The question is only: How long will decent people stand by quietly and watch it happen?
Bari, Your column just continues to get better and better...in my opinion the best Substack out there. This particular column brought me to tears and I cannot even particularly point out why: Loss of American innocence? My inability to suffer fools gladly?
I was intrigued that Abigail made a special case for physicians. I am a physician that refuses to stand down to this idiocy. It has cost me a handful of relationships but, surprisingly, has strengthened many more. I do not deal with social media which is probably why I get away with this, but, especially in medicine, truth matters...and may be the only thing that matters when dealing with life and death. I am embarrassed by the actions of many of my fellow practitioners but have to hope that most will see the light before it is too late because the consequences of their silence are dire. One by one I have brought some around, but it is tough teaching people to swim upstream.
Part of the medical decline can, I expect, be attributed to the recent predilection to admit to medical school based on social justice warrior/victim-du-jour status rather than passion to heal, conviction to always put patients first, and ability to learn that has been part of the medical school experience since Abraham Flexner pointed out the consequences of doing otherwise over 100 years ago. These admission changes may be politically popular with some but will have long-term ramifications for the health of the country.
It is interesting that over the past week compelling articles about there being value for ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine in COVID have been published. These are drugs with minimal side effects that should have had the same level of investigation (or more) as other alternatives but were deprecated for, essentially, political reasons. This surely cost lives...and that is unforgivable politics. I am not a tinfoil hat person, and this is not even in the "disputed"(?) area of gender transition for children -- these are well established medications for other indications with preliminary information that showed some efficacy in a disease situation where no option should have been greeted with anything other than profound curiosity and urgency to study. But those who suggested this (not that it was a cure -- who knew? [although both medications now appear useful properly timed and dosed] but because it might have been) were de-Twittered, ostracized and otherwise censored. Shame on their peers for doing so...I feel for Dr. Hall but she has many discouraged peers. Since when has scientific "truth" been the provenance of a bunch of bureaucrats or social justice bigots -- doctors or not?
In any case, I continue to send your pieces to anyone who might read them. Perhaps some of the newer social media networks like Odysee will help as well. Please keep it up. You are doing something really important (besides trying to get pregnant...!)
I am not afraid to speak out, probably because I have very little to lose. I am not married, nor do I have children, and my Black Labs and Bearded Lizard are impervious to threats and social media trolling. My employer is a friend, and a decent person who is not afraid of the mobs. My clients understand who I am, the lawyer helping them with their asylum and immigration cases, and they do not call me a bigot or a homophobe or a white supremacist for my conservative and counter cultural views. I know that it is easy for me to speak out, and I will continue to do so. I actually have empathy, but no respect, for those who say they are upset about what is happening and yet will remain silent. They are like the "good Germans" who saw what was happening, were inwardly repulsed but refused to speak out, or the Hutus who were disgusted by what was happening to the Tutsis yet remained silent, or the Serbs who wanted to live side by side with their Bosnian neighbors, but didn't do anything, (and frankly, if your job is more important than your integrity, you need to find another line of work.) Yes, social shunning and deplatforming is much less serious than genocide, but they are creatures of the same genus, and the harm and toxicity only differ in degree. I will continue to write what I want about a society that is selling out its soul for some fabricated version of "equity" and social justice, and I really don't give a damn about what happens. The consequences of silence are worse.
Thank you both for this article. I have yet to read Abigail's book, but as a female who spent the first twenty years of her life dysphoric, I share the concerns regarding significant upward trend in dysphoria diagnoses among young girls. As someone who knows firsthand the psychological agony of dysphoria, I don't wish it on anyone, and I sincerely hope for betterment, health, and relief for anyone subject to it.
However, I worry that it is still a very poorly understood condition, especially by activists. We are doing our children a disservice by insulating them from all possible information and scientific study regarding this condition; and we are further dis-servicing children by potentially conflating "non conforming" behavior/preferences/feelings with what was once considered a very rare psychological disorder. Real, but rare.
Of course, as someone who has now lived on both sides of the dysphoria fence (it's been a decade now since I've struggled with it to the point of distress), neither my experience nor my opinion is welcome in activist circles - left or right. One side refuses to believe dysphoria exists at all, and the other side is far, far too quick to diagnose on superficial evidence and push for permanent bodily change in patients.
But I am once again encouraged by people like Katie Herzog and Abigail Shrier for continuing to provide a voice to those of us who chose treatment, solutions, approaches, and conclusions regarding this issue outside the current cultural dogma.
Keep up the good work. Thank you all for your courage.
I know about this phenomenon; my books have been, literally, burned and the videos posted to Facebook. The crime, speaking out against CRT's effects on my community. And I, too, received a large number of similar email messages. Many of those who openly spoke up in support of my work and commentaries were themselves attacked. Some of them then retreated for fear of what would happen to them if they did not. What is most discomfiting about it all is that I have known and been friends with many of the people who are doing this or who are publicly agreeing with positions they do not agree with at all AND in years past they adamantly insisted that were they in Germany when Hitler took power they would NEVER go along with it but would speak out. I am incredibly ashamed of their cowardice, ashamed of them.
I am continually thankful that people like Abigail Shrier and Brett Weinstein and Heather Heying and others, as well as so many of the writers on substack are speaking up. It seems to me that the impetus to do so is spreading, that more people are gathering what courage they can and stepping up. That people are doing so has helped me immensely over the years, as the radical left members of my liberal tribe became insane, as I became the subject of their attacks, as I saw them fervently insist that the Constitution of the US was an antiquated document, that everyone who did not agree with them must be destroyed.
we are in tough times, it is going to be a bumpy ride. I don't think it is going to get better for a very long time.
I just bought the book. Whether I agree or not, in whole or in part, no one is going to dictate to me what I can read, think or write.
Bari, so delighted you're interviewing Abigail Shriver. I've watched all her youtube interviews and listened to every word of her terrific audio book, Irreversible Damages. You two are so brave to tackle the transgender craze now threatening the long term health and well being of many thousands of teenage girls and young women across our country and in Canada and Europe.
I'm not a parent, but this issue hits home for me. A young man I dated in college many decades ago eventually had two young biological daughters at Brown who became trans men around the time my old boyfriend was dying of cancer last year. He was a handsome, liberal, brilliant medical doctor, and on the Asperger's end of the autism spectrum. His daughters are equally brilliant and also on the spectrum. which made them especially vulnerable to the trans craze. One daughter is also bipolar and has other problems.
When I learned my old boyfriend was dying, we exchanged a few emails. He never told me his daughters were trans men, but his death announcement made that more than clear. He must have felt his "wonderful daughters," which is how he always referred to them, were making a serious, irreparable mistake. But he was obviously powerless to stop it, and he was such a devoted father, I know it broke his heart. Just thinking about this now breaks my heart.
Anyway, thank you so much for covering this story. I'm off to read the article now.
As a mother of young kids this is terrifying. I quietly reach out to people at work to see how they stand on issues. I quietly pass on articles like this to those who are just unclear of what is going on.
These activists are organized. They are small but mighty because people are too afraid to stand up to them.
We need to be more organized. When they call to have something banned, there needs to be more of us that call for it reinstated.
We know there is strength in numbers. We know people are waiting for others to speak up first — waiting until there’s enough in numbers where they no longer feel threatened.
If none of us stand, we have only ourselves to blame.
The people excoriating others are bullies. Bullies don’t stop until they are punched in the nose.
Bizarre things are going on these days by bullies. Remember when gay and lesbians said, you can’t disrespect me, I was born this way. Okay, fine. But now we have those misguided souls saying I’m a girl in a boy’s body or Vice versa. So I guess they weren’t born that way. Hard to keep up. But mashing those born that way with those not born that way into one group called GLAAD or LGBTQWTF sets everything up for conflict.
But what it all comes down to is patriarchy. Men Uber alles. Boys not making it with boys sports so they take over girls sports, dominating females. Girls thinking to make it in life they have to become male. It’s madness all the way around but normal people are not only supposed to accept it, they have to embrace it sayeth the bullies. There’s a whole lot of mental illness going around and no one bats an eye.
The real question is - where are the feminists? Where are the women’s groups advocating for women? No one in their right mind can say a man can ever become a woman. No one can also ever say that a woman can ever become a man. The women’s groups have gone crazy as well.
When I hear a book Is having these issues and it is even remotely close to what I would want to read I buy it. That is what I did for Irreversible Damages. I am having a hard time actually reading it as I am afraid it will make me angry and sad.
The idea that a child, years & years away from puberty, knows anything about being a man or woman is just crazy. Yet somehow it’s become reasonable?
Well done. It is hard to speak up. But I will do my best to have those hard conversations. I think what is missing is the open dialog. No longer is it acceptable to have a different opinion. Groupthink has taken over. But. What if more people came to a point of curiosity? What if instead of trying to make our point, we ask questions? Come from a place of humility and grace and see that other person as a human. We may disagree, but there is freedom when we can have discourse. Let’s shed light on issues rather than covering them up. I admire the work of so many and they give me courage to walk this tough road with grace and hope that there are people fighting for truth. Keep up the good work.
I started a social science PhD program in 2002, and let me tell you, you could not undertake that enterprise at a major research institution without having to read A LOT of Marxian theory. Especially stuff falling under the heading of Critical Theory. If you wanted to be successful on the job market, you had to be fluent in Critical Theory.
Critical Theory is ultimately really simple to understand: instead of the old-fashioned Marxian idea of the workers taking control of the means of production, you have oppressed groups (non-white, non-western, queer, etc.) taking control of the means of discursive production. Basically, if you control the language, you control the reality.
Gender Theory is a perfect example of this neo-marxist doctrine. Under this theory, gender is considered to be nothing more than a cultural construct, a construct that oppresses people. Biology has nothing to do with gender. People are, in essence, only cis-gendered because they are dupes, and they enjoy having privilege. And the are oppressors, insofar as they insist that everyone must accept the gender binary.
Among the woke (the drinkers of Critical Theory Kool Aid), trans people are pretty much the highest of holies. They have not only seen through the oppressor's lies, but have taken truly radical steps to attain liberation. Of course, being BIPOC trans means you have all the victim cards, basically you're playing the game of victim poker with a royal flush of oppression.
Let's be honest: people under the sway of this ideology are using trans people as pawns in a power game. Some trans people are actively trading on their own victim status in this power game. If you get in their way, they will definitely go after you if they can manage it. I stay off social media. It's an arena in which their power is magnified to maximum extent.
There's no arguing with glassy-eyed zealots. I've made the mistake of feeding the trolls here and regret it. It's a waste of time and vital energy.
Folks like Abigail and Bari are right: those of us who don't care for the notion of living under totalitarian conditions need to organize. The woke are actively creating totalitarian conditions wherever they have the power to do so. For now, it's a soft version. But for people who lose their jobs, or find themselves being terrorized on social media, that's not much comfort.
I work in nonprofit, in a rural state. My organization was very nearly torn apart by woke trouble makers. They eventually quit, but they wreaked havoc before they left, actually destroying two colleague's careers. Before they left, they created a horrible climate of fear and distrust. It's going to take months to undo the damage. It took me way too long to stand up to them, I'm not proud of that, but better late than never.
Right now, I'm getting people at work talking about the importance of enlightenment values and classical liberalism. I'm forging alliances between conservatives, libertarians, and liberals (actual liberals, not wokesters). I'm part of my organization's DEI team, which has now become a hub of enlightenment education. We talk a lot about ideological diversity and inclusion. I'm getting other people on the leadership team engaged in these discussions. And we're educating the board of directors on the dangers that lie ahead.
We're crafting a strategy for our hiring practices (especially leadership positions), figuring out how to best identify and avoid candidates who are woke. We're not going back if we can at all help it, but it's going to take vigilance and long-term commitment.
I'm afraid I'm not going to be sticking my neck out on social media, it's just not worth it. High risk, low reward. But, everyday, I do something to advance the enlightenment agenda at work. I never miss an opportunity to organize.
We all need to educate ourselves, to be able to effectively articulate enlightenment values. We all need to organize. Especially at work.
The "comfortable" Western world is largely populated by frightened cowards. It takes bravery (a sense of humor is also real handy) to be a real leader and agent for positive growth and change. For the most part, the brave and humorous do not typically seek positions of authority, and that vacuum is filled in most organizations by the insecure, the sociopaths, the personality-disordered, the neurotics, etc.
I have commented many times that this vile thought repression can ONLY exist in systems where those in authority have abdicated all responsibility for principled leadership. College presidents, CEOs, clergy, and even an occasional politician used to actually take pride in the parts of their jobs that required a steady moral compass, but no more. The twin evils of careerism and corruption now reign most everwhere. There are always going to be bad actors that take pleasure in causing problems for others. It is only because they are allowed to run the store that any of this exists.
Another brilliant essay from Ms. Shrier! Needless to say, I agree wholeheartedly - and do so publicly and under my own name.
Thanks for inviting Abigail Shrier, one of the brightest and most courageous journalists of our generation.
Thanks for pushing back on this issue. I am pessimistic about the near term outcome but perhaps a few confused adolescents can avoid making a grave mistake.