Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm on vacation

If anyone needs a cathartic release upon reading any upcoming Matt Walsh posts, feel free to use the comment thread below to summarize/critique any of his arguments.

Have a fun and safe holiday.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Isn't it mean and hateful to deport illegal immigrants?

Matt Walsh writes:
Dear confused Americans who advocate for open borders,

I’m reaching out with a vain hope that I can help you understand the illegal immigration issue in America. You may have heard that it’s a complicated and controversial matter.

It’s not.

It’s easy.

Ahh, we start out with all the Matt Walsh Classics. "Anyone who disagrees with me is confused." And, "Social issues are not complex, they're simple as pie!"

See, there are some topics here in the US that are unavoidably complex and therefore naturally contentious. Topics where right and wrong might be difficult to discern. Breaking Bad vs. The Wire, for instance. Scholars and philosophers have spent years contemplating this dilemma, and none have come close to shedding any light upon it.

Illegal immigration, however, is not that sort of topic.

Illegal immigration is simple. Not simple to handle after decades of non-existent immigration enforcement, but simple to analyze. We have borders in this country. We have laws. Some of which may overlap in their application, some of which are open to interpretation, and some of which may conflict with each other. For example, there are asylum laws (including a recent law pertaining to children signed by none other than George W. Bush), by which the children coming up from Central America must be allowed to stay. (It is, by the way, the Leftist Dictator Obama who wants to deport the children and further secure the border.) We pick and choose how we want to enforce our laws. If someone is a white Cuban, then they can have asylum. If, however, they are a black Haitian... buh-bye. We must enforce those laws and those borders. If someone comes here in a manner not consistent with our laws, we must send them home. If your first act as a would-be citizen is to defy our laws, you cannot be a citizen.

Simple. Obvious.  To someone who has no knowledge of all of the myriad laws, or the social realities, sure, it's simple.

Every nation in existence has borders well, using the technical definition of 'nation' that is not true at all; if you mean "state" then it is true, but that is only because the particularities of the historical development and geo-political/economic functioning of the state makes it, tautologically, part of the definition; if we are more general and talk about "society" then once again, you are wrong and laws, and every nation, save ours, generally goes about enforcing both.  You honestly think the U.S. doesn't protect its border? Someone needs to get you a newspaper...  Mexico fortifies its southern border and has no patience or mercy for trespassers. If other countries don’t enforce their laws and borders, it’s most likely because they lack the resources and capabilities. Borders and migrations is a really hot topic in several of the social sciences right now.... TL:DR - borders are never enforced consistently, and it is the cracks, fissures, and failures in these programs that reveal more about the nature of the state than the laws themselves.

But here in this country we have a unique situation. We are able, but unwilling. So the proliferation of military equipment and drones on both of our borders, to you, equates to "unwilling"? Indeed, we may be the first nation in the history of humanity that actually has to argue over the basic concept of having and maintaining a border. Borders are always changing and contested (I will use the opportunity as an excuse to share a cool video). But you must be mistaken, dear Matt. No one is arguing about doing away with borders entirely. People are discussing changes to and applications of laws. I know you don't like it when things get complicated, but sometimes you could save yourself a lot of energy by listening to the debates before you get all upset.  Now we are dealing with a flood of third world (read: non-white) illegals - but first world illegals would be okay? Interestingly enough, some of my family came here illegally, but because they're white and from Europe, no one seems to care, prompting politicians and citizens alike to throw up their hands and say, “Well, I guess our choice to not enforce the border proves that the very concept of a border is obsolete. We have no other option but to become an amorphous blob of a geographical territory, virtually indistinguishable from the nations surrounding it!”  Exactly who said that? More of Matt Walsh Favorites:  constructing a hypothetical quote that no one actually said - i.e., putting words into people's mouth - in order to falsely portray the opposing views.

It’s really all quite insane. So I’ve decided to compile this helpful FAQ to answer most of the questions and objections commonly raised by people who don’t understand why America should have laws and borders:  Oh gee whiz, thanks Matt!

-Isn’t it mean and hateful to deport illegal immigrants?

Great question. No.

I can only speak for myself, I suppose, but I’d guess that many anti-illegal immigration folks echo my sentiments: I don’t hate illegals. I don’t even fault them for trying to sneak across the border. You just falsely assume that they are all Mexican, and that they are contributing nothing to society and engorging themselves on government welfare, and committing acts of voter fraud.

By the way, Mexican immigration has, in fact, been declining. The current influx is composed largely of children from Central America... coming from countries that the U.S. has repeatedly destabilized throughout the past decades through its support of coups, militias, dictatorships, and the way it wages the War on Drugs. And by the way, where does the demand come from that ultimately fuels this whole drug problem?  You guessed it. *big finger pointing back at U.S.*  Ultimately, we have, in fact, created the very conditions that are causing all these children to suffer. Don't we have any responsibility for our actions?

Despite popular perceptions, immigration enforcement is nothing personal. If I lived in Mexico (immigrants = Mexicans, check!), I’d sure want to leave. Mexico suckz guyz. Who could possibly want to live in that god forsaken place. Some in the hordes ouch! what were you trying to argue again? That you're not hateful or racist or something? might be unsavory characters, but many are, in fact, searching for a better life. I get it. I sympathize. Yeah, given that you just called them "hordes," I'm not sure you really do. But a man’s pure intent does not erase the law, nor does it negate the necessity of things like borders and organized, lawful immigration procedures.

A boy in the city might rob a liquor store because he honestly believes it’s the only way to help his mother pay the grocery bills. The fact that he committed this crime under duress and out of concern for his family may very well minimize his moral guilt. I’m sure that when he gets to those pearly gates, God will look upon him with great mercy and compassion. But in the meantime, let's throw his ass in jail just to make him suffer some more!

Now, does that mean that we should erase the laws against robbing liquor stores? Is the liquor store owner now a bully and a fanatic if he takes measures to stop future robberies, even if those robberies are also at the hands of kids in similar situations? Should the police reward the young man by letting him keep the money he stole? Ohh, I see. You think everything boils down to laws, and nothing else. How cute. See, we have this thing called "sentencing" which takes into account the circumstances in which the crime was committed in determining what the outcome will be. Among those circumstances is age, and - believe it or not! - children are treated differently than adults!

As a society, we have the power to choose how we want to arrange our systems and rules, and even to make laws and - gasp! - change laws. Laws are not immutable objects handed down to us by God. So, we might decide in the above example that the store owner gets her (I'm changing her gender now; I know you like that) money back. But we might also decide that the boy should not be punished. It's a possibility. Maybe we even use it as an opportunity to examine whether we are really functioning well as a society if a young boy has no other option than to rob a store?

By the way, have you read Les Miserables?  ...Oh, no reason.

No, no, and no.

Why? Because, for one thing, that would be anarchy. For another, robbery is still objectively wrong. For still another, store owners deserve protection from the law. But apparently children don't need protection? Without it, there can be no stores, and then we’ll all end up like the kid with the gun.  Wait.. what? I really hope you write a philosophical treatise someday. I promise you I will read it, eagerly.

Ack, my amusement is overtaking my annoyance.

-Isn’t immigration enforcement a right wing conspiracy?  Once again... who says this?

Interesting thought. But, as a member, I can assure you: the right wing in America can’t conspire to do anything. It couldn’t even conspire to win an election after four years of one of the most incompetent and disastrous presidencies in American history. I’ve been at the conspiracy meetings. Trust me, you have nothing to worry about. Half of the right wing conspiracy is still nestled close to Mitch McConnell’s bosom, smiling peacefully as he sings them to sleep at night. They are no threat to you.  Yes, it would be really silly to construe the views of a particular political party or movement as a conspiracy. You, for one, would never do that.

No, this is not a right wing thing. This is a common sense thing. A country cannot exist without a border, and a border cannot exist without laws, and the laws cannot exist without enforcement. It’s very logical.

The true conspiracy nevermind is among those who oppose immigration enforcement. That camp can be easily divided into two factions (with plenty of crossover):

1) Corporations.

One of the greatest and most easily debunked myths in modern politics is the one about left wingers hating ‘greedy corporations.’ In truth, their social agenda relies on the strong arm unethical tactics of those corporations, and immigration is a perfect example.  "Left wingers" = one, homogenous group; and "corporations" = one, homogenous group.

Big businesses love illegal immigration because it affords them undocumented slave labor. I used to live in southern Delaware. Do you know what southern Delaware is famous for? Nothing, really. Besides a thing they do ever year where they launch pumpkins from catapults for three days straight. But if it was to be known for something else, it would be illegal immigration. Southern Delaware is overrun by illegals because it’s also overrun by corporate chicken farms.

Coincidence? Probably not.

And all the corporations that are getting in on the booming border-enforcement business, complete with all its expensive, military-grade technology? Non-existent, apparently.

2) Democrat politicians.

Sorry, not just Democrat politicians. I should say Democrat politicians and stupid, self destructive Republican politicians (a large group, to be sure).

Democrats own the Latino immigrant vote because they’re really good at identity politics, while Republicans are really bad at politics in general. They actively recruit illegal immigrants and fight voter ID laws because that’s how they win elections. Pretty simple. Illegals aren’t people to them but they are totally seen as people by those who refer to them only, always as "illegals", they’re voters. Umm... yeah. We've been through this before. You have no proof that undocumented workers are voting in significant numbers... or insignificant numbers. And, in the minds of politicians, there’s a profound difference between those two creatures.

-But what about the children?  Cue a misplaced abortion analogy in 3, 2...

Yes, the children. It’s always funny (in a morbid, nauseating kind of way) when progressives pull the “THINK OF THE CHILDREN” card. Apparently, in their view, it’s immoral to refuse children entry into the United States, as long as they’re attempting to enter through the southern border. However, if they wish to enter through their mother’s birth canal (a southern border of its own, you might say), we can not only refuse them, but suck their brains out of their skulls and incinerate them for fuel.
Perhaps we should think of babies as ‘birth immigrants’ and then they’d be protected from murder with the same fervor that we protect born children from being put on a bus and brought back to their families in their home countries.

I feel great compassion for these kids, but the law can’t be put to the side for them.  Well, since you brought up abortion... abortion is legal. If you asked me to support changes to abortion laws, could I say, "I have great compassion for fetuses, but the law can't be put to the side for them." Would you accept that argument? Besides, maybe they’re better off elsewhere. We don’t exactly treat children with humanity and respect in this country. Okay, but if they think they are better off here than in their home country where they are, say, being targeted by gangs.... then your argument is? 

Maybe we should concentrate on granting human rights to our own kids before we worry about granting citizenship to kids across the globe. How are these mutually exclusive? And what does concentrating "on granting human rights to our own kids" entail? Just curious, because you seem to be opposed to measures that ensure they have enough to eat, and places to live.

I'm not buying your claim that you feel any compassion for these children. Not only have you not expressed much concern about all the children living in poverty and food insecure households in this country - and not only do you support policies that are detrimental to these children - but you have made clear in your radio days that you are much more concerned about changing demographics and what you termed the decline of "Anglo culture" than you are the well being of immigrant children.  Be honest, Matt. Your interest in this topic is driven by your fears about race.

-America is a nation of immigrants!

Sure. And?

Most nations are nations of migrants. Very few people, no matter where they live, can trace their ancestry all the way back through the millennia to the very location where they currently reside. Humanity spread and pioneered and settled across the world. And then have continued to move around and intermix with each other. Constantly. Most of us can follow our roots and find, buried somewhere deep, a nomadic heritage.

So what?

As far as America is concerned, immigrants came from all over. They settled here legally. According to their own laws. They may have broken a couple of Native American laws....or a lot. They forged a life.

Things were different then. Notably, there weren’t as many people here.  Especially after we gave them small pox blankets and then forcibly removed them. How is it that we hear so much about this mythical global overpopulation, but America is still viewed as the one place that can fit an infinite number of people? Of course, overpopulation is a ridiculous lie, so the problem with illegal immigration isn’t one of a lack of space. It’s more a lack of jobs, a lack of money, a lack of resources.  But you believe in the free market, right? In fact, you don't believe employers should be subject to any laws regarding discrimination or minimum wages. So, it is okay for the government to impede the freedom of the labor market? That is the one time where government interference is beneficial to society? (Just curious how you reconcile your beliefs.)

Not to mention, back in the old days, immigrants came here and helped tame the wild land. They pioneered. They dug in and did their part to build our once-great civilization. Illegal immigrants of modern times, on the other hand, are often coaxed over with Spanish language food stamp advertisements and visions of free education and free health care. Gee, I wonder why anyone would ever suggest that fears about immigration are tied to attitudes about race?

Once again, knowledge. Accurate information. Undocumented workers are extremely productive - they are precisely the ones "taming the wild land" (I believe you mentioned something about farms in Delaware?) and doing work that we would never want to do. I was born in and grew up near a city that is the paragon of urban decay. Aside from the small downtown area, and the neighborhood directly abutting a university, the one area that is well kept up also happens to be the area where most of the undocumented workers reside. They are renovating buildings and creating green spaces (where things actually grow!) - stuff that the city is not able to do. You can believe that undocumented immigrants are not contributing anything, but (as I always say) that doesn't make it true.

Furthermore, I also know from my involvement in another city, also home to many undocumented immigrants, that they are largely not benefiting from our meager social safety net. You have no evidence that people are coming here for food stamps and free health care. You say this, because it is racially coded and gets people upset.

Our great great grandparents came to make this country. Many illegals of today come to use it. No evidence to support this.

By the way, are the only two options having roots in the country that go back several generations, and coming here illegally? I guess I don't fit into this scheme.

I understand their desire to do so. I don’t fault them. But there is a big difference between then and now. A big difference.

-Isn’t it unfair to expect immigrants to navigate our immigration process?

Unfair? Isn’t it unfair to let them skip the immigration process while millions of others went through it?

Isn’t it unfair that legal citizens get treated like Osama bin Laden at the airport? Isn’t it unfair that the NSA has unfettered access to our phone records and Internet activity? Isn’t it unfair that you can’t even get your license renewed without producing five forms of ID, a vial of blood, and a stool sample? Isn’t it unfair that you are documented, tracked, counted, and monitored everywhere you go, all the time? Isn’t it unfair that it requires less identification to cross the southern border than buy cough syrup at Walgreens?  You keep bringing up cough syrup at Walgreens, haha. I suspect there is a story there.  Anyway, unless the Walgreens pharmacy has suddenly found itself in possession of lots of weapons and military equipment, I am going to say:  not an accurate comparison.

Yes, all of these things are unfair. Which means the immigration process isn’t unfair, because it’s very consistent with what the rest of us are dealing with on a daily basis. Let me recap your argument for you:  "Lots of things are unfair. Which means our immigration process is not unfair, because lots of things are unfair." Nice logical analysis there!

Now, tell me that the bureaucracy is out of control and everything is more complicated and less efficient because of it, and I’ll agree. Tell me that we need to cut down the government and force it to handle its essential functions with speed and competency, and I’ll agree. Tell me that this should happen with our immigration process, and I’ll agree but insist that we start the streamlining process elsewhere. I can see your dilemma:  "Ah! I support small government, but border enforcement requires larger government!"  And your conclusion is:  "Well, it is okay to let the government grow in this area, because we should start cutting it down somewhere else."  That's precisely why I had 2 doughnuts and a piece of cake today (that part is actually true, sadly):  because I need to start my weight loss with exercise, so why not eat cake in the meantime?

In the mean time, open borders aren’t the answer.

Open borders are never the answer. Unless the question is, “what’s the quickest way to bankrupt the country and ensure Democratic victories in every election from now until our society collapses and we turn into a lawless hell hole like Mexico?” Just in case you forgot that Mexico is a terrible, terrible place.

UPDATE:  I wanted to do a recap at the end when I initially posted this, but didn't have time. So here it is.

I generally expect Matt to make uninformed statements, but this just might be his record! His post is based on complete ignorance of where the immigrants are coming from, why they are coming, what laws are applicable, how borders are being enforced, what options are being considered, and what is actually being debated right now. In other words:  every single thing pertaining this issue, he seems to have absolutely no accurate knowledge of.

However, we do get another glimpse into the fabricated world that Matt lives in. In this world, the border is not being enforced at all. It is not being militarized. In fact, the central issue is whether we should enforce the border at all. Pretty much all the immigrants are coming from Mexico in search of welfare, and those who are undocumented are lazy, do no work, and commit acts of voter fraud when they get here. Mexico is hell on earth. There is nothing good about Mexico. The political left in is cahoots with corporations and the government. And it is impossible to change laws or take into account particular circumstances in their application, even when the lives of children are at stake. (Children are nice and all, but I'm pretty sure we have a law that says we should leave them to be hunted down by gangs... so, oh well.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Satan is a liberal

Most of this post involves a discussion of what Jesus would think about things today. We had this discussion not too long ago, so I am just going to focus on a couple of paragraphs that I think represent the primary way in which Matt Walsh contributes to the erosion of public discourse.

Matt Walsh writes:

So, I think we  need to clarify that modern American liberalism, or ‘progressivism,’ is a particular ideology informed by the social, political, religious, and sexual philosophies of guys like Machiavelli, Kant, Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx — the ‘pillars of unbelief,’ as Peter Kreeft calls them. Contemporary Western liberalism — with its defense of abortion, gay ‘marriage,’ relativism, forced wealth redistribution, pornography, massive government, and its attacks on the family, faith, life, and liberty — is truly a unique abomination.
Dude, I appreciate the fact that you are reading, but you really need to find yourself some better sources of information. I had a bit of a giggle fit after reading the first sentence. I don't know who Peter Kreeft is, but he either has no knowledge of any of those figures, or he is willfully misleading his readers. The only one who could potentially, in any logical way, be connected to any strand of progressivism is Marx (most progressives, however, are not remotely Marxist).  But... Nietzsche???  That is HI-larious. Nietzsche favors the aristocracy and despises the masses; he upholds notions of racial superiority; and he believes women represent the very worst traits of humanity. In fact, Nietzsche is in many ways the exact opposite of Marx. How they can be lumped together as the pillars of anything I do not understand. (Epistemologically, Nietzsche is also in direct conflict with Kant... though I suppose if I were to start listing all the ways this list is nonsensical, it would take me a while...)

As for the rest of the paragraph, here is the problem, Matt. You are seeing liberalism, or progressivism, as one homogenous thing. But it isn't. Just to pick from your list of issues - views on pornography vary widely, as do beliefs about the exact role and most effective mechanisms of the welfare state (or what you misleading dub "forced wealth redistribution"). Relativism? First, there are several different types of relativism. Second, the meaning of these types of relativism vary and are shaped by internal academic debates in particular academic disciplines - thus, cannot be understood apart from very specific contexts - and in a number of cases are associated with the conservative positions in the discipline rather than the more progressive views. I have found that conservative religious apologists use the term "relativism" in an extremely inaccurate, intentionally misleading way to set up false oppositional points of view. This has been a bonanza for them, it seems. However, there is definite diversity among liberals and progressives in their epistemological and cultural reasoning.

A large number of people who identify as liberal or progressive are Christian. And also every other religion, and non-religion. Some reliably support foreign intervention, while others reliably do not. As I mentioned before, views on the role of the federal government vary widely. Some are rich, some are poor, some are educated, some buy too easily into conspiracy theories. Some are even racist, or sexist, or homophobic.

The arguments you are making about liberals are as ridiculous as if some liberal blogger lumped together David Duke, C.S. Lewis, Van Mises, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Project for a New American Century as the cornerstones of modern conservativism. It makes no sense. Many different and incompatible things fall under the umbrella of modern conservativism just as many different and incompatible things fall under the umbrella of modern liberalism.

Creating a simplistic Us vs. Them dichotomy is neither helpful nor accurate. This is why people are justified in saying that you are divisive. And uninformed.


Jesus was not a liberal.

Lucifer, on the other hand, probably fits the bill.

After all, modern liberalism is nothing if it isn’t the worship of self. It is an ideology that places self fulfillment, pleasure, and convenience above everything. Liberalism bows to no one but its own reflection (and foreign bureaucrats, in the case of Barack Obama). Liberals believe that our personal desires are the ultimate arbiter, which is why life can be destroyed and institutions like marriage twisted and obliterated, all to serve the one god: self.

I threw this in here to make one point. Actually, "worship of the self" is a principle most closely aligned with the very philosophies/movements with which you identify (or have in the past). For example, as someone who has supported the tea party, surely you must know that Ayn Rand - whose entire doctrine was based on worship of the self - is one of the most revered thinkers of that movement. The legacy of valorization of self-interest is seen most prominently in libertarian thinking, not progressivism.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

We can't end "rape culture" if we don't end hook-up culture

My first reaction after reading this post was immense relief.

I was hoping for another blissful day without any new Matt Walsh posts, when my facebook wall brought to my attention a post on the subject of rape. "Nooooooo!!!!!" I thought, disheartened, as I realized what I had to face today. Yet I dutifully read the post.

I was mainly relieved because there are a lot of offensive things that Matt could have said, that he fortunately did not. Yes, there were a couple statements here and there that I took issue with, but for the most part, it seemed he decided to forgo some of the overt sexism that is his forte. It almost seemed as if he were making some effort to take to heart the criticisms of his usually insulting, aggressive tone. If that is the case, he still has some work to do, to be sure, and I cannot so easily overlook many of the hostile attitudes he has habitually expressed toward women. Still, I will take any evidence of progress that I can get.

The main problem with this post is that Matt, unsurprisingly, does not seem to understand what rape really is.  He talks about hedonism, people doing whatever they feel like, and gives a nod to the concept of consent. His discussion of rape is focused not just on college rape, but drunken frat house rape more specifically. He says that it is difficult to draw a clear line at the point where drunkenness makes consent impossible.

At the heart of all of this is the stubborn idea that rape has something to do with pleasure - the enjoyment of sex for its own sake. Case in point: Matt's solution to the rape problem is to promote the ideal of sex within the context of love, commitment, and marriage (a higher standard, Matt says, than consent alone). This is where Matt misses the mark. Hedonism is not the cause of rape culture, and a discussion of hedonism and chastity has no role in its solution.

Rape is not about pleasure; it is about power. This is true whether the victim is female or male. That is why victims of rape do tend to be members of marginalized groups (women, racial/ethnic minorities, members of the LGBT community, people living in poverty, prisoners, etc.)  more often than not. That is also why rape has so reliably been used as a weapon of war throughout history - perpetrated by those who are seeking domination (physically, politically, economically, culturally).

I do not deny that it is hurtful to men and women when they are unclear or misled about a person's motives for having sex with them. I also do not disagree that there are other dangerous consequences of having sex, especially when intoxication is involved. This need not "complicate" our understanding of rape. The reason why the drunken frat party rape scenario is, unequivocally, rape, is the context of power relations in which it occurs. It is a rather persistent untruth that this is merely a matter of young women getting really drunk and then yelling "rape" as soon as they sober up and regret their behavior. This is not what it is about. When we have so many regularly leaked emails and texts from fraternity members making comments about peeing on women, calling women derogatory names, making racist and homophobic remarks, and also teaching their "brothers" how to get unwilling women drunk so that they can have sex with them... well then, we have a glimpse at the way in which a certain type of privilege is being invoked and defended through a nexus of rhetoric about race, gender, and sexual orientation, and furthermore, we see alcohol-induced sex with women used as an intentional strategy to enact that privilege. In short: these frat boys aren't just "hooking up" because it feels good; they are intentionally coercing women to have sex with them in order to achieve status and prove their manhood within their fraternity. Or more crudely: they are doing it to satisfy their frat brothers, not their own penises.

Matt is right, that telling men to stop rape is not enough to stop rape. Ending rape requires the very difficult, revolutionary, and complex work of confronting privilege and the structures of power that are embedded in our society. We need to tell boys that they do not need to live up to anyone's expectations of what a man should be, and that they do not need to be violent, aggressive, dominant, or superior in any way to have worth as human beings. We also need to step up our efforts at confronting racism and other forms of discrimination. We need to get rid of all hierarchical orderings of human beings that value people differently based on who they are. Unfortunately, while I will take him at his word that he wants to stop rape, Matt does contribute to rape culture when he labels as "fascist" anyone who tries to do any of the things I just outlined, when he defends racists and homophobes, and when he praises people like Tal Fortgang who further entrench privilege and derail productive discussions by denying that privilege exists.

Matt Walsh writes:

Miss Nevada, as you may have heard, recently made an extraordinarily controversial remark about the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses. Shocking liberal feminists everywhere, she cruelly and maliciously encouraged young women to protect themselves and practice self-defense.

The nerve of that woman.

I mentioned something on Twitter about all of this absurdity, and I’ve now spent the last day or so fielding helpful emails informing me why self-defense is not an acceptable way to curb rape. I agree, of course, that it isn’t the only solution. I just disagree with the idea that anything at all can be accomplished by writing ‘Don’t Rape’ on a sign and posting it in the hallway.

But I’m told my understanding of the issue is woefully shallow and one-dimensional. Here’s one message from a woman who tried to set me straight:

“Matt, I don’t blame you for misunderstanding the rape epidemic. You’ve never had to live through it so you can’t be expected to really get it. Rape is not just something that happens in dark alleys. There isn’t always a scary stranger with a knife or a gun involved. Sexual assaults on college campuses frequently happen when women go out to parties to have a good time, have some drinks, and wake up the next morning to find out that they had sex the night before. These women are every bit the victims of rape. They were too intoxicated to consent (or maybe they were passed out completely) and the man took advantage. Rapes on college campuses usually happen in this environment. The woman CAN’T defend herself. She’s barely even conscience [sic]. This is where MEN have to be taught that it’s only OK to have sex with a woman when she can consent. She CAN’T consent when she’s too inebriated to even know which way is up. ”

I’ve heard this line of reasoning quite a bit. Anti-rape activists have gone to great lengths to illustrate and define the precise moment when a drunk person passes the threshold from drunk-person-consenting-to-sex to drunk-person-unable-to-consent-to-sex-even-if-they-consent-to-sex.

Safer Campus (Students Active For Ending Rape) tried to spell this out on their website, explaining that there is a “spectrum of intoxication” and that consent must not only be affirmative, but “enthusiastic.”

Most rational people understand and agree that it is definitely rape when a conscious person decides to have sex with an unconscious person, but now we’re calling something rape if it doesn’t have the appropriate level of enthusiasm?

An article on the Huffington Post takes it a step further. In bold italics it exclaims: “Drunk people cannot give consent.” By this logic, of course, all drunk sex is rape. Only this particular article, like most articles on the subject, places the ‘rapist’ label squarely on the shoulders of the man.
The obvious question: if both are drunk, and both are unable to consent, but then both have sex, why is the man the only rapist in the transaction?

And if drunk consent is not consent, then what is consent? You might tell me that consent is affirmative, enthusiastic, and sober, but how do you account for the other exigent circumstances that might lead someone to give sober, affirmative, enthusiastic consent despite their internal hesitations?

What about the woman who has sex with her boyfriend because she believes (perhaps accurately) that he’ll leave if she doesn’t? What about the man who has sex with a woman, thinking that this will be the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship, only to find out that he’s just a rebound from her last fling? What about the woman who goes out looking for sex with a man, but only to fill the void left inside her after years of abuse and abandonment at home? What about the man who has sex with a woman because he believes it will make her love him, or the woman who has sex with a man under the same mistaken belief? What about the woman who is guilted into sex? What about the man having sex with a woman who only wants him for his money?  What about a person, man or woman, who has sex with any other person, but wouldn’t have done it had they known the other’s intentions and motivations?

Are these people all victims of rape? They are either consenting under duress or consenting to a particular kind of sex, or to sex for a certain reason, not realizing that the other person has different designs. All of these people end up feeling lost, confused, hurt, broken.

If drunk sex is rape, then these must fit the bill as well. They are all quite different from the image of a woman being physically attacked and manhandled by a violent assailant, but under the broader definition of rape, these examples (and many more) must be included.

And maybe they should be. Maybe rape is even more common than the most radical progressive feminist could possibly imagine.

Or maybe it doesn’t matter what word you use to describe it. There’s something wrong with it. It isn’t good. It isn’t healthy. We can all see that.

We seem to realize that it can be hazardous when men and women get together in frat houses and dorm rooms and purposefully drink until their judgment is several stages beyond impaired. We seem to realize that sex in the ‘hookup culture’ comes with a lot of heartache and regret. Despite our best efforts to pretend otherwise, we know that sex is something serious and profound. It’s also joyful and pleasurable, but in a way much deeper than the joy and pleasure you derive from playing video games or watching NetFlix.

We know that sex should be treated with a certain level of respect, only we’re afraid to fully embrace what that means. We know that the hypersexual environment on a college campus is extremely problematic, only we refuse to really inspect the problem.

The only rule, the only standard, that we’re allowed to place on sex these days is ‘consent.’ But we find that ‘consent’ is not enough. A woman can consent on some level and still be left feeling used and exploited. That’s not her imagination. She was used and exploited. And contrary to popular belief, men can and often do feel the same way after a one night ‘hook up.’

There was consent, at least to some degree, but it wasn’t enough. Consent is not enough. Telling a man to ‘get consent’ before he has sex is not enough. If he is to have sex with a woman, and have it in a way that respects her humanity and protects her dignity and his own, he needs to look for more than permission. If we really want to stop the hurt and pain that many of these people feel — whether you want to call them rape victims or not — we must have the courage to deal with all of the dimensions of sex.

“Do what you want, as long as you have consent.” This is not good enough. This is not a code to live by; it’s a compromise, half-baked and watered down. If this is all we teach our kids when it comes to sexuality, we can be sure that they will still wield sex like a weapon. They will still be predators. They might get their consent, or they might not, but the results will often be the same either way.

If we really want to fight rape, if we really want to protect our kids, if we really want to beat back the ‘rape culture,’ then we have to come up with a standard that goes beyond consent. We have to introduce some other guidelines: love, commitment, marriage, openness to life.

There is no grey area here. If your sex is an act of love and commitment; and if it is taking place within sacrament of marriage; and if both parties are prepared to embrace the life that may very well be created as a result of the act, then you can be sure that no rape is happening. You can be sure that there will be no regret. You can be sure that the sex is healthy and beautiful.

Now, that isn’t to say that rape can’t happen in marriage. But if ALL of these parameters are met — especially the first one, love – then we need not call in a team of scientists to formulate a precise consent-spectrum. Rape is never an act of love and commitment. Therefore, sex that is both loving and committed is never rape.

I don’t know much, but I know that.

So why isn’t this our message? Rather than fight over the exact equation whereby a person can determine whether their nameless inebriated partner is consenting consensually or consenting non-consensually, why don’t we make it easier on both of them? If you do not love this person, and if you are not committed to them, and if you are not married, then don’t have sex with them.


I believe anyone who says they want to fight against rape. It’s a worthy cause, and I certainly am not looking to discourage anyone from joining the struggle. But I think many of them are too invested in their progressive hedonistic dogma to take these convictions to their logical conclusions. They want to ‘end rape,’ but then they make sure to stipulate: “Hey, it’s still totally cool to go out, get plastered, and hook up with random strangers! Give yourself to people who have no regard for you, and treat them with no regard in return! It’s all good! You’ll have a blast! Just make sure to get consent!”

That last sentence loses much of its weight when contrasted against the first part of the message, doesn’t it? Your ‘consent’ speech is futile if it isn’t grounded in anything. If we tell men that it’s OK to use women like they’re nothing more than masturbatory aides — and that is indeed all that’s happening in the hook-up culture – then we will end up with men who do just that.

I don’t mock or deride anyone who urges men (and women) to ‘get consent,’ but many of them would mock and deride me for urging people to have sex only with the one they love. It doesn’t make sense. I am talking about a standard that always includes consent, but then goes beyond it and reaches for something even better. The ‘get consent’ crowd asks only for the bare minimum, and then rejects those who come up with a strategy that more effectively achieves their desired results.

The fight against rape has to involve more than some paltry little sermon about consent. We need to use words like ‘love’ and ‘commitment’ and ‘marriage.’ This won’t end rape entirely, but it’s the only message that will make a difference.

A long time ago St. Augustine said: “Love, and do what you will.” If you want a slogan that will teach people not to rape, that’s it. And it’s certainly more powerful than today’s version: “Get consent, and have sex with whoever.”

Friday, June 6, 2014

This person is planning to kill me in order to teach me that I shouldn't be mean and hateful

Matt Walsh writes:

To my leftwing friends:

Last night, someone sent me an email threatening to murder me because they disagree with my opinions. It read, in part:

“F*ck you… I will find a way to kill you. Make no god d*mn mistake, you filth.”

Concise. Eloquent. And now on file with the state police.

After I reported the threat to law enforcement, I didn’t pay it much mind. But then, a few minutes ago, I received this message from someone else:

“Matt, you are so filled with hate in everything you write. You are part of the reason why conservative teabaggers in this country are nothing but hate mongers and bigots. Do you want to know why I’m a “liberal”? Because liberals know how to make a point without being hateful and spiteful.”(Emphasis mine).

I laughed quite heartily when I read that. Perfect timing. Mere hours after someone called me ‘filth’ and announced their plan to end my existence all because of my beliefs, I’m informed that these are precisely the people who ‘know how to make a point without being hateful and spiteful.’ Granted, you didn't provide much context, but how do you know the author of the first message was liberal? Why not, say, a transgender conservative (upset about your last post)? Your baseline assumption seems to be that everyone who doesn't think exactly like you represents one homogenous group - Liberal Tyrants, Secular Progressives, or whatever you feel like calling them on any given day.

At first I dismissed this claim and concluded, as I often do, that the person who said it couldn’t possibly be serious. Does he really not notice the hate and hostility pouring like sewage out of his own ideological camp? Does he really think that hate is somehow a ‘conservative’ thing? No, I thought. Nobody is that oblivious.

But the more I reflected upon it the more I realized that I have to stop looking through the prism of rationality. No, that is not your problem at all. If the prism of rationality were a real, tangible object, I'd be the first one to take up a collection for you so you could get yourself one of those. Many people in this country have bought into the propaganda that paints us cultural non-conformists (cultural non-conformist = one who repeats all the carefully crafted sound bites of the most well-funded and well-organized media-industrial complex) as hateful bigots. [Hey everyone, I've got an idea! Matt Walsh drinking game! One shot every time he uses the word bigot. Guaranteed to get you drunk enough to be able to read one of Matt's posts.] They’ve had this notion instilled in them, and it is only reinforced by virtually everything they see and hear from their teachers, the media, their pop culture idols, their parents, and their president.

So I’ve decided that maybe it’s time I address the misunderstanding head-on. I think we need to have a dialogue [In Matt Walsh's mind, the word dialogue = ranting on my blog], as politicians like to say, about this thing known as ‘hate.’

Our society is obsessed with the term. Every idea you oppose is ‘hateful,’ every person who expresses it is ‘full of hate,’ every time someone hurts your feelings or makes you uncomfortable they must be dismissed as hateful haters who want to spread hate and hatefulness all over the world.
I know, like I'm always reading this Matt Walsh blog and he's always talking about how feminists hate all men, and how Secular Progressives hate Christians. Every morning I sift through dozens of messages informing me that I am a hateful monster who hates gays, minorities, endangered species, trees, flowers, puppies, jelly beans, and dolphins. It’s fortunate that they take the time to tell me this about myself, because otherwise I’d go through life generally believing myself when myself tells myself that I don’t harbor even the faintest hint of hatred for any of these groups. I guess I do hate women, though, as is evidenced by a thorough investigation of my Twitter account:

Yeah, we just throw around this word "hate" and apply it to such diverse, and obviously non-hateful sentiments as:

"It’s this propensity — this constant, relentless, soul-sucking cynicism — that will forever make the purity of their [feminists'] motives appear, at best, dubious. "

"That’s why the white liberal man is such a difficult creature to tolerate."

"Christian-hating liberal fascists have once again demonstrated their 'tolerance.'"

"They have no interest in listening to a bunch of politically correct, bigoted, mewing, leftwing carnival barkers. Still, the leftwing fascists get their way... They are not progressive — there is no ‘progress’ in their ideology. They are fascists. They follow the same playbook as many of the 20th century’s most prolific tyrants."

"I’m waiting for Sharpton to boycott himself for the crime of being Sharpton — i.e. just an overall lying, shameless, despicable, crook."

"Dear gay rights militants, dear progressive tyrants, dear liberal fascists... In the name of ‘fighting for the freedom to love,’ you’ve utilized hate. For the sake of ‘tolerance,’ you’ve wielded bigotry... You fancy yourselves the ideological descendants of civil rights pioneers, but these tactics put you in the same vein as book burners and Puritan witch hunters."

"Ms. Sandberg tells the harrowing tale of being labeled as bossy by a teacher in ninth grade. She says this experience damaged her emotionally and caused her immense grief. Poor thing. A very tragic incident, no doubt, but one thought occurs to me: what if the teacher called her bossy because she was pompous, arrogant, and pushy?"

"How do you wade into our societal pool and find employees who aren’t thin skinned, self-entitled narcissists? "

Why on earth would anyone accuse you of being hateful, Matt? It's like you're just sitting there singing Kumbaya.

(By the way, it's kind of interesting to do a survey of how many of your post titles include the word "hate")

Case closed.

The ‘you’re hateful’ schtick really kicked into overdrive the past couple of days, after I published that post explaining why I don’t think a six-year-old girl should be told she’s a boy. When I wrote it, I felt driven by concern for both the child and the truth, but it’s once again been explained to me that, no, I was actually motivated by hatred.

Some guy who goes by the name ‘Naked Pastor’ wrote a blog post on the subject, calling me the ‘equivalent of the Taliban.’ He even he drew this pretty picture:


I am a terrorist. A violent terrorist who plans to blow up the world. I’m a dangerous, dangerous, hateful man. [Complains the man who called gay rights activists "Puritan witch hunters."]

Now, before we get into defining hatred, let’s go over some legitimate examples. Here’s a quick peek at excerpts from a few more emails I received, mostly reacting to my opinion that toddlers can’t be ‘transgendered’:

“Matt, f*ck you. I seriously hope you die.”

F*ck you and your entire website you f*cking douche. I have known I am transgender for a long time… You are very sick in the head and I hope you rot in hell. I will pray Lucifer himself finds you.

“Hey f*ck you. Die. That’s all.”

“You’re a f*cking bigot piece of shit…”

“I’ve decided that I’m going to block any friend who reposts your trash on Facebook. You are the worst human being on the planet and the world would be better if you weren’t part of it.”

“Dear Matt, you’re horrible. Kill yourself.”

“Oh, like you don’t already know you’re a piece of sh*t. F*ck you.”

“Matt, I saw a Tweet that said you’re a flaming bag of dogsh*t on the doorstep of the internet. I thought it was great but kind of insulting to dog sh*t.”

“Matt, shut the f*ck up with your hate and homophobia. You are the biggest assh*le I’ve ever seen. Go crawl into a f*cking hole somewhere and die.”

“Anytime someone retweets or shares your posts I die a little inside. Your like a cancer on the internet. You’re an embarrassment bro. Seriously, you’re the worst.”

Look, see? Hatred.

Loathing, despising, detesting, hating.

Yeah, there's a lot of hatred on the internet. I mean, just look at the things your supporters say to people who disagree with you on the comment threads! I don't often look at the comments, but I have seen your fans wishing death and cancer on other people.

Not just hatred of my ideas or my actions, but hatred of me personally. A boiling, ungodly rage. A yearning to see me burn in Hell for all eternity. Malicious feelings targeted at me, the human being. A desire to see me dead, hurt, dehumanized. A wish to kill me because of my ideology.

Hatred. Let me assure you that it is a huge problem in the liberal ranks. I experience it everyday. Before you spend another minute lamenting the perceived ‘hatred’ of conservative bloggers and media personalities, I suggest you look into your own souls.  Okay, Matt, and before you spend another minute lamenting about the hatred of, apparently, every liberal that exists, I suggest you look into your own soul.  I have seen and felt the cold, stinging hatred that lives there, and it is surely the nastiest and most brutal sort.  It is these sort of topics that always engender the most obvious hypocrisy.  "No! It is YOU liberals who are hateful, not me. In fact, I have seen the cold, stinging hatred that lives in your souls, and it is surely the nastiest and most brutal sort. I, on the other hand, always try to see the best in people."

But what about me? Do I have hate of my own? Yes, I do. Sometimes we should feel hatred. It’s just that progressive hatred is often the wrong kind.  Ahhh, I see. You admit your own hatred, but it's okay because it's the right kind of hatred. Your hatred is for individuals, whereas mine is for certain actions and ideasUm, no. You can just go back and reference a few of the quotes I pulled from you above. You reserve your hatred for individuals. For the woman who wrote the blog about Stay At Home Moms, for Obama (lotsss of hatred for Obama), for a whole list of celebrities, etc. You attack feminists and liberals and gay rights activists personally - you say they are inherent liars who are incapable of telling the truth, you say they are evil and murderous. That is hatred of people, not merely hatred of actions and ideas.

Interestingly, your tone has been criticized by fellow conservative Christians. If you read the blog post I just linked to, you can even see how it is possible for a conservative Christian to not sound hateful.

Perhaps this is the root of our massive communication failure. I’ve noticed that many liberals don’t understand how it’s feasible to detest an action without detesting the actor, or how one can possibly hate an idea without hating (and wanting to punish or censor or kill) the person who articulated it. They laugh hysterically when a Christian suggests that it’s possible to condemn the homosexual act without hating the homosexual person. I’ve attempted to make this clarification so many times, and, on every occasion, I’m told that such a distinction is impossible. Hate what a person does, hate the person. It’s that simple. Perhaps in this case, people are arguing that homosexuality is more than just "what a person does." 

Progressives are so insistent on this point because this is how they operate. They make no delineation between the individual and the action, and they project that thought process onto everyone else.
You hate my beliefs, so you hate me. I hate certain beliefs and actions, so you assume I hate the people behind those beliefs and actions. Only, if you asked me, and if you were open to the answer, you’d find that your assumptions are baseless.  I think you may have missed the opportunity for open dialog when you started calling everyone who disagrees with you fascists.

I hate attacks on marriage, on the family, on my faith, on liberty, on truth, on reason, on the constitution, but I don’t hate the attackers. I hate what they stand for, I hate their agenda, I hate their lies, but I do not hate the individuals. I don’t hate the person who wants to kill me, or the myriad of people who send me anonymous messages wishing sickness and suffering upon me and my family. I harbor no ill will for them at all.  Right... I don’t even hate the guy who compared me to a flaming bag of dog sh*t on the doorstep of the internet, but mostly because that one was kind of funny.

The point is, I don’t hate these people. I want them to be successful and happy. I want them to be healed of the psychological and spiritual affliction that causes them to be so lost, confused, and consumed by horrible feelings of animosity towards strangers they’ve never met. Fine, let's set aside the word "hate" for a minute. It is precisely the patronizing, demeaning tone that you exhibit here - very disingenuously saying you want these people to be successful and happy, and then simultaneously commenting on their "psychological and spiritual affliction" and deeming them "so lost, confused, and consumed by horrible feelings of animosity..." 

Sometimes I get very angry at the legions of progressive nihilists who stand as staunch advocates for some of the greatest evils mankind has ever witnessed (like abortion, for instance), but beyond anger I always feel pity. Patronizing I believe that you’ll destroy yourself with your philosophy before you destroy anyone else, and I sincerely wish for you to avoid that fate.

If I truly think that my views are correct, and that the rejection of neo-liberal haha! I love it! Using words without having any clue as to their meaning cultural dogma will lead you to greater joy and fulfillment in life, ultimately bringing you out of the darkness and into the light of truth, why would I try to help you in that process if I hated you?  Patronizing!

I wouldn’t. I’d let you drown and die. I’d watch and relish the sight.

That’s how a hateful person would handle the situation. He’d keep his opinions to himself. He wouldn’t bother.  Okay, Matt, then you should appreciate it when people try to "save" you. He’d let society run headfirst over the cliff, and he wouldn’t care as long as he personally remains standing at the top. The real hateful conservatives and Christians are the ones who say nothing. They see the same truth that I do, and that so many others do, yet they have no interest in opening anyone else’s eyes to it. In fact, they are examples of something worse than hate: indifference.

That is, truly, the worst of all things. Even hatred for individuals is preferable to indifference towards them. Hate, at least, is something. It’s a feeling. It’s fiery and passionate and energetic. A person who hates deeply can easily become a person who loves deeply. They have the raw material, it’s just being misused and misdirected. An indifferent person, on the other hand, lacks the depth and interest to feel either way about anything. So, if you get upset at any of us, get upset at those of us who think we know the truth yet are too lazy and selfish to speak up and share it.  So then... you appreciate the people who say mean things to you more than those who don't bother to contact you at all?  Somehow I doubt that.

Indeed, just because someone voices a disagreement with you doesn’t mean they hate you. Often, it means the exact opposite.

If, on the other hand, they call you a piece of trash, or wish for your imminent demise, or plan to personally bring about your imminent demise, then you’ll know that they do hate you. But if you’re looking for that kind of hate, you can find plenty of it on your end of the ideological spectrum. Trust me. 

I'm having so much trouble following your train of thought right now. This is what I've got:  Hatred is better than indifference because it shows some feeling. But saying mean things constitutes hate and hate is bad.  

Yup, still confused.

Or maybe you meant it this way:  When I am hateful, it is okay because I am showing that I care. When other people are hateful to me, however, that is bad.


One time Matt wrote a blog post about how the liberal media manufactures controversies to get clicks or views, or whatever marker of success they are after. I pointed out that this is true of all popular media, liberal or conservative. I felt it was unfair and divisive to characterize it as a "liberal" thing. Same goes for this post. Hatred on the internet is, unfortunately, not uncommon. It is also not partisan. You cannot, without willfully deceiving yourself, characterize it is a liberal thing, or a conservative thing, or a libertarian thing, or a tea party thing, or a feminist thing, or a socialist thing, or anything else.

If you are troubled by internet hate, the worst way you can respond is by attributing it to a single group of people and further exacerbating divisions. I don't know if there is a good way to respond... maybe, for starters, if you run a successful blog you could call out your own supporters when they exhibit this type of hate. They are more likely to listen to you, after all. Some self-reflection would not hurt, either. Make sure you are not part of the problem.

WARNING: SELF REFLECTION TO FOLLOW (potentially not interesting)

Now, I know that I am not immune from this hypocrisy trap. I think about it all the time. However, I started this blog as a form of personal catharsis and I only have a handful of readers. From what I can tell based on the comments I've received, the people who look at my blog just want something to make them feel like "I'm not the only person who doesn't like Matt Walsh's blog posts." Thankfully, my comment threads are not filled with people saying all sorts of unflattering things about conservatives or religious people. That would definitely make me feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, if I ever had the type of following that Matt does, I would do something more productive than commenting on the posts of some mediocre shock-jock blogger.

While I try to mirror Matt's tone for rhetorical effect (like I am conversing with him), and I am sure I have crossed the line at points, I try very hard not to generalize and attack entire groups of people (say, conservatives). I attempt to distinguish between Matt's particular remarks, or the particular strand of conservative or religious ideology that he is drawing upon, from conservatism or Christianity more generally. I will keep trying.

Initially, I also did not want to ever attack Matt as a person. I wanted to find some way to understand him. I changed my mind when I started reading more of his posts and digging into his career in radio. Based on everything I have seen and heard, there is no doubt in my mind that he is racist (and sexist and homophobic). He has said a number of other things to make me believe that he is probably not a person of good character. Of course, this is the internet and I do not know him. Certainly, I do not wish him any harm and would never send him any threatening messages. If I wished anything, maybe it would be that people would finally get tired of him and he would have to become a productive member of society.  I will still even try to refrain from personally attacking him and I do not hate him. But I definitely do not like him and I don't feel bad about anyone calling him hateful or stupid or ignorant. That is, in my opinion, more valid than calling an entire group of people hateful or stupid or ignorant, as Matt often does.

I could even dispense with the word "hate" as Matt wishes, and still complain that, by calling anyone who disagrees with him a fascist, he is certainly helping to destroy public discourse.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This poor child is confused, not 'transgendered.'

You may think you want the whole post pasted below for context. Trust me, though; no, you do not. Maybe it's that his overwrought writing style is increasingly grating on my nerves, but I  think that, in terms of the actual content, much of what he wrote was pretty vacuous and doesn't really even provide any meaningful context. Yes, we all know that he thinks the notion of a person being transgender is ridiculous (just look at the title of the post) and that this is another sign of the downfall of society. So, unless you are interested in reading a list of every negative word that Matt could find in his thesaurus, I don't think you want to subject yourself to most of the post.

Somewhere in there Matt does make a couple of points that are worth considering. I will focus on these paragraphs.

Matt Walsh writes:

It’s interesting, when you think about it. If a girl declares that she’s a lesbian, progressives would tell us that this identity cannot be modified. Actually, no, not quite. Identity can always be modified. A progressive might tell you that she cannot simply "pray away" her attractions to women, but that is another matter entirely. It is ingrained in her soul and nothing can ever alter it. Her sexual preference is immutable. Her sex we're actually talking about gender here, however? Fluid. Subject to change. And what if she ‘becomes a boy’ and still finds herself attracted to girls? By their standards, she’s just turned herself straight. But isn’t that impossible? So is she still gay? But if she’s still gay then she’s still a woman, which means she’s not a man, which means your sex can’t be changed. It must take some effort to get yourself so confused by something that is simple and straightforward! Let me break it down for you, Matt. This person chooses to identify as a boy (and therefore, should be referred to as "he"). He is attracted to women. He has always been attracted to women (well, as long as he's felt attractions of any kind). He is straight. He did not change his attractions; they stayed the same. The end.

Any of this making sense?  Stop feigning an inability to distinguish identity and cultural labels (e.g. lesbian) from personal/biological realities (e.g. attraction to women) and then yes, as a matter of fact, lots of sense.


Anyone? Ohh, I'm sorry. I forgot you can't hear anyone who disagrees with you.

Indeed, the moment you wade into liberal “gender theory” you will be violently assaulted by a gauntlet of glaring contradictions. [Which is not nearly as uncomfortable as being violently assaulted by a gauntlet of extreme and awkward language use.]

They tell us in one breath that it’s OK for boys to like pink and girls to like blue, and we should stop expecting our sons to play sports and our daughters to play with dolls. These are just social norms, they say. We should not subscribe to such archaic notions. But suddenly they proceed to derail their own narrative when they next inform you that a girl liking blue and a boy playing with dolls might actually be a sign that the girl is a boy and the boy is a girl.


Are colors and toys and sports irrelevant things that have been arbitrarily assigned to certain genders by an oppressive society, or is the color pink so connected with the female identity that a female’s aversion to it is an indication that she isn’t really a female?

Okay, finally you have gotten to your one valid question. Although, before proceeding, I should point out that the same question could be posed to you Matt. If colors and toys and sports are natural and immutable markers of biological difference, as you insist, then when some people have an aversion to the norms of their gender or do not fit gender stereotypes, does that mean they are really not that gender? (I believe I have asked you that question before.) Or would you say that any girl who doesn't like dolls and the color pink is just "confused"? (I guess that would fit with your general tendency to always see females as confused.... and dishonest.)

Anyway, to answer your question. IF we lived in a society where such constructions of gender did not exist (if we saw everyone as individuals and allowed them to pursue their own interests and aesthetics) then to a large extent, yes, the transgender identity would for many of its subcategories not be necessary. We do not live in such a world (in fact, as I noted before, thanks largely to its utility for marketing, more and more of what we produce and consume is markedly gendered rather than gender-neutral). Gender is very much a social reality, even if not a biological reality. (The same thing goes for race: although there's no biological basis for race, it is most certainly socially real.)

However, in a hypothetical gender-less world, one could still imagine the existence of transsexual individuals who might want to transform themselves anatomically in order to feel comfortable with their biological sex. This has not been uncommon cross-culturally and historically (many people, I believe, are familiar with hijras, for example). Then of course, you must account for all the variety of the intersex individuals.

Notions of transgender/transsexuality have, whether you like it or not, reproduced themselves across time and space. This seems to indicate that the concept of 'transgender' speaks to some enduring, universal features of the complex interplay between the factors determining biological sex and cultural gender norms. It is more than just "confusion" or a sign of the decay of Western society.

If Ryland wants to be called "he" and dress like a boy - and if his parents treat him as a boy because it was deemed by professionals to be beneficial to his mental health - so what? Is that really going to be the thing that destroys our society? (And not, say, the quarter of American children who live in food insecure households?)

Who’s really enforcing gender roles and social norms here? I’d say it’s the people who call a girl transgender if she’d rather join a baseball league than the ballet. That is not why they call Ryland transgender.

Ryland showed signs of being transgender because she didn’t like girly toys and she didn’t like to wear dresses. My first thought is that maybe she’s a girl who just doesn’t like girly toys or dresses. But apparently girly toys and dresses are so important to the female identity that you lose the identity when you reject the toys and dresses.  That is not the reason why he is transgender. He specifically insisted that he was a boy, and it was not until the parents received professional assistance and guidance that he was identified as transgender.

By the way, using the wrong pronouns is extremely hurtful to transgender people. Though I suppose that knowledge would probably only egg you on...

The YouTube video displays photos of Ryland in cowboy outfits and Spider-Man costumes, while the text on the screen explains: “Ryland began to show an aversion to anything feminine.”

Hold on. Who says cowboys and superheroes are masculine? Society. We've been through this before. Who says a girl can’t be Spider-Man for Halloween? I don't know, maybe the same man who said he wouldn't let his son wear a My Little Pony backpack to school? I thought liberals would be the first ones in line to condemn any idea that a girl has to be a boy if she likes things that society commonly associates with boys. The definition of transgender is not liking things that society commonly associates with the opposite gender.

In fairness, I should mention that Ryland’s ‘true identity’ didn’t just reveal itself through her taste in toys and clothes. Oh so suddenly (after misleading your readers for multiple paragraphs) you are aware of this. She came out and said she was a boy. Ok, by your own admission, there is more to this than just that he "didn't like girly toys and dresses." She said it when she was two-years-old. She made fantastic and nonsensical claims about being something other than what she really is — much like, for instance, every single other toddler in the history of the world. Except that the professionals who evaluated Ryland decided that he was not making "fantastic and nonsensical claims" like every other toddler. The professionals that his parents consulted determined that this was different than, say, a toddler proclaiming she is an astronaut.

Yes, Ryland is very young - was very young when he started making statements about his gender. But young children receive very strong messages about gender and are confronted with a world totally organized around gender binaries from the time they exit the womb. You might not think that a child that young should have any understanding of gender, or their own sense of gender identity, but the evidence seems to demonstrate that you are wrong.