Milo (Yawn)

I haven’t commented on the uproar over Milos Yiannopoulos because he and the circus around him bore me.

He has his defenders—”Milo is indisputably the most effective conservative on campus battling the anti-American identity-obsessed, racist Left,” writes David Horowitz. But Yiannopoulos has always been a provocateur who muddied the good fight against politically correct attacks on free speech (both formal and mob-driven) on college campuses and elsewhere with his own bigotries. Whatever good—and there was some—that came from an openly gay man becoming a major figure respected within the Breitbart crowd was undercut by his playing footsie with the alt right (a loose movement whose size and power are mendaciously exaggerated by the left, but which does exist).

His downfall over previous comments seeming to make light of pedophilia, including his own abuse by a priest, have now resulted in his leaving Breitbart News and being disinvited from the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he was to be a keynote speaker, all of which is to the delight of the alt-left.

Perhaps the circus has now left town.

More. CPAC is minus Milo, but the Log Cabin Republicans, once excluded, again have a booth.

The Transgender Order Deserves Its Fate

The rollback of the Obama’ administration’s nationwide decree that public school bathrooms and locker rooms must be available to students based on their gender identity has, predictably, caused an uproar among LGBT and other progressives (“a blind and cruel attack on young children,” said the Human Rights Campaign’s Chad Griffin).

But the over-reaching, over-bearing, probably unlawful order, blocked by a court from taking effect in part because it was issued without going through the standard proposal and public comment process for federal regulation—which would have highlighted its dubious interpretation of Title IX—was always about igniting the base and stoking culture-war polarization, to the hoped-for electoral advantage of the Democrats versus the hateful bigots (i.e., Republicans).

The Cato Institute’s David Boaz writes:

Devolving power from Washington to states and local communities can also help to ease conflicts ranging from gun rights and school locker rooms to environmental protection. While Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may have stated the problem awkwardly, it’s true that the people of Manhattan and Montana have different attitudes and experiences regarding guns. Maybe they should be able to set different rules. In 2016 the Department of Justice and the Department of Education issued “guidance” to the 13,500 school districts across the United States on how they should manage access to locker rooms and bathrooms in 99,000 public schools. Instead of a rule issued by faceless bureaucrats in Washington, why not let the people of the 50 states and thousands of communities talk through that issue and come to their own evolving answers?

DeVos herself released a statement that said, in part:

This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students. …

I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America.

As others have pointed out, while the left likes to focus on bathrooms, where people don’t publicly undress, the real issue is locker rooms, where nudity is part of the terrain. An anatomical male body on a transwomen who hasn’t surgically transitioned (or, more to the point, a transgirl in a public school girls locker room), and transmen/transboys in the opposite situation, is the issue. Offering the accommodations of a gender-neutral individual restroom, or changing in a private space (and, if necessary, a private shower) is not equivalent to the racial bigotry implied by the phrase “separate but equal.” In these circumstances, it’s often the reasonable option.

And sorry, but declaring that we should all—teenagers included—”get over” our unease with anatomically discordant nudity in public facilities (because, bigotry) is not a winning argument. As instapundit Glenn Reynolds likes to say, “If you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump.”

Breaking Ranks

D.C.’s MetroWeekly interviews Anthony “Rek” LeCounte, a young, black, gay Republican. Excerpt:

“There’s a saying in politics that ‘personnel is policy,’” he says. “A lot of these nonpartisan [LGBT rights] groups are staffed by aggressively left-wing progressive folks who, even if their organization say, ‘We believe X, Y, and Z,’ have their own biases which then affect their decisions. If an LGBT candidate is pro-life, or supports gun rights, or holds a bunch of other conservative positions that run deeply counter to what the progressive movement is doing, a lot of these groups don’t want to be associated with those kind of candidates. So they’ll either endorse against or they’ll just pretend the candidate doesn’t exist.”

True.

Perfect Enemies, Redux

A New York Times article asks Are Liberals Helping Trump? by declaring, “Agree with us 100% or you are morally bankrupt.”

Well, yes.

Times national correspondent Sabrina Tavernise writes:

Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed. …

Mrs. O’Connell is a registered Democrat. She voted for Bill Clinton twice. But she has drifted away from the party over what she said was a move from its middle-class economic roots toward identity politics. …

“The Democratic Party has changed so much that I don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said. “These people are destroying our democracy. They are scarier to me than these Islamic terrorists. I feel absolutely disgusted with them and their antics. It strengthens people’s resolve in wanting to support President Trump. It really does.”

I believe “identity politics” should not be construed here to mean support for equal rights for minorities, as progressives would claim, but rather what they have delivered in practice, which Daphne Patai characterized as the proliferation of oppressed identities so that “the game is openly played in hiring and even in the exercise of free speech—who is entitled to teach, to speak, to pose challenges, and who had better shut up if lacking the requisite identity.”

Along similar lines, The student Left’s culture of intolerance is creating a new generation of conservatives. But I’d quibble with the author, Charlie Peters, and suggest that it’s not so much that the student left has abandoned support for free speech as that they never really favored it to begin with, at least for their ideological opponents. The 1960’s campus Free Speech Movement was about allowing leftwing organizing. Once the left became dominant in university administrations and hegemonic on faculties, there was no longer any need for the ruse.

Gender Is a Construct, Except When It Isn’t

Daphne Patai writes, provocatively, Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Trans? It’s well worth reading. An excerpt:

Today, for all the academic talk of “diversity”—written into all levels and aspects of American universities, with growing numbers of administrators and officers designated to oversee it—a new and rigid orthodoxy is upon us. …

But in the happy world of American academe, categories of sexual and gender identity just grow and grow, and acronyms along with them. Today we have not only the labels, but courses and administrators devoted to LGBTQIA (the A, for asexual, is merely the latest accretion).

In recent years, the proliferation of identities has gotten completely out of control and the game is openly played in hiring and even in the exercise of free speech–who is entitled to teach, to speak, to pose challenges, and who had better shut up if lacking the requisite identity.

Persecuting Baronelle Stutzman Shows Lack of Decency

Washington state’s highest court ruled that Barronelle Stutzman discriminated against longtime customers Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed when she refused to do the flowers for their 2013 wedding because of her religious opposition to participating in a same-sex marriage. Instead, Stutzman suggested several other florists in the area who would help them.

Her lawyers will attempt to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where A Colorado case involving a baker who would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding is pending.

“I knew Rob was gay for all those years, and it made no difference to me,” Ms. Stutzman said. “I chose not to participate in one event, and that’s what this is all about. If Rob walked into my shop tomorrow, I’d wait on him for another 10 years.”

Ingersoll and Freed should have respected her right to decline and found another Seattle-area florist. That would have been the decent thing to do. Decency, however, is an increasingly rare commodity.

When nonprogresives support LGBT rights, it’s insidious

The Trump administration will keep the position of special U.S. envoy to promote LGBT rights abroad at State Department, the Washington Blade reports.

Pete Buttigieg, gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., with higher political aspirations (he’s an extremely long-shock candidate for Democratic National Committee Chair), in a separate Washington Blade interview, lambasted “the level of ‘pinkwashing’ of the Trump campaign.”

Reminder: The term “pinkwashing” was concocted by leftists to dismiss Israel’s support for gay legal equality and inclusion. As described by Mark Joseph Stern, it’s the presumption that “the Israeli government has no interest in promoting LGBTQ rights except to help mask its oppression of other groups.” That Buttigieg would use such a term is, well, disgraceful.

Challenging the Narrative

Two tweets:

(Compare the above with the hyperbolic Washington Blade headline ‘Scalia on Steroids’, quoting NYC Rep. Jerry Nadler’s characterization of the judge.)

When Liberalism Became Progressivism

Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report used to be a progressive. Now he’s not. Here’s why he left the left.

An excerpt:

I’m a married gay man, so you might think that I appreciate the government forcing a Christian baker or photographer or florist to act against their religion in order to cater, photograph or decorate my wedding. But you’d be wrong. A government that can force Christians to violate their conscience can force me to violate mine.

If a baker won’t bake you a cake, find another baker, don’t demand the state tell him what to do with his private business.

I’m pro-choice. But a government that can force a group of Catholic nuns—literally called the Little Sisters of the Poor—to violate their faith and pay for abortion-inducing birth control can force anyone to do anything.

Fake News Revealed

James Kirchick has penned a thoughtful look at the proliferation of fake news. He’s no fan of Donald Trump, as he makes very clear. But neither can he abide the cascade of, shall we say untruths, from Trump’s critics on the left. For instance, he writes:

I cannot recall the number of times I’ve read or been told that Mike Pence supports “conversion therapy” for homosexuals, the inhumane, pseudoscientific practice whereby gay men and women are made to believe that their nature is unnatural and they, therefore, must work to “change” it through psychologically abusive tactics. Pence is by no means friendly to the cause of gay equality, but as the journalist Carl Cannon recently wrote, nowhere has he ever come out in favor of conversion therapy—not once, ever.

And elsewhere:

The tendency to hyperbolize about Trump is partly influenced by an identity-politics-driven myopia which can’t see the unprecedentedly threatened societal forest because it’s so obsessed with each and every single one of the supposedly endangered trees. In the days after the presidential election, I came across countless social media posts in which the author recited some variation of the following lament: “Trump’s victory will most hurt women, African-Americans, undocumented immigrants, LGBT people, etc.” the list of potential victim groups extending sometimes for an entire paragraph or more. It was as if the authors of these posts were completely oblivious to the joke about the apocryphal New York Times headline, “WORLD ENDS: BLACKS AND WOMEN HARDEST HIT.” The bizarre inclusion of “LGBT” in this litany of victimhood notwithstanding (Trump ran as the most pro-gay Republican presidential candidate in history and made a point of addressing transgender concerns)….

Kirchick has many scathing criticisms of Trump, but he’s not going to let the left’s deluge of fake news go unexposed.

[Added: When “resistance” is premised on false assertions used to advance bogus narratives, it undermines the ability to counter actual bad policies with reasoned and convincing arguments. Remember reasoned and convincing arguments? It’s how people debated policy points before everything devolved into pure emotion.]

More. The Hill columnist John Feehery writes:

The Democrats, and more than a few Never Trump Republicans, imagine themselves to be brave, solitary figures standing against the rise of a brutal dictator.

That’s ridiculous. We not only have plenty of institutional checks and balances arrayed against any potential dictator. We also are, as a people, a nation that takes its liberties pretty seriously. We are not the Weimar Republic. We don’t have inflation hitting 300 percent. Unemployment is not at 30 percent but at 4.8 percent. We might have our fair share of disagreements, but we have a constitutional process to resolve them amicably, without bloodshed.

The Democratic resistance is taking on a form of fanaticism. Its adherents are redoubling their efforts to stop Trump but forgetting what their aim is. They are supposed to be working to make this country a better and more prosperous place for their constituents.

I’d add that LGBT activists (at least those that don’t have a political party’s name as part of their moniker) are supposed to be working to advance LGBT legal equality and social inclusion, not to further the fortunes of the Democratic party.