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In Rejection of Terrorism: The Political Violence Behind "Trans Activism"

In our hunt for terrorists, the first and foremost characteristic we look for is their subscription to an ideology or doctrine which has no room for compromise. That may sound simple and plain, but it is not. Its significance becomes all the more compelling when we realize that most people do not subscribe to an all consuming-uncompromising ideology.  Joe Navarro Hunting Terrorists: A Look at the Psychopathology of Terror  The primary goal of the Civil Rights Movement was to end legal racial discrimination and ensure equal legal protections for black Americans. Similarly, the gay rights movement focused on extending legal protections to men and women threatened with discrimination on the basis of their same sex attraction. Both minority groups succeeded largely by appealing to the principles and sense of justice of the majority. They simply wanted what most other citizens already had, nothing more, but especially, nothing less.  What is the goal of trans rights activists? What right do
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Mean Words and Eradicating Political Ideologies

I have a short chained pendulum which rapidly swings back and forth between optimism and pessimism that gender ideology will be defeated. A single event can cause this swing from one side to the other and back. For example, I visit Twitter Spaces across the political spectrum to sample a wide variety of perspectives across topics. I especially find it interesting how different groups approach gender after spending so much time listening in Spaces that start from the view of Feminism. A frequent Spaces host I have started following has an explicit understanding that gender ideology is a political movement. She also has a degree of myopia about the bounds of its political argument, which is a depressingly common phenomena. There are a number of people who, like me, developed their understanding of gender ideology after beginning to recognize its impact on children. I wonder if what first catches a person's attention about what is either called adolescent medical transition or chemica

In Rejection of Institutionalized De-humanization

Sometimes there are virtual interactions that are jarring in ways only the too online would recognize. Social media has become the cultural lab for discourse. It's the place where new themes and memes are cultured before being released into the wild to go mainstream. I remember laughing out loud after being called nazbol and strasserite for criticizing the George Floyd riots of 2020. It felt like an archaic insult from someone transported through time from 2017. (In the real world that would be equivalent to being called a jive turkey by someone who had just arrived from 1975.) Nazbol and strasserite were the way self professed online socialists accused others of being neo-nazi collaborators. That was before it became normative to directly frame supporters for one party in our political binary directly as nazis, skipping all euphemism. Reading nazbol in 2020 is a lot like being called anti-vaxxer now or seeing the mRNA inoculations framed as safe and effective. It is a reflection o

Simple Parables in a Complex Age: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

There are numerous parables written centuries ago which have withstood the test of time. We continue to share these parables with our children because they convey complex truths in simple and direct ways. Newer creative works continue to borrow from these tales because the moral lessons are timeless and universal. Although our societies have evolved to be much more layered and complex, humans, essentially, have not. We are not that different from the days of the Panchatantra stories of India or Aesop in ancient Greece. The complexity of our societies allows us to fool ourselves into believing that we have evolved with a similar level of complexity because of our intellectual and technological advancements. As adults, we tend to approach the moral lessons of our parables as quaint notions rather than universal truths. We forget that five people touching different aspects of the same thing might have five different perspectives like the 5 blind men with the elephant. Instead of balancing

Elon Musk and the Problem with Termites

 Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter at the end of October and stated desire to transform it has sparked a growing conversation on free speech. This conversation has revealed the contradictions in the positions of those both in favor of and opposed to censorship, including his own. Musk's stated goal has been to increase free speech on Twitter, seeing it as the digital commons, and free speech in that commons as vital to a healthy democracy . The clamor against this change and the direction from which it has come has illuminated precisely why it is needed, and displayed the hurdles to its success. While external economic pressures from governments and advertisers make the transformational task difficult, the greatest dangers may prove to be internal. Despite a massive staff reduction of ideologically driven workers, there seems to remain resistance to the change by some staff and automatic algorithmic functions acting as termites in the house undercutting the stated goals of increa

Relying on Experts Doesn't Remove Your Responsibility

In October, just two weeks apart, John Stewart and John Oliver covered the "trans issue" on their shows, The Problem with John Stewart and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, respectively. I promised myself that I wouldn't write about either episode, both of which were covered extensively. I made the promise because I can watch neither in its entirety. I find them infuriating. I also have found it difficult to stop thinking about them. While contemplating whether I had to write just to let the anger go, I realized that the ire wasn't just because of those two episodes, but about what they represent: the loss of respect for people I have long admired. I don't mean Stewart and Oliver. In the absence of a clear event like a death or deliberate end to a relationship, a loss is not always apparent. I began writing about the "trans issue" because I had not previously fully recognized the danger to children. I assumed that the people I know would appreciate hav

In Rejection of Normalization

At the end of August there was a new development in Texas in what has been framed generally as the culture war. In this case it could more specifically be called, the discourse around child protection. There has been an ongoing discussion in the US and UK around the appropriateness of drag queens for children in libraries and schools. Drag queens have historically been gay men cross dressing as women performing versions of femininity while lip synching, singing, or dancing. It's a form of gay adult entertainment that has become popular in the mainstream over the past decade, due in large part to the popularity of Rupaul's Drag Race. The development was an all ages drag show reviewed by the Texas comptroller for sexual content. A group of armed radical activists protecting it from protest made the event newsworthy. They are not the most significant aspect of the story, which I'd have missed entirely if not for the coverage by internet news and current events program The Risi