Listen up, conservative maggots: Stop ceding the language to the left

Listen up, conservative maggots: Stop ceding the language to the left
Norman Rockwell, Four Freedoms (detail).

Too many of y’all are acting like a bunch of self-destructive idiots, and you’ve got to stop it – for the sake of your country, your families, you way of life, and your very souls.

The left has owned the public debate for so long that many people on the right don’t even realize how they themselves go around propagating lies, by mindlessly repeating what the left calls things.

The latest vulnerability window for this is the burst of headlines today about “the Pentagon ending the ban on transgender troops on 1 July.”  Granted, there haven’t been a lot of headlines about this topic in conservative media.  But it’s virtually guaranteed that when there are, most outlets in the rightosphere will repeat the headline sentiment in the left’s favored terms.

The problem is that calling the status quo a “ban on transgender troops” is a big, fat lie.  There is no ban on transgender troops.  And that’s not just because in a number of individual cases, top civilians in the Pentagon have already forced military units to accommodate the demands of transgender troops.

It’s because there’s no ban.  Transgender people can be in the military.  They just have to conform, like everyone else, to the military’s requirements for uniform attire and personnel accommodations.  Those requirements go with biological sex, not with subjective personal identifications.

This is the actual reality: until the policy changes on 1 July, the military doesn’t have to change to accommodate transgender troops.  Transgender troops have to adhere (in theory) to the rules that apply to everyone in the military.

After 1 July, the military will have to change, to accommodate special transgender expression.

Why does this matter?  Because it alters the whole debate.  It makes the debate truthful and focuses on the salient aspect of it, which is that the military will have to make adjustments, to accommodate the special housekeeping demands of people who want to identify as transgender.

Recognizing this truth puts the whole argument in a different light.  What in the world do we need to alter the military for, so that biological males who join it can wear skirts, bunk and shower with women, and pretend they’re not biologically male?

We don’t need to do that.  That’s the obvious point.  It buys us nothing, in terms of national defense.  There is zero national-security need for a military that accommodates transgender expression, nor will there ever be such a need.  If the debate is framed honestly and truthfully, instead of in the deceptive terms dictated by the left, everyone can see what the stakes are, and what an invalid political effort this whole thing is.

Just about every freighted issue in the public dialogue now is framed deceptively by the left.  “Gay marriage ban”?  There’s no such thing, and never was.  (Interracial marriage, by contrast, was at one time actually banned in some states.)  States declining to recognize same-sex marriage is not the same thing as states banning same-sex marriage.

That matters, and in a generic sense, matters tremendously.  Do we assume that everything that isn’t officially recognized and regulated by the state is therefore “banned”?  Of course not.  You do dozens of things every day that aren’t officially recognized and regulated.  That doesn’t mean what you do is “banned.”  It means you still live in a country with a few vestiges left of common sense and freedom.

The original American mindset was that it’s actively, dangerously wrong to think there must be a government regulatory regime defining and controlling everything in our lives.  Americans don’t require recognition from the government to be sure that what we’re doing is not “banned.”  We assume it isn’t banned, unless it actually is.

We save government “recognition,” on the other hand, for a very, very few, crucially important things – which do not include whom we feel romantic love for, or whom we’re having sex with.  From the standpoint of government recognition, the social institution of marriage has never been about either.

The left doesn’t understand how that principle for the limited use of government is the basis of liberty.  But that’s why we have to understand it for them.  There’s a world of prejudicial assumptions behind everything the left thinks and says.  When we foolishly, sloppily use their terms, we propagate their assumptions.

Another freighted issue is the bathroom issue.  You probably call it the “transgender bathroom issue,” like all the other lemmings.  Well, stop it.  It’s fatally deceptive to accept that terminology.  When the left says “transgender bathroom rights,” what it really means is “the right of anyone, anywhere, to affront your sense of modesty, decorum, and safety in a place where you take your clothes off.”

We know that’s what the left really means, because the left refuses to stand with normal, sensible people when grown “cisgender” men immediately take advantage of “transgender rights” bathroom laws to cruise into women’s locker rooms and disrobe, in front of women who thought they’d be safe from the presence of men (clothed or otherwise) while they were disrobing.

You never hear a leftist come out and say, “No, that’s not what we meant with transgender rights.  We agree that that’s uncomfortable; wrong, in fact; and shouldn’t happen.  Back to the drawing board.  We need a different approach and another solution.”

Instead, when a school district proposes practical accommodations for transgender students – e.g., their own changing rooms or bathrooms, or curtained-off areas – left-wingers in government agencies or activist groups reject such obviously sensible compromises.

This isn’t a veiled reality.  In every way, it turns out, the public debate about men in women’s bathrooms manifests itself honestly – except in the matter of how it’s framed, for soundbites and headlines, by the mainstream media and left-wing activists.

When conservatives express their concerns, the concerns are always about predatory men having unfettered access to women’s and girls’ facilities.  Grown women don’t really give a hoot if a genuine, harmless transgender person disappears into a stall and closes the door to do some business.  The problem is that “bathroom rights” laws don’t, and can’t, distinguish between such harmless people and predatory offenders.

That ought to be of concern to leftist commentators too, but it never is.  Instead of agreeing that children, especially, need to be protected from such predators, they merely taunt conservatives.  You might think they’d try to stay on message and trot out the approved lines about transgender rights, but what they more typically do is tell conservatives it’s sick to be offended by other people’s anatomy, and otherwise lob a lot of juvenile nonsense it’s not even worth replying to.

They do, however, effectively cede the point that this whole thing is about making sure neither women nor men, nor girls nor boys, have a place to retreat to, to shower and use the bathroom, where there won’t be someone of the opposite sex watching, and/or in a state of undress.

This debate is NOT about the comfort of transgender people (who apparently, if we were to believe the implications about them, can only be comfortable if other people with different plumbing have to be present and able to see them when they’re taking their pants down).   And it’s not about transgender “rights.”  (As an aside, there is not and cannot be any such thing as “transgender rights.”  Human beings have rights.  Period.  We don’t have different “rights” based on how we see our “gender identity.”)

So for crying out loud, conservatives, stop using terms of debate that sell the whole argument out before it even starts.  Stop it, with accepting BS terms like “homophobia” and “Islamophobia,” which sell truth out merely by being uttered.  Don’t even use those words, except perhaps to mock them in passing.  Don’t lead with them when your intention is to argue against them.  The only thing your hearers will remember is that you said “homophobia” – that you accorded it the value of meaning and public utterance.  (The same goes for “hate speech.”)

Stop saying “gun control,” unless you’re talking about proper handling and use of a firearm (e.g., hitting what you aim at).  What the left calls “gun control” is an illusory concept, as unreal and non-existent as the unicorn.

Talk about “gun restrictions.”  Talk about “gun-grabbing,” if you must.  It’s rough and ready, but it’s descriptive.  Talk about people who want to deny all of us our right to individual dignity and moral value – which is what people are, who oppose an armed citizenry.

Think up your own examples.  They are legion, after a solid century of mental and rhetorical pollution from cultural Marxism.

But please, please stop talking about things in the terms dictated by the left.  If you think correcting the language of debate is a hopeless cause, then you’ve already given up the fight.  You’re the walking dead.

Exit question:  are you making any headway with the left by accepting their terms of debate?  Why would you think that’s going to change?  Yes, we have reached a point of epistemic closure on the different ends of the political spectrum.  We see things so differently now that we can’t even talk about them the same way.

But being honest about that is a good thing.  Truth is more important at this point.  If we don’t want to have to fall into literal bloodshed to settle our differences with the left, insisting on truthful speech and debate is our main option.  No more engagement that’s predicated on lies.  No laws, no dialogue, no agreements or negotiations or compromises.

God help us if we keep thinking we have to deal in lies, just so we can remain in “dialogue” with the left: just so we can congratulate ourselves that there is an epistemic aperture to grope for.  The modern left doesn’t want dialogue, just as it doesn’t want truth.  The only thing it will tolerate now is lies.  It should not win one more point through our complicity with those lies – not one.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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