Good Friday Morning! A recent study of Twitter revealed that most of the tweets you see on that platform are from a tiny subsection of the American population. Only 22% of Americans have a Twitter account, and of those that do have an account, and of all the tweets on Twitter, only 13% of them relate to politics. Finally, of the political content on twitter, 97% of that content came from about 10% of overall Twitter users.
Why do I bring this up? Because Twitter is the primary medium where the daily narrative of the cultural elite. Journalists and pundits alike are addicted to the platform and use it to shape everyone’s opinions. You probably don’t notice it in your daily life — but if you ever flip on cable television or read a newspaper, the viewpoints in those mediums are getting dictated by Twitter. Part of the nationalization and homogenization of our politics has to do with the political elite spending their days arguing back and forth with each other on the same platform — and when convention wisdom get set there, it’s usually wrong and bad. I’ve got a column talking a little bit about that today and how it’s factoring into the conventional impeachment wisdom, look for it on the Conservative Institute.
Today, though, I wanted to take a look at the story dominating a bunch of the cultural news that I’ve seen, on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. The story of the divorcing couple where the mom is trying to chemically castrate her son to change him into a female, against the father’s wishes. If you haven’t followed, I’ll fill you in below before looking at the 30,000-foot view of these and related stories — links to follow.
Where you can find me this week
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This week on the Beltway Outsiders Podcast host Daniel Vaughan talks about getting Chinese bots and email spoofs after posting #FreeHongKong opinions; Mitt Romney has a burner account on Twitter; Chris Hayes and his excellent monologue on NBC News squashing Ronan Farrow’s story on Harvey Weinstein; and LeBron James speaks out on China.
Elizabeth Warren is running a Mitt Romney campaign – The Conservative Institute
If you line up Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, her current incapacity to answer simple questions about how she’ll pay for Medicare for All is similar to Mitt Romney in 2012. Romney had a tax plan that relied heavily on closing various tax loopholes, but he never listed out which loopholes/credits to close, and the press killed him for it. The media are trying to give Warren a pass here — but her opponents are not.
Clinton is projecting her conspiracies onto others – The Conservative Institute
Hilary Clinton is back in the news, and she’s accusing candidates in the Democratic Party of being Russian assets. We’ve got a long way to go to 2020.
Moral relativism, cultural constructs, and gender
The story, if you haven’t seen it, is one between two Texas parents who are divorcing. In the middle of the custody battle over the children, the mother is pushing to have one of the sons go through gender transition procedures. The NYPost has the details:
A Texas jury has ruled against a dad seeking custody of his twin 7-year-old sons in his attempt to stop one of the boys from transitioning his gender.
The Dallas panel denied Jeffrey Younger’s petition for sole custody of sons Jude and James — which came as the boys’ mom is pushing for James to begin hormone-replacement therapy.
The mom, pediatrician Anne Georgulas, contends that James is transgender, likes wearing dresses and prefers to be identified as “Luna,” according to The Texan.
But at stake, potentially, is not just James’ identity in the here and now, but his health down the line.
Hormone therapy can cause infertility, as well as carrying potential health risks ranging from hair loss to blood clots, according to medical professionals.
Georgulas has secured a letter of recommendation for James to “receive a full psychological assessment for gender dysphoria and potentially take hormone blockers,” the Washington Examiner reported. It’s a move that Younger strongly opposes.
The couple in question has been separated for a while, and the mother had exclusive parental control, with the father having limited control. A judicial update since that NYPost story comes from National Review, who says the judge in question awarded duel custody:
A Texas judge ruled on Thursday that Jeff Younger is entitled to a say in his seven-year-old son James’s gender-transition process.
Judge Kim Cooks awarded Younger joint conservatorship over his son with mother Anne Georgulas, according to Life Site News.
Georgulas had previously insisted on pursuing James’s gender transition, and was backed by counselors and therapists who testified on her behalf that he is transgender.
A jury had previously ruled Younger could not prevent Georgulas from allowing their son to change genders.
Younger and Georgulas separated several years ago, and Georgulas retained exclusive rights and duties over the couple’s two children, while Younger was given limited custody.
Georgulas has stated that their seven-year-old son began to identify as a girl, asking for a girls’ toy from McDonald’s and wearing dresses. She was advised by an LGBT family therapist to begin “affirming” her son by calling him “Luna.” The boy’s pediatrician recommended he visit the GENecis clinic at Children’s Hospital Center, which offers hormone therapy and puberty suppression.
Younger had contended their son was happy to be a boy and that a gender transition would not be healthy for him, according to The Texan.
Texas overnor Greg Abbott said on Wednesday that the state attorney general and Department of Family and Protective Services had commenced investigations into the case.
On the one hand — this is just categorically insane. Any divorce lawyer worth their salt can tell you first hand that kids act out during divorce proceedings (and if you don’t believe lawyers, go by the litany of advice sites helping parents deal with this area). And during hugely contested proceedings like this one, the stress and anxiety these parents are putting their kids through will unquestionably affect the kids.
But that’s not where I want to go with this. I want to step back in this story and talk about the broader dynamics of what is happening in this trans-movement moment and then apply that to the story at hand.
Individual constructs over societal constructs
The main argument you hear from the left on these issues is that gender is a social construct, and they shouldn’t have to obey it. They reject all notions of biological sex — even the strict form of genetic determinism that we have on this front, where males have an XY chromosome and females have XX chromosomes. Biological sex and any genetic determination gets thrown out the window and deemed a total social construct.
And to some extent — there’s truth to the fact that most roles between men and women get constructed by society. Things like clothing and suburban life are There’s no hard and fast rule determining rule saying what any man or any woman should do at any given time.
Tearing down constructs is one thing — what they’ve built to replace the old is wholly unrecognizable and is its own construct.
Instead of there being societal expectations that the sexes should live up to on some level, what has replaced it is something constructed by the individual. The trans-movement as a whole is about individuals declaring personal truth — and expecting everyone in society to follow and accept whatever own truth they espouse — even if that changes over time.
The arguments they’ve built are identical to the philosophical debate in prior decades over moral relativism.
Moral and general relativism
Moral relativism, as you may recall, is the belief system that all truth is relative. “There are no absolutes,” is the oxymoronic phrase uttered by this crowd. Truth is replaced by whatever the individual declares replaces it. The recently deceased Allan Bloom, who wrote the iconic book, “The Closing of the American Mind,” in the 1980s, put it this way:
The end result is that there can be no more truth or goodness and no need or even ability to make tough choices. Where the purpose of higher education once was to enable the student to find truth, the modern university teaches that there is no truth, only “lifestyle.”
And that’s what we have now — what Bloom and conservative critics long predicted, people replacing truth with lifestyle, but that lifestyle is given the same weight as moral truth.
Now, if you were simply declaring that the individual is free from all constraints, letting them believe whatever they want, that would be one thing. That would be a free society, in nearly every way. But that’s not what is happening.
In declaring all truth relative, an absolute truth statement, the cultural left used that hammer as a means to destroy old cultural norms, good or bad. But people aren’t just free, what they then do is declare personal truth — and demand others recognize that truth as their own truth. If you don’t do that, you reject the lifestyle — it’s a moral rejection, and therefore bigoted.
It’s a tyranny of one — and that one individual’s truth is trying to assert itself as the driving truth-force on every other person in society — we must all bow to that one individual’s reality. It is the new construct by which everyone must follow.
But about that absolute statement…
But do you remember how gender relativism got built? All gender is a relativistic construct. If that is the only truth left, then why do we have to believe anything they say? If all truth is relative, then your relative truth statements have no power over society at all — only you, the individual.
But that’s not what these advocates believe at all — they want a different world, one in which their truth gets asserted over everyone. That can’t be true at all. If gender is a social construct, then anything they build is just as fake as the system they so decry. They can’t claim moral authority or power when they’ve only constructed a tiny building with an impact area of one human.
I once had an atheist tell me that pointing out that the statement, “all truth is relative” is fundamentally self-defeating was just a clever logistical trick. But it’s not a clever trick, because the “all truth is relative,” is a logical framework upon which all other constructs of the progressive left builds. It’s an inherently self-defeating concept — which is why its a lifestyle, to prevent people from challenging it.
Back to the story…
Let’s get back to the story at hand. The facts of this case tell us that the mother of the child asserts that gender-reassignment is the only question because the boy has shown “feminine” traits like requesting girl toys and other things.
That’s a bizarre assumption to make when you think about it. What many feminist activists, especially of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s generation, argued for decades was that the sexes didn’t have defined roles. And that expecting people to act or do certain things, purely because of their sex, was wrong.
But here we have JUST THAT in this story — a boy acts feminine, so the mother presumes on his behalf that these decisions make him a girl now. What that tells us is that the mother is using an old school sexist mindset of what roles specific sexes play, and saying if you vary from that role, that makes you another gender.
It’s all a logical farce. If you don’t want a society with sex and gender roles — you then can’t use those sex and gender roles to determine sex changes. If gender and sex is just an artificial construct — then all you’re doing is using one fake construct to build a new false construct and declaring that one as truth — with no rational basis for why one is more valid than the other.
Here’s the biological reality: there are only two biological sexes. We get them from our chromosomes, which are determined at the moment of conception and don’t change. All these people who claim their own individual constructs, when they die, and we tested their leftover DNA — we’d determine sex based on that, not anything else they said or did.
But, as we well know, DNA is not the be-all, end-all in determining a person. We know for a fact that genetic determinism is not the entire story, and that environmental factors and life decisions can change how specific genes express themselves over time. It’s the nature versus nurture debate.
The trans movement is wholly on the nurture/environmental side, believing that anyone can overwrite DNA and biological reality to create whatever world they want. In the process, what they’re saying is that they have no inherent value unless they change. It’s a tragic commentary in a way, in how devaluing one’s self as created and born, can only have worth if changed.
Genetic determinism isn’t everything, but it does tell us something. Gender roles may get partially constructed by society, but chromosomes are not — and they do dictate certain things. Those chromosomes are why male’s transitioning to females destroy women in sports — and why women transitioning to men get annihilated.
We’re a long way from knowing everything there is to know about the human body, genetic determinism, and how everything plays together to create a man or a woman. And that should make everyone even more suspicious of people who claim utter certainty that transitioning from one gender to another has low impact, and is only a violation of fake social constructs.
Links of the week
Not Your Father’s Masculinity – Matt Labash, The New York Times
We Need To Talk About Katie Hill And The Media – Joe Cunningham, Red State
Harvey Weinstein Turned Up At An Event For Young Actors. A Woman Confronted Him And Was Thrown Out. “It kind of felt like old-school Harvey to me — having his own table in a Lower East Side bar, surrounded by actors.” – Amber Jamieson, BuzzFeedNews
New Video Shows California Police Shooting Unarmed 16-Year-Old as He Runs Away – Julia Arciga, The Daily Beast
Bring Impeachment into the Light – Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
TMZ Emailed The Secret Service About Eminem’s Trump Lyrics. Agents Then Investigated The Rapper: Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News show the Secret Service interviewed the rapper about his Trump lyrics after an email from a TMZ staffer. – Jason Leopold, BuzzfeedNews
House Ethics Committee Investigates Katie Hill For Alleged ‘Sexual Relationship’ With Staffer – Peter Hasson, The Daily Caller
‘What Is Going to Happen to Us?’ Inside ISIS Prison, Children Ask Their Fate – Ben Hubbard, The New York Times
How Democrats Became the Party of Monopoly and Corruption. This wasn’t an accident. By Matt Stoller, Vice
It’s Not Just Ronan Farrow: NBC News Killed My Rape-Allegation Story Too. Sil Lai Abrams writes about how her story detailing rape allegations against Russell Simmons and A.J. Calloway was killed by NBC News—mirroring Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein exposé. – Sil Lai Abrams, The Daily Beast
Why Black Homeowners in Brooklyn Are Being Victimized by Fraud – Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, The New York Times
Charter Schools Don’t Cater To All Parents. Robert Pondiscio Explains Why That’s Good: How the Other Half Learns reveals how Success challenges supporters and opponents of education reform. – Nick Gillespie, Reason Magazine
Stop helicoptering other people’s kids – Karol Markowicz, The New York Post
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire piece of the week
U.S.—Oops! A social media scheduling error apparently caused Hillary Clinton to post her condolences for Tulsi Gabbard’s suicide one day early.
This morning, Clinton posted that she felt “great sadness” at hearing that Gabbard had killed herself. In subsequent tweets, she detailed how “tragic” it was that Gabbard had broken her own kneecaps, stuck her feet in concrete, then tossed herself off the docks near a seedy warehouse.
“It’s just terrible what happened, and though we disagreed, I hope we can all take a few minutes to send thoughts and prayers to the family,” Clinton concluded.
Thanks for reading!