How informed consent laws can protect kids with gender dysphoria
For FAIR’s Substack, FAIR network attorney Daniel Cragg writes about the importance of informed consent for children experiencing gender dysphoria, and the vulnerability of physicians to litigation should they fail to inform the patient of all material risks associated with gender-affirming treatment.
In the rapidly-evolving field of transgender healthcare, it is critical that providers take the necessary precautions to protect vulnerable patients. Tragically, this is not the norm today. While many providers of gender-affirming care believe they are working toward a more socially just society, they may, in fact, be committing a medical atrocity. For the sake of our children, there must be a course correction.
The most promising way to bring about this course correction is a greater emphasis on informed consent: how many gender-affirming care providers are not adhering to the traditionally accepted definition of informed consent, how they could be vulnerable to litigation, and how they can update their approach to transgender medical care so that patients are better protected from harm.
Not Every Atrocity Is About White Supremacy
For The Atlantic, FAIR Advisor Thomas Chatterton Williams writes about why he is skeptical of the reflex to attribute violence to structural racism.
In the case of Tyre Nichols, in particular, the offending officers are Black, but so is the city’s chief of police, the majority of the force she oversees, and the community at large. The notion that the most likely explanation for this specific horror in this specific locality at this specific time ought to be reduced to a permanent, invisible, and unfalsifiable force called white supremacy veers dangerously close to determinism. Perversely, this infantilizing logic can’t help but absolve the five officers of responsibility for a heinous crime that most people and most police officers of any background do not commit.
Such moral reasoning has become conventional wisdom, embraced vocally by white liberals, among others. But white and nonwhite people alike should be wary of forfeiting their agency so easily. We should always remain skeptical of systems-level thinking that reduces the complexity and unpredictability of human action to a simple formula.
Why did those officers kill Tyre Nichols? I don’t know, and I’m wary of anyone who says they do.
How Football Might Prevent Iraq's Next Civil War
For his Substack, The International Correspondent, FAIR Advisor Faisal Saeed Al Mutar writes about how coalescing around a shared love for something rather than fighting over what divides us is a powerful tool.
For the first time in our lives, we felt proud to be Iraqis as we watched the national team play together. For teenagers at the time, the Iraq War and the civil war that followed marked a defining period in our lives. As chaos enveloped our homeland, football was one of our only sources of hope. We watched as the Iraqi national identity fell and fractured in front of our eyes. People clung to their sectarian and religious identities as defining characteristics that trumped all else, but for those 90 minutes, Iraqis put our differences aside and cheered on our national team.
For more than 30 years, Iraq existed in isolation from the Arab Gulf countries because of Saddam Hussein's aggressive policies. From 2003 to the present day, these relations have been consistently tumultuous. However, despite the discontinuity between peoples within the region, football serves as a reminder that unity and peace are possible. The act of sitting next to our neighbor to cheer on a team in pursuit of a common goal might just be the beginning of lasting positive change in the Middle East.
Keep the Classroom A Space for Weird Conversations
For Heterodox: The Blog, Patrick Gray writes about the pedagogical value of providing a “safe space” for exploring a diverse range of ideas in universities.
This trend is all the more regrettable given that the intellectual value of universities consists in part in providing a “safe space” for exploring a diverse range of ideas, no matter how weird they may seem. If we entertain a broader spectrum of opinion, we may discover that — to return to the problem of theodicy — we lack a consensus on what is a “bad thing” and who are the “good people” to whom they happen. This would be good to know. Views that jolt the sensibilities of students can be a welcome disruption to the predictable and bland platitudes that sometimes pass for sophisticated discourse. Discovering your voice occasionally requires listening to things you’d never imagine saying. One-and-a-half cheers, then, for the student in the front row, whatever bone she has to pick with Mother Teresa.
What Idris Elba gets right about race
For Spiked, Inaya Folarin Iman writes about why today’s identitarian obsession with skin color is divisive and destructive.
The dismissal and demonisation of Elba’s comments are absurd. His views on race would have been entirely uncontroversial among past generations of anti-racist activists – even in times when racism was much more widespread than today. Civil-rights leaders, for instance, strived for universalist ideals. They were trying to overcome society’s focus on racial differences. In contrast, today’s anti-racists obsess over those differences.
At the weekend, Elba hit back on Twitter: ‘There isn’t a soul on this Earth that can question whether I consider myself a black man or not. Being an “actor” is a profession, like being an “architect”, they are not defined by race. However, if you define your work by your race, that is your prerogative.’
Elba is completely right. If you want to make the colour of your skin the defining feature of your personality and life, then go for it. Just don’t pretend that it’s ‘progressive’ – and don’t try to impose such a racially divisive outlook on everyone else.
The Futility of Trigger Warnings
For Persuasion, Amna Khalid writes about British universities repeating the mistakes of their American counterparts.
On the contrary, researchers found that trigger warnings actually increased the anxiety of individuals with the most severe PTSD, prompting them to “view trauma as more central to their life narrative.” A recent meta-analysis of such warnings found the same thing: the only reliable effect was that people felt more anxious after receiving the warning. The researchers concluded that these warnings “are fruitless,” and “trigger warnings should not be used as a mental health tool.”
But beyond the fact that trigger warnings don’t work in general, there is something particularly perverse about appending them to works of literature and art.
Engaging with art is not simply a matter of extracting information or following the storyline. Rather, as Salman Rushdie once put it, literature allows us “to explore the highest and lowest places in human society… to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart.” Literature cultivates an aesthetic sensibility, a deeper sense of empathy, and allows you to be taken out of yourself in a way that only art can do. Joyce Carol Oates characterizes it as “the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”
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