It's important, I'm told, to be respectful of opposing beliefs. We mustn't be dismissive of viewpoints that differ from our own. We mustn't condescend.
It's just that I have trouble putting this into practice. God forgive me. The problem is that the Left's arguments are often so convoluted, absurd, and self-defeating that I couldn't take them seriously if I tried. And I have tried. But when I follow one of their philosophical threads to its logical conclusion, I discover that the thread has no conclusion. It suddenly splits in another direction, and another, and another, and when I step back all I see is a tangled web of contradictions. What choice do I have but to be dismissive? All that one can do with nonsense, in the end, is dismiss it.
Allow me to illustrate. Let's start with a common leftist talking point that has been repeated with increasing frequency and hysteria in recent weeks. We'll go from there, following the logical steps that they have laid out for us, and we'll see where this Ferris wheel of circular logic takes us:
-Step One. We are told that "all men must be regarded as potential monsters to be feared." It's not that all men are actively dangerous, but that "rape culture" and patriarchy ingrains in all men the latent possibility of "violence and harm." Men are inherently flawed in a way unique to them; a way that makes them, all of them — "yes, all men" — agents of misogyny and therefore a danger to women and society as whole. This is not a fringe idea on the Left. This is what's taught on college campuses and spouted by the media without shame or hesitation.
-Step Two. This does follow logically from the first. We're told we must elect women and hire women and put women in positions of power and whatever we do just focus on elevating women at all costs. Women are better. We may even see the end of war and suffering if women ran things. Go women! Girl power!
OK. Both of these are consistent, if not correct. But this is where things go off the rails.
-Step Three. We're told that we should let men in the women's bathroom and the women's locker room.
But wait. What about Step One?
If men are so dangerous, and must be regarded as "potential monsters to be feared," and every single one of them harbors at least the potential to do "violence and harm" because of rape culture, why would we let them into the very spaces where women are the most vulnerable and the most susceptible to violence and harm?
But wait. What about Step Two?
If the idea is to give women more opportunities and more chances to succeed without being overshadowed and stifled by the hated Patriarchy, why are we snatching those opportunities away by forcing them to compete against people who possess a biological advantage over them? How do we elevate women by letting a testosteroned male run against them in track and steal their medals?
-Step Five. We're told that all of this is OK because men can actually be women.
But wait. What about Steps One and Two?
If men can be women, what's with all of this "men are potential monsters" and "elect and hire women" stuff? It turns out there's really no substantial difference between the two genders anyway. Anyone who appears in every physical way to be one gender could actually be the other. It's all fluid. Okay, well, that justifies allowing men in the women's room, so Step Three is cleared, but it completely destroys and discredits Steps One and Two, along with the entire idea of the Patriarchy and rape culture and female empowerment and pretty much everything feminists have said since 1932. You cannot put men and women into these different categories if you have dispensed of the categories.
Hold on. It gets more confusing.
-Step Six. We're told that women shouldn't carry guns because guns won't make anyone safer.
But wait. Go back to Step One again.
There are these inherently dangerous people walking around, right? Potential monsters to be feared, remember? And now they may even be in the bathroom with you. Even worse, according to Step Five these dangerous men could be women, and the women could be men. Which, hang on, reminds me of another question: If gender is fluid and men have ingrained misogyny, does that mean women who feel like they're men also have ingrained misogyny? Should we fear "transmen" and treat them like privileged scum, in the interest of taking their gender identity seriously?
In any case, the point remains that there are these potentially monstrous, sexist, burgeoning rapists walking about, and there's no way to tell them apart. They could strike at any moment. Yet it's paranoid to carry a firearm?
-Step Seven. We're told that we don't need guns because police have them. Only police should have guns.
OK, Six and Seven seem to work together pretty well.
-Step Eight. We're told that cops are part of a "culture of racism" which motivates them to target minorities for arrest and execution. We're told that cops patrol the streets looking for young black men to oppress. In many cases, we're told, they have gunned down innocent black men for no reason whatsoever, in broad daylight, while their victims raised their hands and yelled, "Don't shoot."
But wait. What about Step Seven?
You're telling me these bloodthirsty lunatics are the only ones who should have guns? You're telling me we live in a country populated by monstrous, sexually assaulting men and homicidal Nazi cops but you don't think we should arm ourselves?
I'm so confused.
My head is spinning.
I feel concussed just from attempting to follow this pinball of leftist logic through even eight steps. And I could continue for another 50 or 60 pages if I weren't afraid of the head trauma it would cause.
You get the point, anyway.
A rational person cannot possibly believe all eight of these points simultaneously. He must choose. He may say that men are inherently dangerous, therefore they shouldn't be in the women's room and women should probably carry guns. He may say that men can be women so there's no reason to fear men or treat them any differently. He may say that law enforcement officers are part of a conspiracy to exterminate the black population therefore we should all grab machine guns, form militias, and violently overthrow the state. He may say that police are mostly very trustworthy and dutiful in their jobs, therefore we have no reason to buy our own guns and protect ourselves. He may find a combination of two, maybe three, of these points and put them forward as fact. Or, better yet, he may reject them all and choose instead to be right. What he cannot do, if he wants to be taken seriously, is argue in favor of all of them.
But it seems that many people in our country don't care about being taken seriously. So I won't. And that's their fault, not mine.