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Oct 11th, 2021
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  1. --4--
  3. I think Matt makes half of a semi-decent point here. However the problem here is two-fold.
  5. The first issue (which is not ultimately a death blow to his argument, but certainly doesn't help) is that he presents disgust not as a motivating factor for Democrats, but as a mechanism by which Democrats deliberately exercise control. These are two separate claims, and Matt picked the wrong one to support his claim. Recall that the point of the article, the literal title, is to ask "why are Democrats doing this to us?" That is, "what motivates Democrats to destroy our country" (with the implication being that he will argue that it's intentional). In presenting disgust as not a motivator, but an action deliberately taken, Matt completely sidesteps his own main point, which is to attempt to show that Democrats intentionally want to destroy the country, and leaves this one point standing on its own with almost nothing to back it up.
  7. Matt does bring up some research pointing out that a higher inclination towards physical disgust correlates with support for authoritarianism. This is all well and good, and if he had bothered to point it out, it could be used in support of his main argument by positing that Democrats have a higher affinity towards authoritarianism and therefore disgust could be considered a motivator--that is, he could have done that if it weren't for the fact that the researchers in the article that he cites also found a positive correlation between a disgust response and support for Donald Trump, a fact that Matt conveniently appears to have forgotten. The researchers even state that "authoritarianism fully explained the positive association between [body odor disgust sensitivity] and support for Donald Trump."
  9. The second issue with his argument has to do with the contents of the final sentence, which contains the entirety of his evidence that makes (or in this case, breaks) his claim. It's essentially a series of links showing times when Democrats (or in one case, a Labour politician) said things that showed disgust. The purpose of this is to show that, in his words, "disgust is overwhelmingly obvious in Leftist rhetoric," but each of these articles (minus the last, which is completely orthogonal to this argument--I'm guessing Matt just assumed no one would actually read the linked articles) is just a single instance of people showing disgust. And as we all know, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data." Six instances of what Matt labels "leftist disgust" does not prove his point. And aside from the laziness of just throwing out evidence with zero explanation, what *would* prove his point is some kind of analysis showing that the rhetoric of those on the left shows more disgust than that of people on the right, but he didn't provide any such data. And since he only provided anecdotes, I'll just respond with a few of my own. In the comments section of this very publication, it's not uncommon to see people reference "demo-rats," or "infestations," or "savages," or "scumbags." As a particular example, the first comment on the article titled "Fight or Flight? Do Not Surrender Chicago to Its Villains" repeatedly refers to their political opposition, presumably Democrats or the political leadership in Chicago, as a "cancer in the form of a nihilistic and recalcitrant subculture," saying that it needs to be "excised" and "eradicated." If that's not representative of utter disgust, I don't know what is. So you can argue that political discourse online is often filled with disgust--I would probably agree with you--but to pretend that it's only present in "leftist" rhetoric is disingenuous at best.
  11. --5--
  13. Here Matt starts out by saying that "pervasive humiliation is an extremely powerful component of population control," and that it "squelches the people’s moral strength and capability to resist." This sounds fairly reasonable to me; in fact, he's probably right that *when* there exist pervasive structures of humiliating people for the wrong beliefs, *then* this serves the purpose of controlling the population. But Matt fails to show that such structures exist, and even if he did, this has nothing to do with the original point. Again, the whole purpose of this article is to argue that Democrats are *intentionally* trying to make the US a worse place to live, and explores (or, attempts to explore) their motivations for doing so. Even if, for the sake of argument, we say that it's true that Democrats use humiliation to control the population, it does nothing to address why, which is the whole point of this article. But even that is a pretty big assertion, and one that's just not supported by his two (non-paywalled) examples.
  15. In the first example, Matt refers to the UChicago COVID-19 attestation as something "absurd" (Matt actually doesn't even acknowledge it in the article, he simply links to it. Again, this is incredibly lazy, but presumably his implication is that the attestation itself is absurd). But it's really not. It's not some political manifesto or set of unfounded claims, it's essentially a set of terms and conditions you have to agree to in order to resume normal life at the university. You could argue that some of those terms should be changed--for example, you could very convincingly state that since over 90% of the university community is vaccinated, masks should not be required. I would probably be inclined to agree. But this is still far from the ludicrousness that Matt apparently thinks it is.
  17. In his second example, Matt takes the statement "trans women are women" as an example of something that's "absurd" and "ridiculous," as if the absurdity and ridiculousness of this statement is just an obvious, self-evident fact. Frankly, I understand why he would do this. I'm guessing Matt doesn't know any trans people or follow any trans creators online. But if you've ever actually met a trans person, you would know that one of their biggest anxieties is almost always about "passing," or essentially blending in with their chosen gender. Most trans people take great pains to, as fully as possible, take the role of their new gender in private and public life, and go out of their way to avoid making other people uncomfortable. Trans women are not simply men who enjoy dressing up as women; they, with very few exceptions, fully and completely shift into living life as a woman (and vice-versa for trans men). If you met a trans person more than, say, a year into their transition, there's a good chance you wouldn't be able to tell, and at that point, they are for all intents and purposes their new gender, and not the one they were born with. The one article Matt linked to to attempt to support his claim that "trans women are women" is an absurdity talks about the fact that some trans men have a cervix, but in everyday life, or frankly in literally all situations outside of the bedroom or doctor's office, you don't pay attention to people's genitals in order to determine what gender they are, you look at the way they act, speak, dress, and generally present themselves.
  19. Now, what he's probably trying to get at is that if you repeatedly call a trans person by the wrong pronoun, then they'll probably get annoyed with you. And if you do it publicly and online, people will get mad at you. But this is not about "humiliation" or "political correctness," it's about respect for their humanity, compounded by the aforementioned anxiety. It's honestly no different between trans and cis people; if you were a woman, and I consistently referred to you as "sir" or "he," you would (rightfully) get mad, and vice-versa. And if you were, say, sensitive about your appearance or your voice or not seeming feminine enough (or the other way around), it would probably just get even more under your skin. The only real difference is that some people make a point of deliberately calling trans people by the wrong pronoun, either out of a misguided understanding of how pronouns work, or an attempt to provoke them (or both), while obviously no one does that for cis people. But even then, for most trans people late into their transition, you really have to actively try to refer to them by the wrong pronoun. There is a clip out there of Ben Shapiro speaking with a trans woman; his whole thing is calling trans people by their birth pronouns, and yet even he slipped up a few times and referred to his interlocutor as "she" because he just forgot. He had to actively put in the effort to call her the wrong thing. As for people early into their transition, you're not going to get cancelled or loudly chewed out in public for calling them the wrong pronoun by accident, since it's totally understandable to be confused when they don't yet pass. The few famous exceptions, like that video clip of the person at Gamestop, are, from what I've heard, considerable sources of embarrassment for most trans people and thus nowhere near representative of what they're actually like.
  21. And so going back to Matt's overall claim, which is that Democrats resort to humiliation as a method of social control, this claim is unfounded and unsupported by his evidence, and even if it were true, it does nothing to explore "why they're doing this to us," which, again, is the whole point of this article.
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