Return to the Culture Wars
Good morning and welcome back to the Bright Morning newsletter! If you have not yet had the chance to listen to last week’s podcast, please consider checking it out. In that episode, we spoke about Bill C-10 in Canada and how it threatens freedom of speech. We also spoke more broadly about the culture of free speech and why it is so important not only for our pursuit of greater knowledge, but also as a means for reducing the influence of bad ideas.
It has been a little while since we examined some hot-button issues in the culture wars, and so that is what we decided to do this week. However, fear not, because we do not leave readers with a doom-and-gloom view of the world. In fact, we highlight how the foundations of progressive ideology might just be crumbling.
We hope that you enjoy it, and please consider leaving us a comment.
| THE GAVIN CHRONICLES
Remember Gavin Newsom? Of course you do. We have been covering the California Governor since our very first issue. Our feelings for this man were most aptly described in our issue from March 25th.
Normally, we try to set emotions aside when discussing political or cultural issues, but when it comes to Newsom, the lure of schadenfreude is too overwhelming. So, we were extremely pleased to see that the 1.6 million signatures required to trigger a recall election for Newsom have been verified.
The next stage in the process is a 30-business-day window in which voters can request that their signatures be removed from the recall petition. If a sufficient number of signatures are withdrawn, then the recall election will be avoided. If not, then the state will move forward with an election.
Of course, Newsom attempted to frame this as a “Republican recall,” but as we have mentioned before, the distaste for Newsom is so overwhelming in California that it has eroded partisan divisions. Nothing brings people together quite like a common enemy.
But who would replace Newsom? There have been rumours about who could defeat the Governor in an overwhelmingly blue state, but it looks like the new contender in town might just stand a chance. This person is none other than Caitlyn Jenner, who recently filed paperwork to campaign for Governor in the forthcoming recall election.
If this is the beginning of the end of Gavin Newsom, then that should be cause for celebration. However, progressives in America are not willing to let their boy Gavin go down without a fight. And as we are about to see, this fight will be filled with the ugly rhetoric that we have all grown accustomed to witnessing from mainstream figures in the American Left.
Caitlyn Jenner: The Wrong Kind of Trans Woman
In a recent campaign ad, Caitlyn Jenner correctly identified that California’s homeless problem has spiraled out of control under the governance of career politicians, like Gavin Newsom. This is apparent to all, but heaven forbid that it is mentioned, lest we be referred to as dispassionate conspiracy theorists.
However, the jig is up. Californians, and Americans more broadly, can see how the Golden State has become a trainwreck. This is why there is a mass exodus from California towards more conservative states, as exemplified by the recent relocation of Elon Musk, Ben Shapiro, and Joe Rogan. In fact, so many people have moved out of California that it is even at risk of losing seats in the House of Representatives. Jenner has acknowledged this; referring to herself as a “compassionate disruptor,” she believes that she can bring businesses back to California and eliminate the influence of career politicians.
At the same time, Jenner stated that she is against trans-women, such as herself (that is, biological males who present as women), competing against females in sports. When asked about the subject, Jenner stated that she opposes “biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair and we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.” Again, this is something we all know, but our era demands that we dismiss biological realities. However, Jenner is 100% correct in her estimation that it eliminates fair competition. A recent study in the British Sports Journal of Medicine confirmed that biological males have an advantage over females, even after hormone therapy - something that Gender Identity Theory activists claim will even the competition.
Both of Jenner’s uncontroversial statements earned her condemnation from the usual suspects. Jimmy Kimmel called her an “asshole,” while Sarah Silverman slandered her as “transphobic.” This is so typical that it is almost not worth mentioning, but the irony needs addressing. Caitlyn Jenner is transgender, yet she is slandered as “transphobic” by a wealthy celebrity for pointing out biological realities. At the same time, Jimmy Kimmel and other legacy media figures are working overtime to paint Jenner as a right-wing conspiracy theorist for correctly asserting that homelessness is out of control and small businesses need revivification.
Would Jenner be subjected to the same, ugly harassment from these media personalities if she were running as a Democrat? Unlikely. Jenner is a Republican, and therefore she is inconvenient to the Woke Left. The woke pretend they are “allies” and “advocates” for hypothetically endangered minority groups, but whenever an individual from one of these groups goes rogue - that is, voices an opinion that counters progressive orthodoxy, as Jenner did - the woke throw a tantrum, hurl insults, and attempt to oust them from polite society. But it does not look like these tactics will work anymore, as Jenner is receiving a considerable amount of support.
For years, we have been told that conservatism is a threat to minorities, but this is clearly a falsehood. As Barbara Minney (who is a trans woman) wrote for Politico, the bigger threat is the progressive orthodoxy which firmly insists that transgender individuals must hold a certain set of views (or else be subjected to threats and condemnation from public figures). She says “it is not healthy to reduce such a diverse and complex community to one set of beliefs.” We agree.
It is frustrating to see the race for California’s future being dominated by two wealthy socialites, both of whom have a history of questionable and unethical behaviour (at best). However, at least Caitlyn Jenner is bold enough to cut against the suffocating constraints of progressive dogma to defend a fading middle class, as well as biological realities, in a once-great state. We hope she succeeds in this endeavour.
The Racism of Anti-Racists
The backlash against Caitlyn Jenner mirrors another story occurring in Canada - one that also demonstrates how identity attributes such as race, gender, and sexual orientation are only sacred if the individuals or groups in question champion the same progressive orthodoxy.
Take, for example, the ongoing saga of a psychology professor named Rima Azar - a Lebanese woman who escaped civil war during her teen years. Although her native tongue is Arabic, Azar considers herself a proud Canadian - she writes in her blog about classical liberal values, the ongoing challenges in Lebanon, and how the symbol of the Maple Leaf “means the world” to her. As Jonathan Kay wrote in the National Post, “if you know of a more intersectional Canadian, I’d like to meet them.”
Despite meeting all of the intersectionalist criteria that our culture obsesses over, Azar was recently suspended from her position at Mount Allison University after a mob of mostly white, middle-to-upper-middle class students demanded that she be fired. How did this happen?
Like Jenner, Azar is a minority woman who has espoused the wrong political views. When a local activist opined that New Brunswick, and Canada as a whole, was “systemically racist,” Azar argued that it was not. Having experienced the violent and gruesome civil war in Lebanon - which is a product of the same identity politics that our culture obsesses over - she fears that Canada will make the same mistakes if the culture continues overemphasizing differences. She also argued against the claim that Canada is a “patriarchy” afflicted with “rape culture.” She noted that if we want to see a “real rape culture,” then we ought to look at “ISIS practices in Syria.” Then, Azar committed the greatest sin of our era: she criticized Black Lives Matter, specifically their goals of creating a “global liberation movement” that wishes to “dismantle capitalism, abolish prisons, and erase national borders.”
For the record, each of these uncontroversial statements are correct. Canada is not a racist country, it is not afflicted with rape culture, and Black Lives Matter is a radical movement. As always, we urge readers not be deceived by the anti-oppositional phrases, like “anti-racist,” that radicals employ as camouflage.
For committing these sins, Azar’s mostly white colleagues and mostly white students claimed that her views were “hurtful,” and then lobbied the university on Twitter and sent emails to the president demanding that she lose her job. One comment on Twitter read “I am a privileged cis white 50-year-old woman. How is it that I understand systemic racism and she doesn’t? She needs to be removed immediately!” Mount Allison then suspended Azar for racism, even though there was not a single identifiable racist comment that could be pointed at.
Are we beginning to recognize a pattern yet? The cycle looks something like this:
Progressives claim to value diversity (except viewpoint diversity - which they consider “harmful”).
Institutions imbibe unprovable assertions, such as the claim that our culture is “systematically racist,” sexist, homophobic, queerphobic, fatphobic, transphobic, etc.
Individuals, often from minority groups, oppose these ideas with sound and reasoned arguments.
Progressives attempt to “unperson” these individuals - they form a mob and demand these proverbial heretics be removed from their positions and replaced with someone who will adhere to the orthodoxy.
This is racism in action. The reason it can be classified as such is because it demonstrates how there is an expectation for minorities to champion specific beliefs. If minorities oppose these views, then they are subjected to bullying, threats, and job-loss at the behest of their mostly white peers. Of course, this same pattern of cancelation works for non-minorities, as well. But the point still stands. Thus, racial essentialism is a feature, and not a bug, of progressive orthodoxy. Once again, the true threat to minorities (and the culture which they admire) is the suffocating progressive ideology which demands their rigid adherence to its essentialist dogma.
Fortunately, Rima Azar is no stranger to conflict, and she has fought harder battles than those brought to her by cowardly students and bureaucrats. However, she has been suspended without pay during a pandemic in which many Canadians are prohibited from working. As a result, she has set up a Go Fund Me page for support with her legal fees. The link can be found here. Please consider supporting this brave woman who is a true defender of classical liberalism.
This week, we encourage the audience to listen to John McWhorter as he speaks with Michael Shermer about his new thesis: neo-racists posing as anti-racists and their threat to America (and western culture, more broadly). This thesis is self-explanatory, but it is an insightful look into what we just pointed out in this article.
Thank you for your time and we will see you next week.