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E-Pluribus | July 30, 2021
Liberalism and the Post-Liberal Man, bipartisan politicization of the January 6th inquiry, and et tu, medical schools?
A round up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Mathis Bitton: The Rise of Post-Liberal Man
At Quillette, Mathis Bitton explores the history of liberalism and its dependence on liberal citizens. He argues that our society is now producing citizens who reflect a dangerous mix of boredom and discontent, leading to struggles for the sake of struggling rather than maintaining and preserving hard-won freedoms available only in a liberal society.
In this sense, most of the West’s civilizational challenges stem from the simple fact that liberal societies are no longer producing liberal citizens. The campus Left, the nationalist Right, ardent neo-Marxists, and Catholic integralists may not have much in common, but they all share a disdain for liberalism’s rationalist outlook, atomistic individualism, and pseudo-neutral proceduralism. In different ways, these movements attack the idea that we are self-constructed individuals who can build our sense of identity out of thin air. Marxists emphasise the role of class, gender, and race; communitarians stress the moral obligations we inherit—to the Church, the family, the community, and the nation. More fundamentally, these political forces reject the liberal desire to let people seek their own sources of meaning. Embracing comprehensive definitions of the good life, the critics of liberalism view politics as a power-game wherein competing moral systems fight for supremacy in the public square.
Why do voters seem increasingly attracted to illiberalism? Perhaps because they are, in fact, desperately looking for a way out of the hubristic idea that we can self-construct, find meaning by and for ourselves, and exist as sovereign, rational individuals. In the West and beyond, Liberal Man is being replaced by Post-Liberal Man, whose cardinal virtues are altogether different. Gone is the appreciation for diversity, disagreement, and proceduralism. Enters an insatiable thirst for public morality, purpose, and collective attachment.
Read the whole thing.
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: Two False Narratives About the Capitol Riot
As Congress begins the post mortem on the events of January 6th, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal says both sides are blatantly politicizing the process. While our democracy was not in serious jeopardy as Democrats allege, Republicans should not undersell the threat of the actions of the pro-Trump mob that day. Unless both parties focus on getting to the truth, these hearings may well exacerbate the damage rather than helping to fix it.
The House inquiry on the events of Jan. 6 held its opening hearing Tuesday, and it showed why no Republican should try to brush aside the ugliness of the Capitol riot. The perpetrators who assaulted police that day weren’t overenthusiastic tourists, and the mob was not all a “loving crowd,” as Donald Trump characterized the audience for his pre-melee speech.
Republicans are focused on why the Capitol was so badly protected on Jan. 6, which is a good question, and if Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s committee wants to be taken seriously, it should examine that in detail. But here’s what the No. 3 House Republican, Elise Stefanik, told the press before Tuesday’s hearing: “The American people deserve to know the truth: that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility, as Speaker of the House, for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6.”
What kind of voter is this supposed to convince? Security oversights in the run-up to the riot are fair game, but it’s hardly credible to point to them alone, without acknowledging that President Trump urged his supporters to stop the supposed steal. On Jan. 6 some of them took his words seriously, literally, or both, and Mr. Trump dallied instead of rushing to Congress’s defense. The GOP would be better off ceding weak ground by admitting that the election wasn’t stolen and Mr. Trump was wrong.
The falseness in the Democratic story line is the idea that America’s constitutional order was hanging by a lone thread. […]
Even if they’d managed to steal or destroy the official Electoral College certificates, do Democrats think some knucklehead in face paint and a fur hat could have simply declared the election void? The public and the courts wouldn’t have stood for a rabble overturning the 2020 result. Mr. Trump didn’t have the military on his side, or even most of his own Administration. The investigations so far have turned up no guiding cabal. Rioters have been arrested and many will go to prison.
Read it all here.
Katie Herzog: Med Schools Are Now Denying Biological Sex
Writing again at Bari Weiss’s Common Sense Substack, Katie Herzog reports that influence of the transgender movement has even spread to medical schools, leading to the portrayal of biological sex as just another social construct. This rejection of science in the name of diversity and inclusion is not just a cosmetic change in language but will have real life consequences in the abilities of future doctors to properly treat their patients.
Why would medical school professors apologize for referring to a patient’s biological sex? Because, Lauren explains, in the context of her medical school “acknowledging biological sex can be considered transphobic.”
When sex is acknowledged by her instructors, it’s sometimes portrayed as a social construct, not a biological reality, she says. In a lecture on transgender health, an instructor declared: “Biological sex, sexual orientation, and gender are all constructs. These are all constructs that we have created.”
In other words, some of the country’s top medical students are being taught that humans are not, like other mammals, a species comprising two sexes. The notion of sex, they are learning, is just a man-made creation.
The idea that sex is a social construct may be interesting debate fodder in an anthropology class. But in medicine, the material reality of sex really matters, in part because the refusal to acknowledge sex can have devastating effects on patient outcomes.
In 2019, the New England Journal of Medicine reported the case of a 32-year-old transgender man who went to an ER complaining of abdominal pain. While the patient disclosed he was transgender, his medical records did not. He was simply a man. The triage nurse determined that the patient, who was obese, was in pain because he’d stopped taking a medication meant to relieve hypertension. This was no emergency, she decided. She was wrong: The patient was, in fact, pregnant and in labor. By the time hospital staff realized that, it was too late. The baby was dead. And the patient, despite his own shock at being pregnant, was shattered.
Read it all here.
Judicial Watch says documents show that Facebook’s coordination with the CDC over COVID “misinformation” leads to de facto censorship:
A few tweets from a Dissent Magazine article via Heterodox Academy on the left and free speech:
Finally, more bad news from Hong Kong: