Thursday, June 23, 2022

In Defense of Political Escalation

From the irrepressible Abigail Shrier, at Common Sense, "How can we get back to normal? Those waiting for the pendulum to swing back will be waiting forever":

... Here is the problem: Almost every liberal will be content to allow our institutions and corporations to punish conservatives as long as they themselves remain unscathed. They may feel a pang of discomfort watching books deleted from Amazon, but until it is a book of theirs, they will continue to show a remarkable disinclination to speak up. (Yes, with the important exception of brave souls like J.K. Rowling, Elon Musk and Joe Rogan. And the moment liberals speak out against such censorship, they are accused of being right-wing and lose the left’s protection.)

As long as Amazon never deletes books by Rachel Maddow, Bob Woodward, Ezra Klein, or Paul Krugman, America’s large and powerful center-left has proven itself all-too-willing to allow the censorship to proceed. As long as only the left weaponizes every available corporation and government agency, America will continue its decade-long shrug.

Those waiting on the mythical pendulum to “swing back,” should stop holding their breath. The gender activists are True Believers, akin to jihadists: no amount of reasoning diminishes their resolve, no appeal to data brings them pause, no urge to consider the sanctity of American liberties will convince them to cool it.

This point was best put to me by a high school teacher in Texas, a gay man, regularly hounded by his school administrators to teach gender ideology to his students. Here’s the remarkable thing: He doesn’t want to, doesn’t think it’s a good use of his time, and doesn’t believe encouraging his students to obsess over their sexual orientation during class is anywhere near as helpful to high school students as the material he trained to teach them. But he also doesn’t think passing a law banning gender ideology will make the slightest difference.

I try to tell parents, if you’re considering pulling your kids out of public school—do—because you can go to as many school board meetings as you want and complain. There’s still going to be people who are going to teach whatever they want.

If the woke continue to gain ground, where will we skeptics go to educate our children, transact commerce, find fair adjudication of our custody disputes? Where will we publish when not only the New York Times has a “gender director”—when every publication does?

That is the worry that likely motivates DeSantis, the first politician to “weaponize” the Florida tax code. He brought its hammer down on Disney to punish that one company for using its immense corporate coffers to lobby against parents’ rights in Florida. In principle, it’s a move I’m leery of. (And in the case of sending CPS after moms and dads who take their kids to drag shows, it’s a move I would oppose.)

But the gist of this stratagem—escalation—may be necessary. Indeed, it already seems to be working. Playing offense, even raising the stakes, may be the only means of achieving a much-needed truce. I’m out of better ideas. How about you?

Read the whole thing.