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Weekly Reality Report
May 21, 2023
Weekly Reality Report
The Weekly Recap and Weekly Reading List are being combined into a single Weekly Reality Report that will be published on Sundays for paying subscribers. This week’s report is free for everyone.
The Weekly Reality Report will contain:
Announcements (when needed, like today)
Last Week on RLS: a section reminding readers what was published on RLS the previous week.
Around the Web: a section that includes summaries of interesting opinion pieces from various authors published in other outlets.
Headlines: a section covering important news items related to both reality denial and refreshing doses of sanity.
Moment of Zen: an interesting video clip chosen for its ability to inspire or confuse.
Call for Submissions
Reality denial isn’t just limited to biology, which is why I am looking to publish articles on any topic where politics and ideology gets in the way of truth. If you're interested in having your essay published in Reality’s Last Stand, please send a completed draft with a brief summary to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Edition Signed Posters Available
Get your limited edition signed and numbered (1-100) “My Political Journey” poster! This poster was created by Reality’s Last Stand founder Colin Wright, and made internet history when Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted it.
There are a limited number of posters, so be sure to get yours while they’re still available.
How Therapists Became Social Justice Warriors | Lisa Selin Davis
For The Free Press, writer Lisa Selin Davis explored the ways in which the adoption of social justice ideologies by therapists can influence and sometimes undermine the therapeutic process. She profiles Lily Cooney, a 26-year-old lesbian woman and social justice advocate who began therapy to address feelings of guilt related to her perceived racial and cisgender privileges. However, as Cooney became healthier, she started to challenge the strict binary perspectives of oppression and victimization that initially informed her activism, leading to tension with her therapist, who ultimately ended their professional relationship due to Cooney's expressed concerns about cancel culture and other social justice issues.
Davis notes that Cooney's experience is indicative of a broader trend in the field of therapy, which has increasingly embraced social justice ideologies to the detriment of patient wellbeing. Therapists are trained to categorize patients and themselves along axes of privilege and marginalization, and patient experiences are often interpreted through these lenses, potentially undermining the goals of individualized therapeutic care. This approach can leave patients feeling disempowered and unable to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of being labeled oppressive or bigoted. Davis also examines the profession's historical relationship with oppression and marginalized groups, arguing that while attempts to address past wrongs and embrace cultural competency are essential, the current focus on identity politics may be an overcorrection that detracts from the primary therapeutic goal of helping individuals navigate their unique challenges.
Suella Braverman and the Dirty Secret About White Guilt | Brendan O’Neill
For The Spectator, Brendan O'Neill, the chief politics writer at Spiked, wrote about Suella Braverman's denouncement of collective racial guilt and the backlash it received. Braverman argued that individuals should not feel guilt or shame for the historical actions committed by their racial group, a statement which O'Neill describes as a once progressive idea that has now become contentious. The author suggests that this opposition largely stems from the ideologies of the identitarian left, who, he claims, endorse the idea of collective racial guilt and expect current generations to atone for past wrongs.
O'Neill further explores how this concept of collective guilt, particularly 'white guilt', is seen as a moral boast rather than actual remorse in today's society. He criticises how those who express their white privilege are merely showcasing their heightened moral sensibilities and social awareness. The author also points out the irony of activists labeling Braverman's argument as racially prejudiced when their own actions, he believes, are more consistent with the concept of racism. O'Neill ends his article with the implication that 'white guilt' perpetuates the paternalistic and unequal dynamics between racial groups, concluding that the discomfort with Braverman's views arises from the potential threat it poses to the social standing of those who utilize white guilt to signal their moral superiority.
Why Are We Stricter With Tattoos Than Transgender Treatment? | John Sciortino
In a Wall Street Journal article, attorney John Sciortino draws attention to the seeming contradiction between states' approaches to "gender-affirming medical care" for minors and the laws governing tattooing for the same age group. He points out that while the Justice Department has recently challenged a Tennessee law preventing such gender-related medical interventions, many states, both red and blue, maintain stringent restrictions on minors obtaining tattoos, a far less invasive and permanent form of self-expression. Sciortino highlights the stark divergence in these attitudes: on the one hand, some states are moving towards allowing children access to significant medical procedures without parental consent, while on the other, stringent rules are maintained around tattooing minors, even with parental consent.
Sciortino goes on to underscore the serious penalties for violating tattooing laws, including felony charges and jail terms, drawing a sharp contrast with the relative leniency surrounding laws on gender-affirming medical care for minors. He draws attention to the silence of prominent medical and psychiatric associations on the issue of restricting minors' access to tattoos, despite their active opposition to laws inhibiting access to gender-affirming treatments. Sciortino also cites the views of tattoo artists, who often encounter adults regretting the tattoos they got as minors. Thus, he stresses the inconsistency between allowing potentially regrettable, irreversible medical interventions while simultaneously protecting minors from less significant and irreversible decisions, such as getting a tattoo.
The Cost of Dissent | Robert C. Thornett
For Quillette, Robert C. Thornett, a teacher and writer, penned an in-depth examination of the multifaceted nature of diversity and dissent, considering their impact on societal structure and progress. Thornett argues that while diversity can foster innovation and broaden perspectives, it is not an absolute good and can also be a source of division, particularly in culturally and linguistically diverse societies. Thornett highlights examples such as the strife in countries like Mali and Mozambique that have numerous languages and tribes, positing that the Western world often overlooks the cost of such divisions. He then segues into discussing dissent, a crucial component of societal evolution that drove events like the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement. While acknowledging its importance, he emphasizes that productive dissent requires wisdom, prudence, and humility, cautioning against the dangers of uninformed dissent which can lead to societal disarray.
Furthering the discourse, Thornett explores the concept of 'barbarism of intellect', as described by Giambattista Vico, which refers to the destructive misuse of cultural heritage including words, philosophy, and laws. According to Thornett, social media platforms are the primary forums for such intellectual barbarism today. He elucidates this phenomenon with reference to Jonathan Haidt's views on the corrosive influence of social media, which amplifies performance, moralism, and mob dynamics to the detriment of dissent's normal processes.
Thornett also critiques the contemporary educational ethos that encourages dissent without adequately equipping students with the tools for informed debate and understanding of dissent's societal cost. He underscores the necessity of doing the work to understand an issue before dissenting, cautioning against the decline in social stability that stems from ignorant dissent. Thornett contends that recognition of the cost of dissent is conspicuously absent in today's Western societies but is a constant consideration in dictatorial regimes like China, Russia, and Iran.
Pussy Riot and the Psychology of Freedom | Pamela B. Paresky
For Psychology Today, psychologist Pamela B. Paresky examines the psychological impacts and societal implications of fear and courage in repressive regimes and democratic societies, through the lens of the Russian punk rock protest group, Pussy Riot. The article narrates how the members of Pussy Riot, particularly Nadya Tolokonnikova, resisted the oppressive totalitarian rule in Russia by performing provocative and politically charged acts in public spaces. Despite severe repercussions such as imprisonment, these dissenters demonstrated the extraordinary power of nonviolent free expression, revealing an innate human capability to act freely even under oppressive circumstances. Paresky aligns this sentiment with the perspective of Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who posited the existence of spiritual freedom and independence of mind even in the face of extreme oppression.
Paresky further draws parallels between this courage in the face of oppression with the fear that can permeate societies such as the United States, where expressing dissent can lead to social ostracism, loss of employment, and damage to reputation. She particularly cites instances of "cancel culture," framing it not as a culture of cancellation but one of fear and "soft despotism." Through the words of French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, Paresky elaborates on this form of repression, which subtly stifles originality and vigour without overt force. She concludes by asserting the importance of risk-taking in expressing disagreement and fostering a culture of free speech, especially in democratic societies, while warning of the cost of psychological freedom when fear goes unchecked.
Why Is My Gender Research Being Cancelled? | Michael Bailey
For UnHerd, Michael Bailey, a Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, wrote about the controversy following his academic paper on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD). The paper, which has received significant attention online, has faced cancellation attempts from the International Academy of Sex Research (IASR). Bailey discusses two major explanations for the rise in gender dysphoria among adolescent girls in recent years: increased societal acceptance of transgender identities and ROGD, the latter suggesting adolescent girls are vulnerable to the false belief that they are transgender due to social influence. Bailey's paper, co-authored with Suzanna Diaz, studied parental reports of adolescents believed to have ROGD, a topic that has ignited criticism and attempts at cancellation.
Bailey challenges the criticisms raised by the IASR, which include the lack of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and potential bias from parent informants. He argues that the study didn't require IRB approval as Diaz, a non-academic, initiated the survey, and Bailey's role didn't contravene his university's IRB policy. Regarding potential bias, Bailey contends the paper openly addressed this concern and emphasized the value of parent observations. He suspects the real reasons behind the IASR's cancellation attempts are the organization's shift towards identity politics and activist influence. Bailey concludes by expressing concern over the potential deterioration of the IASR into an activist organization and his intention to create an alternative research organization prioritizing ideological neutrality and pursuit of truth.
Science Distorts Data on Trans Athletes | Why Evolution Is True
The prestigious journal Science published an article omitting relevant data and distorting information to support the idea that transgender women (i.e., males) should be allowed to compete in female sports.
How Women’s Swimming Got So Transphobic | The Nation
A new article in The Nation claims that intense media coverage and backlash against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, as well as new policies protecting female sports, reveal the deep-rooted transphobia and historical issues within women's swimming.
Scientific American's editor-in-chief, Laura Helmuth, stirs controversy with her assertion that the white-throated sparrow has “four chromosomally distinct sexes,” despite biology and scientific evidence suggesting otherwise.
Despite public claims to have stopped, Texas Children’s Hospital has been secretly continuing to perform transgender medical procedures on minors, according to exclusive whistleblower documents.
On Saturday, a boy took 2nd place in the Girls 1600m at a CA State qualifier meet. The top three finishers advance to State, meaning that 4th place senior Adeline Johnson lost her chance to advance to State because of the male athlete.
New Paper Advocating Sex-Specific Language | Why Evolution Is True
A paper published in Frontiers in Global Women's Health discusses the unintended consequences and potential harms of replacing "sexed" language with "desexed" language, arguing for caution and clarity in communication while addressing gender and sex issues.
Philosopher Targeted by Trans Activists Lodges Complaint Against University of Melbourne | Sydney Morning Herald
Feminist philosopher Holly Lawford-Smith has filed a formal complaint against the University of Melbourne, accusing the institution of failing to provide a safe workplace and violating academic freedom, following a two-year campaign against her by trans rights activists on campus.
A former University of Toronto psychology professor named J.D. Haltigan sued the University of California system Thursday over its use of diversity statements in its hiring process, likening them to the “loyalty oaths” that once proliferated during the Cold War.
As the University of Oxford braces for protests against feminist professor Kathleen Stock's lecture on gender, a cohort of 44 academics, including renowned professors and recent graduates, have penned an open letter defending her right to free speech, igniting a fierce debate about academic freedom, inclusivity, and the role of social media in shaping discourse.