A tweet from Jordan Peterson. An essay from Bari Weiss. Both in defense of an author whose book, Irreversible Damage, has been relentlessly attacked. Inexplicably, the ACLU has called for it to be banned. This book’s transgression? As the author, Abigail Shrier put it, it is “an exploration of why so many girls would, in such a short timeframe, decide they are transgender. And it raises questions about whether they’re getting appropriate medical treatment.”
How on earth can a topic like this be considered so toxic, so threatening, that the ACLU would support a censorship campaign? Bari Weiss, who resigned from the New York Times in protest of their culture of hatred, harassment and suppression of dissenting voices, has spoken up in support of Abigail Shrier. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychology professor who became famous when he refused to obey a new law that made it a crime to refuse to use someone’s proclaimed gender pronouns, has also been supportive of Shrier. But these are celebrities who have themselves been targets.
To really get a taste of how vitriolic the cancel mob has become, consider the case of Dr. Harriet Hall, a family physician who posted a favorable review of Irreversible Damage on the website Science-Based Medicine. Within days, thousands of comments, emails and calls to the editors led them to issue a retraction and remove the review.
In Shrier’s essay, posted as a guest column on the substack account of Bari Weiss, she calls for people to stand up to this mob. But Shrier also acknowledges the risk:
“The fear these silent supporters express is rational. Even the most ordinary comments can get you branded as persona non grata, some flavor of ‘phobe’ or ‘ist.’ Hardly a week goes by without a story of some professor being reprimanded, a starlet losing a job, or a young reality TV figure abjectly apologizing for something he said that was completely obvious and true. Others have faced more profound threats — parents to the custody of their children, journalists and even editors of scientific journals to their physical safety. People I respect have lost livelihoods and marriages.”
This is what it has come to, with the full complicity of the internet communications monopolies. This has nothing to do with respect for the dignity of transsexuals. It has to do with whether or not children should be encouraged to do what may be irreversible damage to their bodies and their psyches.
To even write about this incurs risk. What do you want to accomplish? What are your goals, not only in your relationships and your career, but in the wider world? What do you believe in? What do you advocate? How important is your reputation? How will whatever it is you hope to persuade more people to work towards be undermined, if you are tagged as a “transphobe,” or whatever other “…phobe” or “…ist” that it’s now so easy to call someone?
There are many battles being waged. Many causes. Many controversies. Cancel culture, applied with extreme bias by big tech, has decided if you merely want women like Abigail Shrier to be given a fair hearing, on an issue affecting the future happiness of children, you are a bigot.
That is wrong. More people should defend Abigail Shrier’s right to speak her mind, come what may.
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