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Finally, a book about critical social justice that its advocates might read
For FAIR’s Substack, Grayson Slover writes a review of The Identity Trap: a Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time by Yascha Mounk.
Regardless of how one views the long-standing political conflict between Israel and Palestine, most people understand that raping and murdering innocent civilians and gleefully filiming it for social media goes far beyond politics. What could explain this unconscionable reaction from so many progressives? Why are the same people who insist there is a “trans genocide” taking place in our country siding with a group that has genocide in its charter?
According to Political Scientist Yascha Mounk, the reaction we are witnessing is a manifestation of “the identity synthesis,” an ideology that seeks to place group identities like race, ethnicity, sex, and gender “at the center of social, cultural, and political life.” The identity synthesis—which most people will recognize by the name “wokeness”—has been the subject of numerous recent books. However, Mounk claims that his latest book, The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas in Our Time, provides “the most ambitious and comprehensive account to date of [its] origins, consequences, and limitations.”
Tragic Complexities and No Good Choices
For the Tune In To Leadership blog, FAIR Advisor Greg Thomas writes about a recent podcast conversation he had with Wynton Marsalis on The Omni American Podcast.
This month, the aspect of leadership that has been most acute for me is the “discipline to continue to study and question and to be rigorous.”
Since the incursion of Israel on Oct. 7th by a murderous death cult, Hamas, I’ve gone deep into the shed of study about the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and forces at play in the Middle East. I have had passionate exchanges with my family about it, listened to interviews, watched documentaries, and begun reading books by people of various ideological and scholarly perspectives, all to fill the huge gaps in my understanding of a complex, tragic history and current reality.
I deplore Hamas, yet I don’t conflate them with Palestinians overall. I’ve also learned about statements by and actions of Israeli politicians, settlers, and the military, even before this war, with which I strongly disagree while maintaining my allegiance with the Jewish people and their overall struggle.
How Progressives Killed American Theatre.
For his Substack, The State of the Arts, FAIR in the Arts Fellow Clifton Duncan writes the first in a 3-part series covering the predictable self-immolation of America's theatre industry.
The field is a collection of outcasts and misfits, who generally forgo wealth and stability to devote themselves to a vocation that brings magic and meaning into their lives. It is a difficult life where unemployment is the norm, and the source of the next paycheck is always in doubt. For this reason alone (let alone the egos and outsized personalities that dominate the profession), conservative-minded people, more drawn to the career-to-marriage-to-family life model, tend to steer clear of the profession.
Moreover, as with many artistic fields, the theatre generally trends (or used to trend) more liberal in its disposition. It arguably needs to be so, as slavish devotion to strict moral codes or social mores would render it too inflexible to mine the nooks and crannies of the human condition which form the basis of great drama and comedy. In the last decade, however, the American theatre has done exactly this, shooting past liberalism and zealously embracing a virulent, religious “Progressivism,” whose chief accomplishment has been isolating the industry from the rest of the country.
Is the AAP Placing Its Own Members at Risk?
For City Journal, Leor Sapir writes about how new lawsuits and a panel on gender and sexuality at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recent conference signal trouble for pediatricians who rely on its guidance. FAIR in Medicine’s Dr. Carrie Mendoza is quoted as she recounts her experience and takeaways from the conference.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the plaintiffs announced the new lawsuits on the opening and closing days of the AAP’s annual conference, which ran from October 20 to October 24 in Washington, D.C. According to Carrie Mendoza, a physician and director of the nonprofit FAIR in Medicine who helped set up a booth at the conference to bring awareness to the problems of gender medicine, “the vast majority of AAP members with whom we engaged in discussion either shared our concerns or had no knowledge of gender medicine and wanted to learn more. Unfortunately, those who agreed that something has gone wrong with how we help kids with distress over their bodies said they fear the personal and professional repercussions of voicing their concerns.”
Her group’s “major takeaway from the conference,” Mendoza said, was “that there is a broken chain of trust in the field of pediatrics.” The AAP’s members “reasonably trust their professional association to adhere to scientific methods” and “reasonably trust that the AAP will convene committees to issue statements and guidelines based on the best available evidence,” she said. But “when the chain of trust is broken, it can take time before members notice dysfunction.”
Free speech is in trouble
For his Substack Silver Bulletin, Nate Silver writes about how young liberals are abandoning free speech, and other groups are too comfortable with tit-for-tat hypocrisy.
True, a lot of university presidents have expressed a conveniently-timed, newfound commitment to free expression that didn’t match their previous behavior. Still, if I were one of those donors, I’d say “great, and now we’re going to hold you to it. The next time you stray from your commitment to free speech — particularly when it comes to students or faculty who express conservative or centrist viewpoints — we’re going nuclear, permanently ending all contributions to the university and telling all our rich friends to do the same.”
And although I’m not sure I have any business talking to college students — although I have delivered a number of guest lectures and commencement addresses — if I were, I’d use this as a teaching moment, telling students that now that they’ve found out what it’s like to stand up for a controversial, unpopular position, I’d hope they’d be more respectful of the rights of others to do the same.
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