Trump is Right to Kill Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Policy

On Feb. 22, the Trump administration reversed the Obama-era policy which requires public schools to allow transgender students to use whatever bathrooms and locker rooms they say corresponds with their professed gender identity, or risk the loss of federal funding.

The response from Trump’s detractors is predictable:

I’m broadly supportive of transgender people living however they like, the only exceptions which immediately come to mind are children and athletics.

I nonetheless think President Trump’s decision was correct.

Ben Shapiro over at The Daily Wire had a few thoughts to share I felt worth considering.

1. This Is Not The Federal Government’s Job. The federal government has no role in redefining sex for an entire country, particularly not under laws like the Civil Rights Act specifically designed to protect biological women from biological men in many cases. This is an issue for states and localities, if it is an issue for government at all – which it isn’t, since assaults are already prosecuted, and transgender people have equal access to protection from the police.

This is the easiest point of agreement for me and the main reason I support this reversal.

When the Obama policy first came down, I couldn’t shake the thought of “what if this were a policy I wouldn’t have liked that was rammed through this way?”

Well, the progressive-left now finds themselves on the wrong end of a presidential administration that wields enormous power.

Whether you agree with the policy or not, it’s worth considering that when both the left and the right freak out about what each other’s respective opposition will do once in power, it’s probably time to peel back at executive authority, even if that means giving up terrifying powers of the state which you might exploit to get what you want — as well as the other way around.

The past two years have been an interesting political journey for me after quitting left-wing politics and reconsidering everything I’ve ever believed in.

Some trips have been shorter than others, but the idea of limited government has appealed to me more than I ever considered before.

Though I haven’t been a fan of Obama for a long time, I do remember sections of the right behaving in ludicrous ways, such as claiming that Obama is a “mole for the Muslim Brotherhood“.

Now the left is so hysterically scared of Trump, they’ve become like the very people they laugh at in what one person cautions against as the “Alex Jonesification of the Left“.

Shapiro makes another point which needs to be discussed:

3. Sex Is Not Malleable. Nobody is arguing that transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to think whatever they want about themselves. They have the right to dress how they want, act how they want, and identify however they want. But their right to wave their fist – just like everybody else’s right – ends when they hit a nose. And mandating that everybody arbitrarily shift the definition of biological sex to self-identification – and threatening to punish those who don’t – is an imposition on the entire society. Society cannot simply begin undermining crucial truths like sex because some people are susceptible to more mental health problems due to that truth. That would be an argument for doing away with truth generally.

Yet the left refuses to acknowledge any of these ideas. They want a new civil rights movement, and that means government action, even without Constitutional or legal mandate or even biological support.

This is the point I struggle the most with.

Again, I’m broadly supportive of transgender people living how they please, but the notion that someone can issue an executive order that enacts radical, sweeping, unilateral changes regarding fundamental truths such as redefining sex for an entire country is more than slightly unnerving.

This is especially so considering that there are people who make demonstratively untrue claims such as “biological sex is a social construct” as though chromosomes don’t exist.

It’s not just dramatically untrue, but an assault on objective truth itself.

There are underlying fundamental questions about this issue that can’t be asked or discussed because the progressive-left took an issue that is as poorly understood as transgenderism and decided to be extraordinarily aggressive about it, proclaiming as if from on high that it’s “the next civil rights frontier” and smearing dissenters or anyone who questions it as bigots.

A troubling development related to this are the rise of confected, alphabet-soup pronouns and endlessly-multiplying fabricated genders.

Writing those into laws against discrimination or hate speech is a recipe for madness, as evidenced by — if you’ll pardon the language — some really strange shit coming out of universities these days:

As a side note, there’s a pretty good chance this stuff is publicly funded, like the study to determine whether glaciers are sexist for which the taxpayers were stung with a $709,000 bill.

There’s a soft authoritarianism underlying the notion of writing subjective perceptions of self into law.

It’s a kind of authoritarianism that doesn’t come wrapped in a flag or thumping a bible.

It doesn’t stomp around in jackboots or bear the menacing scowl of a die hard party ideologue who snarls through gritted teeth that you must comply “because the party says so”.

It’s a therapeutic authoritarianism wrapped in the language of “diversity and inclusion”, “human rights” and “multiculturalism” — dissent construed or criminalized as “hate speech” and “bigotry” — which demands that you dismiss fundamental truths and believe that there are five lights when you know there are only four.

It’s an authoritarianism with a kind-seeming face, bearing a smile that doesn’t quite reach the eyes but hides a knife behind the back of a “diversity commissar” who is all too ready to strike anyone who gets someone’s “preferred pronoun” wrong.

There are plenty of valid questions to ask about this issue, but it’s impossible to have any constructive conversations about it when any discussion outside progressive-left orthodoxy is met with incandescent hostility and even violence.

Canada is a country in which comedians are hauled in front of human rights tribunals for telling jokes, and its parliament recently passed Bill C-16, which writes into law protections of gender identity and expression without bothering to define what exactly that means.

Above all, the Obama-era transgender bathroom policy should serve as a stark warning as to the expansion of government power and what could be written into law and policy for the sake of being “on the right side of history”:

Clarification/Correction: Bill C-16 was passed by the Canadian House of Commons, but has not yet been approved by their Senate. 

According to Dr. Peterson, who has followed this extensively, Bill C-16 passed second reading on Mar. 2:

Refined Right: Twitter Suspends, Reinstates Account of @Instapundit

Republished from Refined Right

Twitter found itself in yet another censorship controversy on the morning of Sept. 22, with the temporary suspension of conservative law professor and USA Today columnist Glenn Reynolds, who runs the aggregator site known as Instapundit.

Reynolds’ @Instapundit account was suspended shortly after tweeting “run them down” in response to the protests in Charlotte, N.C., after a police shooting plunged the city into the grip of riots and looting.

sep16-instapundit1

“Sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat,” said Reynolds, defending his statement.

“Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content.”

The @Instapundit account has since been reinstated.

Many note that Twitter is a private company and able to moderate its services in whatever way they please. Others also lament the apparent lack of consistency in how they moderate. Under normal circumstances, users are held to an internal three-strikes policy before a suspension is handed down.

Robby Soave at Reason notes the difference in how Reynolds was suspended for an arguably snarky suggestion of a means of self-defense, while there seems to have been no such response by Twitter to Vox Editor Emmett Rensin, who with all apparent sincerity plainly stated that starting riots is a legitimate response to Trump’s campaign stops.

Reynolds’ brief suspension could be attributable to automated moderating systems, which kick in following multiple user-generated reports.

It will nonetheless validate suspicions many hold that social media companies like Twitter target users for reprisal who are primarily on the conservative end of the left/right political spectrum, especially since the permanent suspension of conservative provocateur and Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos was handed down under questionable circumstances.

 

#FreeMilo: I’m not a conservative but Twitter is wrong to purge Milo Yiannopoulos

Twitter permanently suspended Breitbart editor and all-around conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos after criticizing the ‘Ghostbusters’ remake and star Leslie Jones amidst accusations that he directed abusive comments to her online.

In a statement via email, the social media company told Yiannopoulos he’s been suspended for “participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals,” and that due to “repeated warnings” his account will not be restored.

Twitter does in fact prohibit such conduct but whether Yiannopoulos actually violated it in his exchange with Jones is questionable at best.

Questionable is certainly the operative word from the beginning, especially in light of Jones’ own history of targeted abuse with which Twitter seems to have no problem.

Some suggest Jones had set out to stir up drama on Twitter, taunting critics for hours before Yiannopoulos even mentioned her, possibly to boost PR for the controversial remake.

Critics of Milo mention the fact that Twitter is a privately owned company and can suspend whomever it likes.

That’s true enough, but four years separates us from when Twitter was the “free speech wing of the free speech party” to Twitter as a platform which now sports an Orwellianly-named “Trust and Safety Council” and has now evidently decided to go to war with conservative and libertarian users while seemingly letting off the hook extremist figures with which the left sympathizes, courtesy of notoriously opaque and arbitrary execution of policy and procedure.

The double standards have not gone unnoticed:

Not just conservatives object to this

There’s a reason I’ve sourced Breitbart extensively – I used to hate it.

I won’t unpack them in this article, but for a number of reasons I feel compelled these days to defend people with whom I still disagree on a lot of issues, but to whom I would never have even given the time of day just two years ago.

Amazing what a single video, article, or blog post can change.

I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never had as much fun intellectually as I’ve had talking to people with which I still disagree on occasion.

Again, I’m still not a conservative, but progressive media types have long since alienated me to the point where I’ve been forced to reevaluate everything I’ve ever believed in, and Milo is single-handedly responsible for bringing me into the fold as a Breitbart reader.

I started following Milo in late 2014 when he sat at “just” 40,000 followers. By the time he was booted for good, so it seems this time, he was more than 380,000 followers.

Needless to say this man’s influence and meaning to many cannot be underestimated.

Even those who may not be sympathetic to Milo caution Twitter on banning him, even as they miss the point by all but flatly accusing him of something he simply isn’t guilty of.

Only the beginning?

It’s not nice to say, more or less, “your movie is mediocre and we all get hate mail so grow a spine and grow up.”

It’s easy enough for people who don’t like him anyway to smear Milo as responsible for any abuse Jones received.

But whether you, I, or anyone else likes him, Milo dances fabulously on the lip of the Overton window, boldly expressing concerns (some of which which I think are perfectly reasonable) for which many people are scared – or forced – into silence over the danger of being smeared as bigots.

With him shut out, so will Twitter soon shut out everyone who doesn’t have the “correct” political viewpoint, whatever their demographic makeup might be.

If past is prelude, heaven help those non-white/male/straight/cis individuals who don’t subscribe to the opinions prescribed for them by the Regressive Left.

I defend Milo in the hopes of forestalling the day the Overton window is slammed shut entirely by the #RegressiveLeft, and I or anyone else I like or care about are made to disappear (whether it be from social media and the internet or into a gulag) for opinions we express which are tame by comparison.

Twitter may have ostensibly banned Milo over his brief tangle with Jones “as a last straw”, but I’m sure most of us who are sympathetic to what he’s done in the past couple of years understand that isn’t what this is about – they’ve wanted to get rid of him for a long time and this was simply an excuse.

I don’t know if one set point can be identified as either a beginning or end in a war for human liberty.

But this is still part of such a war, one which for now stays mostly online in this case.

It’s also a war between people on one side, we for whom words have no power which we don’t grant vs. the Regressive Left which equates words with physical violence and wants the state to criminally penalize those who express ideas and opinions they don’t agree with and who deliberately mischaracterizes, smears, and defames as “hate speech”.

I don’t know that Twitter banning Milo for good will do anything for them, nor any other Twitter users who would like to see conservatives, libertarians, or even anti-authoritarian, sympathetic liberals such as myself purged from the site.

I do however suggest anyone who celebrates this to look up the “Streisand Effect” and understand that this is just a beginning.

 

CHARLIE HEBDO, CENSORSHIP, AND THE DANGERS OF AUTHORITARIAN SYMPATHIES

Republished from Free Press Houston

2015 had barely begun when, on the 7th of January, two gunmen forced their way into the headquarters of a French satirical publication and opened fire, killing twelve and wounding eleven. The gunmen were heard shouting “Allahu akbar” and “the Prophet is avenged.” The attack, for which Al Qaeda in Yemen would later claim credit, shocked the world with its motive and barbarity. Hundreds of thousands of French people turned out in marches and rallies across the country in shows of support. Leaders in the Muslim world joined millions of those from any or no faith in denouncing the vicious attacks.

But a troubling response also stood out, and should be addressed. Some leftist writers and publications joined right-wing religious conservatives and one controversial British Sunni Muslim cleric to say, more or less, that the publication, Charlie Hebdo, brought the killing upon themselves with the cartoons they published. The religious right saying that “they had it coming” isn’t the least bit surprising to me. What disappoints me, personally, is to see anyone at all from the left also say anything along the lines of “they had it coming.”

Brendan O’Neill, a British writer complains of the rise of today’s “Stepford student.” I share his concern about a generation of students so worried about their ideological and intellectual comfort that they’re willing to shut down people and ideas and discussions they don’t like. One common tactic is what’s called “no platforming,” where they petition universities to deny speaking opportunities to controversial figures.

The Charlie Hebdo murders are the ultimate example of a no platforming attempt, and censorship in one of its most extreme forms. I call it censorship because it is a successful attempt to silence people by killing those who produce what others find objectionable. The dead certainly won’t be able to produce anymore writings or cartoons  so, mission accomplished? Fortunately not, because It’s also a similarly extreme case of the Streisand effect, which states that any attempt to suppress the publication of something exacerbates its spread with a print run of at least 3 million copies of Charlie Hebdo (which normally prints roughly 60,000 copies) without any interruption.  The point of advocating for free speech is the respect of the right to present words and ideas which challenge those words and ideas which should be challenged, which should be any idea, in almost any form.

This massacre inevitably evokes comparisons with the Rushdie Affair. In 1988 British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie wrote a book called The Satanic Verses. The book, which Rushdie described as not being about Islam, but immigrant experiences of “migration, metamorphosis, divided selves, love, death, London and Bombay” faced accusations of blasphemy. For this, he was placed under a religious order by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran calling on Muslims (at the time Rushdie was one) to kill him and his publishers…for writing a book. Many of his translators would face violent attacks, some of them fatal, for making such a book more available globally. Rushdie has since 2006 described himself a “hard-line atheist” and the order still remains in place. In 2012, he wrote a book about his experiences in a life of hiding entitled Joseph Anton, the alias he used while running for his life.

It’s important to remember the hostile response too many had at the time for, guess who? Salman Rushdie. Labor and Conservative members of the British parliament at the time villainized him by marching in favor of banning the book, or denouncing him for blasphemy and betraying everything about his upbringing. But Salman Rushdie to this day rightly laments such sentiments similarly expressed in today’s publications, and in the blogosphere as the arrival of the “‘But Brigade.’” “Murder is wrong, but…” “I’m all for free speech, but…”

Today some similarly couch their not-quite-but-maybe-one-or-two-steps-removed sympathies for the attackers, or lack thereof for the victims, in calling the publication racist. Some writers do so with no evidence, nor even a single argument in support of that claim. Others do so by quoting long-time French Communist Party supporter Stéphane Charbonnier, one of the gunned-down cartoonists, in which he simply says that he is not a Muslim.

Certainly, some of their cartoons come off as questionable at first glance. I don’t know exactly what they were trying to get at with their Boko Haram cover, for example. I don’t speak French, so some of the contexts and nuances are inaccessible to me. Some French citizens have expressed their annoyance at these accusations of racism, noting that the supposedly racist cartoons actually, ironically ridicule the attitudes and policies of the French Right. They also express irritation with Americans who arrogated the role of Grand Cultural Arbiter without taking any real interest in French politics and culture. Unfortunately, the people who produced these images are no longer alive to explain them.

The refrain we hear from those who apparently sympathize with the attackers is that “Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences.” That may do well and good for someone getting fired from their job for saying something stupid in public, but 22 people were made casualties because a group of people feel that people should die for drawing cartoons. Bluntly put, the term used to describe this behavior is victim-blaming.

Some are concerned that these attacks will stoke the enduring climate of Islamophobia in Europe, which has taken on a more substantive and sinister veneer with far-right, nationalist parties making substantial gains since the recession began. Parisian Mosques have been attacked in the immediate aftermath of the shootings. It would be no surprise were it the work of far-right supporters of Front Nationale (the far right political party which picked up 25% of the vote in the last election). It should be noted, too, that far-right gains come also with the specter of anti-semitism, which looms in ways not seen for decades.

But we should not let this discourage us from principled stands in favor of free speech. You don’t have to fall into the trap some censorship advocates set of being goaded into defending content of a statement while defending the right to say it. Regarding free speech, It’s been said “It’s all okay, or none of it’s okay”. I steadfastly agree with that.  Everything should be open for discussion, every subject should be on the table, and everyone should have the right to hear, or not hear what they want to (with very few exceptions, none of which easily come to mind), without others assuming the power to control what others get to see and hear because they don’t like it.  What people say should stand or fall on its own merits.