/or foolish.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, I think that you lose the ability to successfully oppose it in children.

    I agree that it’s harder to oppose it anywhere if one accepts it anywhere. But that’s true of lots of behaviors in which we allow adults to engage (smoking, drinking, buying time-shares), and I won’t use it as a justification for prohibiting those things.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, it seems to me that you also concede that everyone else must treat such a “transitioned” person as a member of — what is it, “zir”? — new apparent sex.

    See my point #5, above. I simply reject this argument.

    More, I think it’s probably counter-productive. It is easy to make a solid free-speech, freedom of conscience argument in favor of letting people believe what they want about other people. I will use only masculine and feminine pronouns, and I won’t ever knowingly use the biologically incorrect one (unless the guy passing as a girl is just too convincing to make it worth the bother of remembering which he really is). I can concede “permissibility” without ever pretending to take their nonsense seriously.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    For this reason, I find both Weiss and Shrier to be part of the woke.

    I think Weiss is generally liberal. Neither of them strikes me as woke, per se, in that both seem bent on doing the one thing the woke folks absolutely can’t stand, which is talking critically about progressive ideas and considering the arguments against them. Weiss is proving to be an outstanding champion of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. Shrier is living in the trenches of this most critical battle. I want to applaud both of them.


    I’ve argued repeatedly among conservatives that we have to unite in common purpose with those who are, in the most important respects, on our side. It’s entirely possible — likely, even — that both Weiss and Shrier hold views to which I object. But on the matter of free speech, I see them as allies.

    • #4
  5. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    I am not quite old enough to remember.  Did the Psychiatric industry express remorse after pursuing the lobotomy fad?   I feel like they quietly moved on to chemicals.   From Wikipedia:

    In the United States, approximately 40,000 people were lobotomized. In England, 17,000 lobotomies were performed, and the three Nordic countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had a combined figure of approximately 9,300 lobotomies.[139] Scandinavian hospitals lobotomized 2.5 times as many people per capita as hospitals in the US.[140] Sweden lobotomized at least 4,500 people between 1944 and 1966, mainly women. This figure includes young children.[141] In Norway, there were 2,005 known lobotomies.[142] In Denmark, there were 4,500 known lobotomies.[143] In Japan, the majority of lobotomies were performed on children with behavour problems. The Soviet Union banned the practice in 1950 on moral grounds.[citation needed] In Germany, it was performed only a few times.[144] By the late 1970s, the practice of lobotomy had generally ceased, although it continued as late as the 1980s in France.[145]

    The Soviet Union officially banned the procedure in 1950[149] on the initiative of Gilyarovsky.[150] Doctors in the Soviet Union concluded that the procedure was “contrary to the principles of humanity” and “‘through lobotomy’ an insane person is changed into an idiot”.[151] By the 1970s, numerous countries had banned the procedure, as had several US states.[152]

    In 1977 the US Congress, during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, created the National Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research to investigate allegations that psychosurgery – including lobotomy techniques – was used to control minorities and restrain individual rights. The committee concluded that some extremely limited and properly performed psychosurgery could have positive effects.[153]

    The practiced peak long after the tragedy of Rose Kennedy.

     

    • #5
  6. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    what she describes in her book is a sudden increase in young women asserting a previously unevidenced dysmorphia.

    8 years ago FGM was a big controversy.   All the Lefties were up in arms over FGM.  Now, nobody talks about FGM.  Why? 

    • #6
  7. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    DonG (CAGW is a hoax) (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    what she describes in her book is a sudden increase in young women asserting a previously unevidenced dysmorphia.

    8 years ago FGM was a big controversy. All the Lefties were up in arms over FGM. Now, nobody talks about FGM. Why?

    Probably because (1) it’s associated with Islam, and that’s just not talked about, and (2) high school and college girls aren’t tripping over themselves to get mutilated in that particular way.

    But it’s really apples and oranges. It was never LGBFGM; that wasn’t ever going to be popular. Maybe if the FGM folk had been savvy enough to hitch their wagon to the LGB powerhouse they’d have made some progress. But they weren’t, and FGM was never cool anyway.

    • #7
  8. Nick Plosser Coolidge
    Nick Plosser
    @NickP

    Excellent podcast. Weiss is another of the many leftists who were mugged by leftism. 

    • #8
  9. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve argued repeatedly among conservatives that we have to unite in common purpose with those who are, in the most important respects, on our side. It’s entirely possible — likely, even — that both Weiss and Shrier hold views to which I object. But on the matter of free speech, I see them as allies.

    This will be regarded by some as another example of ceding the culture to the left, and letting them gain more ground, and hence you’re part of the problem. 

    But I agree, and agree with your response to the five points. I think these are the majority default positions at this point, more or less. It’s the fifth point – requiring everyone to change their beliefs on biology – that will determine a lot more than the acceptance of  The Trans, as Chapelle puts it. If people are required to say something in which they do not believe, and go along with sullen compliance because the consequences for saying “mother” instead of “birthing person” are too great, then we’ve lost more than the language. 

    • #9
  10. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve argued repeatedly among conservatives that we have to unite in common purpose with those who are, in the most important respects, on our side. It’s entirely possible — likely, even — that both Weiss and Shrier hold views to which I object. But on the matter of free speech, I see them as allies.

    This will be regarded by some as another example of ceding the culture to the left, and letting them gain more ground, and hence you’re part of the problem.

    But I agree, and agree with your response to the five points. I think these are the majority default positions at this point, more or less. It’s the fifth point – requiring everyone to change their beliefs on biology – that will determine a lot more than the acceptance of The Trans, as Chapelle puts it. If people are required to say something in which they do not believe, and go along with sullen compliance because the consequences for saying “mother” instead of “birthing person” are too great, then we’ve lost more than the language.

    For my wife, who is quite liberal, birthing person is her red line. 

    • #10
  11. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    ‘…but I’m not a conservative!’  Where was she when they censored ( and continue to censor ) the conservatives? 

    • #11
  12. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    ‘…but I’m not a conservative!’ Where was she when they censored ( and continue to censor ) the conservatives?

    If you are referring to Bari Weiss, she was forced out of her job as an editor for the NY Times because she objected to the Times apology for printing Senator Cotton’s op-ed on the riots and for advocating that the Times should publish viewpoints outside the Woke spectrum, including those of conservatives.

    • #12
  13. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Hank, thanks for the link and the recommendation. I hope to have a chance to listen to this one soon. I’ve appreciated the work of both Weiss and Shrier in the past, though I have major disagreements with both of them.

    I am familiar with Shrier’s position from previous interviews, and I’m pretty sure that Weiss agrees. Correct me if I’m wrong. My impression is that they support “transition” in adulthood, but not in childhood.

    I do not consider this to be a viable position, for three reasons.

    My first objection is ideological. In my view, the acceptance of “trans,” even in adulthood, is a manifestation of the same sexual confusion that previously led to the feminist and homosexuality movements. I oppose both of those. I am not inclined to make common cause with anyone who supports any of these ideas.

    The second objection is a question of practical biology. In my view, “transition” means surgical, chemical, and hormonal mutilation, whether in an adult or a child. In my view, adults who wish to do this are either clinically insane, demon possessed, or (unlikely) engaging in a very bizarre form of LARPing. I do not think that is should be accepted as normal in any way. I think that it should be banned, frankly, to protect crazy people from themselves, in much the same way that we intervene to protect anorexics or cutters.

    Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, I think that you lose the ability to successfully oppose it in children. I understand that one can argue that children lack the mental capacity to make such a decision. But on the other hand, a proponent arguing on behalf of such a child can point out that “transition” in adulthood will irrevocably cause the child seeking such “transition” to lose an opportunity for a more successful “transition.” There are important hormonal and physical changes that occur during puberty that are, I think, irreversible. A “transition” at the age of 25 is not going to give the same result as a “transition” at 12 or 13.

    My third objection is a question of practical culture and law. Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, it seems to me that you also concede that everyone else must treat such a “transitioned” person as a member of — what is it, “zir”? — new apparent sex. This is part of the essence of the Wokeist position, in my view.

    For this reason, I find both Weiss and Shrier to be part of the woke. They don’t seem to realize it, perhaps because the Overton window in their bubble has shifted so far to the left that, to them, their position seems centrist. To me, it seems far-Left, though not quite as looney Left as the proponents of child mutilation.

    I may be wrong. I’d appreciate your critique of these thoughts.

    Jerry,

    You will be surprised to know that I am more than happy to critique your thoughts. ;)

    > My impression is that they support “transition” in adulthood, but not in childhood.

    Shrier was asked (by a caller/writer) during the interview why she did not spend more time speaking positively of adult “trans” people. Her response was that she didn’t feel it necessary to express her view on issues beyond the one she was engaging, which is the faddish (my word) embrace of “trans” behavior by young girls.

    I do suspect that both Weiss and Shrier support the right of adults to pursue so-called sexual reassignment surgery, to engage in cross-dressing and other transvestite behavior, etc. I support that right as well, but…

    I do not think that is should be accepted as normal in any way.

    Nor do I. I think that, in its more extreme forms, it’s a sign of psychological or emotional problems. But then, I might say the same of radical piercing or even tattooing, yet I wouldn’t seek to ban adults from either of those activities.

    I want to draw a distinction between a few different things:

    1. allowing adults to practice superficial transvestitism;
    2. allowing adults to engage in chemical or surgical procedures in pursuit of their transvestitism;
    3. allowing children to practice superficial transvestitism;
    4. allowing children to engage in chemical or surgical procedures in pursuit of their transvestitism; and
    5. insisting that anyone have to take any of it any more seriously than he or she wishes.

    I am completely comfortable supporting point one: men have been dressing up as women forever, and I don’t care; many women dress as men, and I don’t care.

    I am generally tolerant regarding point two, though I wouldn’t be offended by laws prohibiting dysphoria-driven surgical amputations and the like. I think such laws would probably fall within the purview of our liberal but not libertarian society.

    I’m ambivalent about point three: some little boys like to dress up as girls but grow out of it, some little girls like to pretend they’re boys. Most of them grow out of it. I think it should be left to parents to decide how much of that kind of thing they want to tolerate.

    I’m unambiguously opposed to number four, and would make it illegal.

    I’m unambiguously opposed to number five, think the whole “trans” thing is a harmful farce, and reject it and all the social compulsion garbage associated with it.

    And I also reject the implication I think I read in your post, that one can not tolerate people going down various “trans” paths without somehow endorsing or lending credence to the beliefs or claims of the “trans” community or otherwise declaring it “normal.” I can tolerate the behavior while thinking the people engaging in it are abnormal and/or foolish.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, I think that you lose the ability to successfully oppose it in children.

    I agree that it’s harder to oppose it anywhere if one accepts it anywhere. But that’s true of lots of behaviors in which we allow adults to engage (smoking, drinking, buying time-shares), and I won’t use it as a justification for prohibiting those things.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Once you concede the permissibility of “transition” in adults, it seems to me that you also concede that everyone else must treat such a “transitioned” person as a member of — what is it, “zir”? — new apparent sex.

    See my point #5, above. I simply reject this argument.

    More, I think it’s probably counter-productive. It is easy to make a solid free-speech, freedom of conscience argument in favor of letting people believe what they want about other people. I will use only masculine and feminine pronouns, and I won’t ever knowingly use the biologically incorrect one (unless the guy passing as a girl is just too convincing to make it worth the bother of remembering which he really is). I can concede “permissibility” without ever pretending to take their nonsense seriously.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    For this reason, I find both Weiss and Shrier to be part of the woke.

    I think Weiss is generally liberal. Neither of them strikes me as woke, per se, in that both seem bent on doing the one thing the woke folks absolutely can’t stand, which is talking critically about progressive ideas and considering the arguments against them. Weiss is proving to be an outstanding champion of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. Shrier is living in the trenches of this most critical battle. I want to applaud both of them.


    I’ve argued repeatedly among conservatives that we have to unite in common purpose with those who are, in the most important respects, on our side. It’s entirely possible — likely, even — that both Weiss and Shrier hold views to which I object. But on the matter of free speech, I see them as allies.

    I agree with your conclusion.  Weiss describes herself as a progressive.  I am less sure of what Shrier’s views are more generally.  There is an opportunity for a broad pushback against the Woke, which you can see happening regarding K-12 education where the leadership against the CRT madness, which is better termed the New Racism, is not only conservative but, once again, from self-described liberals and progressives.

    A terminology distinction between the Woke and traditional liberals/progressives may help here.  I now read several dozen self described liberals, progressives and even a couple of socialists who are anti-Woke.  The distinction is the Woke believe in race (and gender) essentialism – that these are the only factors that count in how a society is structured (on race they are the mirror image of white nationalists).  They do not believe in neutral processes, they do not believe anyone who challenges them has the right to speech, to make a living, or decide how they want to be educated.  Those progressives opposing them, like Weiss, see the path of the Woke ideologues leading to totalitarianism.  In fact, they see the Woke more obsessed with deplatforming dissenting liberals and progressives from the institutions than conservatives.  Weiss, through her substack, has been providing a platform for liberals, progressives, and conservatives fighting the Woke.

    We are going to need all the help we can get in fighting this because the Woke already control the Biden administration, the federal bureaucracy, and most of the institutions in our society.

     

    • #13
  14. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’ve argued repeatedly among conservatives that we have to unite in common purpose with those who are, in the most important respects, on our side. It’s entirely possible — likely, even — that both Weiss and Shrier hold views to which I object. But on the matter of free speech, I see them as allies.

    This will be regarded by some as another example of ceding the culture to the left, and letting them gain more ground, and hence you’re part of the problem.

    If Winston Churchill and FDR could make a temporary alliance with Joseph Stalin against Hitler during World War 2, my making a temporary alliance with Bari Weiss and Abigail Shrier is pretty darn easy.  

    • #14
  15. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Thanks for linking to the podcast.  I’ve listened to several from Bari Weiss but had not yet done this one.

    There are two authors I’ve enjoyed reading who started out as men and then changed – Jan Morris (history & travel) and the economist Deirdre McCloskey.  It was only by happenstance I learned about their transition which involved a condition I understood to be very rare.  They never made a big deal of it, I know nothing about the medical details in either case, and simply didn’t care.

    What is going on today with trans stuff is completely different and that’s what Shrier and Weiss are objecting to.

    1.  We must actively affirm trans people or else we are transphobic and should be banned from society.
    2. Being trans is their sole identity and everything they believe must align with that identity, something I think Morris and McCloskey would have found repugnant.
    3.  We cannot question in any way what trans activists favor – for instance, you can’t question why guys who think they are girls should be allowed in the girls’ bathroom or compete in girls sports because that is transphobic.
    4. You can’t criticize someone who is trans on subjects that have nothing to do with being trans because that is transphobic (see the Biden administration appointment of the guy who thinks he’s a girl who headed the PA Dept of Health, and was incompetent, to a senior position in HHS).
    5. And specifically what Shrier writes about: adults encouraging children to identify as trans, leading to an epidemic among teenage girls and with the collaboration of a number of medical clinics, subjecting these children to medical treatment, often without the knowledge of their parents.  The trans activists and the doctors who make a lot of $ from this are complicit.
    6. Weiss also recently did a podcast with two doctors who do transition surgery who are now speaking out about their problems with how children are being treated and encouraged to go trans.

    Children are being victimized by these activists and they are trying to intimidate the rest of us who are observing this insanity from speaking out.

     

    • #15
  16. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I am familiar with Shrier’s position from previous interviews, and I’m pretty sure that Weiss agrees. Correct me if I’m wrong. My impression is that they support “transition” in adulthood, but not in childhood.

    “Support” has more than one possible meaning in this context.  As HR has mentioned, one might “support” the purchase and sale of alcohol even if one recognizes the harm alcohol does to the human liver and brain.  

    In a free society we often allow harmful practices to be legal.  HR mentioned a few.  

    My first objection is ideological. In my view, the acceptance of “trans,” even in adulthood, is a manifestation of the same sexual confusion that previously led to the feminist and homosexuality movements. I oppose both of those. I am not inclined to make common cause with anyone who supports any of these ideas.

    I am in favor of homosexuality being legal and accepted.  As a general principle, adults should be allowed to form relationships with other adults without government interference.  

    With respect to feminism, there are some forms of feminism I oppose and others I support.  For example, I support woman being admitted to medical school if their MCAT scores and other qualifications are high enough.  I don’t support the idea that all workplaces must be 51 percent female.  

    The second objection is a question of practical biology. In my view, “transition” means surgical, chemical, and hormonal mutilation, whether in an adult or a child. In my view, adults who wish to do this are either clinically insane, demon possessed, or (unlikely) engaging in a very bizarre form of LARPing. I do not think that is should be accepted as normal in any way. I think that it should be banned, frankly, to protect crazy people from themselves, in much the same way that we intervene to protect anorexics or cutters.

    In a free society “protecting adults from themselves” should be done only under very limited circumstances.  If someone wants to go downhill snow skiing, he should be allowed to do this, with his own money of course, even if there is risk that he will break his leg or die skiing into a tree.

    • #16
  17. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    I read Irreversible Damage months ago and wrote about just part of it on Ricochet:

    Recently a friend told me about running into a long-time neighborhood whose daughter was about to celebrate her bat mitzvah. My friend couldn’t remember whether it was a bar or bat mitzvah, so she expressed her confusion and apologized. Then the neighbor revealed that they weren’t sure which term to use either because the daughter was questioning her gender identity. The neighbor seemed distressed, but as a progressive parent living in a woke world, did not have the vocabulary or tools to express it. My friend didn’t know what to say either, but generally was glad her kids were not close with the girl. They wouldn’t know what to say either and wouldn’t want to deal with it. Unfortunately, most progressives can’t admit that this outcome (and I mean the gender confusion itself, and what may follow – which is more of a horror) is a tragedy for this girl and her family.

    • #17
  18. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Jerry, @arizonapatriot

    Regarding homosexuality, would you prefer that anyone who pursues a homosexual relationship be locked up and put in prison even if both parties to the sexual relationship were 18 years of age or older?  

    Regarding feminism, do you think that given girls and woman an education in reading, math and science is a bad idea? 

    I guess I am just asking for clarification as to what you mean when you say that you oppose homosexuality and feminism.  

    I support same-sex marriage even though I think the Obergefell vs Hodges decision was wrongly decided on Constitutional grounds.  I think that private businesses should be allowed to hire men only or women only or both men and women if that is what they would like to do even though I realize that our current anti-discrimination laws do not allow hiring only men or only women in most circumstances.  

    • #18
  19. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Henry Racette: I think the transgender movement is the forced confession of wokism, serving the same function as it did under Stalin, that of forcing compliance and breaking the spirit of those who dare speak out against an obvious fiction. It’s O’Brien’s “2+2=5,” something so absurd that conceding it, even under duress, is a betrayal of one’s own conscience.

    Totally agree and keep trying to get others to understand this, when it comes up. They say they want to be nice, kind, tolerant or whatever, but they don’t see that the small accommodations are designed to sever our connection with truth.

    • #19
  20. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I think the transgender movement is the forced confession of wokism, serving the same function as it did under Stalin, that of forcing compliance and breaking the spirit of those who dare speak out against an obvious fiction. It’s O’Brien’s “2+2=5,” something so absurd that conceding it, even under duress, is a betrayal of one’s own conscience.

    Totally agree and keep trying to get others to understand this, when it comes up. They say they want to be nice, kind, tolerant or whatever, but they don’t see that the small accommodations are designed to sever our connection with truth.

    It is hard for some people of goodwill to understand that for these activists, whether it be race or gender, are not interested in compromise or your tolerance, what they want is your unquestioning submission.

    • #20
  21. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I think the transgender movement is the forced confession of wokism, serving the same function as it did under Stalin, that of forcing compliance and breaking the spirit of those who dare speak out against an obvious fiction. It’s O’Brien’s “2+2=5,” something so absurd that conceding it, even under duress, is a betrayal of one’s own conscience.

    Totally agree and keep trying to get others to understand this, when it comes up. They say they want to be nice, kind, tolerant or whatever, but they don’t see that the small accommodations are designed to sever our connection with truth.

    Nicely put.

    Lilly, I don’t know how I missed your post when you first posted it, because I’ve known about the book for awhile and the gender identity movement is a hot-button issue for me. I just read it, it’s a great post, and thanks for linking to it again. I’m looking forward to reading the book. It’s next up after I finish Carole Hooven’s book about testosterone. [ “Just sex all the time there, huh?” Yeah. Sure. ]

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Henry Racette: I have purchased the book but not yet read it. I’ll undoubtedly write about it after I do.

    I bought it and read it.

    The most chilling takeaway I got was how the system is geared toward freight-training these girls into testosterone injections and “top surgery” (double mastectomies).  Parents are cut out of the loop as much as possible, and therapists who try to find out what the young girls’ problems really are risk losing their credentials.

    I look forward to your take on the book . . .

    • #22
  23. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I have purchased the book but not yet read it. I’ll undoubtedly write about it after I do.

    I bought it and read it.

    The most chilling takeaway I got was how the system is geared toward freight-training these girls into testosterone injections and “top surgery” (double mastectomies). Parents are cut out of the loop as much as possible, and therapists who try to find out what the young girls’ problems really are risk losing their credentials.

    I look forward to your take on the book . . .

    I personally know two families that are right now beside themselves with worry over exactly this danger. I know two others families that have suffered the tragic loss, in the past year, of daughters who were caught up in this movement; whether “trans” was a significant factor in those girls’ decisions to end their lives, I don’t know.

    What strikes me is that there seems to be essentially no support for parents who want to respond with anything other than oh-yes-whatever-you-say-of-course-you-can-be-a-boy.

    • #23
  24. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    ‘…but I’m not a conservative!’ Where was she when they censored ( and continue to censor ) the conservatives?

    If you are referring to Bari Weiss, she was forced out of her job as an editor for the NY Times because she objected to the Times apology for printing Senator Cotton’s op-ed on the riots and for advocating that the Times should publish viewpoints outside the Woke spectrum, including those of conservatives.

    I believe it was the other woman who said that. 

    • #24
  25. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I think the transgender movement is the forced confession of wokism, serving the same function as it did under Stalin, that of forcing compliance and breaking the spirit of those who dare speak out against an obvious fiction. It’s O’Brien’s “2+2=5,” something so absurd that conceding it, even under duress, is a betrayal of one’s own conscience.

    Totally agree and keep trying to get others to understand this, when it comes up. They say they want to be nice, kind, tolerant or whatever, but they don’t see that the small accommodations are designed to sever our connection with truth.

    Nicely put.

    Lilly, I don’t know how I missed your post when you first posted it, because I’ve known about the book for awhile and the gender identity movement is a hot-button issue for me. I just read it, it’s a great post, and thanks for linking to it again. I’m looking forward to reading the book. It’s next up after I finish Carole Hooven’s book about testosterone. [ “Just sex all the time there, huh?” Yeah. Sure. ]

    Thanks! There’s so much on Ricochet and I have times that I can’t check it at all. I didn’t write it up with the book as the focus either because I just had those two quotes rolling around in my mind. Get ready for the horror show part of the book that is the medical side of the transitioning story. Shrier just did a follow up with the prominent doctors in the transgender surgery field on Weiss’ sub stack.

    • #25
  26. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hank and James, thanks for your responses in #4 and #9 above.  My comment #3 categorized Weiss and Shrier as “woke.”  I think that you effectively rebutted this assertion.

    I stand corrected.

    Being me, of course, I can’t resist elaborating.  :)

    Hank, your argument was most convincing in this regard.  I essentially claimed that supporting “transition” in adults made one “Woke.”  If I’m understanding your position correctly, you indifferently support “transition” in the sense that you wouldn’t make it illegal, while not having much of an objection to such a law if passed by others.  By my proposed classification, this would have made you “Woke.”  But I know you, and I don’t think that you’re Woke.

    I find it hard to define Wokeism.  It generally includes advocacy of positions that I find to be on the radical Leftist end of the spectrum, but it’s more than that.  It’s coupled with a manifestation of a certain form of intolerance, which we commonly call “cancellation,” another difficult term to define.  I do think that both aspects must be present.

    I find myself sympathizing with good ol’ Justice Potter Stewart in that obscenity case.  His basic rule was something like, “I know it when I see it.”  This is sometimes true, but unhelpful.

    Gumby Mark, your comment # 13 addresses this, and I think that you’re on to something, but I don’t think that you’re quite there yet.  (Don’t take this too hard — I’m not there yet either.)  Your hypothesis is that Wokeism is characterized by race and gender — I would say sex — essentialism.   But an old-school Klansman’s views would be characterized by race essentialism, and a strident conservative opponent of the LGBT agenda might have views characterized by sex essentialism.  Yet neither would be considered Woke, whatever their tactics.

    As a working definition, what do y’all think of the following?  Wokeism is a left-of-center ideology characterized by:

    1. A substantial departure from pre-1960s American moral and legal norms, particularly in the areas of race, sex, sexual orientation, and sexual identity, coupled with:
    2. An attitude of intolerance to dissent manifest in behaviors commonly called “cancellation,” including the use of social opprobrium, ostracism, on-line mobbing, ridicule, doxxing and, in the extreme, attacks on the employment or customer relations of a person with whom one disagrees.

    By this standard, I think that Weiss and Shrier satisfy the first criterion, but certainly do not satisfy the second.  In fact, I agree with Hank that both have been admirable in their public opposition to “cancellation.”

    • #26
  27. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    HW, I’ll do my best to answer your questions from # 18 above.

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Jerry, @ arizonapatriot

    Regarding homosexuality, would you prefer that anyone who pursues a homosexual relationship be locked up and put in prison even if both parties to the sexual relationship were 18 years of age or older?

    I am ambivalent about this.  I would prefer the old regime of criminalization to the current situation, but I don’t think that either is ideal.  In practice, those who argued that acceptance of homosexuality would be a slippery slope turned out to be correct.  The tricky thing about a slippery slope argument is that it is a logical fallacy in general, so the conclusion does not automatically follow from the premise, but it is not always incorrect.

    Personally, I would prefer something like a “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy.  I opposed this in the 1990s in the particular case of the military, and I still maintain that position, but as a matter of ordinary civilian life, this would be my preference.  I would not make things any easier for homosexuals through mechanisms like civil unions.  On the other hand, I would prefer to leave them alone to lead quiet lives, and would not prohibit them from using generally available legal mechanisms to order their lives.

    For example, a homosexual couple could own a house as joint tenants with right of survivorship, just like anybody else.  They could name each other in a power of attorney, including a health-care power of attorney, just as anyone can name whoever they like in such a document.  One could leave his property to the other by will, just as anyone can leave his property to whoever he might choose.  They could set up a trust together for management of their property, just like anybody else.

    Regarding feminism, do you think that given [sic] girls and woman [sic] an education in reading, math and science is a bad idea?

    No, of course I wouldn’t object to this.  I do think that this is a bit of a strawman.  More than a bit, perhaps.  Even the first-wave feminists, a century or more ago, didn’t face opposition to the basic education of women, at least as far as I know.  I wasn’t there.  I do recall Mary and Laura Ingalls happily skipping to Miss Beadle’s school from their Little House on the Prairie, and that was around the 1870s or 1880s, I think.

    On other issues relating to the sexes, I find the issues to be complex.  I find feminism to be poison as a whole, while agreeing to things like women having the right to vote.  I’m out of space, and this is a departure from the point of Hank’s post, so I won’t elaborate further here.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    HW, I’ll do my best to answer your questions from # 18 above.

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Jerry, @ arizonapatriot

    Regarding homosexuality, would you prefer that anyone who pursues a homosexual relationship be locked up and put in prison even if both parties to the sexual relationship were 18 years of age or older?

    I am ambivalent about this.  I would prefer the old regime of criminalization to the current situation, but I don’t think that either is ideal.  In practice, those who argued that acceptance of homosexuality would be a slippery slope turned out to be correct.  The tricky thing about a slippery slope argument is that it is a logical fallacy in general, so the conclusion does not automatically follow from the premise, but it is not always incorrect.

    The biggest problem with dismissing “slippery slope” as a routine fallacy is that it ignores the often-present forces that don’t just wait for something to go down the “slippery slope” on its own, they’re actively PUSHING (or maybe pulling) IT down the slope.  This has applied to feminism, homosexuality including same-sex marriage, and a lot more.

    • #28
  29. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Hank and James, thanks for your responses in #4 and #9 above. My comment #3 categorized Weiss and Shrier as “woke.” I think that you effectively rebutted this assertion.

    I stand corrected.

    Being me, of course, I can’t resist elaborating. :)

    Hank, your argument was most convincing in this regard. I essentially claimed that supporting “transition” in adults made one “Woke.” If I’m understanding your position correctly, you indifferently support “transition” in the sense that you wouldn’t make it illegal, while not having much of an objection to such a law if passed by others. By my proposed classification, this would have made you “Woke.” But I know you, and I don’t think that you’re Woke.

    I find it hard to define Wokeism. It generally includes advocacy of positions that I find to be on the radical Leftist end of the spectrum, but it’s more than that. It’s coupled with a manifestation of a certain form of intolerance, which we commonly call “cancellation,” another difficult term to define. I do think that both aspects must be present.

    I find myself sympathizing with good ol’ Justice Potter Stewart in that obscenity case. His basic rule was something like, “I know it when I see it.” This is sometimes true, but unhelpful.

    Gumby Mark, your comment # 13 addresses this, and I think that you’re on to something, but I don’t think that you’re quite there yet. (Don’t take this too hard — I’m not there yet either.) Your hypothesis is that Wokeism is characterized by race and gender — I would say sex — essentialism. But an old-school Klansman’s views would be characterized by race essentialism, and a strident conservative opponent of the LGBT agenda might have views characterized by sex essentialism. Yet neither would be considered Woke, whatever their tactics.

    As a working definition, what do y’all think of the following? Wokeism is a left-of-center ideology characterized by:

    1. A substantial departure from pre-1960s American moral and legal norms, particularly in the areas of race, sex, sexual orientation, and sexual identity, coupled with:
    2. An attitude of intolerance to dissent manifest in behaviors commonly called “cancellation,” including the use of social opprobrium, ostracism, on-line mobbing, ridicule, doxxing and, in the extreme, attacks on the employment or customer relations of a person with whom one disagrees.

    By this standard, I think that Weiss and Shrier satisfy the first criterion, but certainly do not satisfy the second. In fact, I agree with Hank that both have been admirable in their public opposition to “cancellation.”

    Jerry, even though I think labels have a certain danger to them because they often short-circuit dialogue, it does seem useful to try to define “woke,” given how new and pervasive it is. I’ll give it a shot when I’m not writing on my phone. (I’m monitoring a homecoming dance tonight.)

    One aspect of work that I think is critical is that it claims virtue: it is intolerant because any other position is relatively evil in comparison. 

    Another aspect is that it is inherently an identitarian belief system. It asserts identity, and insists that others acknowledge that identity. It privileges subjective assessment of offense and victimization, independent of any objective standard.

    More later.

    • #29
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    . . .

    Jerry, even though I think labels have a certain danger to them because they often short-circuit dialogue, it does seem useful to try to define “woke,” given how new and pervasive it is. I’ll give it a shot when I’m not writing on my phone. (I’m monitoring a homecoming dance tonight.)

    One aspect of work that I think is critical is that it claims virtue: it is intolerant because any other position is relatively evil in comparison.

    Another aspect is that it is inherently an identitarian belief system. It asserts identity, and insists that others acknowledge that identity. It privileges subjective assessment of offense and victimization, independent of any objective standard.

    More later.

    Hank, I look forward to it.

    I’m not sure about the first aspect you mention.  I claim virtue, too.  Don’t you?

    • #30