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.

LGBT Activists Take Aim at Religious Liberty

Rights are for me, but not for thee, says just about the entirety of LGBT activists groups.

Attacking religious liberty rights will be the singular issue of the LGBT left (which is to say, the LGBT political movement) going forward. The bogus “license to discriminate” meme will be ubiquitous.

As I’ve said before, balancing competing rights—civil rights (public accommodations nondiscrimination) and religious liberty (the right not to be forced by the state, on threat of punishment, to take action that violates religious convictions)—is what America should be about.

Religious exemptions have a traditional and purposeful place in our civil rights laws, but that’s now under attack. Shameful and sad.

More. Proving my point: Swift LGBT opposition to Gorsuch over ‘religious freedom’ rulings:

Gorsuch also sided with “religious freedom” arguments over the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide contraception coverage in the 10th Circuit ruling in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell.

Rachel Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, declared opposition to the nominee based on Gorsuch’s “religious freedom” rulings, which she said marks the first time her organization opposed a Supreme Court nominee without any confirmation hearing.

Lambda Legal is going to show those nuns who’s boss.

Progressives explain it all to you

Trump supports gay rights, which is code for being anti-Islam, thereby proving he’s a fascist, writes Amanda Erickson at the Washington Post.

More. This is all reminiscent of the left’s attacks on Israel’s support for gay legal equality and inclusion, which progressives call “pinkwashiing,” described by Mark Joseph Stern as the presumption that “the Israeli government has no interest in promoting LGBTQ rights except to help mask its oppression of other groups.”

[Added: Pete Buttigieg, gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., with higher political aspirations, in a Washington Blade interview, lambasts “the level of ‘pinkwashing’ of the Trump campaign.” When nonprogresives support LGBT rights, it’s insidious.]

Furthermore. Vice President Mike Pence tells ABC News: “I think throughout the campaign, President Donald J. Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration. He was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him.”

The Gorsuch Nomination

Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, probably would not have joined the ruling in favor of marriage equality, although he is a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the Obergefell decision.

In 2005, LGBTQ Nation reports, Gorsuch wrote an article for National Review in which he argued that liberals are using the courts too much to advance their agenda, and he cited same-sex marriage:

American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education… .

…too much reliance on constitutional litigation is also bad for the Left itself. The Left’s alliance with trial lawyers and its dependence on constitutional litigation to achieve its social goals risks political atrophy. Liberals may win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts. But in failing to reach out and persuade the public generally, they invite exactly the sort of backlash we saw in November when gay marriage was rejected in all eleven states where it was on the ballot.

Marriage equality was eventually achieve through the courts, and—unlike the abortion-ruling aftermath—without an escalation of the initial backlash the Gorsuch noted. But his arguments aren’t those of the fire-breathing LGBT-rights opponent of progressive fear-mongering.

Gorsuch does support religious liberty rights, which will drive the LGBT left berserk. He ruled against the government in a case involving the Obamacare mandate that employer health plans provide no-cost contraceptive coverage to female workers, including drugs some consider to be abortifacients. As LGBTQ Nation notes:

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the corporation argued that its religious beliefs were being violated by the ACA. Gorsuch sided with Hobby Lobby, holding that a for-profit business could have religious beliefs, with which the Supreme Court later agreed.

I agreed, too.

Gorsuch is a conservative, but he’s not a social conservative activist. I don’t expect that liberal media will pay much attention to the distinction.

More. An email just received from Zeke Stokes at GLAAD:

Gorsuch’s record on the federal bench means his appointment to the court could put LGBTQ people at risk, from workplace protections to even marriage equality. Coming on the heels of rumors of a sweeping Trump executive order attacking the LGBTQ community, this appointment could spell danger for LGBTQ people, women, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities — many of whom are already targets of Trump’s actions.

A follow-up from GLAAD explains:

We just got some devastating news. According to breaking media reports, a leaked copy of a draft executive order reveals plans by the Trump Administration to allow for widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people across the country– much like the law Vice President Mike Pence signed as governor of Indiana.

Attacking religious liberty rights will be the singular issue of the LGBT left (which is to say, the LGBT political movement) going forward.