Progressive Inquisitors

In another case, not quite as clear cut but raising similar issues: Should opposition to marriage equality and a belief that Obama’s bathroom order was an unnecessary overreach of authority disqualify a candidate from leading NASA?

And another:

As someone commented on another forum, “these people [the hold the views that Obama and Clinton held until 4-5 years ago, and that was Michigan law until Obergefell. And, “could a city council that supports the Second Amendment exclude a farmer who bans guns on his farm?”

Scott Shackford blogged about this in June, when East Lansing denied the owners of County Mills Farms access to the farmer’s market. He noted that (1) the farm itself is not within city limits, (2) state law does not cover discrimination on basis of sexual orientation, (3) the farm itself is not violating any laws by refusing to host same-sex marriage, (4) there is no evidence that when they’re at the farmer’s market, they’re violating the city’s antidiscrimination laws in any way.

The Case for Not Compelling Creative Expression

The libertarian Cato Institute filed influential amicus briefs in support of overturning sodomy laws (in Lawrence, cited by Justice Kennedy in his opinion) and in favor of marriage equality (in Obergefell). In keeping with a principled commitment to individual rights and against unnecessary government coercion, Cato has now filed an amicus in favor of a baker who chose not to create a same-sex wedding cake.

Gay Progressive Loses Spot for Illinois Lt. Gov After Calling for Boycott of Israel

More from the Sun Times:

But some expressed disappointment in the decision. Clem Balanoff, who helped to run [Bernie] Sanders’ Illinois campaign, released a statement on behalf of Our Revolution Illinois citing his disappointment.

“Ald. Ramirez-Rosa was a delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election and is a leading progressive voice in the Chicago City Council,” Balanoff said in a statement. … We believe he was an excellent candidate for Lt. Governor and are saddened that his voice will be missing from Sen. Biss’ campaign.”

But Richard Goldberg, former chief of staff to [Republican] Gov. Bruce Rauner, said it was the right decision, calling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement “at its core … a political manifestation of anti-Semitism.”

As noted in the Facebook post, defending Palestinian terorisim and singling out the Jewish state as uniquely unworthy of existence is now a core progressive principle for many, wedging ever-deeper into the LGBT activist left.

More. As Mark Joseph Stern wrote last year at Slate, The LGBTQ Left Has an Anti-Semitism Problem.

‘Men’s Studies’ Indoctrination, Not Scholarship

It didn’t have to be this way, but once the academic left takes control this is what happens. Not that this is anything new (e.g., see my 1994 post Masculinity Under Siege, and from 1999 Mary, Mary (Daly), Quite Contrary).

The Adoration of Chelsea Manning

Writes James Kirchick:

More troubling than this fawning from avowed enemies of the American “security state” is Ms. Manning’s embrace by large swaths of the LGBT community. At the New York City Pride March in June, thousands cheered as Ms. Manning sat atop the American Civil Liberties Union float. While in prison, she had repeatedly been named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco’s gay pride celebration. She has also been the subject of constant, adulatory coverage in gay media.

Celebrating Chelsea Manning just a few years after gay and transgender people were permitted to serve openly in the military discredits the LGBT cause. Throughout most of the 20th century, homosexuality was associated with treason and used as a basis for purging gay people from government jobs, denying them security clearances and restricting their service in the armed forces. The decision by Ms. Manning’s defense team to argue that untreated gender dysphoria was a factor in her decision to leak classified information unwittingly aids those who say that LGBT people cannot be trusted in sensitive government jobs. And it dishonors the LGBT people who have served in the military throughout history without betraying their country.

More below:


The Perils of Identity Politics

I don’t agree with all of Mark Lilla’s positions—he is, after all, an abortion-rights liberal—but his critique of the Democratic party’s fatal rejection of unifying themes in favor of identity politics is spot on.

As Lilla told the New Yorker:

…when we go out on the stump, it makes no sense to call out to various groups, as Hillary Clinton did, and inevitably leave people out. She would list the groups that liberal Democrats care about today: African-Americans, gays and lesbians, women. One out of every four Americans is evangelical. Thirty-seven percent of Americans live in the South. Seventeen percent, as many as there are, of African-Americans in this country live in rural areas. There are different ways in which people think of themselves, right? And those people did not feel called out to. …

When some of the campus craziness happens, it reveals something that is there in the university that doesn’t always take the craziest form. And the way in which we have ended up educating, and in my view miseducating, the liberal élite in this country for political action.

What I see, essentially, is that, to the extent that [college students] are political, their political interest is circumscribed by either how they see their own identity or what they think identity issues are. I’m struck by the lack of interest in military affairs, class structure, economics that’s not economics in order to get into business school. There’s a lack of interest in American religion. All of these subjects that might help you understand the country in a richer way. They’re very much drawn to classes that are about themselves….

And so we end up producing liberal élites who are clueless about the rest of the country, and clueless about all sorts of other themes, especially class. … We end up talking to ourselves and training young people in this limited range of issues that tend to be self-referential, so that when they go out there, and are ready to engage, they’re incapable of talking in large themes.

Judging from many of the negative comments Lilla’s interview received from the left, it looks like many base Democrats are intent on keeping their party limited to wealthy liberals plus minorities, overwhelmingly on the Northeast and West coasts plus Chicago. From the New Yorker comments to their Facebook posts of the interview (it was posted more than once), for example:

White supremacy, not just for the right anymore but also the left!

Giving in to racism isn’t the answer.

Lilla seems to be saying that liberals need to accept people who will not accept them in return.

Lilla’s working definition of “narcissism” is when folks don’t behave as though straight white men are inherently more important than everyone else.

Why is it always the same looking white professor guy who is critiquing identity politics?

Utter illogic. Lilla suggests that liberals’ willingness to embrace diversity and honor difference is an example of snobbery–when it is, in fact, literally the opposite.

Of course, in most of these instances, Lilla said no such thing.

Taxpayer Funding, Adoption and the Kids

The Washington Blade reports:

In Texas, transgender rights supporters thwarted an attempt by state leaders to enact legislation that would have barred transgender people from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. However, Texas—along with Alabama and South Dakota—enacted laws allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placements in homes based on religious objections, which could result in discrimination against LGBT families.

State transgender bathroom bans are an overreach of state power, imposing state authority into an area where no discernable problem seems to exists. Libertarian-minded people should oppose that sort of intrusion.

The second issue isn’t so clear cut, however. State funding of religiously affiliated social service organizations is now pervasive, placing private religious agencies in a bind. Despite the left’s spin, allowing religious agencies to operate according to their faith principles, even if they receive some state funding, is an arguable point. As Scott Shackford wrote at Reason two years ago (quoting Walter Olson, an IGF cofounder):

Much as with the controversies over bakers and florists, being denied service by one agency does not actually impact a gay couple’s ability to find and adopt children at all. But eliminating Catholic Charities from the pool reduces the number of people able to help place these children. It’s the children who are punished by the politicization of adoption, not Catholic Charities.

This is especially important when dealing with older children or children with special medical needs. … Allowing both sides (and others as well) to play their role as they see fit benefits all children in the system.

As for the concern that some adoption agencies take taxpayer money and then discriminate, Olson points out that it’s much more expensive to the taxpayers to leave children to be raised by the state, not to mention terribly cruel. “If you don’t care about the kids or the families, at least care about the taxpayers,” Olson says. But you should probably care about the kids, too.

The Blade reports that the two Texas legislative developments were a “mixed bag.” Others who are more liberty focused might see it as a wini-win.

Mission Creep

Walter Olson notes that “Climate change [is] listed as an LGBTQ issue, because in coalition politics every issue is every other issue.”

A piece from earlier this year at Huffington Post makes similar claims.

Passing legislation to require employers to provide paid family leave is also an LGBT issue, according to a Washington Blade opinion column.

Every progressive issue is now an LGBT issue, probably because the gay civil rights agenda has largely been achieved in the U.S. (leaving only transgender issues and exacting punishment on conservative Christian small businesses), and activists always need a cause.

Luxuriating in Victimhood

A lesbian college professor writes about today’s LGBT-PC student culture:

A non-binary student critiques a faculty colleague of mine in class for using the term “drag queens” to describe the self-identified drag queens who resisted at Stonewall. My colleague, who is 35, queer, and teaching Sociology of Sexuality, is informed that this is an incorrect and insulting term.